We live in times when buyers are more in control of the buying cycle than ever before. Progressive start-ups acknowledge this and want to leave no stone unturned in achieving their objectives and delivering results. For them, having a digital marketing strategy is not just an option, but a vital necessity.

If you’re a startup business owner looking to hit the big-time with your venture, it is imperative that you conquer the online space by including the following crucial elements in your digital marketing plan.

Quality Content

The Internet is full of content, and the success of your digital marketing strategy depends on the type of content you churn out. A lot of start-ups make the mistake of generating loads of content without keeping their audience in mind. This results in waste of time and effort.

The trick lies in creating content that resonates with your customers. It can be empathetic, solution-oriented or humorous; the idea is to keep the customers engaged. The best content is informative in nature and devoid of sales pitches and promotional tactics. This is necessary if you want to win over your audience’s interest and trust.

You need to focus on dishing out content for each stage of the buying cycle, thereby funneling customers to a buying decision by providing them with the knowledge/solutions to solve their problem.

Remember, it is not the quantity, but the quality of your content that ultimately counts. Instead of writing 20 ordinary posts, writing 10 incredible posts will work well in your favor. High-quality content is evergreen and will always be relevant. When a piece of content becomes a hit, it can be reused to generate better-quality leads.

Buyer Personas

Understanding buyer personas is critical to the success of your digital marketing plan. It is always beneficial to know who you’re addressing. Without the thorough understanding of the buyer personas, your strategy could fail.

But, if you target accurately, you will be able to grow faster by attracting the right type of customers. In fact, the more targeted your content is, the higher chance you stand of establishing yourself as an industry thought leader.

Further, consider personalizing the content to deliver a more individual experience by welcoming visitors back to your website by their name/company’s name. If a visitor had previously indicated on your website that they work in the health-care sector, for instance, the content displayed when he next visits you could be relevant to that industry. This way you will be providing the visitor with targeted and specific content that may be useful to him.

Make sure to strike a healthy balance with personalization though. You don’t want to come across as stalking your visitors for their information.

Integrated Social Media

Social media

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The influence of social media has been growing at a rapid pace. According to statita.com, the power of social networking is such that the number of worldwide users is expected to reach almost 2.5 billion by 2018.

This is why it is important that start-ups have a well-thought out and integrated social media strategy in place. It should focus on providing consistent brand experience across your words, voice, and visuals.

Use your brand guidelines to figure out the use of imagery and typography and develop a strategy accordingly. Optimize your social profiles to reflect your brand and adapt your content in keeping with the targeted audience on each of them.

SEO-Optimized Website Design

Your website’s design can make or break the user experience. It makes sense to hire a good designer to create an effective website as he/she will lend it the right balance of the latest trends, best practices and user experience to offer a streamlined journey from the visitor’s arrival to conversion.

Refrain from having walls of text on your website. Include interesting and relevant images and videos to strike a balance. Keep distracting elements to a minimum so it becomes easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for.

All aspects of the website should be created with the intent of making it easily discoverable. However, if it isn’t optimized for search engines, netizens will probably miss your website. Herein lies the criticality of optimization.

Including keywords in your content, meta information and alt tags will work in your favor. Further, ensure that your website’s load time is low (2 seconds or less) to up its rankings in search engines. Slow websites aren’t preferred by visitors either.

Make sure that the images you use load quickly and all the buttons are functional. Always keep your website and its pages upgraded so your users know you care about their experience.

Mobile Friendliness

Your startup’s website needs to be mobile-friendly. According to Pew Research Center, 34% of mobile Internet users go online mostly using their phones, and not some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer. With this, you know that you’re going to miss out on a considerable number of customers if you do not optimize your website for mobile.

A/B Testing

If you do not constantly test and analyse your website, you will miss out on key considerations that could lead to better content creation, lead generation and conversions. Keep an eye on your click-through rates to see how visitors are behaving and engaging with the various elements on your website. Check if these elements are performing in the desired manner.

Document your analysis and findings to be able to compare the data gathered on a monthly basis, and make strategic changes accordingly.

Startup PR

PR

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Most start-up entrepreneurs tend to be in two minds about involving public relations or PR in their digital marketing strategy. PR can help start-ups understand what to convey, when to convey it, and who to convey it to. Making it a part of your marketing plan can, therefore, prove to be extremely fruitful.

Digital PR can create meaningful position statements by identifying exactly what your product is, how it will affect others and who would be interested in it. By understanding these factors, they will market your product and pitch it to the media.

Doing digital PR will also help figure out your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses with the help of spreadsheets, visual imagery and/or lists, thereby formulating a strategy to focus on your strongest value propositions and market your product better than your competitors.

Contrary to popular notion, Digital PR does not work by focusing exclusively on the number of followers on social media. It also focuses on analyzing domain authority and non-paid opportunities for link citations.

Digital PR should be closely aligned with your SEO and digital marketing efforts. It can strengthen weak landing pages and increase website traffic. When used with SEO, it can use the key search term trends and maximize coverage on the things people are already searching for on the Internet.

Conclusion

The above elements should serve as effective start points that enable you to comprehend what goes into a solid digital marketing plan for a startup. While you add them to your arsenal and apply them in real time, you also need to ensure to keep tabs on your metrics. Further, constantly testing your website will help you get the most out of it.

Note from Inc42: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.