Being at the helm of a startup can be like sitting in front of a roller coaster as it s-l-o-w-l-y makes its way up the tracks en route to what is sure to be an exhilarating ride. There will be ups. There will be downs. There will be screams of joy, screams of fear, and yes — you may even want to throw up along the way (be careful if you’re going through a loop, or you might get hit by your own “friendly fire,” as it were).
And ideally, if everything goes as planned — and, of course, you enjoy a few doses of good luck — you’ll emerge from the startup phase with an established enterprise that you can take to the next level, or sell to the highest bidder and make more in a single day than most people do in several years. Heck, you may find the experience so thrilling, that you can’t wait to launch yet another startup — and then another, and then another!
However, in order for all of this happiness and success to occur, you need to ensure that your startup stands out in a crowded, competitive marketplace — especially if you’re going up against some big boys with massive marketing budgets. But don’t let that intimidate you or make you doubt your ambitions. There has never been a better time to be a startup owner, and to make sure that your roller coaster ride heads off in the right direction — and stays on the tracks — here are 3 low cost, high impact ways to generate visibility and buzz right away:
- Create a Killer Website
One of the strangest mysteries on the digital business landscape is that while big enterprises often have lovely offices complete with healthy plants, soothing lighting, and sometimes even beanbag chairs, hammocks, foosball tables and gumball machines, many of them have sub-par websites — and more than a few are just plain lousy. That is, their website is bloated, slow, confusing and out-of-date.
You should aggressively attack this vulnerability by ensure that your startup’s website isn’t just good, but that it’s flat-out amazing on all levels. This means it must be fast-loading, mobile-friendly, intuitive, content-rich, visually stunning, and align with all UX best practices.
- Emblazon your ride with a vehicle wrap.
Don’t waste money on billboards that most people don’t pay attention to, and “Yellow Pages” advertising isn’t a good idea unless your target market is over 90 years old. Instead, install high quality vehicle wraps to your car (or cars), and let the visibility parade begin. Just make sure that your wrap is eye-catching, simple (i.e. minimal text), and prominently features your website — and possibly your phone number as well (getting a customized vanity number can make it more memorable). You may also want to add a QR code that potential customers can scan when your car is parked or waiting at a red light.
- Use social media to build a community.
Don’t just setup a Facebook and Twitter account, and expect customers to beat a virtual path to your door. View social media as a strategy — not just a channel — so build your community. Do this by pushing our quality content (both original and curated), driving engagement and interaction through polls, surveys and contests, and cross-linking your accounts.
The Bottom Line
As mentioned, there are ups and downs on the startup roller coaster. However, if you wisely focus on generating visibility and buzz — but without over-spending — then you can definitely put yourself on track for long-term success.