India is a nation of start ups, with 3100 start ups in 2014 to a projected number of 11500 in 2020. If we look at the data of just 2015, the VC funding of start ups in Quarter 3 was double than that of the figures in Quarter 1 and 2 combined. This shows that not only are we brimming with ideas as a nation but the world too is recognising and fuelling our growth.
This start up trend is coinciding with the whole ‘Digital India’ wave and thus there is an increasing need for start ups to capitalise this tool correctly. Digital Marketing, no doubt, is a great tool to increase awareness and eventually generate leads or sales. This is the reason why almost all the start ups first think about digital tools to promote themselves, and then think of a name for their business! While it looks too easy because it worked for others, I must say that being digital requires skill, patience and persistence. Some times in the same order and most times in no particular one. Let’s look at some ways for start ups to milk the digital revolution, best suited to their needs and consumers.
- Spreads words faster: Yes, going digital will take you right inside the bedroom of the consumer but there are flip sides to it too. If your messaging is not correct, the chances that you will lose this consumer all so quickly too, are way higher. The very strength of digital marketing is also its biggest challenge- If you have left a message in the web space, be ready that it will spread life a jungle fire and so if you aren’t sure of it, work on it and make the right impact in the very first go.
- Technological Know How is must: If you think your idea is brilliant, it solves a critical problem that exists in the market, your research shows that people out there are waiting for a product/service like yours and thus simply by propagating self on social media or through apps will turn you into a multi millionaire- you are wrong. You need to have a sound technical expert behind this all so your dreams don’t come crumbling down. Outsource an expert if there is a need but do not underestimate things that can go wrong. Remember the Flipkart Big Billion Day Fiasco of last year? Despite their best efforts in place, they could not manage the unprecedented traffic and that resulted in great embarrassment.
- ROI must be in check: Blindly jumping onto the digital space without having checks on what your money is getting back in terms of growing your business, is dangerous. Use analytics, acquisition numbers, conversion rates, feedbacks, comments and clicks to evaluate if the digital platform is working for your brand or not. The ROI is very easy to measure in the digital world and this must be used to maximise your business. When you are a start up, every penny is important. Do not let it go waste!
- Make the right choice, baby: There are some start ups that are only mobile based. Like the hyperlocal brands like Grofers or Justdial who know that they have to be available for their customer right when they need them. Instead of wasting their time anywhere else, it makes sense for them to focus on keeping their App up to date. Be wise like them. Evaluate your business idea and instead of spreading your footprint across all platforms, focus on 2-3 things which really tell your story well.
- You are not alone: You are a start up. The name itself says that you have just started and thus you can imagine the amount of responsibilities that itself will have. If you thought you could manage it all alone, start again. Focus on the area of your expertise and do not hesitate in outsourcing the rest. Better still, build a team that has people from varied backgrounds so everything, including the digital tools, are taken care of with full focus.
- Content is KING: Constant updations on your website, social media platforms, PR stories, SMS that goes out to customers is a service you must do to your business. Every new business is running at the back of good content. Make sure that you are standing out in this aspect or there are many who will surge ahead in the race. Content is nothing if it does not do anything. Customers feel empowered if they are being served fresh, interesting and customised content. They need to feel that way especially with a start up as they need hooks to build a bridge between trial and loyalty.
- Be an influencer: Change the category. Be the leader. Become a force to reckon with. See what brands like Housing.com or Zivame did. They completely transformed how houses were sold or lingerie was bought in India. As a new player, you have the advantage of beginning something absolutely new. As Seth Godin says- People do not buy goods and services. They buy stories and magic. Be that magic. Social Media platforms provide a unique opportunity for start ups to become influencers of consumer minds and if you can play that role well, people will develop affinity to what you are trying to sell them. Bank upon the freshness of your brand by becoming a voice that resonates widely and see the difference it makes to your idea.
Summarising the above in a simple way here: