9 Fresh Ideas for Your Startup's Marketing Strategy

Digital marketing best practices are ever evolving. Our list of fresh ideas for your startup's marketing strategy includes some evergreen suggestions to apply as well as some cutting edge ideas. Integrate these where appropriate to ramp up your marketing efforts. 

hand drawing creative business strategy with light bulb as concept

1) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Notwithstanding what some may proclaim, don't sleep on SEO. Over half a billion people search for something using Google every day. Search engines allow prospects to get eyeballs on your product at the exact moment they need it. Search enables them to find you rather than you having to go find them.

Even if you're not ready to pay for SEO services, you can tweak your content in small ways that can together go far towards helping your business get found by the search engines:

  • Produce content that's thorough and truly helpful for your readers.
  • Make sure your headers are clear and self-explanatory.
  • Optimize local listings if that's relevant for your market niche.

When you are prepared to pay for SEO services be aware that this is an area where you generally get what you pay for. For good services you need to be prepared to pay a decent price. If they guarantee results it's likely they're selling you snake oil. And remember it generally takes at least three months to see SEO results.

2) 1:1 Marketing

This is a customer relationship strategy that aims to boost personalized interactions with customers. Do things like send a handwritten postcard to important customers or personalized birthday emails. These things only cost you time. Engaging in personalized interactions can foster loyalty and give you a better return on your marketing investment.

Using a well-reviewed customer relationship management (CRM) software helps in automating these tasks and tracking who’s at what stage of their customer journey.

3) Video Marketing

Video optimization is becoming more important as YouTube and other videos are displayed in the SERPs (search engine results pages). Use text overlays and closed captions in addition to your description, title, and file names so the bots can read them and have some context.

A valuable benefit of implementing a video marketing campaign is how many ways you can reformat that content. Take the video you recorded for your YouTube channel and in addition to publishing it there you can also do the following:

  • Create a transcript of the video so you have a text version.
  • Publish the transcript on your blog under an embedded YouTube video for better rankings.
  • Upload the video with the transcript as subtitles to Facebook. Native Facebook videos get a higher impression share and engagement than shared YouTube videos.
  • Do a short rewrite and add relevant stats and images to turn the transcript into a blog article.
  • Create a podcast episode by ripping the audio.
  • Use the word "Video" in subject lines to increase email engagement and use video thumbnails in your email campaigns.

4) Volunteer for Charity  

These events are a good place for brand visibility while enabling a good cause. Donate your time, and maybe some product, and potential customers will associate your business with positive actions. Participating in fundraisers or contributing to local charities shows public support for causes you and your company care about. You can get greater visibility if you become a sponsor or give away branded prizes.

5) Programmatic Advertising

Use artificial intelligence (AI) to automate ad buying and target more specific audiences. This automation is efficient and fast and yields higher conversions and lower acquisition costs.

6) Personalization

Now that data is available for anyone's purchase history, consumer behavior, and links clicked, as well as software to implement campaigns, custom content is easier than ever. You need to personalize your marketing to stand out. Not just personalized emails, but content and products as well.

7) Social Media Stories

Telling your audience a story can be part of an effective marketing strategy because social media stories bring with them:

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Constant engagement with followers
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Increased traffic to your website
  • A way to reach younger audiences

8) Micro Moments

These are moments when people turn to a device, often a smartphone, to take action on whatever they need or want at that moment. Instant decisions are made on what to eat, which restaurant to pick, what to buy, or where to go. So a marketer should consider I-want-to-know moments, I-want-to-go moments, I-want-to-do moments, and I-want-to-buy moments.

The growing focus on these micro moments means rethinking the linear buyer funnel of awareness, consideration, and decision. The customer journey is becoming more of a whirlwind where people think of, see, or talk about something and they need to learn about it, watch it, and buy it, right now. People's nearly complete dependence on their phones aids and abets this behavior.

9) Artificial Intelligence

You can already see AI being implemented in areas including customer service chatbots, basic communication, product recommendations, content creation, email personalization, and commercial transactions.

It is estimated that chatbots will power as much as 85% of customer service by the end of this year. There are both benefits and dangers of having chatbots interacting with your customers on a 24/7 basis.  Here are a few of the tradeoffs all digital marketers will have to address.

Benefit = Always on with no need for coffee breaks.

Danger = Constant supervision required for situations the AI has never encountered before, or a troll messing with it, or unrecognizable grammar.      

Benefit = Find the most efficient solutions and perform them perfectly because of the ability to analyze massive amounts of data and always apply the results in the same way.

Danger = Improvising is not an AI skill.  So when presented with entirely new and unexpected challenges the bot has to be programmed to know when to hand off to a human or it will take a stab at a solution and it could fail spectacularly.

Benefit = Collecting and analyzing data while chatting and applying everything from past conversations while adding more about the person they're chatting with.

Danger = Collecting data can make you a target since data collected can include geo-location or address, account information, payment information, legal name, and anything else that can enable identity theft. You have to be current with virus protection, firewalls, complex passwords, and be sure your employees know best privacy practices.

Benefit = AI can develop a personality that aligns with your branding.

Danger = Your AI can be manipulated by bad actors to do evil.

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Shelley's been in Seattle practically since the dawn of time. She enjoys having fun (seriously) with research and writing. In her off hours she reads and walks, although not at the same time -- because tripping over sidewalks is embarrassing.


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