By Shiraz Khan
Running and spearheading a startup is not as simple as it may seem. It entails dedicating attention to very many things. One needs to observe the emerging trends in the industry and adapt the business strategies in the same manner so as to reach out to a wider audience. Not to forget, the one at the forefront needs to have an entrepreneurial sense and capability to thrive in an ever-changing business world. The market is heavily competitive and if the business, as well as its employees, does not evolve as per the shifts in the market, then the force of time contains the power to make it obsolete. Similarly, the digital era that we live in today gives little or absolutely no space and scope for traditional marketing strategies to flourish. And owing to its cost-effectiveness, wide-spread reach, faster conversions, and better returns, digital marketing has emerged as an indispensable tool for startups’ success.
This brings us to the question, does every startup need a digital transformation? Is digital marketing the answer to a startup’s growth?
Several studies have shown that traditional business practices and outdated technology is likely to cost small businesses a large amount of money. It may be convenient and comfortable to follow the old routes, however, it not only delays growth and expansion but also squanders time due to inefficient productivity. Besides, outdated models make the businesses more susceptible to security breaches and oftentimes results in resentful employees and clients both.
In the same way, startups, that are often on a quest to shine out, reach out to a larger audience, and make their products or services known to the world out there, must consider digital marketing to present and market themselves better, as opposed to traditional tactics. The biggest benefit of digital marketing that we cannot overlook is that it can help maintain and narrate effective communication with the target audience and aid in terms of keeping them engaged – all at a minimal cost, limited investment of time, and not more than few platforms to monitor. Through this, what’s achieved is far beyond multiple conversions; right from improved brand image, increased website traffic, to more sales, and importantly, a pool of loyal customers.
But with so many perks come a cost attached to the service. Even though digital marketing is cost-efficient but many small and new businesses are typically short of capital and vast resources. And thus, keeping in mind the financial constraints, startups can use the following tools/techniques with the stated approach –
SEO: This is certainly cost-effective with assessable, long-term benefits. It improves the organic traffic and visibility to the site. SEO offers free branding and builds credibility as well as trust. For a business to be SEO friendly, it needs to first make the site secure and mobile-friendly, especially if it’s an e-commerce startup. What follows this is to ensure that all pages are functioning with the right set of tags, descriptions, and headers. The focus can then shift to creating good content, doing online PR activities, and getting users/customers to talk about the platform through reviews or testimonials.
Content Marketing: This tactic generates more traffic, creates more leads, and builds brand awareness. Content marketing also helps to initiate a relationship with existing and potential clients. Startups need to lay their focus on publishing quality and relevant content, consistently. Through content, the brand can articulate and narrate unique selling propositions.
Social Media Marketing: SMM is a cost-effective tool that can be used to build a voice. The idea is to choose the right platforms as per the area of business – LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Upon identifying this, the target platform should be fed with pieces of content to narrate the brand’s objective, vision, and product or service category. Once the users are accustomed to the brand’s presence, the same relationship and engagement strategy can be leveraged to conduct interactive Q&A sessions, chats, and contests, that are all guaranteed to expand the follower-base.
Besides the said techniques, video marketing and email marketing can offer similar benefits to a startup, to begin with! The advent of digital marketing, invariably these by-products, only goes to show that the battle to promote one’s startup in a more impactful way is less likely to exist in present times. Appropriate understanding and skilful inclusion of the best digital marketing processes have the ability to ensure the holistic, organic, and sustainable growth of startups and other existing businesses.
(Shiraz Khan is the Founder Director of Spicetree Design Agency (SDA), a multi-faceted marketing firm that was founded in June 2004. The Mumbai-based company’s creative insight allows them to offer a gamut of services in design, digital, and development spheres. Their experience in digital marketing, print design, website, and development has made them one of the leading marketing agencies. The quote above perhaps best describes Shiraz Khan, the Founder Director of Spicetree Design Agency (SDA) Pvt. Ltd, and an ingenious professional with a rich blend of experience and expertise. Views expressed in the article are of the author.)