The single biggest challenge for any early-stage startup is ensuring consistent growth.
Getting those first customers to trust your business is tough, and even when you do get them, you need to have an effective action plan for ensuring that you’re able to maintain regular cash flow to sustain growth and reach your goals.
But with competition becoming fiercer in almost any sector, carving out your own space is hard. Customers have multiple options to choose from, and getting them to trust you with their business when you don’t yet have a proven track record is something that many startups struggle with.
Luckily, there are fundamental principles and strategies that should be a part of any marketing campaign, which, if applied correctly, can help you gain that slight edge over your competitors and ensure that you always have a stream of new leads coming in.
Let’s explore four ways how you can grow your customer base as a startup while simultaneously building a stronger reputation for your brand.
Create a Detailed Marketing Plan
If you want your business to have any chance of success, you need to map out a detailed plan for how you are going to attract leads. Each part of your lead-gen strategy must work together to ensure that you’re getting the best possible leads at the lowest acquisition cost possible.
The first step of the process is pretty straightforward – you need to figure out the ideal customers that you want to target and try to identify as many characteristics and demographics details as possible.
Then, you need to develop your messages and brand voice to ensure that you’re able to capture your audience’s attention.
Finally, you should look at the places where your audience likes to hang out online – try to identify the most popular social media platforms, forums, groups, or publications that they frequently visit, as these may serve as the perfect ways to engage them.
If you don’t have experience with making a marketing plan, you can always use a business plan template that can help you figure out where to start and show you the most important aspects you should focus on.
Partner Up with Other Businesses
When starting out as a young startup, you need all the help you can get.
Sometimes, that means that to expand your reach and engage new audiences, you may need to partner up with other businesses that can help you build your brand recognition and make some sales that you wouldn’t be able to attain otherwise.
By partnering with other companies, you can compensate for your lack of authority in the industry by having them vouch for you in the partnership, which offers great opportunities for growing your own brand and establishing yourself as a company that can be trusted.
One thing to consider when choosing who to partner with is that the company must share the same values, have a similar or overlapping audience, and ideally, offer a related service or product that could work well together with yours.
Invest in Paid Social Media Campaigns
It’s no longer possible to ignore social media if you’re a startup –the potential for engaging your audience, increase brand recognition, and sustain growth is just too powerful to ignore.
But even though the benefits of social media are obvious, it’s becoming more difficult to interact with your audience, as organic reach is down on most of the major platforms, especially Facebook.
Businesses are seeing their posts buried in the feed, even if engagement numbers were solid beforehand, so if you still want to remain relevant, you’ll likely need to expand your efforts by including paid social media advertising.
Now, the idea of spending money on each engagement or action by a prospect on social media may seem daunting, but the truth is, if you take the time to develop a solid social media marketing strategy, you’ll find that paid advertising can be quite cost-effective.
The reason why social media Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising can be so successful is the incredible range of targeting options that platforms like Facebook can offer. You can pinpoint the exact ideal customers that you want to reach and then craft a laser-targeted message that gets them to take action.
And since you’re only paying for the action itself, it’s possible to attain leads at a fraction of the cost of what it may be worth to you over its lifetime.
One thing that’s essential when using paid social media advertising is to always keep split-testing and tweaking your campaigns for maximum performance. You’ll need to figure out things like the color scheme that your audience best responds to or even the right Facebook ad size, so be ready to put in the work if you want to see good results.
Provide Excellent Customer Support
Today’s consumers are more sophisticated than ever before and have high expectations from the companies that they decide to work with, so an integral part of keeping them happy is providing top-quality customer support.
96% of consumers say that customer service plays an important role in their choice and loyalty to a brand, so you need to allocate adequate company resources to ensuring that most of your interactions with customers are positive.
There’s no way to prevent issues from arising when dealing with customers – whether it’s a bug in the software, a delayed shipment, or problems with billing, even the biggest and most successful companies regularly face issues that require help from customer service.
However, the difference between successful companies and those that don’t stick around for too long is the way that these situations are handled.
You should make sure that your customer support staff are well-trained and have a system in place for quickly connecting the person to a qualified staff member who can help resolve the issue.
What’s more, you should consider using knowledge base software to come up with a knowledge base about your software and some of the common issues together with the solutions, as that will make everything easier by providing a systemized database that can be referenced.
You could even make the knowledge library public by offering helpful FAQs and guides for solving various issues, which can help users solve some of the issues themselves and free up more time of your customer support staff to focus on more serious or less common problems.