Startup Reference Blog

7 marketing hacks to increase brand awareness and boost profitability in 2020

Digital Marketing 2020

If scaling your business is one of your 2020 resolutions, then you should be thinking local SEO, personalized messaging, and improved customer service. Audiences are becoming increasingly impatient and ‘very very specific’. Businesses that clearly understand customers’ evolving needs and position themselves as reliable partners will get the most bang for their marketing bucks.

Based on digital marketing trends over the last few years, the changing technology landscape, and expert opinion, here are the 7 best marketing strategies to increase your bottom-line this year.

1. Use Social Media

Social Media is an excellent way to put your products and services in front of customers – especially in 2020. Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are great venues for solidifying branding, creating qualify leads, and driving sales. But to make the most out of this marketing strategy, businesses need to identify their goals, master their target audience, and pitch tent on the right social media networks. A personnel recruitment firm may be better off investing time and effort on LinkedIn than on Facebook. Figure out what platforms your audience are using, and create great content in order to attract a following. By measuring results, marketers can easily fine-tune their social campaigns to focus on what actually works.  

2. Set up automated email marketing campaigns

Email marketing is a powerful and effective marketing strategy for both small and large businesses. A recent study by Street Fight Insights ranked email marketing as the third best performing channel after Social Media and Mobile Marketing. Mobile phone trends have made email inboxes portable and contributed to the resurgence of this marketing tactic. Email is also a great channel to build multi-channel campaigns, develop relations, and personalize your messaging to suit individual customer needs. Because email service providers such as MailChimp, and MailerLite are cheap and cost only around $10 per month, both small and large businesses have no excuse not to leverage this option.

According to Statista, spam messages accounted for 54.68 percent of email traffic as of late 2019. Businesses must create appealing and informative campaigns in order to truly connect with their audience. Other tips to help you make the best out of this marketing method in 2020 include customizing your blasts, grabbing your audience’s attention with great email copy, and stating a clear call to action.

3. Prioritize Content Marketing and SEO

Content marketing demonstrates expertise and authority, all while helping reach customers at various stages of the funnel. To get the most out of your efforts, make sure that you are offering high value, actionable content to your audience. Focusing on the right keywords is also important to reap the most SEO benefits from your content marketing.

In 2020, voice search will become increasingly popular. Because users type search queries the same way they speak, businesses should take long-tail, specific keywords into consideration. Bullet points also increase your chances of getting better rankings from voice queries. Featured snippets will also continue to dominate search results this year. You can leverage this trend by aiming for question based search queries and keywords. Other SEO trends to inform your strategy in 2020 include video (the new king of content), and content length. Although there’s a lot of argument about the ideal length of a blog post, research most posts ranking in the top 10 results are at least 2,000 words long.

4. Personalize your messages

In 2020, digital marketers should personalized each message by digging into analytics, studying demographics, and understanding affinity categories. The idea is to dig into your prospect’s mind, discover what they fear, wish, or want, then create a highly individualized marketing message. All your contents should be direct and easily understandable to make sure that your audience receives maximum value at each interaction point.

Effective personalization depends on behavioral segmentation, or isolating audiences into groups depending on actions (e.g. abandoned cart, first time purchases, repeat purchases, and page views without conversion).

An example of this is Hybrid LTC ,a company which offers Hybrid Long-term care plans to its consumers, recently invested in the rebranding of their logo so that it would appeal more efficiently to their target market of individuals aged 40 & up. Understanding their target market and what is most visually appealing to that segmentation is the key here.

5. Incentivize your community to create content

Building an engaged online community is a challenging but crucial step to help improve your sales. Because 90% of purchase decisions are led by user-generated content, brands need to leverage their hard work by encouraging their communities to create content. The average consumer is more likely to trust a regular person than they can relate to the brand itself.

Consider ways to incentivize users to create content. This may include offering product discounts, prizes, exclusive event invitations, or just fostering a sense of community. Once users create the content, then you can share it to further enhance online engagement.

6. Use more video

Video remained a major marketing tactic in 2019. There’s no indication that is likely to change in 2020. As a visual medium, video helps foster stronger bonds with customers, helping increase the likelihood that they will purchase from your brand. Brands can focus on producing tutorials or testimonials to increase engagement and awareness.

Another option that has become mainstream for marketing purposes is an explainer video, which makes complex concepts incredibly easier to understand for customers. Because Google places a higher premium for websites that have video content, it goes without saying that this will also help your SEO efforts.

7. Update your old content

There is no underestimating the power of great content attracting and acquiring a clearly defined audience. But many businesses make the mistake of forgetting to update the content they have already published.

Google has a freshness ranking factor that it uses to detect content decay. This is the main reason why many articles that have ranked well in the past tend to be on a downward spiral. Making simple updates and tweaks, as well as changing the date of articles to show the newest version can help improve rankings.


We believe that effective marketers are proactive rather than reactive. They take initiative to take their website or brand to the next level. Are you using the strategies above in 2020? Let us know what has worked for your business, and what other marketing hacks you are implementing.

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Why 90% of All Startups Fail

Did you know that 90% of all startups fail? By all means, this is a staggering piece of statistics that can scare anyone planning to start a business. But what really goes on? Most of these businesses fail because their owners don’t invest the time and effort it takes to learn what it really takes to make a business a success. This article highlights the 10 top reasons why so many startups are crashing into oblivion.

1.      Lack of Market Need

However good your product or products are, your business is going to fail if there isn’t enough market need for it. This is actually the biggest reason why most new businesses fail. So if you’re going to spend your time, resources, and hard-earned startup cash making a product, you want to make sure that it’s the right product for the market. Otherwise, you’re just going to end up wasting a lot more of your time, money, and energy. When it comes to starting a new business, you should conduct thorough research to make sure that whatever you want to come up with is something that people actually need and are willing to pay for.

2.      Ran Out of Cash

Of course, this can be expected to be a major issue. Most startups rely on the founders’ own funding, which can get depleted within more time. The new business will need to spend money getting legalized, making its product(s), and promote in the market. If it doesn’t come up with new ways of replenishing the funding before it can start making good enough money, a new business is headed to doom.

3.      Inadequate Team

Hiring the right folks can be critical to the success of a startup. Each employee’s contribution matters a lot when it comes to determining whether the business will succeed or not. It’s important that whoever is in charge invests the time and effort needed to bring onboard passionate people who will be willing to go the extra mile in order to make the business a success. When started out, it didn’t make money for the first few years. It took the extraordinary leadership of Jeff Bezos (who really believed in the idea of online shopping) to make it hold. Today, Amazon is the world’s leading e-commerce outlet.

4.      Getting Caught Up

In a startup, the CEO often thinks that it’s his or her job to lead. They focus on delegating duties and roles, forgetting that even the smallest thing can mature into large problems. Some of the critical issues in a startup are those pesky details related to business process, scalability, and business model. It’s inevitable that roles will mix. When the management fails to understand this, and sits on the roof waiting for everyone else to do everything else, there’s a high probability that the business will fail.

5.      Getting Outcompeted

This is another key reason why most startups fail. They have a good product, and there’s a market need for the product, but they just aren’t able to put up with the competition. The big brands spend more money to market their products as better and superior, and the startup gets trampled into nothing. Startup entrepreneurs should leverage creative marketing ideas that make up for the lack of adequate funds to promote their products.

6.      Poor Product

Maybe there’s a need for the product in the market, but it just ranks very poorly when compared to what the competition is offering. This is another key issue that most startup entrepreneurs really have to think about. There should be no compromise on product quality. Businesses succeed because their customers like the products that they are selling to them. So if you just make a less-than-impressive product and hope to make a run for it, you’ll probably end up failing.

7.      Lack of Business Model

If there’s something wrong with your business model, there’s a high likelihood that the business will fail. Have it in mind that startups are delicate and the smallest error in terms of conducting the business can lead to doom. Spend the time to iron out your business plan and think out of the box when it comes to finding new ways to scale.

8.      Poor Marketing

It’s no surprise that poor marketing is a major reason why most startups fail. How you approach your marketing can make or break your business. It’s important that a new business spends its marketing dollars wisely. If it doesn’t have adequate funds to compete with the competition, relying on creative marketing strategies is probably a good way to go. All the same, have in mind that how you approach your marketing is going to have a major impact on the prospects of your new firm.

9.      Poor Customer Handling Skills

In any business, the customer is everything. If you don’t treat your customers well, then it goes without saying that they will drift to the competition. Most startups spend a lot of time, effort, and financial resources trying to procure new customers. In so doing, they fail to recognize the value of their existing customers. Have it in mind that satisfied customers can greatly boost your business through repeat business, positive feedback, and referrals.

10.  Failure to Use Network

A new business will obviously face challenges that it didn’t expect. If there’s no network or advisors to help out, things can go south. Startups should find a seasoned industry professional who can guide them in the right direction. This support can especially be essential when launching products, looking for funding, and making major growth decisions. The likes of Google, Facebook, and many other of today’s leading companies all relied on expert help to break it through the challenges of the first few years.

If you’re looking to start a new business anytime soon, maybe you should spend more of your time writing the business plan. Do you think that people are going to need your product? If so, do you think that you can price it well enough for people to buy in large quantities? Do you have enough money for marketing? How are you going to offset the competition? These are some of the key questions that you should ask early on.

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5 Marketing Campaigns That Went Viral

Lack of adequate marketing funds is one of the leading causes of startup failure. True to that, new businesses spend tens of thousands of dollars each year promoting their products. This is money splashed on radio campaigns, online Ads, TV, and other advertising channels. But what most of these startups don’t know is that they can save a lot of money by getting a little creative. To demonstrate this, below are some 5 marketing campaigns that went viral, helping generate massive revenues for the businesses that created them.

1.      Volkswagen: The Fun Theory

The world-renowned automaker brand has some cool genius boiling up in its offices. In this marketing campaign, the company uses a series of experiments to find out if you can make people safer, more environmentally conscious, and healthier if you made a mundane activity fun. The company invited some creative minds to come up with ways of making boring stuff fun. It can be quite hard telling how a campaign like this affects sales, especially considered that the branding was so subtle. But all the same creates the impression that innovation can make lives more enjoyable, which somehow plays along with what the company does.

Regardless of the analysis behind the video, the campaign was shared widely.

2.      KLM Surprise

This is yet another fantastic example of marketing that went viral in recent times. Royal Dutch Airlines used Twitter and Foursquare check-ins to identify passengers who were waiting for their flights. The company scanned their profiles to learn more about them and later presented them with thoughtful gifts. This alone would have been good, but having a video crew recording everything while the company presented the gifts made everything fantastic. The company attracted a lot of interest from this video, simply because it used a creative marketing approach that involved making its customers happy.

3.      Old Man Spice Responses

Created by the Old Spice brand, this was a brilliant marketing antic that led to millions of views for the company. Riding on the success of an earlier campaign by Isaiah Mustafa, The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, the band went on to craft one of the most memorable social media campaigns ever!

4.      Dumb Ways to Die

Marketing something boring (e.g. public transportation) can be immensely challenging. But not to Melbourne’s Metro Trains, the company behind the viral ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ marketing gig (watch it below). There were three very simple reasons why this video was so successful – it was cute, catchy, and violent.

5.      Tipp-Ex: Hunter and Bear’s Birthday Party

In 2010, a European whiteout manufacturer known as Tipp-Ex launched a YouTube channel revolving around a hunter and a bear. Viewers were able to choose their own adventure simply by inputting commands. You could specify how the hunter handled the situation. Without a doubt, this creative gig was a major hit. And the company wasn’t willing to leave it there. Within two years, they made another one. It was equally successful!

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Marketing a Startup? Check Out These 3 Guerrilla Tactics

Marketing a business through social media

If you don’t have enough money to promote your new businesses, a little bit of creativity might be all you need. Guerilla marketing is one of the few approaches that prove you don’t need money to make money. This form of marketing entails using low-cost antics to get exposure for your products and services, spending a minimum amount of resources and time. The success of any guerilla marketing campaign revolves around being able to understand the motivations behind your target audience. You want to be creative in such a way that you can leverage tools such as free media to pass enticing information out there. Below are some handy guerilla marketing tips for every business.

        I.            Master the Art of Viral Content

We all have seen it. That article gets shared tens of thousands of times. That YouTube video that gets hundreds of thousands of views within just a couple of hours. Kick-ass content has a way of finding its way through the internet. When people see something that touches their nerves, either in the form of entertainment, controversy, gossip, or just comedy, the natural instinct is to share it with their friends. There’s no magic button when it comes to creating viral content as a way to market your business. It’s all up to your creativity. Can you create some awesome videos that will spread like wildfire? Do you know what your audience is likely to share? I recently watched a video advert that was both shareable and hilarious. A wife washed her husband’s clothes with a new fabric softener. Everywhere the husband went, people saw a teddy bear, giving him hugs and touching him. Even a traffic cop stopped him and squeezed his ears. The husband really didn’t understand what was going on and had this puzzled look on his face. The fact that this was a nicely acted-out video, all the same, made it more thrilling and shareable. Think about what sharable content you can create with your business as the center-stage character. It doesn’t matter whether you publish the content on social media, your company blog, YouTube, or any other platform. It just has to be shareable!

      II.            Customer Referral Program

Customer referral programs aren’t exactly a new idea. They have been used dozens of times by scores of businesses. But if you do it well and make the offer interesting, you might end up attracting a lot of audience to your business. Think about a lottery. What makes a lottery such a big deal? The prize money. So you want to introduce some enticing prize money that will trigger people to action. Do your maths and come up with a mouth-watering proposition that will have people emailing their friends to join in on your products.

    III.            Launch a Contest

Can you launch a fascinating contest in your niche or industry? Just any event that has the potential to attract media attention will do. The most creative startups know how to attract media love and attention to their business and products. They are always looking out for opportunities to do so. Hold a charity, hold a contest, or just invite people to a local event that’s likely to attract hundreds. The idea is to come up with some form of event or contest that can get some free press from either local or mainstream media. Again, squeeze your creative juices!

If used well, guerilla marketing can be a superbly powerful tool for any new business. Do some brainstorming and see what ideas you can come up with!

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4 Guiding Principles Every Startup Should Master


Today’s startup is faced with lots of challenges, from excessive competition to lack of marketing funds. The decisions that the startup founders make go a long way towards determining its success or failure. Statistics suggest that 90% of all new businesses fail. It’s important that the founders or management of young entrepreneurship align their business with some proven success principles.

1)      Resilience

Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that resilience is one of the key qualities that guarantee the success of a new business. If the firm isn’t able to expect change and learn how to welcome it, it goes without saying that it’ll fail whenever things go south. Changing environments should be seen as new opportunities to invest in new services and products. A successful business is able to redefine, reinvent, and reposition itself based on how its environment changes. Have an open mind and think of new ways in which you can move the firm to the next level.

2)      Know your Business

It’s a constantly changing and challenging business world. Many a time, organizations will lose their sense of identity, value focus, and strengths. In order for an infant business to outstanding bad weather, it must be aware of its purpose. It should clearly understand its core strengths and focus on improvement. All employees should be educated on the purpose and mission of the business. If you don’t know the facts, you can’t be able to tap into existing opportunities. Ask the following questions:

  • What is value do you provide? Who needs who you do?
  • Are you doing anything better than anyone else? What and how?
  • What are your core strengths as a business? What are the main qualities that separate you from any other business? Are these things that your customers or employees could perceive as valuable?
  • What are the key weaknesses of your business? Are these things that could negatively inhibit reliability, consistency, and delivery in your firm?
  • What threats does your business face? Do these threats have real potential to degrade or even floor your business?
  • What opportunity areas are there in your business? What sectors or areas can be improved?

3)      Eliminate Obstacles

There are many obstacles that face a new business, and one of them is a lack of communication. New businesses that are able to remove the obstacle of communication will easily be able to create new opportunities. As a firm, your information sources should be your employees and your customers. You need to know what they think what they hear from others, what moves them, and what they share. Great businesses are constantly in contact with their customers. They need to get new ideas. Consider the following questions:

  • How well do employees share internal information?
  • What methods do you use to share critical information in a timely fashion?
  • How does technology help with communication in your firm?
  • How your employees are held accountable for making good decisions and sharing information?
  • Do you involve your employees in the gathering of information?
  • Do you regularly assess your customers to find out what they think about your business, as well as learn about their future needs?

4)      Utilize Opportunities

Many startups complain that they have limited opportunities, and this success principle can be essential. Ideally, a firm that’s well versed in its strengths, weaknesses, and threats will very easily invent high-value opportunities. Brainstorming on the available opportunities and then selecting the right one to go with based on the business’s current situation is the right way to go about it.

If you’re a startup founder or management-level employee, these four principles can make a whole lot of difference!

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7 Timeless Success Principles for Business Leaders

Strategies to a good business

Growing a successful business can be achieved with seven core principles, whether it is a small family fun business or a Fortune 500 global company.  These foundation principles stand the test of time which makes them timeless.  A successful business must have great leaders and great leaders often have these seven core principles that we will describe.

1)      Curiosity.  Strong leaders have a child-like curiosity about their life and their work.  This curiosity drives these leaders to constantly look for new ways to look at problems and insatiable knowledge to learn.

2)      Try, try, and try…even if you fail keep on trying new ways to attack problems.  You learn from experience so don’t be afraid to “take the shot.”  Also, when you fail, and you will fail, have the courage to learn from that mistake and don’t make the same mistake twice.

3)      Use your God-given senses to experience life to its fullest.  The smell of a crisp autumn night, the wonder you feel when you see Yellowstone for the first time, the amazing taste of a glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade after a long hot Summer run.  When you pay attention to your senses you begin to pick up on the subtleties of life which can help you learn and grow.

4)      Embrace change and the complexities of life.  Change is life and life is change so embrace it.

5)      Learn to use your whole brain.  You are not a left or right brain thinking person, you have the ability to be a completely well-rounded person who is an artist, scientist, business person, etc.

6)      Mind-Body-Spirit.  Keep your body well fed with wholesome foods.  Get plenty of exercise and sleep and lastly have that spiritual connection.

Everything you do in life and business is somehow connected.  We are all connected in some way and having that macro view of knowing that can help you reveal new ideas to grow your business.

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Some Quick Reference for the Business World

With the increasing number of unemployed and even the underemployed people worldwide, there really comes the time wherein you will think of just starting your own business instead of taking all the stress and pressure of being employed at a company. But for those who are new to this business, they need some tips on how they can start their very own business? Of course, things will start as a small-scale business but it still needs a lot of attention and understanding especially on your part as the owner. Now it comes to these questions: Why start your own business? Will you be successful with this? What are some tips if you are planning to start your very own business?

Why start a business?

The main reason is for you to earn more. Some people have their own businesses while they are still employed. In that way, they are earning more money in making their business bigger. But for starters, it’s also a great opportunity to try out the business of selling products and services with a small capital because eventually, when you become successful, you can do continuous upgrades to your business and maybe even have your own company!

Will a person be successful with this?

Of course, the answer depends on YOU as the owner of the business. If you work hard and put every inch of effort in what you do, guaranteed you’ll be successful and earn a lot. But if you are the lazy type of owner who does nothing but command your team does even your job, then probably end up losing your team as well as losing your business because of debts and other money loss situations. This is why here are some tips if you are planning to set up your own small-scale business and if you want to be successful in it:

o   START THINGS OFF WITH WRITING A SIMPLE BUSINESS PLAN: This is more of an assumption of what will be happening to your business in the next couple of weeks or months. This includes the target sale, stocks, and everything. As a small-scale business owner, you need to make your business plan as simple as possible in order for you to succeed in whatever you wrote in it and reach your target goals.

o   BE DEDICATED IN THE BUSINESS YOU CHOSE: Of course, opening up a business takes a lot of dedication and passion in order for it to succeed. As the owner, the inspiration of the business should start from you. If you do not love whatever you do with regards to the business, you will end up being lazy and the business will fall apart. Make sure that you love what you chose and you will stand up for it in any way you can.

o   GET A VERY HARDWORKING TEAM: Who wants a team that is so lazy that you are actually doing the entire job? No one right? So as the owner of the business, you need to choose the best and the most hardworking team you can find in order for your business to work in full swing. Remember that you will be the one paying for your workers so you need to make sure that every cent you pay for them is worth it.

o   HAVE YOUR CLIENTS OR CUSTOMERS READY BEFORE OPENING UP YOUR BUSINESS: Thinking of a way on how to do that? Simple. Use the power of social media and the internet. Promote your products or services earlier than your opening day so that you got these clients and customers lined up before you start off with the business. Remember that these customers will make your business successful. But you should also remember that marketing is not yet required for this stage just yet.

o   SEEK FOR PROFESSIONAL HELP: Whether it has something to do with marketing or sales, you need to ask for some expert advice from the professionals themselves. Ask them about everything you need before you open up your business or on how to handle the sales very well. You may even ask for some marketing strategies so that you can promote your products and services very well.

o   BE PROFESSIONAL: You not just need to be professional; you need to LOOK and FEEL professional. Of course, it’s a different world compared to being employed because you are now the boss. One good way of making your business a bit corporate is by having your very own business phone, e-mail, or address. You also need to talk in a more professional and corporate manner so that your clients and customers will look at you as a professional business owner. And not to mention the legal documents like business permits, tax files, and many other legal files that need to be processed before opening up your business.

o   LEARN THE ART OF COMPETITION: When it comes to businesses, there is a really tight competition with regards to that. You will come across your rivals, enemies in business and even the most competitive business owners there is. You just need to be confident, stand strong, and make your business stand out compared to your rival companies. Just be wise enough and use your common sense.

These are just some of the tips that you may follow if you want to start your own business. Of course, you must remember that your talents and skills in handling a business will be tested here so you better bring it your best. Make sure that your company will gain a lot of sales and clients so that you may continue the progress and development of your company as the days go by. Never be afraid to take risks because sometimes, those risks are the ones that will lead you to the path of success.

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