by Nathan W. Burke
Getting your startup noticed is one of the most essential steps in building a successful online brand. You can have the coolest app/site in the world, but if no one knows about it, well, you’re out of luck. Luckily, promoting your startup isn’t the mysterious and magical process some marketers will have you think. When it comes to online promotion, there are several easy, yet time-consuming steps you can take to get noticed online.
- Submit Your Site To Relevant Resources– This is a no-brainer, but it is absolutely essential. Find sites that cover what you do, and submit your site there. Some easy ones:
- KillerStartups.com- Use their online form (http://www.killerstartups.com/submitted)
- Launchfeed.com– Use this site to announce the launch of your service. Not as important on the site itself, but other sites subscribe to launchfeed and use the info on their blogs.
- Simplespark– Another source of what’s new online
- MOMB– (Museum of Modern Betas)- A site listing new apps
- Go2Web20.net– A flash directory of startups that actually delivers some fairly decent traffic.
- TechCrunch- The grandaddy of internet startup blogs. You can enter your information here: http://www.crunchbase.com/companies/new
- CenterNetworks– Another great web 2.0 blog
- mashable!- Awesome blog covering all that’s new on the web. Read this post before submitting your site: http://mashable.com/2008/04/10/get-your-startup-on-mashable/
- ReadWriteWeb- http://www.readwriteweb.com/contact.php
- Blogstring.com and MarketingStartups.com– Hey, it’s easy. Just contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org), let me know what you do, and if your site or service is relevant, I’ll review it here.
- Blog– This one is easy in theory, not so easy in practice. It should be a no-brainer by now, but so many people think of this as the last step. Rather than using a blog as an ongoing chronicle of the evolution of a startup, they think of a blog as a nice-to-have. 5 years ago that was true. Not now.I won’t get into the specific advantages of blogging, but let’s list a few: a) starting a conversation about your offering, b) adding search engine content c) creating a place for customer feedback
- Comment On Other Blogs– This is one of the most crucial yet most ignored steps. It’s one thing to write your own blog. It’s another to go out and give your thoughts and appreciation to other bloggers. It builds relationships. It adds link love. It ups your google juice. It makes people think you’re an actual human being with opinions. Spend an hour a day doing this and you won’t believe the return you’ll get. I promise.
- Your Logo– I cannot stress the importance of having your logo available in an easy-to-embed format. If I’m checking out a startup, I always want to include their logo in the post. If I can simply right click on your logo and paste it into my post as an image reference, I will do it in a heartbeat. And as a startup, isn’t that what you want?
- Your Text– Have text available. I know how simple this sounds, but it’s not. There are so many new sites out there that are completely flash-based, and it is impossible to copy and paste text embedded in flash. I like being able to go to a site’s “About” section and paste that text into a post. But even the most eloquently worded about text is worthless if it’s all in flash. If it can’t be copied, it won’t be pasted.
- Twitter– Get a twitter account for your startup immediately. Use it to create a human voice behind your brand, and use it to monitor what people are saying about your startup. If you hear positive comments, be thankful. If you hear something negative, respond and try to fix the problem.
- GetSatisfaction– GetSatisfaction is basically a central place for customer service feedback for startups. It’s a great resource. Sign up for an account there and people will find you.
- Go To Events– Another easy one. Go to tweetups, conferences, podcamps, etc. You’ll meet people, you’ll get to talk about your startup, and you’ll get the chance to hone your message each time you meet someone new. This one should be a post in-itself (and will be soon), so I’ll keep it short.
- Create offsite resources- Create a lens at Squidoo about your startup category (not your specific startup, but the category it belongs to) and list your site as one of the players in that category. This way your lens will be seen as a resource rather than a piece of marketing collateral, yet your site will still be listed. Note: don’t be fake here. Definitely make a note of who you are, the fact that you work for a startup being listed there, etc. Be completely transparent and you’ll benefit.Additionally, you might want to have your own blog apart from your startup. Sure, you can and should talk about your startup there, but having yet another domain referencing the startup can only help your inbound links. There are so many opportunities to create offsite resources that reference your startup that I can’t list them here. This also warrants a full post.
- Videos- Make videos. Make a 2 minute video that talks about what you do and put it on your site. Additionally, you should have it on vimeo, blip.tv, youtube, metacafe, and any other video sharing site you can think of.
Obviously there are hundreds of techniques to promote your startup online and get noticed, but if you start with these ten, you’ll be off to a great start.