There is one thing all startups need – cash. And arguably the most important thing startup cash will be spent on is marketing. If startups don’t market themselves then it is unlikely that customers will discover them. Sure, startups can rely on word of mouth, which we all know is the most powerful form of marketing, but it may take an awfully long time for word to get out and spread. So startups need cash for marketing, but because that cash is inevitably limited there is a greater need for strategic thinking. There is no room to waste money when it comes to getting startups off the ground. One of the most cost-effective ways for startups to market themselves these digital days is SEO (search engine optimisation). Let’s take a look at some SEO-friendly marketing strategy tips for startups.
6 SEO-friendly marketing strategy tips
1. Invest in research
Yes, research can be costly and time consuming. But, if done right as part of your SEO-friendly marketing strategy then it can save a lot of money and time in the future. What kind of research should startups do? Startups should be focusing their research efforts on the intersection of their proposed product, service or idea with their proposed target market. It’s all about finding the sweet spot – where the product, service or idea is tailored specifically for the target market, and then successfully marketing it to the target market in a way that resonates with them. Once you’ve found the sweet spot it becomes easy to begin SEO efforts because you can focus on what makes your product, service or idea unique and what your target market is looking for.
2. Put a plan in place
One of the main reasons that SEO-friendly marketing strategy attempts fail is due to a lack of long-term planning. So-called SEO experts haphazardly throw money into SEO tactics without taking the time to look into the future. Startups can be particularly guilty of this due to an urgent desire or demand to see things take off. However, to experience sustainable success, there needs to be a strategy. And, as Ellie Pidot puts it, “Strategy is a fancy word for coming up with a long-term plan and putting it into action.” If startups hope to survive and thrive they need to plan beyond the here and now. An obvious example, in this case, is avoiding any quick SEO fixes that promise instant results. an SEO-friendly marketing strategy is never going to be a short-term process.
3. Stick to the topic
When it comes to school or varsity projects, teachers and lecturers will always reiterate that students have to “stick to the topic”. Of course, if you have done your research and put a plan in place then it will be fairly easy to stick to the topic. Sticking to the topic is fundamental to SEO efforts. What topics does your startup business deal with? Another way of thinking about it is to name the industry or industries your startup business falls into or the problem that your product, service or idea is trying to solve. For example, if your startup business has to do with photography then you’d more than likely classify your business under photography or audiovisual services. If your photography business focuses exclusively on weddings then you could also classify your business under wedding services. We’ll touch on this again later, but you can perhaps already see how this would help your SEO-friendly marketing strategy. Keep the main topic the main focus of all your content. Deviation equals disaster.
4. Come up with keywords
Once you have thought about (and preferably written down) the topics that your startup business impacts, it is easy to come with keywords. Think of it as one of those basic mindmaps you used to draw in school with the main word in the centre bubble. The lines coming from the centre are linked to the main topic, but perhaps even to one another. There is no reason to overthink things. You’ll find keywords spring to mind quite quickly. If not, Google will give you “searches related to keyword” right at the bottom of the SERP (search engine results page) when you put in one of your topics or keywords into the search bar.
Remember that they can be one-worded keywords or long-tail keywords, which are a string of words that people will potentially search for in order to find a business like yours. Don’t forget to include all the different ways of saying, writing or spelling keywords linked to your topic or topics.
5. Work with your keywords
Once you have a list of keywords, don’t hide it away and forget about it. Work with your keywords on a daily basis and incorporate them into EVERYTHING that your startup business does, especially all your marketing efforts. Your keywords should not only pop up across your website and blog, but also in all above- and below-the-line marketing material. Now, we are not talking about keyword stuffing here. If your keywords are selected correctly then they should come up naturally. If someone is passionate about something, they talk about it a lot. In other words, make sure you are passionate about whatever business you’re in as it will make life much easier.
6. Measure up
Just as it is futile to throw money into SEO blindly, so too is it silly to spend money on SEO without constantly looking at results. Although your topics should never change, your keywords are somewhat fluid. This means that you have to continuously look at Google Analytics to see how keywords are performing and, if necessary, adjust things accordingly. If you’re putting all your budget into the wrong keywords, and you never care to look at their performance, then you’re truly wasting money. It’s like paying a fortune to design and print flyers that are thrown into the dustbin. You should always be questioning whether your keywords measure up. As Sir Winston Churchill said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”
If you’re a startup, put some of these SEO-friendly marketing strategy tips in place and let us know what results you observe. If you’re keen to receive some more guidance on putting a strategy in place that works for your startup business then don’t hesitate to give us a shout. We’re passionate about putting small businesses on the map.