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Tips for Startups

7 Most Effective Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

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marketing strategy

If you’ve just started running your own small business or you’ve been in one for some time, you probably constantly think about various ways to attract more customers. There are many marketing tricks you can use in order to do that. You just need to decide which would be most suitable for your type of business. In this article, we offer a list of ten most effective strategies for small businesses that will help you run your business smoothly.

# 1 Make Clear Plans

The first and most important step in any business is setting a clear goal and organizing your budget. Ask yourself what you truly want to achieve; what your ultimate goal is. Do you need to think about brand awareness or how to extend your reach? Whatever you decide, make sure you manage your budget carefully and constantly keep track of your money. Also, think about what your needs are at the moment and which objectives you can set aside for now. Prioritizing your goals is the key of success.

# 2 Use SEO Tactics

Search Engine Optimization is used by majority of marketers who want to reach a higher place on Google, Yahoo or other search engines. In this way, they are able to increase visits to their websites and attract more customers. Keyword research is one of the easiest ways you can use to increase traffic. Keyword tools that you can utilize include Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool, KWFinder and Google’s Keyword Planner. If you’ve just started working on your marketing strategy, best start with long-tail keywords, as they are more specific and much less competitive. Identify a list of keywords that you think will attract relevant visitors to your website and include them in body content, headings, title tags and image file names, so that search engines can recognize the relevance of your content.

# 3 Online Marketing Magic

If you want to boost your business online and get positive results, you’ll have to invest some money in display, search and social ads. Pay to play, as they say. In order to earn money, learn how to strategically spend some first. Hire a professional if necessary to help you with Facebook Ads or AdWords, as this sort of work can be quite tricky if you don’t have relevant experience.

# 4 Pick the Right Social Media

If you spend hours trying to keep your business present on all social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, perhaps it’s time you consider a different tactic. It might be more effective to stick to one channel your customers follow most regularly and invest more time and energy there. By analyzing your current social media presence you can find out where the highest customer engagement is. The best tip you’ll ever get proves to be true in this field, too – less is more.

# 5 Turn the Creative Energy into a Blog

Publishing a blog on a regular basis can be truly effective. It can help you promote your business by telling potential customers all about your expertize and providing them with useful guidance and tips. Apart from that, you can always use blog to announce projects you take part in and awards you’ve received. Blogging can be fun, but also time-consuming. Make sure you always stick to quality over quantity and that you’re being consistent – one blog per week sounds perfect!

# 6 Email Marketing

Email marketing has proved to be an incredibly effective way of promoting your small business and attract larger number of potential customers. The subscribers to your email list are people who intentionally want to hear from you on a regular basis, so you need to pay special attention to what, when and why you send. Include sending a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter with interesting, creative and relevant content. Personalize your emails by using customers’ first names and using friendly, yet professional tone. Writing a good subject line that will invoke recipient’s curiosity is of extreme importance. However, be careful not to use spam trigger words any spam filter of high quality would recognize. You want each of your messages to end up in the recipient’s inbox, not spam folder. Also, make sure your emails are mobile-friendly, as nowadays majority of people check their emails on their mobile devices.

# 7 Stand Out from the Crowd

Don’t hesitate to be original, creative and unique. Your audience will appreciate your effort to stand out and be different. If nothing else, this is what makes a marketing strategy great and successful – its uniqueness, freshness and originality. Write an attractive “About Us” page to state your mission and tell everybody why you’re best at what you do.

Next to all the strategies mentioned above, no matter how truly great they are, don’t forget that connecting with real people offline can also be extremely effective. Perhaps in the era of digital technology, we tend to forget that one and amazing “word of mouth” tactic. There’s still nothing more powerful than that.

A writer with a degree in marketing. Interested in digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends.

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Tips for Startups

8 Dos and Don’ts for SaaS Startups

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8 Dos and Don’ts for SaaS Startups

When launching a startup, eager entrepreneurs will often hear that inner voice that tells them “Do it!” on every idea that comes to mind. The initial euphoria that comes with every new beginning can be a great drive to work really hard on making a new business flourish. But, if untamed, that excitement can also be a curse.

If you care about making the right choices as an entrepreneur, you need to know when to greenlight strategies that would help your SaaS startup grow and when to hit the brakes on those that would delay its success or, in a worst-case scenario, make it fail.

With that in mind, we’re listing the top eight dos and don’ts every founder should learn for the sake of their SaaS startup’s future.

1.    Do Use the Power of Tools That Already Exist

There’s no success without clear planning and organization. You don’t want to scribble notes or make complex spreadsheets for various operations if there is a simpler, more streamlined way.

Instead, use dedicated tools such as Friday, Basecamp, or Jira to plan and map out your projects and keep your entire team organized and 100% engaged.

To measure the performance of your marketing efforts and sales, use web analytics tools. Remember that all social media apps have integrated analytics dashboards that provide great insight into your campaigns’ performance and keep track of your posts’ engagement.

2.    Do Use Links to Build Authority in Your Niche

Cultivating online relationships is what gives a brand the power to reach a greater base of customers. SEO is a complex matter to tackle, but modern businesses, and especially SaaS startups, must make constant efforts in that department if they want any visibility.

So, make building quality backlinks for your website a priority within your marketing strategy. Having established experts in your niche to vouch for your brand and services (and link to you!) is how you instill trust in high-value clients. That’s how you build authority and get to rank higher on search engines.

3.    Do Get Familiar With Your Customers

As your business grows, it’s wise to refine and evolve your products and services to make them more useful and attractive. But, remember that customers evolve too!

We’re sure you’ve studied your target group before launch and learned what they want so you can cater to their needs, but you need to keep consistent and work on these insights regularly.

A good strategy here is to always engage your customers with online surveys or outreach directly to those you value the most. Studying your analytics tools can also provide key data on how your customers’ buying patterns shift.

4.    Do Make Your Offer Straightforward and Accessible

Sure, your product might be complex or simply feature a multitude of functionalities. But to those that are interested in finding simple solutions, complex offers tend to have the opposite effect on their curiosity.

So, explain how your services work in a plain and simple manner. Introduce clean infographics and short, quality content that demonstrates why your product works.

Use this as a rule of thumb: if people outside your niche can easily understand what your solution is all about and learn its value, it means you’re doing it right.

5.    Don’t Focus Solely on Your Competition

Learning what your successful competitors do to get where they are should definitely be on your to-do list for building a strong SaaS startup. However, you shouldn’t dwell on all of their tactics without working to figure out an original approach.

Following the exact path your competition took to hit the jackpot will only leave your startup in their shadows. Instead, learn your competitors’ shortcomings and weaknesses and ensure you aim in that direction.

For instance, if they don’t use social media tools properly, use those platforms to get ahead. You can also focus on targeting the keywords that they don’t use to capture a portion of the customers that are being left out.

6.    Don’t Leave the Web with Your Marketing Efforts

Wasting precious resources on offline marketing is a terrible strategy for a SaaS startup. Your applications and services are online – and so are your prospects, seeking online solutions to their problems. So why would you even think about offline promotions?

You can always make offline efforts to demonstrate your credibility and put the word about your startup out there, but the online marketing alternatives are far cheaper and deliver way more positive ROI.

7.    Don’t Be Greedy with Your Pricing

You need to be perfectly honest about the solutions that you’ve created and are now trying to market. Chances are, your tools have a good share of shortcomings and bugs that need sorting out, especially when your SaaS business is still in its cradle.

You’d want to please your customers as much as possible, so you need to keep your prices reasonable until your brand and products are perfected and ready to ask for big dollars.

Also, don’t perform marketing suicide and offer your services without a free trial. When you’re only new to the game, you can’t expect to gain traction if you’re not willing to let prospects try out your solutions.

8.    Don’t Invent Tools That Are Already Out There

Today’s SaaS market is pretty much oversaturated with all kinds of web applications. While that doesn’t mean that your idea is invalid, it won’t see much light if it doesn’t bring something new to the table.

For example, when people need payment solutions for their ecommerce stores, they already have Stripe and Square. There’s no need for more of the same in the myriad of tools in that market.

Even then, you don’t have to invent solutions that no one ever thought of before – you can still keep innovating and refining. Whether it’s a new approach to pricing or another way of achieving substantial team productivity, you can still redesign staple applications and present a new, different way of giving customers an incentive to do business with you.

Final Thoughts

The challenges that we’ve talked about above are almost inevitable in the first few years of managing your SaaS startup.

Following the simple rules and implementing the tips that tackle each of these challenges will not only secure a lifeline for your business but build a foundation for a successful company for decades to come.

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Tips for Startups

How to Develop a People-First Startup Culture

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How to Develop a People-First Startup Culture

Creating a start-up from scratch is a great way to flex your entrepreneurial spirit and build a business you can be proud of. However, succeeding as a start-up requires more than hard work and a good product. You must become a business leader and learn to get the most from the people you bring into your new company.

Developing a people-first culture is the best way to find and maintain great talent in a small business. Putting your people first can land your top employees and ensures that your team has the desire and motivation to help your vision succeed.

Core Principles

Big businesses are oversaturated with mission statements and “shared values”. These corporate slogans exist for a reason: they help bind teams together and give everyone a chance to share the business’s vision.

As a small-scale start-up, you should develop your own set of shared values and a clear mission statement that guides your business’s culture. These values and mission statements should refer to the way you want to treat your employees as well as the overall purpose of your business.

Creating an employee-friendly mission statement is also an important part of the people-first approach to business. Today’s talented employees know their value and have heard about the employee-friendly treatment that workers at big firms like Google and Facebook receive. They’re looking for employers who offer a clear sense of purpose as well as greater flexibility and excellent work-life balance.

Flexibility and Coworking Spaces

The rise of remote and hybrid work means flexibility is a priority for employees. Your best employees know that they don’t have to sit in an office from 9 to 5 to be productive and will look elsewhere if you try to tether them to a cubicle for no good reason.

Instead of insisting on creating an office culture, you can invest in coworking spaces that save money and give employees the flexibility that they want. Coworking spaces are typically cheaper alternatives for small businesses and give you better cash flow. Coworking spaces also ensure that your employees have the equipment they need and can pack up when they’re done.

When looking for a coworking space, focus on the nuts and bolts first. There’s no point in renting space if it doesn’t have an adequate Wi-Fi connection or enough equipment like standing desks and keyboards. Once you have a list of top locations for your coworking space, focus on the amenities and perks they provide. Some coworking spaces even have deals with local gyms and health clubs that will look great as a people-first employer.

Work-Life Balance

Achieving an appropriate work-life balance should be a priority as a people-first employer. Even if you’re putting in the hard hours to make your business succeed, you shouldn’t expect talented employees to burn the midnight oil to help fulfill your vision.

Insisting on overtime and crunching will only result in burnout and a high rate of employee turnover. Employees with a poor work-life balance have been known to experience conditions like blurred vision, cataracts, low quality sleep, increased stress, joint damage, and cognitive impairment.

As a people-first employer, you should put the health and wellbeing of your employees first to avoid health-related conditions from burdening your staff — even if this means you have to reduce capacity or take on new employees. Trying to expand your operations by forcing your existing staff to abandon their work-life balance is not a sustainable, people-first approach, and will only lead to cultural rifts and employee turnover.

Conclusion

Operating as a people-first business can boost your startup culture and create better buy-in amongst your new team of employees. Highly motivated teams are essential for the success of small businesses, as you rely more heavily on fewer people during your first years. You can help develop a people-first culture by creating mission statements and shared values that promote the well-being of all employees. This should be translated into real policies at work like offering coworking spaces and a better work-life balance.

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Tips for Startups

Tips To Design A Perfect Mascot For Your Startup

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Design A Perfect Mascot For Your Startup

Startups must master the art of achieving more with less because of limited budgets and tight timelines. Whatever initiative you pick, you cannot afford to wait forever for it to deliver results. At the same time, you cannot spend a massive chunk of your budget on it. When it comes to marketing, you must choose the right mix of strategies. Mascot marketing is an ideal option as it defines your brand’s personality to make it more recognizable and sustainable. But designing a mascot may seem like an expensive task, considering it requires brainstorming, creativity, and design skills. Let us explain how to create a perfect one within your startup constraints.

Consider your goals

Before you start working on the design and image, you must consider the goals of your company. The objective goes a long way in defining your brand’s personality, which should reflect in your mascot. For example, you need a lively one if you wish to make life fun and easy for your customers through your offering. Conversely, a more professional design works for a startup catering to a business tool.

Resonate with your audience

The simplest way to ace the startup mascot design is by resonating with your audience. Define your target customers and consider their likes and dislikes to nail the look and feel of your mascot. If you plan to sell to a young audience, the personality should be an instant hit with the kids. Identifying your audience gives you a head start as you have a clear view of where you want to go.

Think outside the box

The key objective of any marketing strategy is to set your business apart, and mascots are not an exception. So remember to think outside the box when you design one. It shouldn’t look like any character already in the market. Instead, it should be unique and outstanding while being consistent across all channels. The character should look the same everywhere, whether you showcase it on social media or through Custom Mascot Costumes at a live event. It is the only way to ensure people remember your new brand and connect with it.

Pick the right hues

The colors you use in a mascot’s design decide how well it can stand out. A bland design hardly appeals to the eye, but going too loud with shades is also not the way to go. You can seek color inspiration from your existing marketing assets, such as your logo and theme hues. Keep the market trends in mind and check the competitor designs to pick the right shades to design your ideal mascot.

Name it wisely

Beyond creating a memorable design for your startup mascot, you must give it an easy-to-recall name. You cannot expect people to recognize your brand’s replica in a huge crowd unless everything about it stands out. So your mascot’s name is as crucial as its design and personality. Think of something that connects instantly with your personality and sounds good. Also, stick with a short and simple name.

Designing a mascot need not stress out a startup owner, provided you are ready to follow these rules. Be ready to spend time, effort, and money on this marketing asset because it defines who you are.

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