Growing a startup is like running a marathon with random and unpredictable obstacles that pop up all of a sudden. Building your product, securing funding, hiring the right people and attracting high-quality leads are just a fragment of your responsibilities.
So, it takes a lot of work, resources, learning and risk-taking, and yet none of these factors guarantee that you’ll make it.
No wonder two-thirds of startups never manage to generate a profit.
One of the biggest mistakes new entrepreneurs make is trying to save on digital marketing and thinking that good products sell themselves. Unfortunately, that’s just a myth, as this approach implies waiting for customers to accidentally stumble upon your product or service.
Success isn’t an accident but the result of a carefully planned and executed strategy, part of which should be digital marketing.
Here’s how it can help startups overcome growth challenges and set them in the right direction.
Challenge #1: Skeptical Target Audience
Being a new kid on the block is tough.
People have never heard of your startup and product, so it’s only logical that they can have their doubts.
The situation is even more challenging if you’re competing in a crowded market.
So, what do you do?
Solution: Boost your credibility
It’s not enough to advertise your product or service and make claims about its quality and value, as it’s simply blowing your own horn.
You need people and companies not affiliated with your startup to vouch for you and provide social proof.
For example, Amerisleep has earned media references under super recognizable publishers like Newsweek, Inc., or Forbes, and quotes from their reviews are featured on the company’s website.
Apart from leveraging the support of reputable publishers, Amerisleep also features customer reviews as a method of corroborating its claims:
This tactic works because people are more inclined to trust their peers than brands.
According to stats, 91% of consumers between ages 18 and 34 trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while 3 of 4 people say they entirely avoid brand advertising.
Challenge #2: Low Website Traffic
Sixty-eight percent of online experiences start with a search engine. Or simply put, that’s how many people start their customer journey by searching for a product or service online. So what’s the takeaway here?
Having a website is nonnegotiable. That’s how you can expand your reach, build a brand name and generate leads.
But only if you drive enough web traffic, which is something 1 out of 5 companies struggles with.
Solution #1: Offer evergreen content
Just like evergreen trees, this kind of content optimized for search engines stays fresh, relevant and sustainable for a long time. It doesn’t run its course and fade into obsolescence within a couple of months.
And as such, evergreen content is a surefire way to keep on attracting visitors, improve your search engine rankings, and establish your brand as a leader in your industry.
The most common evergreen content formats are how-to content, including videos, ultimate guides, listicles, product reviews, and top tips.
By regularly revisiting your evergreen content and updating it, you can create valuable resources capable of growing traffic over time.
Ultimate Meal Plans offers a weekly meal plan template since this is one of the most popular topics in this niche on Google. SEO also does the trick, as this blog post is very well optimized, so Google currently ranks it among the top three results for the keyword.
According to a recent survey, 60% of mobile users are very likely to click on the first two to three results they see which illustrates the power high-quality evergreen content can have on website traffic.
Source: Ultimate Meal Plans
All kinds of free online calculators can do wonders for your website traffic. They’re convenient, user-friendly, and easy to build. Despite this simplicity, they’re interactive, highly personalized, and informative. Calculators can help your target audience figure out, for example, how much their mortgage will be or what credit card they should opt for.
Nerdwallet offers this simple tool for creating a manageable personal budget, and it is currently among the top search results for the term “budget calculator” on Google.
Solution #2: Promote your content on social media
With more than 4.5 billion users, social media platforms give you a lot of opportunities to promote your content and reach your target audience.
To take advantage of your social media and use it to drive traffic to your website, use the following tactics:
- Optimize your profile by providing all the necessary information about your startup. Make sure to have brand guidelines in place and establish a recognizable voice. This is also the place to communicate your value proposition clearly and succinctly. Here’s how Many Mornings cleverly used the About section to tell what their brand is all about:
Source: Many Mornings Facebook
- Post consistently, as that’s how you’ll be able to build a dedicated and engaged following that will also visit your website. KURU Footwear posts on Instagram almost every day and promotes fresh and relevant content that engages their target audience.
Source: KURU Footwear Instagram
- Include an interesting quote from your previous blog posts, such as a stat or an intriguing piece of information. This way, you’ll offer a sneak peek into your content and compel your audience to read the rest of it. Here’s an example of Social Media Today’s tweet that leverages this tactic:
Source: Social Media Today Twitter
Challenge #3: Low Conversion Rate
OK, you’ve managed to attract visitors to your website, and that’s awesome news. But if your conversion rate leaves much to be desired, all your previous efforts are in vain.
There are different reasons why this happens – namely, technical, design, and UX mistakes such as:
- poor website navigation.
- mobile unfriendliness.
- unpersuasive product page copy.
- unclear call to action.
- lack of credibility, etc.
But if you’ve ruled these out, you might need to reframe your offer.
Solution #1: Generate urgency using discounts
Capitalizing on the fear of missing out (FOMO) is a powerful tactic for boosting conversions.
Urgency and scarcity push people to act immediately and make a purchasing decision on the spot, as they risk losing such a fantastic opportunity. Especially that product is selling like crazy.
Discounts, particularly when they’re limited-time offers, can prompt potential customers sitting on the fence to purchase and save – instead of paying the full price later. In other words, discounts make people think they’ve grabbed a good bargain.
Sola Wood Flowers always runs a limited-time sale promotion in their website header, thus encouraging potential customers to take action while it lasts.
Source: Sola Wood Flowers
Solution #2: Offer free shipping
Ninety percent of consumers say free shipping is the top incentive that encourages them to shop online, while almost 60% add more products to their shopping carts in order to qualify for this perk.
The phrase “free shipping” is like the open sesame for your customers’ wallets because our brains are hardwired to pursue rewards. That’s the main reason why we love free stuff so much, no matter how inexpensive they are.
Williams Sonoma offers free shipping for more expensive items, but even those who purchase something for as little as $15 can get this incentive if they join the brand’s Reserve program. This approach also increases the average order value and boosts customer loyalty by generating repeat purchases.
Source: Williams Sonoma
Challenge #4: Low Average Order Value (AOV)
The low AOV is a big issue that deserves to be discussed separately.
This is one of the most common metrics business owners use to measure growth. If it’s consistently low, you need to make some adjustments in your marketing strategy in order to increase your revenue.
Although this isn’t the only indicator of your business health, increasing AOV means making more money per transaction, and that’s obviously good for growing your startup.
Here’s how you can do this.
Solution #1: Do intelligent cross-selling on product pages
Offering your customers to purchase another item(s) will increase your average order value.
However, you can’t pitch just any random product from your online store for the cross-selling tactic to work. The trick is to provide exceptional service to your customers by helping them discover products that go well with the ones they’re about to buy.
So, use the recommendation feature to display products that other customers who purchased a certain item also bought or viewed.
Sparking their interest early in the process is another important factor, so make sure to display additional product suggestions on product pages.
Wayfair goes the extra mile and recommends not only products that are frequently bought together but also those that are most compatible. That way, they’re doubling the odds of increasing the average order value.
Solution #2: Publish content that promotes peripheral products
Another effective method of increasing your average value order is to publish content that promotes peripheral products.
It’s only logical that when a customer purchases a core product, they will probably need some accessories.
Creating content about essential accessories that will improve the core product and help customers make the most of it can result in more purchases and an increase in AOV.
GILI Sports crafted an extensive blog post about 32 paddleboard accessories in which readers get all the information about additional equipment they need for practicing this sport.
Source: GILI sports
Growing a startup can be overwhelming, as it’s riddled with obstacles. Digital marketing is one of your best allies on that journey. Startups need to improve their visibility, increase brand awareness and build a reputation in order to grow. Implement these simple and relatively affordable digital marketing strategies to help increase brand awareness and watch your startup thrive.