It’s often not enough to just have a great product, you also need to be able to successfully communicate why you are awesome. It’s a common failing among many startups that they spend too much time on making their product ‘perfect’ and not enough on actually achieving customers and sales. In days gone by you might have just run a massive marketing campaign to get business. These days however, it is expensive to advertise, whether you do so online, in print, on TV or even radio (much cheaper and still surprisingly cost effective). It’s also more difficult to reach your intended audiences solely through ads because, and this should come as no surprise to you as we do it all the time, viewers have more and more ways to turn off or skip your ads.
All of this means you need to make your product and your company interesting enough that your potential customers come and find you. Some call this approach ‘inbound marketing’. Whether you chose to do so or not, there is an opportunity for your business if you can find a way to get people to pay attention to the problem you have solved, and why you do so better than other potential competitors.
Red Bull are a great example of a company who have become someone that you know does cool things (the video above can take several viewings without getting old) so you’re happy to go and see their latest amazing video. The sweet fizzy drink that they sell has become almost incidental to the massive collection of content they have created across a range of extreme and innovative sports.
While startups will not have the budget to match Red Bull, there is still no reason why you can’t, with some imagination and creativity still create some helpful online digital assets to showcase your business ideas. It is free to start a Wordpress Blog, a Facebook Page, a YouTube channel, an Instagram account and a Twitter account. With these social media accounts (or other similar ones depending on where your audience is, - LinkedIn, Pinterest even Snapchat perhaps) you can begin to grow a relevant and targeted audience based on a carefully considered content campaign.
Before you start creating any content make sure you have a clear vision of who you are, what you do, why you are awesome and, most importantly why your product/company can help solve problems experienced by other people. This is your elevator pitch, carefully constructed to reach the right audience. Once your message is clear, then, and only then, is it time to start communicating this. Brief explainer videos are really helpful, ideally less than two minutes long, but just long enough to quickly, and concisely explain about what your product does. Across all your chosen social media platforms your message needs to be consistent and mutually reinforcing. Test it out on friendly strangers, give them the pitch, ask them if they understand what it is that you do, and then, is it something that they would buy?
Once you have a clear sense of what your message is, you then need to consider the frequency of how often, and how you will communicate it. Much like Goldilocks’s porridge, it is important not to post videos / blog posts / tweets / pictures etc too often, nor too infrequently. There are many online articles with suggestions about the optimal frequency of posting and to which social media platforms. Use these as guidelines only, as for every company and every product the optimal results are ultimately a matter of personal trial and error. Needless to say, if you only post updates every six months or more, people will begin to wonder if you are still in business. Conversely if you are posting blog articles more than once or twice a week, you may find yourself not having enough time for all the other aspects of work required for your startup. That said a couple of daily tweets, with relevant and appropriate hashtags may do wonders for raising your product’s profile (and often your own as well!)
As an entrepreneur or startup founder you will find you have to attend to a variety of aspects of your business. Whether you create the content yourself, or delegate it to someone else, it is vital that the company’s key values are understood and communicated. All your good work, carefully raising awareness and growing your company’s brand and reputation can be wasted if someone goes off message and says something unhelpful. A careful considered content strategy will go a long way to helping achieve success, especially in a future where ad-blocking is likely to become even more prevalent.