Over the last few years, India has emerged as the global startup hub, with startups mushrooming across tier-1, 2, and 3 cities. These startups are not limited to a specific industry vertical. Entrepreneurs in India have been experimenting with disruptive ideas and innovative business models.

There is a lot that the startup founders have to focus on, as they build their business. Working tirelessly, they juggle their time between driving GMV, adding customers, raising funds, building the right product, and building a good team. Since one or many of these take up the majority of their time, marketing tends to be the least of their priorities. Also, entrepreneurs are not interested in burning those dollars and hence, marketing is on a back-burner. This is not a good idea. We understand that it is most important for entrepreneurs to focus on building a good foundation. However, overlooking the importance of marketing and the need to invest in building a positive brand reputation is a mistake made by early-stage startups.

Marketing and its many facets

Marketing is not necessarily about high budgets and a 360-degree marketing campaign, encompassing ATL/BTL, digital and other elements. For startups, handpicking the right tools of marketing, in line with the brand’s overall strategy and vision, is the best option.

Influencer marketing for startups

Digital marketing has become a key part of startups’ marketing plans. Startups, irrespective of their size, location, or industry, have realized that digital marketing helps them reach out to millions of customers and build brand recall. 

Influencer marketing is still a new concept for young startups. This is primarily because of the following two reasons:

1) They believe that their brand is too small to explore Influencer Marketing

2) They believe it is a high-cost brand building exercise. 

Both these reasons are totally baseless. There is no brand that is too young for influencer marketing today. Also, with the rise of various platforms and types of influencers, influencer marketing has become much more affordable and flexible; as it has evolved from the earlier format of associating with expensive celebrities.

Advantages of Influencer Marketing 

The two key advantages of influencer marketing are an increase in brand awareness and sales. Influencer marketing helps increase brand awareness as the influencers create and share genuine and interesting content about your brand across social media platforms. Another advantage of an aggressive influencer marketing campaign is that it can help a brand connect to a range of potential clients.

 Here are some suggestions for entrepreneurs trying influencer marketing:

  • Pick the right influencer

As a startup choosing an influencer, you should check if the influencer you decide to associate with could connect and influence your target audience. A startup should begin by defining its target audience – based on demographics, age group, place, interests, online behavior, etc. Once the target audience is clearly defined, the brand should then focus on aligning the right influencers that resonate with the brand. Choosing an influencer that doesn’t cater to your target audience will set up even the best of content and campaign idea for failure.

  • Ride on the micro and nano influencers

Micro and nano-influencers have a lesser but highly engaged follower base. They build close relationships with their audience, making them more credible and trustable. These influencers believe in real-time engagement with their followers, which are more realistic, personal, and closer to their own stories. They explore a range of options including live sessions; Q&A and video conversations that make sure that their audiences stay connected.

These influencers can work really well for young startups. They are cost-effective and ensure ROI.

Ms. Bhawna Sethi, Founder of LetsInfluence at an influencer marketing event
Ms. Bhawna Sethi, Founder of LetsInfluence.io at an influencer marketing event

Lets Influence has successfully leveraged this and executed campaigns for brands like The Moms Co., TrulyMadly, MPL, and many more. 

  • Invest in long-term relationships

Brands generally tend to collaborate with influencers only for a specific campaign and then move to the next set for the new one. It is recommended that startups work towards building a long-term association with influencers they partner with. The advantage of this is higher brand recall among their followers. Also, this helps the influencers have a better understanding of the brand and in turn, churn out better content.

To sum it up, marketing is an essential tool for all startups and it is advisable that they explore it at an early stage. Influencer marketing is one of the hidden gems that can really help brands get an edge over the competition and enhance their brand equity. It has a huge potential for young brands, across industries. Startups can push relevant content to millions of followers of influencers across platforms, enhance visibility, increase leads, and boost sales. Hence, it is advisable for young startups should definitely outline some budgets towards this in their marketing kitty and wait to see the magic unfold.

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