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3 Steps for Optimizing Your Online Marketing Strategy

As a startup, having a solid marketing plan in place is critical to the growth and success of your business, especially in the incredibly competitive scene of Silicon Valley. However, successful marketing can be one of the most difficult challenges for an early-stage business; especially those that are on a tight budget.

It’s no secret that advertising can be extremely expensive and incredibly inefficient if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, but thankfully, there are some ways that you can hack online advertising and develop a zero-waste marketing plan that will take your business to the next level, without costing you an arm and a leg. Below are three tips for optimizing your marketing strategy to generate the highest possible return on an impressively low investment. Follow along, and you’ll be able to grow the exposure of your startup in San Francisco without having to increase your advertising spending.

Network

If you talk to any successful entrepreneur, they’re likely to tell you that networking is the name of the game. Networking is an absolute necessity when it comes to gaining exposure and building relationships, both in terms of other brands and potential customers. If you want your business to grow, you need to make as many connections with as many people as possible, and then take advantage of those relationships when appropriate.

The good news is that a large majority of the networking platforms are free to use and can greatly increase your number of professional contacts, so there’s no excuse not to at least try. By simply reaching out to your contemporaries and making friends, you can easily build a network full of interested people from around the world who may be able to help you in the future.

Social media sites are great places to meet and chat with your colleagues, and so are exhibitions, trade shows, and conferences. Whenever you can afford it, you should try to attend as many professional conferences as possible. There are plenty of shows that take place in the Bay Area, from Casual Connect to GrowthBeat, and they offer great opportunities to meet new people and forge personal and professional relationships.

There are countless ways that you can network, but the important thing is that you do it and try to connect with likeminded people who can help you out. As the old saying goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Personalize

Ever since the Internet became a viable marketing platform, there has been an unavoidable shift towards the personalization of advertisements. Mass marketing is no longer the standard because it no longer works, so if you want to optimize your marketing materials or advertising campaigns, you need to make sure that they’re customized for the individual that you’re sending them to.

People are no longer willing to dig through their email inbox to find deals that they’re interested in, and they’re no longer paying attention to things that don’t cater to their specific interests. Thus, if you really want to get a return on your marketing efforts you need to personalize every interaction with your customers, focus narrowly on every individual, and treat them as a valuable part of your brand.

Automate

Networking and personalization will certainly help you keep costs down while also increasing your ROI, but marketing automation is where you’ll truly be able to optimize your strategy. There are a lot of different tools and strategies for automating your marketing plan, but as an early-stage startup, you should really focus on automating areas like lead management.

When most people think about marketing automation, they tend to think about lead generation, but often times the marketing tactics that are best suited for automation aren't the ones that are necessary in the early stage startup. You’ll have to work hard on lead generation (which is where the networking and personalization will help), but once leads start pouring in, managing those leads with automation tools will drastically improve the efficiency and return of your marketing efforts.

Once you’ve got the ball rolling a little bit, look for areas that you could automate and find tools to help you do it. When it comes to marketing your brand, the less work that’s required on your end means more opportunities for you to focus on other more important aspects of your business, such as growth and expansion.

When combined, all three of these practices will help you optimize your overall marketing plan and help you spend less on advertising while generating more in return. Marketing, in general, is all about building relationships, and online marketing is all about performance. When you combine these two things together (and do them both well), you should end up with a zero-waste marketing plan that will help take your business to the top..