By Michelle Arios

Marketing can make or break a startup business. If no one knows about your product or service, then you won’t be making any sales. If you spend too much on your advertising campaign or aim it at the wrong audience, you could end up going out of business before you can make a real impact. Here’s how to develop a successful marketing strategy.

1. Build Your Customer Profile

The first thing you need to know is who exactly your customer is. Are they young or old? Male or female? Do the live in an urban or a rural area? Are they wealthy, middle-class, or on a lower income? You should be able to put many of these things together just by thinking about who you would like to see buying your product or service, and who needs it. Some companies will need to build multiple profiles for their customers because they offer different services or products, or may appeal to different people. The important thing is to know who they are. You will also need to know where they live: which country or countries most importantly. If you don’t have clear ideas, try looking at analytics from your website and social media accounts to figure out who shows the most interest in your business.

2.  Find Their Homes

Rather than expecting a customer to come to you, realistically, you should be going to them. It’s not enough to just put advertising out wherever you like – you should be doing research on where your customer is. What social networks do they use? Are there any websites they spend time on? For example, if you are targeting new mothers, parenting forums are usually a good bet. You can even find out what kind of publications they read or television shows they watch for more expensive advertising options. When you are putting your advertising in the place that your potential customers are already looking, you are more likely to see conversions.

3. Find Influencers

Rather than just putting out advertising, you are likely to get better results if you partner with influencers to get your brand name out there. This might be tricky in some cases, such as for service providers, but it can still work. For example, if you are a web design company, you can approach a well-known figure on Instagram to build them a personalized website for free. In exchange, they will post about your efforts, advertise you to their hundreds of thousands of followers, and feature your name in the design. Customers are often much more likely to purchase something when it is recommended by a celebrity or someone that they admire.

4. Do A/B Testing

Finally, don’t just put out one advert and wait to see what happens. A/B testing is a technique in which you show different adverts to different customers for a short while, in order to see which is the most successful. With this kind of testing, you can quickly figure out what marketing techniques are most relevant for your customers, giving you better results with each campaign you launch. Examples of variables include a visual design, using a still image or a video, different wording, and different calls to action. The type and level of engagement you get with each version will tell you a lot about your customers.

By following these quick tips you will have a much more successful advertising campaign on your hands. For a start-up which can’t afford to make early mistakes, this could be the difference between longevity and failure, so treat marketing carefully.