How startups can profit from smart digital marketing and metrics

Written by Hitesh Motwani, Visiting Faculty of Digital Marketing & Metrics at SP Jain School of Global Management.

Digital media acts as the perfect tool for a new company that is looking to market its products or services. Here are ways you can actively harness the medium for your startup.

Startups, an essential part of the country’s eco-system, fuel the economy with creativity, new products and services that solve problems and provide value to consumers. A challenge that all startups face is creating brand awareness: reaching out to the right target group, generating enquiries and converting them into customers. This is precisely where digital media marketing comes in handy.

Today, digital media is one of the biggest equalisers in the industry. It gives an equal opportunity to every person to promote their product or services to a specific set of audience irrespective of their marketing budgets.

Unlike a traditional media campaign, where you need to have a huge sum of money to invest and promote your product, a startup can begin online marketing with as low as Rs 500 a day.

The digital media is ideal for startups that want to validate, collaborate and promote their product or services. Let us understand key elements of digital media that a startup should keep in mind while implementing a digital media marketing campaign for generating positive RoI.

1. Don’t treat your website like a website

In the Digital Age, the website of a company helps in forming the first impression for the firm. The first thing any prospect would check is the company’s website. If it is poorly designed or lacks a professional feel, none of the prospects would engage with the startup. Therefore, a startup needs to invest in creating an attractive, professional and user-friendly website. The website needs to be given as much importance as setting up an office; it forms the virtual office for the startup. Any individual browsing through the website should be able to understand the business within the first 30 seconds of browsing the site, and if the consumers are confused or they are unable to understand the nature of work or services provided, all the marketing dollars spent for lead generation will go waste.

The cost of an unprofessional website is very high as it may result in loss of trust, which will ultimately impact conversions. Therefore, a startup must invest in a good online infrastructure and make sure the site should load fast (the average time a person will wait for your website to load today is less than five seconds). Lastly, a customer should be able to contact easily via all mode of communication (call, SMS and email). The modes of communication should be accessible and identifiable within two clicks.

2. Take mobile-first approach

While planning digital assets, most common mistakes startups make is that they don’t look at website or creatives on mobile handsets. Today, a majority of the traffic (almost 80 percent) for the website comes from mobile devices. We are living in a mobile-first economy and all startups should be thinking mobile-first. Right from content to creatives to website landing pages all of them must be mobile-friendly.

3. Be present where your audience is

It’s important for a startup to choose the right social media platform based on the presence of its target audience. It shouldn’t invest in a social media platform for sake of it; it should be asking questions such as:

– Is my target audience there on the platform?
– What kind of content do they read?
– When is the best time to reach out to them?
– Why do they use this platform?

Once you have answers to these questions, it will help you to form a digital strategy and decide the platform one should invest in.

4. Invest in trust and not brand awareness

Every classic marketer says that first step to succeed is brand awareness. But they forget it’s more important to build trust rather than just awareness. Once you have built trust with your audience they will happily promote you among their friends, family and colleagues. Below are some ways in how a startup can build trust:

– Show how the product can solve their problem instead of just selling your product.
– Highlight what’s in it for the customer and not for the brand
– Give examples as to how other consumers similar to your prospects have benefited from the product or service you are offering.
– Invest in public relations or word-of-mouth marketing.

5. Generate leads from the platform where your audience is

A startup has to ensure that they don’t burn money as they operate in very low margins initially. Therefore they should generate leads only from those platforms where their potential audience is present. For instance, if your startup is catering to youngsters, then they should be investing in generating leads from Facebook and Instagram. If you are selling your goods and services to working professionals then you have to invest in LinkedIn.

If you are targeting fashion designers you will generate leads through Pinterest and Instagram. This will help you focus on your core target group as well reduce your lead cost and result in better conversions.

6. Keep a close watch on analytics

It is essential for any startup to analyse and measure results on how well their digital marketing campaigns are paying off. The only way to do so is to integrate analytics and monitor it closely to improve efficiency of digital marketing and optimise campaigns and reduce Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Thousand (CPM). Analytics will help in choosing the right platforms as well as verify if you are reaching your target audience.

7. Learn from your past mistakes

No startup has got digital marketing right at first go.It’s learning from the mistakes and gradually understanding what works and what doesn’t that will provide clarity and a way forward. For instance, if the brand’s objective is to raise awareness it is essential we run a CPM campaign and not a CPC one. One should run CPC campaigns when the objective is to drive traffic to your website.

8. Create a digital plan that works

A smart startup would always plan their digital strategy before diving into it. Before one begins the campaign there should be a proper plan that needs to be chalked out. It should answer critical questions such as:

– Why should we do this campaign?
– Who is our target audience?
– How are our competitors performing?
– What is the core USP of the product or service startup is offering?
– Which platform is used the most by the target group?
– What should be the content strategy for each platform?

Once a startup has answered all of the above questions, they will be in a better position to craft a digital campaign that works for them.

After taking above points under consideration they will be able to see better results and higher conversion. A good startup would always plan, act, monitor and optimise digital media activities. Also, it should be making campaigns that solve customer problems and not the ones that are selling any product. If the campaigns are well-planned, carefully executed and properly monitored they will be able to generate trust among the audience, get enquiries and ultimately convert them into brand ambassadors resulting in profitable digital marketing campaigns.

About the Author: Hitesh Motwani

Hitesh Motwani is a communications expert and a renowned Social Media Trainer. He is a firm believer in the value of the online voice and has the unique experience of including and executing digital and social media programs in several corporates’ brand building programmes. With close to decade of combined experience in public relations, corporate communications, digital, and social media communications, Hitesh has worked with Twitter, Bandhan Bank, Crompton Greaves, Kotak Group, Future Generali, DSP Black Rock Investment Managers, and Tata Group, to name a few. He has also been a speaker at Dubai international HR Summit and Start up summit by PayUmoney. Currently, Hitesh is a visiting Faculty at IIM Bangalore for Digital marketing, and trains young students, entrepreneurs, marketing heads, and CXOs in social media marketing, strategy and content marketing.

This article was originally published on YourStory. You can find it here –

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