Failing to collect email addresses

Some startups build email databases only of addresses of their clients — those people who made a purchase. However, this is a mistake, as such an approach is not enough. There are many more ways of collecting email addresses, and, as a startup, you should try at least several of them to make your database larger. Why is this essential? Marketers tend to generate $40 in sales for each $1 spent sending emails. Apart from high ROI, there are more statistical facts:

  • There are 4 billion daily email users — your target audience is also likely to check their inbox every day;
  • 41.5% of brands claim that email marketing is very critical to the success of a business;
  • 64% of B2B marketers state that their email marketing strategy was efficient for achieving business objectives in 2021;
  • 46% of smartphone users prefer to receive communications from companies via email;
  • 50% of customers buy from marketing emails at least once per month;
  • 59% of customers state that marketing emails have influenced their purchases.

Therefore, it is crucial for your startup to collect email addresses of your existing and potential clients, and then use them for marketing. Here are some options for you to consider:

  • Offer free content. For instance, you can create an ebook, an infographic, a set of tutorials, and so on. This could be virtually anything, but the content should bring value to your audience. Then, after the content is ready, promote it on your website and suggest visitors to download it in exchange for their email addresses.
  • Create a subscription form. Another thing that you can do is to suggest website visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. Design a short form — obviously, the email address field should be mandatory to fill in. As for other fields, ask only for essential information. 
  • Design a popup. Apart from placing various forms across your website, you can also design them as popups, so that they will immediately attract the attention of your visitors. Thus, a popup can offer to subscribe to a newsletter, to download free content, and so on.

As for email marketing, here are several recommendations that will help you to do it in the right way:

  • Bring value

Every email that you send to your target audience should bring value to them: answer their questions, deliver relevant information and news, and so on. If there is no value, people will quickly stop opening your emails and start considering your brand annoying and unprofessional.

  • Pay attention to the subject lines

A subject line should be short (and fully visible even on a smartphone screen) and motivate people to open an email. Do not reveal all the details — make users feel intrigued. At the same time, do not make your lines too generic. Consider testing your subject lines to find out which of them are more effective.

  • Keep your emails short

Do not include unnecessary information and, as a result, make your emails too long. Obviously, there should still be an introduction and some kind of conclusion, but the message itself should not be too long.

  • Add a CTA

It would also be useful to tell your audience what to do after they read an email — add a relevant call to action. Use words of action and keep your CTAs short. You may also want to add a sense of urgency and personalise the copy — for instance, “Book my ticket now”. 

  • Do not send newsletters too often

Please note that you should not send newsletters too often — decide on the frequency to start from. For example, this could be once per week. Then, if possible and the open rate is high enough, you may consider adding one more email per week. Track the performance of such a schedule to understand if your audience likes getting two newsletters per week. In any case, emails should not be sent too often, unless it is something urgent — for instance, an email confirming a client’s order.

Please note that you can also use your email database for setting up retargeting ads — the ads that are shown to users who have visited your website but not converted. 

Misusing hashtags

Adding hashtags to your social media posts makes it possible for users (who are not your followers yet) to find your content. As a result, they may get interested in it, subscribe to your page or check out your website. However, you should leverage hashtags carefully — if you misuse them, users may start considering you unprofessional or it would be complicated for them to find your posts. Here are some recommendations on how to prevent this mistake from happening:

  • Use relevant hashtags

First of all, all the hashtags that you add to your posts should be relevant to them. Do not try to add more hashtags just to attract the attention of a larger number of people. For instance, your startup sells custom clothing. Therefore, you should not add hashtags like #kitchenfurniture or #websitedesign. They will not help you to attract the right audience, they will only annoy the users who are looking for kitchen furniture or website design ideas and tips, and do not want to see anything related to clothing. Thus, when adding hashtags, use only those of them that fit your posts properly and are related to its content.

  • Limit the number of hashtags

Imagine the following: you identified numerous hashtags that can bring the audience to your page, and all of them are relevant. However, this does not mean that you should add all of them to every post. When a post is equipped with several dozens of hashtags, this looks spammy and unprofessional. Therefore, use only those hashtags that are the most relevant and effective.

  • Do not combine too many words

Hashtags are written with no spaces — you just combine the words. This means that if there are too many words in a single hashtag, it will be hard to read. Moreover, users will not be likely to use it as their search query. Considering this, keep your hashtags relevant, specific and as short as possible at the same time.

  • Increase readability

If there are two or even more words in a hashtag (remember not to combine too many words), you can increase their readability by capitalising the first letter of each word. For instance, this could be not #clothingforwomen but #ClothingForWomen. In this way, your hashtags will be much easier to read and understand.  

  • Keep your hashtags specific

Another recommendation to consider is that your hashtags should be specific, so that it will be easier for your potential customer to find your content. Let’s use the example with custom clothing one more time. For instance, if your startup creates clothing only for women, the hashtag can be #ClothingForWomen, not just #clothing. 

  • Combine popular and niche hashtags

At the same time, it may be effective to use both popular and niche hashtags for the same posts. Thus, popular hashtags will help you to reach a wider audience, although the competition will increase as well. In turn, niche hashtags will make it possible for you to target a smaller audience looking for that specific type of content. 

  • Come up with something special

Finally, consider generating a creative and unique hashtag and adding it to each of your posts. In this way, you can increase engagement and help your startup to stand out from the crowd. Ask your team to take part in the brainstorm, then review the list of ideas to make a decision. Before starting adding the selected hashtag to your content, make sure it is unique and used by no one else. 

Choosing quantity instead of quality

When promoting your startup and its product or services, you may think that the more content you produce, the better, as you will keep your blog, social media, and other channels updated on a regular basis. However, this is the wrong approach — avoid choosing quantity instead of quality. As we already said, every content piece must bring value to the audience and be different from generic content they can find on the Internet. However, quality is not only about the relevance of the topic and the way you cover it. There are more things to consider, so take a closer look:

  • Do research

You should conduct research not only when looking for the topics for your content, but also when working on the content itself. Look for the most relevant information and avoid making assumptions. Your texts should provide accurate information — otherwise, your target audience may be confused. Doing research may require some time, but it is better to spend one week writing a well-researched article that people would like to share than to devote to this task one day and publish something that no one will even read.

  • Review your texts

Every piece of text that you create for your website visitors and followers, even the shortest one (like the text for your ad), should be reviewed carefully. Look for errors and make sure that the entire story is logical. It would be wise to use software like Grammarly to find those mistakes that you could miss. However, do not rely on it completely. Such tools are effective, but they are not perfect. For instance, they may consider the name of your brand as a mistake and suggest how to “fix” the word. If you accept all the suggestions without reviewing them, your text may be changed significantly. Therefore, pay attention to every suggestion. 

  • Add backlinks

Imagine the following situation: in one of your articles you provide several statistical facts from the report of a different company. If so, add backlinks, so that people will be able to check the relevance of the information. Most likely, no one will check it, but adding links to the sources will help you to build trust and make your copy more credible. If there is a way to prove somehow the things that you state — do this. Another thing to mention here is that you should choose reputable resources of information. 

  • Keep your content consistent

All the content pieces that you create should be consistent, so follow your brand voice (choose it with your target audience in mind). Apart from this, use your brand colours and fonts, and consider following the same structure in the materials of the same type. For instance, if you divide text into paragraphs in one of your articles, do the same in the others. By keeping your content consistent, you will be able to increase brand recognition over time.

Forgetting to ask for feedback

For startups, customers’ feedback plays a crucial role, as it allows them to improve both their products and strategies. Apart from this, sharing positive reviews on a website and social media is a way to attract new clients and motivate them to make a purchase. Therefore, those businesses that fail to collect feedback or simply forget to ask for it, make a mistake. Not considering the clients’ opinions may lead a startup to failure, so here are several recommendations on how to prevent it:

  • Send surveys

You may create a feedback form on your website, and some customers may share their thoughts via this channel. However, there is no guarantee that they will do this. Instead of relying only on website forms, you can send a survey to each of your customers. This should be done promptly after a product or service is delivered, while the impression is still fresh. Keep the survey as short as possible and include only necessary questions. Otherwise, if it is too long, your customers may not fill it in. To encourage clients to provide feedback, some businesses offer discounts, promo codes and other incentives. You may do this too, but since your company is only entering the market, do not offer rewards from the very beginning — start with explaining why you need feedback. This can be something like “Help us to improve our product”. After you get the feedback, make sure to express your gratitude.

  • Track social media

If you use social networks as a marketing channel, monitor the comments on your posts and direct messages. This should be done in any case, but you can also find some feedback in this way. You can also look for user-generated content with the help of relevant hashtags (the name of your brand, the name of your product, etc.). If you find any feedback, make sure to react. As for negative feedback, do your best to solve the problem as quickly as possible — this may help you to retain a dissatisfied client. 

Apart from tracking comments and direct messages, you can also publish a post and ask your followers to provide feedback via comments. By doing this, you can motivate them to share their opinions. 

  • Track app stores

If your product is an app, make sure to track the app stores continuously — they are the most obvious resources of feedback. In case your product is available both for iOS and Android, monitor both stores, do not focus on a single one.

  • Monitor third-party platforms

Another thing that you can do is to look for reviews on the Internet — some people may share their thoughts on various third-party platforms. You may not be able to ask for feedback there, but such platforms can still provide you with some reviews, so why not search for them? 

As you can see, there are a lot of ways to collect feedback, although asking your customers to provide you with reviews is still the most effective approach for a startup. Then, use the reviews to improve your product and strategy, and do not postpone taking action. React as quickly as possible — your customers will appreciate this. Besides, share positive feedback on your website and social media (choose those reviews that are more specific and valuable to other customers). In case you find any user-generated content, consider sharing it — this may inspire other people to create such content as well. You may also want to launch a user-generated content contest to increase brand awareness. Come up with interesting rules and announce the results publicly. 

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