Moving from zero customers, zero brand image, and zero sales to a thriving, profitable business takes an investment of time, energy, creativity, and capital. And if you want to do it in a way that sets your business up for years of success, you must set your priorities to build your online presence.
For startups across all industries and sectors, regardless of the niche or product being sold, visibility is arguably one of the single most critical challenges faced. In particular, startups must find a way to build an online presence that engages the right people at the right time. But doing so is easier said than done.
The Role of Visibility
Ideation and product creation are only two ingredients in business success. While they’re significant in the sense that startups need a compelling product that satisfies specific desires or pain points, they’re meaningless without customers to purchase the product.
In other words, you can have the coolest tech gadget in the world, but if nobody knows it exists, it’s essentially worthless. And this is why visibility and online exposure are so important.
Visibility is what connects your startup to your target market. It’s the driving force behind building a brand, acquiring customers, and even acquiring talent for your business. Without it, you quickly sink. With it, you have the chance to swim.
What you do with that chance is a whole different topic – but right now, all you need is a chance!
3 Ways Startups Can Increase Visibility
There are plenty of ways to “hack” online visibility and attempt to generate viral content. Some of them are worth trying and others are destined for failure. But we aren’t going to focus on “going viral.” Instead, let’s emphasize some of the ways startups can increase visibility in a sustainable fashion that drives predictable exposure for months and years to come.
In light of this, there are four key principles/strategies to explore:
1. Build a Social Media Presence
Social media has become so familiar that it’s easy to forget just how powerful it really is. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or LinkedIn, popular social platforms give you access to millions of people at your fingertips. Thus, it would make sense that you’d start your quest for visibility by building a social media presence.
In the early days, try to focus all of your energy on a single social media platform (rather than trying to get established on every platform at once). Pick the one that you believe is most popular with your target audience and learn it like the back of your hand. Pump out content, engage with followers, and be authentic. That’s how you build a magnetic brand.
2. Invest in Link Building
As you know, SEO is the secret to standing out in the search engines and driving organic traffic to your website. More specifically, link building is the answering critical to your online presence.
Link building for startups can be challenging and time-consuming, but it’s worth it in the long run. Roughly 93 percent of all online experiences start with a search and you need to put your brand in a place to capture some of the search traffic in your niche. This means creating quality content, connecting with other websites and bloggers, encouraging social sharing, and building powerful relationships with the influencers in your market.
3. Establish Partnerships
Speaking of relationships, you can give your brand visibility a significant boost by forging partnerships with established companies and entrepreneurs. When you attach your brand to one that already has a loyal following, you’re able to tap into some of the trust and credibility they’ve already cultivated.
In order to establish a partnership, you have to offer something in return. Since startups are usually strapped for cash, this may happen in the form of bartering. For example, if you’re a marketing startup trying to get off the ground, you could offer a couple of local businesses free marketing services in exchange for advertising space in their store. Get creative and good things will happen.
Boost Your Brand
You can’t simplify brand building down to a formula or equation. Every startup has its own unique flavor, values, strengths, and weaknesses. However, there are certain foundational principles that are proven to move the needle on visibility and put fledgling brands in a position to experience tangible success.
By applying some of these principles and strategies, your startup will stand a better chance of building the sort of online presence that’s needed to stand out in a crowded marketplace.