Launching a startup is difficult. In fact, according to various estimates, around 90% of startups fail and go under without leaving their mark in the industry.
And while the reasons for why startups fail may vary, the not being able to bring in enough customers to sustain growth is almost always at least partially responsible as well.
So, startups that want a chance to succeed must find ways to keep their online audiences happy if they’re going to carve out a place in the marketplace and consistently expand their operation.
So, in this article, we’ll go over some of the most important aspects of succeeding online for startups that will be more important than ever in 2019.
Make the Most of Email Marketing
The digital marketing world is continually evolving, with new strategies and opportunities being introduced every year. However, some approaches remain just as effective today as they were a decade or even more ago.
Email marketing has been at the forefront of the biggest success in the startup world, with companies that manage to create captivating and relevant email campaigns able to grow their audience at a rapid pace.
Therefore, as a young and small business that’s just starting out, you must start using email marketing to its full potential as soon as possible.
But where can you get started?
Well, with so many companies doing email marketing, customers have become more selective about who they share their email address with. After all, nobody wants their inbox flooded with hundreds of promotional emails every day, so it’s only natural to only subscribe to lists that offer the most value.
On one hand, that means that growing your list has become more difficult, but on the other, it also means that if you do get someone to subscribe, chances are that your message really resonated with them and they will be avid readers of your messages.
But getting people to subscribe is just the first part of the equation.
Since your company isn’t yet well-established in the industry, you need to compensate for that fact by offering immense value to your readers and immediately validate their decision to join your list.
And that starts with continuity.
You must set clear expectations of what people are subscribing to, and then fulfill those expectations consistently throughout the entire time that you are sending emails.
This includes the frequency with which you send emails, the types of emails that you put out, the value that you provide, the frequency of your promotions, and anything else that you establish when they agree to subscribe or over time.
Another thing to consider is providing consistent value, even when promoting your products or services. Every time a prospect opens your email, he is committing his time for reading it, so you must give him a reason to consume the message and open the next one when it comes as well.
Finally, don’t forget to always include a clear call-to-action. Even if it’s as simple as clicking through to a link or sending you a quick reply, you should condition your readers to perform an action at the end of your emails, as that can have a huge impact on your conversion numbers when you make offers to your list.
Focus on Improving Your Customer Service
Reputation is everything when it comes to marketing yourself online, and that couldn’t be truer for startups.
Even a few negative reviews could shape an opinion about your services and make it almost impossible to overcome the preconception about your business that your audience will form.
Therefore, you must focus your efforts on ensuring that any issues or misunderstandings get resolved before they get out into the open and that you turn all or at least the vast majority of potentially negative experiences into positive ones for your customers.
But where to get started?
Well, the first step is simply being available – you can’t expect all of your customers to reach out through your site, as some might do it on social media, and give up after not receiving an answer.
You also should find a way to systemize the information about your products and solutions to common issues. Many businesses have found knowledge base software to be extremely useful for both sales reps and the users themselves, as it can serve as a reference point in almost any situation.
If you deal with customers over the phone, you may want to consider opting for a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solution that can be an excellent alternative for regular phone calls. International phone calls can be expensive, but with VoIP, location doesn’t matter, as all calls are made through the internet.
To choose a solution that fits your needs, go through reviews from reputable sources, such as this Nextiva review, and find an option that matches your budget and list of requirements.
Finally, you should encourage your customers to leave feedback. Many of them won’t take the time to find how to reach out to you, even if they spot an issue, but by having a way to collect customer feedback, you can gain invaluable insights and prevent the problems from becoming a catalyst for wider-reaching dissatisfaction.
By encouraging communication with your customers and being present on multiple platforms, you will not only reduce the number of negative reviews, but will also develop a reputation as a company that cares about its clients, which can help you gain a unique advantage over competitors, even those who are much larger than you at the moment.
At the same time, these interactions with clients will give you plenty of insights about the biggest weaknesses of your products, the missing links in your communications, and the behaviors and preferences of your target audience, all of which is hard data that you wouldn’t have been able to acquire any other way.
Provide a Seamless User Experience
When you’re a startup company, getting prospective customers to trust you is a tough task – people are careful about who they trust online because of the prevalence of scams, and so, even the slightest whiff of doubt can drive the otherwise ideally-suited prospects away.
That’s why, as a relatively new business, you must put in extra effort in making your business seem as professional as possible and providing all of your site’s visitors with a seamless and hassle-free experience.
Luckily, at least some of the steps you need to take are relatively easy.
You should get started by ensuring that your site is easy to browse for all visitors, no matter the device that they might be using. Most of today’s website platforms come with themes that adapt to different screen sizes, but you should make sure by browsing through your site on various devices and seeing if there are any issues.
Then, install an SSL certificate to show your site’s visitors that the personal data that they input will be secure, as Google has begun marking sites without SSL certificates as “not secure,” which is not something you want prospective customers to see.
Finally, to ensure that you don’t lose customers because of your site’s speed, you should use load balancing software to distribute traffic more evenly across your servers and guarantee that even during the biggest traffic spikes, your website remains up and running.
While these steps may seem technical, they are a lot of times, the details that your customers pay the most attention to.
Whether it’s a site that’s taking too long to load, that pesky “this site is not secure” sign when browsing on Google Chrome, or a cluttered and inconvenient experience when using a mobile phone, you can’t risk losing because of something that can be fixed in a few relatively simple steps.