5 Essentials to Know Before Marketing Your Startup

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So you’re ready to launch your small business and want to build awareness around your brand. Shouldn’t be too difficult, right? Digital tools and social media have vastly expanded the options for connecting with potential fans. It’s easier (and less costly) than ever to spread your message to lots of people, but it’s also easier than ever to mess things up. Before you start shouting about your new biz from the digital rooftops, here’s a look at five things you should know first.

1. A marketing timeline

You don’t want to spread the word about your startup too early—or too late. Timing is essential to getting off on the right foot. Many marketing experts recommend starting a marketing strategy when you have a minimum viable product (MVP), which means that you don’t wait until every bell and whistle on your offering is in place before trying to attract customers. Instead, launch your marketing plan when your product or service has all the necessary components and features to work correctly.

2. Your audience

How you market your startup should depend quite heavily on your target audience. An audience that can best be reached by influencers on Instagram may not be reachable by email marketing, for example.

Before you can figure out which marketing method works best, you must first figure out who you’re targeting. You can create customer profiles that provide examples of their demographics, age, gender, and other factors. Once you have a good idea who you’re looking to connect with, you can be more strategic about the best approaches to do so.

3. Your differentiator

Communicating your product’s value and how it’s different and better than similar products is a critical piece of marketing. If you don’t know what differentiates your product or service, you won’t be able to craft a marketing message that truly communicates your value.

Once you’re able to articulate your value proposition clearly, you can figure out which marketing methods will be the best match for getting that message across.

4. Basic analytics

One of the major advantages of digital marketing over traditional marketing is that you can get feedback in real time. No more wondering about whether that magazine full-page ad is catching attention—the data will tell you whether your marketing efforts are working or falling flat. 

Once you have a basic understanding of analytics, you can see what your audience looked at, clicked on, liked, responded to, and more. Collecting and using this data strategically will make your marketing strategy more and more effective over time. Google Analytics is free, and there are several more advanced tools that can be purchased.

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5. SEO fundamentals

In today’s digital world, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of SEO (search engine optimization) fundamentals before you start marketing your small business. SEO means using specific words in your writing to maximize the chance of your page or post appearing at the top of search engine results.

Effective use of SEO weaves targeted keywords into high-quality content, as well as uses backlinks to other pages to increase appeal to search engines. There are several free online courses that can teach your SEO basics.

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The takeaway

Marketing is critical to your startup’s success. But before you launch your campaign, it’s important to get a few things figured out first. From understanding when to start marketing to SEO fundamentals, learn the basics of marketing to make sure your message is on point right from the start.


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Katherine Gustafson
Written by
Katherine Gustafson
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