Startups: You Don’t Need An Online Marketing Guru To Get Sales

July 21, 2014By
Startup Business

Your startup doesn’t necessarily need an online guru the first couple years.

It’s amazing how much work there is to do with a startup business.

You’ve got to figure out your service or product. There is perfecting to do and you have to make sure there are customers.

And once you get your first three customers or so you’re busy working for them and figuring out all the other things that come along with a little bit of success and a growing new business.

Most of the startup owners I speak with via GBW have a very small team. In some cases it’s just the one founder or maybe two founders. In other cases there are a handful of team members working on different things.

What’s always the case is that everyone is busy especially when the founders are still working full-time jobs while trying to get the startup off the ground. That’s what I did with GBW and it’s not easy.

Do You Need An Online Marketing Guru?

One question I feel that startups run into probably in the early stages or maybe as they start growing is that they feel they need an online marketing guru on their team in order to bring in more new business.

But I don’t think that’s the case.

Founders are usually the ones that develop some kind of product or service. It might be a software service or something like that. The founder often has technical background or a speciality in some area.

But business owners need to have expertise in one area and some knowledge in a lot of other areas. I think it makes sense at some point to bring in experts to handle all areas, but it’s just not cost effective to do that for an early startup.

You have to do multiple things on your own including online marketing.

And when it comes to online marketing you really don’t need a ton of experience to have success. What you do need is a plan and we’re going to lay that out for you here in 5 easy steps.

Step 1: Fast Website With Clear Content

There are lots of things you can do when it comes to SEO and social media, but you really don’t have to get into too much detail otherwise you’ll focus on things that don’t matter as much.

Google’s Matt Cutts answers questions with his video series and he had a good line recently about a question. He said the question was focusing too much on the really small details instead of focusing on the big things.

Two of those big things are 1) Having a site that loads really fast and 2) Having clear content that describes what you provide and why it’s valuable for your target audience.

Work with a programmer and get your site cleaned up with code and slow-loading content like big images. Then get with a host that specializes in the CMS you’re using. Get your site blazing fast.

Then look at the content on your homepage. Can you tell within a millisecond what you offer?

Avoid confusing images and text. Get right to the point. You want visitors to know they’re in the right place. Then you can start explaining the details later.

Step 2: Build An Email List Right Away

The next thing you can start doing is building an email list. We use Aweber at GBW. I’ve used it for other sites too, but you can also use a service like MailChimp.

The great thing about these services is that you don’t need to be a designer or programmer to figure out how to send emails to a subscriber list. It’s really easy to learn even if you’ve never used it before.

Start a list. Put your first few clients on it. Put your colleagues on it. Then do what you can to get new signups from your website. You can put together a list of really helpful tips and offer it when new people signup for the email.

Then send out a monthly email newsletter where you share a really good tip with the subscribers. You could touch on something that’s timeline or you could comment on a recent even in the industry.

That will be valuable and your subscribers will stay subscribed.

Down the road this list will be huge because you can earn trust and those subscribers will turn into new clients.

The one thing you hear from startups or established businesses is that they wish they would have started their email programs sooner.

Step 3: Identify 12 Common Questions In Your Industry

Now it’s time to get into the really good stuff. You’ve probably read about content marketing and blogging and all that good stuff.

A lot of people find that blogging works well to bring in long-term to bring in new customers so it’s good to start early. But those people also find that blogging is a bit more work than they anticipate. That’s why company’s like GBW exist.

But you can get things done on your own with a blog if you start with the right focus.

Look for 12 common questions in your industry. You’re probably already answering them with your current customers and prospects.

Step 4: Write 1 Blog Post Each Month For A Year

Now you just take those 12 questions and write one post per month for a year.

After that year you’ll have some really great content that will answer the biggest questions in your industry. That will bring in traffic for the long-term, which leads to new business.

Aim for 600 to 1,500 words. Don’t worry about the word count too much. You do want to take all the words you need to finish out the answer. Try to make it better than anything else out there in respect to that question.

Step 5: Ask Colleagues And Friends To Share Each Post

Finally, once you publish each post you’ll need to market them. You’ll share them on your social profiles, but to really get traction on social media you need others to share your content.

Your friends will probably help you out. Just shoot them a friendly email letting them know about the post and see if they’ll do you a favor by sharing the post.

You could get in front of it and add a mention of them and their business in the post. This will almost guarantee that they’ll share it.

Online marketers are great. I think they can really do some good for businesses that are more established, but when you’re in the early stages of a startup business there isn’t a lot of money to spend and  spending on an online marketing guru might not be in the cards. But you don’t have to worry about that. Follow the steps above and you’ll put yourself in a good position to succeed with online marketing.