Hey, so this article originally appeared here, on LinkedIn.
It’s never been more important for startups to have a strong presence online. Whether B2C, B2B, Healthtech or Fintech, your customers are online.
Getting all of this right is easier said than done, and getting found online is getting harder every day. Here are some of the areas your focus should be on in order be in the right direction:
1. Your Website
This seems like it would be a no-brainer for startups, but you’d be surprised at how often this is not handled correctly. Make sure that an SEO-friendly domain is available – if not, consider changing the name of your startup. Yes, it’s that important.
Make sure you use a CMS that is easy to work with and customize, since as you grow, so will the demands of your website.
2. Clearly explain the “Who” and “What” of your startup on your website
As your startup grows and you begin to venture out into the world, people will naturally go to your website to get a better understanding of who you are and what you do. Make sure this is clear. It should take the average person no longer than 30 seconds on your site to figure out exactly who you guys are, and what exactly are you doing. Your customers have strong BS detectors, so don’t fill your website with made-up buzzwords and vague descriptions. Showing is better than telling.
3. Optimize your site to get found on Google (SEO)
You want to make sure that Google can properly find your site, and the content you produce. Even if you think your startup isn’t ready for full-blown SEO, you want to make sure that your site is technically sound from an SEO perspective.
Overall, organic search accounts for over 50% of all web traffic. That number is even higher for business services, at over 60%. It’s shocking how many startups overlook this method and dismiss it as inetffective. Ignoring SEO is probably the most expensive mistake a startup can make.
4. Have a clear Call to Action on your site
Many startups make this mistake. You want to make sure your website leads visitors to take a specific action on your site. The button for this is called a Call to Action. If you’re already selling whatever it is you sell, this can be to “Schedule a Demo”or “Get a Free Trial”. But even if you don’t have a product yet, you can use this as an opportunity to ask visitors to “Register for Early Access”. If your customers need a lot of nurturing, the best Call to Action is to “Download our Whitepaper”. If you don’t sell anything and just publish content, your CTA can be “Subscribe” to our newsletter.
5. Produce Quality Content
It’s important that when visitors reach your site, there’s something there besides your homepage. This can be whitepapers, blog posts, listicles, infographics, videos. Anything your visitors can consume. Content is what will feed your organic and social machines, when you’re ready to start them. Think about who your target audience is, and what would provide them with value.
It’s so easy to dismiss the value of content, but the benefit is impossible to ignore.
6. Make sure your site is Mobile Friendly.
The share of mobile users actually overtook PC users a couple years ago, and it’s still growing. Many people use their smartphones now to quickly find out about something, and you’ll want to make sure that that when they get to your site, it’s been optimized for mobile users. Try to consider that mobile users are generally in a different mind-set, and you might want to put forth different content and Calls to Action for your mobile users.
7. Set up Google Analytics
You are what you measure. Make sure you properly install Google Analytics onto your site so you can properly measure and track your website traffic. It will let you know how your visitors got to your site, what pages they visited, and for how long. Without this you’ll be walking around in the dark.
8. Have a Social Media presence
Even if your startup is B2B, you need to be on the major social networks. That includes LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Make sure you regularly post content – even if it’s not yours. This is another channel that is often ignored and dismissed as insignificant by startup CEOs. When you’re the CEO of a startup, you probably shouldn’t be spending too much time on Facebook – but that’s where your customers live.
9. Set up your Retargeting Pixels
Even if you’re not ready for paid media just yet, you should make sure your retargeting pixels are set up for all the majors: AdWords, Facebook and also Twitter (soon LinkedIn too I hope). You’ll thank me for this when you’re ready to start advertising.
10. Get testimonials from your customers
Once you’ve got your first few customers, make sure to get testimonials from them. This is a great way to establish trust: people want to see that people like them are already working with you. You can use them on your website, Landing pages, ads, sales decks, and email marketing. Don’t be shy, just ask them!
11. Email Marketing
Email marketing continues to be one of the cheapest forms of marketing there is. Once you have the email address, the cost of sending an email is virtually nothing. Use email marketing to nurture your leads, retain and up-sell your customers, and generally communicate with a mass of people that have expressed interest in you at one point or another. Just don’t SPAM okay?
Launching digital marketing for a startup obviously isn’t as simple as 11 steps, but I hope I’ve given you a good idea or two. Let me know if you think I left something out.