Small, high tech start ups are all about growing as fast as possible. That’s why their marketing has to be a step ahead of the curve.
The world of startups is a bizarre one. We’re talking about the epitome of venture capitalist funded, uber fast growth of “disruptive” tech companies based in Silicon Valley. Now, we’re not suggesting that you should suddenly start blowing all your marketing budget on designer office chairs like the heady days of the dot com bubble. However, there are a few things that every small business can learn from startups. Startups are often industry leaders in marketing, especially online marketing and in our experience, a lot of these tips will work wonders for small businesses too.
Social media advantage
Social media is here to stay. But it’s far from a static form of communication. Snapchat seemed like a gimmick but is still growing at an incredible rate. Twitter is making a huge loss (as a business) but still has a huge level of activity where as Instagram is adding new features as fast as people can work out what to do with them. Even Facebook is adding features and functionality for users and businesses, trying to copy some of the more successful features of the above platforms. The new “marketplace” hasn’t taken off yet but can be seen as a competitor to Amazon and ebay.
The constant change in the functionality offered by social media, and the ongoing changes in how people use it mean that your social media should be constantly moving forwards too. We’re not saying you have to creating virtual reality adverts (yet) but have a look every now and then to make sure you’re keeping with the time. On which platforms are your customers most active, and what can you do to increase engagement? Take advantage of new features like live streaming or posting “stories” which can bump your content to the top of people’s feeds. Look into the ever advancing analytics of these platforms and make sure you have full “business” accounts set up, with contact and call to actions fully optimised.
Branding still matters. Maybe start ups aren’t as reliant on business cards and letterheads any more, but they still put a ton of thought into the branding, logos and websites which form the foundations of their digital identity. We’ve found that the themes in logo design that we see in cutting edge startups often filter through to more main stream companies. Big brands are now following the philosophy characterised as “Material Design” by Google. No longer are the textures of “skeuomorphic” styles in vogue. A flat design, with a simple font and one or two colours will be the easiest to identify in most situations, be it the tiny icon of a Twitter feed on your phone, uniforms or the side of a van.
Welcoming, friendly, jargon-free language
While many start ups are on the cutting edge of technology, you’ll find the language they use is increasingly simple and clear. Just as website are becoming simpler and easier to use, people are getting more used to information that is easy to digest. Even startups and businesses offering very advanced, complex products and services are shifting more and more towards keeping things simple. This is much less about giving the hard sell and more about offering a clear, friendly explanation of what it is you do.
Less is more
Distil your business down to as simple an idea as possible. Why should people choose you? If you can’t explain in less than a sentence, why not?
Many start ups come into being via the process of “bootstrapping” – getting the business off the ground without any money at all. Others seek funding from venture capitalists. Either way, you need to be able to convince people of the value of your business for the very limited time that you can hold their attention. When people no nothing else about you, how can you convince them to go for you?
This is just as important for convincing your customers that you have something of value to offer, as it is when convincing the bank that they should give you some money. It’s normally very useful to explain exactly what you do, and there’s a time and a place to go into that in great detail. But potential customers are unlikely to enjoy being bombarded with the nitty gritty. Especially if they already know what they are looking for. Quantity and quality of content is essential for any marketing campaign. Yet do you know what the underlying theme of that content should be?