Launching and building a startup is no easy endeavor. There are lots of things you need to do, and tasks to complete. One of the most crucial is your ability to position your startup for success.
According to the Economic Times, brand positioning is being able to define your product or service against your competitors so that it sticks in the mind of your consumer. For a startup, this is critical in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace. By giving your startup a proper brand positioning, you are able not only able to stick out from your competitors, but also charge premium pricing even if you are relatively new in the market.
However, how do you accurately position your startup for success without having to spend a lot of time and fortune on it? I asked this question to several entrepreneurs that have been there. Here are their tips to try out and apply to your marketing strategy for 2018.
1. Know Where You Are
“If you want to position your startup for success, you need to first take into account at what stage is it at. Take a look at how your target market perceives you and your products or services. Do some research on your clients for their feedback.
Once you have a clearer picture of where your startup is, you can now create a development plan. Begin by asking yourself what your goals for the next three years are? How about in five years? Ten years? Your answers here will help set the pace and strategies to use to scale your startup, increase your brand awareness, and position you and your business for success.”
– Daniel Campagnoli, Software Architect of AppOrchestra
2. Show Off Your Expertise in Social Media
“Social media is now a fundamental business tool that helps us target, reach, and maintain our national customer base. It is uniquely positioned to deliver highly targeted messages based on your customer profiles and demographics. At the same time, it gives you an oppertunity to show off your expertise by allowing you to engage with your customers and answer their questions.”
– Gilad Salamander, CEO of eClincher
For me, Twitter chats are the most effective. These weekly events feature a specific hashtag and last anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour. During this time, a participant is not only able to engage in the discussion, but they also can discover people to follow so that they can connect with later on.
3. Stay Updated on the Latest Trends
“Research on what is trending of your industry, especially when it comes to marketing technology trends. In 2017, we have seen the advent of marketing technology for startups, many of which are highly likely to continue to be effective in 2018. Find out which of these trends will help your startup succeed. Industries are always changing, so if you fail to keep up with the changes, it would have a negative impact on your startup.
Of course, that does not mean that you disregard ‘old’ marketing strategies like inbound marketing. In spite of all the different marketing trends, startup founders consider inbound marketing an effective strategy, especially when it comes to brand positioning.”
-Steven Mcgrath, Digital Marketing Consultant of ProvenSEO
4. Start Using Podcasts
Podcasts can help position your startup for success, in the same way, your social media profiles and blog. They give you a platform to put your expertise and knowledge on display, attracting an audience.
What’s good about podcasts is that they are incredibly portable so they can be consumed by your target market more efficiently. At the same time, the cost to record and publish them is minimal. Also, with podcasting becoming increasingly popular, you do not have a shortage in the places where you can distribute them like Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, iHeart Radio, Spotify, and Google Play just to name a few. I don’t own my podcast but I appear as a podcast guest about 3 times per month to help with my brand awareness.
– Kevin Payne, Inbound Marketing Consultant of Kevintpayne.com
5. Use Professional-Looking Photos and Images
“If you want to position your personal brand to be taken seriously, you need to have a professional headshot on all of your social media profiles and online accounts. By doing this, you are already giving your buyer persona an impression of your brand. It also helps increase memory attention among your audience. Eventually, they begin to take notice and take what you have to say more seriously.”
– Vijay Nair, CEO of Sleepaider
6. Grow Your Network
“Networking is the main reason to attend conferences and events. This is where you can get the chance to meet and connect with key influencers within your industry. Being able to connect with just one of them can lead to massive exposure for your personal brand, positioning it just one step towards success.”
– David W. Craig, Attorney of Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC
7. Provide Dedicated Customer Service and Support
“If you are building a B2B startup, it would be a good idea to dedicate one customer service agent per client. It does not matter if one customer service agent handles multiple clients. What’s important is that they have only one point of contact. This personalized service can significantly help position your startup for success in several ways.
First, it prevents messages to get missed and requests to get lost. Both of these result in poor communication, and that is never a good thing for any business, startup or not.
Second, having a dedicated customer service personnel can help build and foster strong relationships with your client because they are speaking to the same person, your clients eventually feel the support your startup provides them is more personal. Ultimately, your clients will become more loyal, which can lead to repeat purchases or contract renewals.”
– Chris Saviano, VP-Business Development of PGM Billing
8. SEO (Still) Matters
“SEO is not dead didn’t die with the upgrades Google and the other search engines did to their algorithms. They merely evolved. That is why if you want to position your startup for success, you need to make sure that your website appears as high in the search engine rankings as possible for the keywords you are targeting. The more you can show up in search results, the more you are gaining mindshare with each potential customers.
Having a high ranking site on Google and other search engines also increase the chances that your target customers will click through your website, especially if you land on the first search engine results page.”
– Stephan Boehringer, Managing Partner of Get The Clicks
9. Stay Flexible
“Try to keep your brand fluid and flexible when you launch your startup. It is okay to default on focusing on being the ‘new kid’ at the start, but that is not going to last. In some cases, you may not have really found your mission yet. So as you emphasize what’s fresh and unique about your brand, stay on the hunt for inspiration. Find out other ways how you can position your startup for success. Learn as much as you can about your target market. Get to know about your competitors. You need to proactive and make this a priority if you really want to succeed.”
– David Baddeley, Director of Finance.co.uk
10. Be a Positive Leader
“As an entrepreneur, your staff feeds off your energy. If you look depressed or have a sour attitude about things going on in your startup or competition, it is going to spread and affect your entire team. That said, it is crucial that you be a positive leader regardless of how challenging the situation might be.
Start this with your team. After all, your team needs constant motivation for them to perform at their optimum level continually. Something as simple as giving them a compliment and sincere praise goes a long way. The key here is to make each of your team members feel and know that they are integral parts of your business. Remember, a startup is only as good as the people who run it. If you want to position your startup for success, you need to make sure that your team sees it as such. This begins with you.”
– Ariel Chiu, Principal Planner of Wonderstruck Weddings
Bonus Tip: Honesty is the Best Policy
“Authenticity is vital to branding your startup. Today’s marketplace is oversaturated with advertising and marketing content from brands, each claiming to be the fastest, most excellent, or most high-tech. It is great publicity. However, let’s face it: no one is going to believe them just because you have an ad that says so.”
To position your startup for success, the best way to stand out is by being honest and transparent to your market. Aside from providing a competitive advantage, this focus on honesty helps establish deeper connections with consumers. When you can deliver something that you have promised, your customer sees your startup as reliable and credible. As a result, you do not only keep them as loyal customers but even have the opportunity to convert them into ambassadors who’ll further help you promote your brand.”
– Aaron Haynes, Founder of Fenix Pro
Positioning your startup for success does not require grandiose schemes. As you can see from these tips, many of these are quite simple. The key is to remember that success does not happen overnight. It takes time. It requires consistency. Most of all, it takes diligence. Combine all of these with the tips I have shared here will set your startup on the course to become a thriving enterprise.