If there’s one thing that sets start-up entrepreneurs apart from the rest, it’s the ability to provide a product that the consumer needs.

They’ve done the research.

They’ve got the energy and gusto to deliver.

And they know exactly how their product is going to change the lives of their market for the better.

Unfortunately, in the early days, the budget doesn’t always match the enthusiasm.

With so many new and costly outgoings to consider, an effective digital marketing campaign is something that start-ups often think they can save money on and execute themselves.

A few Facebook posts here.

An EDM there.

And the product the world has been waiting for will sell like the proverbial hot cake in no time.

And this is where many start-ups fall over.

Now, I’m not saying that if you’re reading this, you don’t know your market. I’m sure you do.

I’m not saying your product doesn’t tick all the consumer’s boxes. I’m sure it does.

What I am saying is that as a start-up, there is so much to do and focus on that when budgets are limited, some simple digital marketing elements get overlooked due to lack of time, resources, or basic expertise.

And just because YOU know how great your product is, it doesn’t mean the rest of the world does too. So you need to make sure you tell them.

A robust digital marketing campaign for any start-up is an absolute must if your e-commerce business is to succeed in a busy digital world.

Follow this simple digital marketing strategy for start-ups, and you’ll lay the foundations for a long-term marketing strategy that will leave the rest of the world in no doubt that your e-commerce business is here, and it’s here to stay!

1) Define your market

Your product isn’t suitable for everyone, and you need to get really clear on who you’re talking to.

Sure, you might be able to see how every sector will benefit from your product but creating a detailed buyer avatar will really drill down who you’re speaking to through your digital channels.
Define the age, gender, location, likes, dislikes, income, and business or personal goals of your ideal client and then understand how they like to be communicated with.

The internet is a crowded space, and when you’re trying to sell a product online, it’s too easy to waste your time and money putting your product where your market isn’t.

From the outset, refer to your buyer avatar in everything you do to make sure you’re speaking to the right people in the right way and, perhaps most importantly for our digital age, in the right place.

2) Define your competitor

Competitor research is an absolute must in the e-commerce industry.

Of course, you’re planning to do things very differently to anyone else in your niche, but it’s essential you know where your competitor’s results come from and how you can stay one step ahead of them.

Notably, this step will help you understand if there’s a space for you and your product or service, help you set realistic budgetary requirements and, in turn, help you get to know the consumer on a deeper level.

3) Define how you will measure results

Again, I know you know you’ll achieve success, but you need tangible goals and metrics tracking in place.

There’s little point in implementing an all-singing all dancing EDM campaign if you don’t know what you want to achieve from it.

Do sales, newsletter sign-ups, or CTR (click through rate) mean more to you at this stage?

More than selling a product, you also want to create customer loyalty from the outset, and you need tools in place to make sure you’re responding to the needs and wants of your market.
Defining your core metrics and understanding how they will help you achieve the next step in your business plan is key to any digital marketing campaign and is often overlooked in the buzz of launching a new product.

4) Define your USP

Your unique selling proposition is the key that unlocks every door to your e-commerce future.

It’s the undisputable reason your target market should buy from you, and nobody else.

If your product is unique and you think you don’t need a USP, think again.

You never know who’s going to appear in your future and it’s vital that you give consumers a reason to buy from you, that extends further than your product.

eBay is perhaps the most well-known e-commerce company in the world with a USP “trusted brand providing online auction and shopping opportunities”.

It doesn’t matter how many more online auction companies pop up, they’ll never be able to claim the ‘trusted brand’ for their product, and that’s what consumers are paying for.

Closer to home, local company Double Jab offer boxing and MMA equipment that can be easily customised by the end user. In a world of activewear and sports equipment, this USP will always make their target market choose them over someone with similar products.

5) Don’t ignore SEO

There is so much more to SEO then choosing keywords.

It takes time to build domain authority, and because SEO results aren’t instant, many start-up entrepreneurs put their SEO strategy on the back burner until they’re a little more established.
This is a mistake.

SEO strategy needs to be at the forefront of your mind from the outset. It impacts the decisions you make regarding your website. It affects the style and delivery of your content. And it helps you claim your online real estate in a crowded digital world.

Think outside the box when looking at key words and phrases. If you’re SEO savvy, you can do your own keyword research using tools like www.moz.com. If not, always engage with an SEO expert who will target your ideal customer at precisely the point they’re ready to buy.

Don’t waste a single day ignoring SEO.

6) Start building your list

Even if you’re not ready to start working with electronic direct mail (EDM) from the outset, look at every opportunity to start capturing email addresses.

Add a lead magnet to your website to encourage people to give you their personal information. Add competitions to social media encouraging your audience to click through to your website. Have an online sale in exchange for the holy grail of all e-commerce success…your customer’s email address!

EDM is one of the most valuable digital marketing tools available relatively cost-effectively.

Email is the only way to directly communicate with your existing and potential clients and start building a one-on-one relationship that can, when delivered well, lead to customer loyalty forever.

EDM also provides valuable analytics so you can adjust campaigns as your customers respond.

7) Get social!

It’s impossible to be across all social media channels these days and the very thought of it can become overwhelming for the busy start-up entrepreneur.

Unfortunately, your social presence is non-negotiable. Pick one or two platforms and commit to providing engaging, personable and valuable content, and ignore the rest.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter aren’t necessarily the right place to make direct sales, but they are a brand-building opportunity that no start-up should bypass.

Just as important as developing the best product for your e-commerce company is developing a marketing strategy to match, and the time to start is today.

Because, let me tell you, you can make money from selling brown paper bags if you market them in the right way!

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