Dear Olga: What are the most important marketing strategies for a web startup?
~ Nora M., Social Media Startup, Calabasas, CA
First of all, every startup needs to keep in mind that there are still offline marketing strategies that work. So, even though you’re a social media startup, you’ll probably get your first clients by meeting (and being helpful to) people in your real-world community and immediate circle. Then, you can ride that wave online.
Second, if possible, carve out a niche–geographically or by industry—so that you can have a targeted marketing strategy.
Third (in the world of social media especially) you have to understanding what your strengths are and how those translate into measurement. In other words, you have to be very clear about what you’re offering (enhanced social connection, more friends, better feeds, etc.).
1.) Make sure you have a simple, descriptive, easy-to-remember, and easy-to-spell domain name
2.) Have a video on your homepage
3.) Create an interactive demo
4.) Start a beta site/version with key “insiders”
5.) Offer a free trial
6.) Allow users to login using Facebook and get users top enable the app to “post on your behalf”
7.) Participate in live, one-on-one events (like trade shows, Chamber events, and so on)
8.) Reach out and create your own support structures (such as an advisory board that meets quarterly to help you examine key issues)
Getting ramped up…
9.) Have a really clear, concise, and targeted branding strategy
10.) Focus on SEO, starting with the Yoast plug-in for WordPress
11.) Create a YouTube channel with fun and/or informational videos
12.) Make social media sharing easy by making it easy for things to go viral (such as tweetables, Pinterest pins, share buttons, G+, Instagram feeds, etc.)
13.) Use other forms of social media to engage in conversations…and listen to responses
14.) Incentivize users to get their immediate offline contacts to sign up
15.) Pay attention to conversion…and the action you want people to take
16.) Do A/B testing to optimize your site
17.) Engage users in rich content marketing
18.) Write as a thought leader on your own blog
19.) Write guest posts on other people’s blogs
20.) Do monthly e-newsletters
21.) Create compelling case studies
22.) Share your unique content across different sites that highlight your expertise (via SlideShare, Quora, etc.)
23.) Speak at industry events and conferences
24.) Selflessly serve on advisory boards to help others
25.) Perform webinars with strategic partners
26.) Solicit feedback from your users and get them involved in your evolution
27.) Create loyalty programs for existing customers
So, I’m curious… If you have a startup of your own, which of these things have you found most useful in your process?