Creating Buzz About Your Startup in 2018
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Dollar Shave Club launched its startup in 2013. The product was boring – razor blades. The concept, however, was a bit new. Offer a subscription service to monthly razor blades – delivered right to a customer’s mailbox. This concept solved a major problem for users of razor blades. They no longer had to face a morning having run out of new razors and being forced to use a dirty old blade. They no longer had to remember to stop and pick up razor blades.
The question for the company became how to create enough “buzz” about its startup. So that orders would begin to come in. Initially, they decided on an explainer video that would hopefully attract enough attention. It worked. The video was hysterical, and it went viral. Dollar Shave Club was “on the map.”
How Do You Create the Same Kind of Buzz?
Of course, the Dollar Shave Club explainer video was not the only strategy that created buzz around their product/service. And, most startups will not enjoy the viral explosion of a video. Still, there are some solid strategies that have been proven to work over time, and in this noisy world of startups (about 50 million per year, or 137,000 per day), you should take a serious look and see which ones will be a fit for you.
1. Find Credible Partners
Ray Madronio had a great idea for a startup – local short-term corporate housing. He called it LocalBigwig.com. The concept was great, and he knew that it solved a problem – affordable, quality housing for corporate employees who were on longer-term assignments in major cities. But how to get known was the problem – especially on no budget.
Madronio’s strategy was to partner with well-known related businesses and to “piggy-back” on their popularity and customer-based. He was able to partner with Zillow, Trulia, and Homes.com, and that gave him the jump-start he needed.
2. Use Influencers in Your Niche
There are popular bloggers in every industry niche. As a startup, your job is to identify them and devise a strategy to develop relationships with them. The goal is to have that influencer provide you with publicity for your company.
Here’s how this works:
- Once you have identified these influencers, begin to follow them on social media; read their blogs and participate in discussions.
- Create your own business blog on your website, and craft some great content. Mention the influencers in your posts and even link to relevant posts on their blogs.
- Contact the influencer and inform him/her that you are a follower and that you have crafted some blog posts that have mentioned them. Forward those posts to them.
- Ask an influencer for permission to re-post one of his blogs on your blog. You will probably get a “yes.”
- Ask if you can submit a guest post on the influencer’s blog.
Being “promoted” on the blog of a credible and trusted “expert” gives readers/followers the impression that you, too, are a credible and trusted expert. And every backlink you can get through this strategy means more traffic to your site. More traffic = more customers.
3. Use Social Media to Draw Them In
Think about the social media posts that attracted you. Most likely, they have engaging video, quizzes and surveys in which you can participate, and even contests. You need to be like them. The more engaging and interactive content you can create on your social media platforms, the more readers/viewers will share with their friends.
There is a bit more to this than just setting up pages on all social media platforms. If you take this approach, you will be wasting a lot of your time. Instead, follow these steps to be more efficient:
- Make sure that you have developed a profile of your typical customer.
- Use that profile and some easily found research to learn where your target customers hang out online. Some of this research will even tell you the days of the week and the times of the day that specific demographics are on social media.
- Set up social media accounts on just 2-3 of the most popular platforms of your targets.
- If you are not creative or are just too busy, contract with a copywriting firm to schedule regular and frequent posts on those platforms you have selected. If you can do this yourself, great. You will save some money.
4. Get Customer Feedback and Provide Easy Ways for Them to Share
When TheWordPoint.com launched its professional translation services, it wanted to publicize all of its offerings, – quick translation services, legal translations, proofreading service, certified translation, and more. While it described all of its professional translation and proofreading services on its site and even used social media to spread its brand, it needed a far larger web presence. Its answer was to look to its customers.
When it had finished a project for a customer, it asked for feedback on its performance, along with an attractive discount for completing the survey and for writing a short review on targeted review sites. Because the discount was so attractive, customers were more than willing to respond. Other discounts were offered if customers shared their services, their social media posts, and articles from their blog. This was also highly successful.
The key here is to make it easy for your customers to do these things. If you have links to the review services and buttons for sharing, it takes less effort for your customers to give feedback and to share. The easier it is, the more they will act.
5. Register with HARO
Help a Reporter Out is a news site that relies on users to provide content for stories and news items. Sometimes, a reporter will ask questions for users to answer. The other side of this is that these reporters are also seeking out people to profile. Reach out to these reporters with information about you and your startup and see if you can’t get some free press.
6. Craft a Great Story and “Sell” It
You go into your business for a reason; you nurtured your idea until you were ready to launch. Create a “human interest” story about yourself, your brand and your team. Then identify websites that feature new entrepreneurs. Some of these sites are: Mo.com, Under 30 CEO, Young Entrepreneur, and Mixergy.
Study these sites before you submit your stories because each one uses a unique perspective. You can take your base story and tweak it to meet the focus of the site.
A Journey, Not a Leap
Getting 22 million views of a video, as Dollar Shave Club did within just a few weeks of its launch, is the exception rather than the rule. Most startup founders must embrace the fact that launching a new business is just the beginning. The hard work is still to come. And that hard work means spreading the brand as far and wide as possible. This takes commitment, steadiness, and just plain time.
These six strategies are those that have been shown to work for other startups, so they are certainly a good place to begin. Some of them can be employed rather easily. Others take long-term steady activity. But all are worth it.
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