According to a 2019 KPMG report, the Indian start-up ecosystem is expanding at a terrific pace. There is over 600% increase in the number of start-ups between 2008 and 2018. Some of the trends that have lead to this phenomenal growth are an increased global exposure, better digital infrastructure, evolving landscape of investors, adequate support from the government. The icing on the cake is that several corporates are expressing this interest in having a commercial partnering with start-ups who have something unique to offer. However, the challenges faced by founders of start-ups are multiple. As a result, many of them fail to sustain the immense competition in the long run. So, are you someone planning to kick start your own business? Have a look at the 10 winning strategies to make your start-up fly!
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10 winning strategies to make your start-up fly!
1. Run a referral program
The idea of having a fan following during the start-up days is tempting. So, run a referral program. It will encourage your existing customers to refer your services or products to their loved ones. With more than 90% of people trusting personal recommendations, running a referral program with reward makes a sense. Don’t create the program from scratch. You can find referral marketing tools that can do the entire legwork.
2. Throw a challenge
Did you remember the ice bucket challenge? It not only manages to raise awareness about the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) disease but also encourages millions to donate for the cause. Codecademy also challenged its viewers to learn coding as a New Year resolution that eventually helps it in expanding its user base. So, create a video and throw an interesting challenge that can appeal to your target viewers.
3. Give away stickers
Although this may sound ridiculous, giving away stickers for free can create a user base for your product or services. Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian opted for the marketing strategy by spending $500 on stickers. He even traveled extensively for putting them in places from where they can be easily seen. Get in touch with a company engaged in printing custom-made stickers in bulk to implement the strategy with cost-effectiveness.
4. Reach out to a specific community
If you want a quick expansion of your user base, identify a community that can have maximum benefit by opting for your products or services. The now-famous footwear manufacturing company Nike also does the same when it was a start-up. It reaches out to a community of people who loves to run for achieving their fitness goals, and the rest is history! Recently, Dollar Shave Club, a US-based company engaged in offering personal grooming products has successfully reached out to the Sikh community for marketing its new product-beard oil.
5. Become your product’s brand ambassador
Kylie Jenner is doing the same since she launched her range of cosmetics. Today, she is the youngest self-made billionaire. So, if hiring a celebrity is not your cup of tea, don’t become disheartened. Become the biggest user of your product, and people will notice your products. Using the power of social media such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and more will help you in marketing your products, especially if you have prior experience of making money with social media marketing techniques.
6. Organize and promote a contest
If you desire explosive growth for your start-up, this could be one of the best marketing strategies. You can use tools like Wishpond or Facebook to run a contest. You don’t have to choose an expensive prize. Running a photo contest or comment-to-win vastly helps a start-up because of a lot of user-generated content. If you want to run a contest on Facebook for promotion, remember the move will lead to more likes and followers.
7. Convert users of your competitor
It becomes a tough task to identify people who will love your products or business. So, how to formulate a winning marketing strategy? The solution is targeting the existing users of your competitor. They may be using products but are not entirely satisfied. So, target users of your competitors with thoughtfully crafted Facebook Ads. For example, if you offer home hardware products, you can target people in your locality who like or have an interest in Facebook pages of popular hardware stores located within the region.
8. Disburse cash to new customers
Bribing is not something that a start-up could ever think to get leads, but this is what many start-ups had done in the past. For marketing and promotion, you have to spend money. So, you can give it directly to your newly acquired customers. Many start-ups offer cash discounts that are primarily aimed at encouraging customers to make a quick payment. The concept of cashback is also popular among e-commerce businesses.
9. Connect with another brand
Sometimes, a start-up fails to attract an audience despite offering quality products or services at a competitive price. Connecting with an established brand gives them much-needed visibility and boost. For example, the partnership between Flipboard and Airbnb signifies the same. While the former is a start-up engaged in news aggregation, Airbnb is a recognized brand in the hospitality industry.
10. Give away free tee shirts
The marketing strategy can help your start-up to get the attention of people who may be your potential customers or clients. It also creates awareness about the existence of your start-up and helps in brand recall. Some start-ups also prefer to give away tote bags that have a large imprint of their brand logo or tagline. Tote bags with brand name or logo are mostly used for grocery shopping leading to brand visibility for a longer duration.
Apart from the above winning strategies for marketing, you can also try something innovative. Make your customers contribute to a social cause without spending anything extra. Social cause marketing is now giving recognition to countless companies. You can make the best use of the same for your start-up. Today, people care about their social responsibility. So, if you can devise a marketing strategy that can enable your customers to contribute to a social cause such as fighting poverty or AIDS, it will yield impressive results.
Prosenjit Das has been associated with Karmick Institute since 2012. He is a digital marketing expert who also teaches the latest digital marketing techniques to students as a trainer.