Digital marketing for plate-spinning start-ups


Digital marketing can be a bit of a mystery to many small business owners who already have so much to keep track of. From selling, planning to merchandising – there are simply too many things that are competing for attention. While many would agree that digital marketing could be beneficial for their business, simply knowing where to start can be a daunting task.

The marketing aspect of a start-up is often highly complex – especially with the increasing number of ways that small businesses can reach customers digitally. To help start-ups make the most out of the digital space, here are five tips that will help businesses leverage digital marketing to its full potential.

1. Focus and start small

With the abundance of platforms out there, a common mistake is to initially try and occupy too many channels at the same time. Not only can this conclude with little impact, it can also result in a sub optimal first impression which can’t be shifted. Instead of being overambitious, start-ups should make sure to focus on getting a few things down pat before looking to expand into other channels.

Digital marketing can surely be beneficial and platforms like email, Facebook and LinkedIn can definitely maximise brand exposure and establish company’s presence. But like with all forms of marketing, it is crucial to have the content, planning, and manpower available in order to convert interest into leads.

2. Establish target market

The first step to any digital marketing strategy is to research and identity potential customers. In looking to approach a target market, it’s wise to conduct the necessary research in order to ascertain who the customers are, their interests, and their preferred point of contact.

After establishing the ideal market, reap the benefits by building a strong profile of customers that is backed up by reliable data. Not only will this pave the way for effective segmentation, it will also provide a means to connect with consumers on a more personal level. Don’t underestimate the power of a personal touch, with personalised emails showing a 14% higher click-through rate than impersonal ones[1].

3. Know the competitors

Once the target market is established, the next step is to identity other brands that are operating in the same consumer space. Keeping an eye on what other brands are doing is essential in setting business apart and to building brand presence. Explore the brands that are inspirational in order to see how they utilise digital marketing to build their reputation as industry leaders.

4. Reconnect with previous customers

As the brand grows, it may inevitably lose touch with some customers at various stages of the journey. Instead of overlooking this demographic, actively look to re-engage and reconnect with these customers by sending out personalised and subtle reminders to draw them back in and remind them of why they chose to engage with the brand in the first place.

Emails are particularly adept at achieving this as they utilise data on the customer to leverage personalised messages straight to their inbox. For example, a lost customer’s old buying habits and their abandoned cart can provide information on the types of offers that will entice them to return.  As customers recognise that the correspondence is going to contain information and products that are relevant to them, they will have higher levels of interest and re-engagement with the brand.

5. Keep testing

Every brand and market is unique, so it’s absolutely crucial to be constantly testing and evaluating. This should be a continuous marketing activity as businesses should never stop refining their outreach and engagement program. Whether it’s for emails or for social media, trialling is the only method of figuring out whether an approach works or not.

By regularly evaluating performance and results through a robust framework, businesses will inevitably grow. Businesses being complacent could risk becoming stale and undoing all of their efforts and hard work. Constant and rigorous improvements are the key to any start-up business.

The bottom line

Digital marketing can potentially be a cost-effective and efficient channel for many start-up businesses that are looking to establish and grow their brand. While it can be daunting at first, the key to any successful marketing within the digital sphere requires disciplined and consistent research, testing, and analysis. Frequent evaluation will help gauge the success of the business which will put them on the path to digital success.


About the author

Tink Taylor is founder and president of dotmailer & dotdigital Group PLC (founded in 1999). He has 20 years’ experience in the field of digital communications and has introduced digital marketing to companies large and small.  Tink first launched dotmailer in the US at the back end of 2012 and later took dotmailer to Australia in 2015.

[1]  The 12 pillars of email and marketing automation