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Apoorva Ranjan Sharma

The author is Founder & Managing Director, 9Unicorn

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Startup Marketing: Mixing Old-School Tactics with Digital Tools is the Key to Build Customer Loyalty

Building up of a diverse yet loyal audience for your company is task. However, in the era of ultra- digitisation various platforms are providing the outreach yoru brand is looking for

Entrepreneurship is a challenge in itself. With multiple hurdles to cross and success unguaranteed, it is nothing short of a black box. There is a new barrier to overcome at every turn – from setting up the business to hiring employees, making contacts, acquiring customers, raising funding, etc. Among other challenges, building a loyal audience for your startup could prove difficult. How do you find people interested in your product/service? How do you convince them to try it? In today’s fiercely competitive environment, the trick is to use a mix of traditional and digital tools to stay relevant.  

Traditional

Face-to-face interaction

While it may seem dated, face-to-face interaction holds more relevance even in the 21st century. However, it doesn’t mean you need to go around each house in the neighboured to attract customers. Meetups, conferences, seminars can provide you with the right platform to promote your startup, make new connections, and establish a relationship with potential as well as existing customers. If you are looking at a pan-India presence, a mobile tour is a great way to build a dedicated audience. 

Word-of-mouth 

Commonly referred to as viral marketing today, word-of-mouth publicity remains one of the most influential marketing tools to date. Contrary to popular belief, this old-school technique can do wonders for your business. That’s because people are more likely to trust a product/service that is recommended by their peers than an advertisement. So, whether you are launching a new company or expanding your user base, leveraging word-of-mouth publicity is the best way to go. Another advantage of word-of-mouth is not only it is free, but it also spreads like wildfire. 

Print advertising

Long before the internet’s arrival, brands relied heavily on newspapers, magazines and billboards to market their product. While there are debates around the future of print advertising, major publications and glossy magazines have an appeal that online media doesn’t. Considering print is a target-specific medium, it is truly effective for hyper-local markets. So, if your startup operates in sectors like online food delivery, disseminating pamphlets and brochures will help you make a more lasting impression. 

Digital

Search engine optimisation

When it comes to creating a robust online presence, startups cannot afford to overlook the power of SEO optimisation. Investing in a strong SEO strategy can be highly rewarding as it ensures more number of visitors on your company’s website. Higher engagement, in turn, leads to higher conversions. Moreover, SEO uncovers important customer data that can be used to better target your products or services. With tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you can see what users are doing on a website. The biggest advantage offered by SEO is that it helps develop a long-term customer base. 

Social media 

Social media platforms can play a crucial role in expanding your reach online. This low-cost, high reward marketing strategy enables you to launch your branding, provide contact information and define and narrate your brand story. Be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, social media is the key to raise brand awareness and catch the attention of potential customers. As approved by industry guru Neil Patel, any startup should focus on their social media strategy for the maximum engagement in the shortest period of time. 

Digital rewards and incentives

A proven way of acquiring customers is to offer them incentives. Think paper coupons; they have been around forever. In the digital age, coupons are again making a comeback with the influx of technologies such as QR codes, virtual payment platforms and integrated links. Referral cards and gift cards, for example, can go a long way to build customer loyalty. 

There’s no single formula to success, and the same goes with marketing. If your startup caters to the B2C segment, applying strategies that are for B2B startups will make little sense. Take your time, do extensive research, and then see which traditional and digital marketing tools will work the best for your business.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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