VentureFestOxford – Digital marketing for start-Ups, a short primer from Nick Parker

“Increasing your sales through marketing in an increasingly digital world”

Whilst at VentureFest in Oxford this week, we attended a short primer from Nick Parker, Director of Oxfordshire Business Enterprises, in which he discussed how to increase your business sales through marketing in an increasingly digital world. It proved to be an interesting 15 minute talk full of important, relevant information!

When considering digital marketing for start-ups Nick discussed the importance of starting with your numbers: target revenue, profit plan and how many customers you need to reach. Using two examples, he clearly showed how different approaches can help you achieve different targets.

Nick outlined the phases that a customer will go through before making a purchase, the first being awareness of the product through PR, word of mouth or broader marketing. The customer then moves into the consideration phase in which they will research the company and/or product and this is usually undertaken through the internet. Having a well-designed website with an elevator pitch on the home page is essential for the ease of the customer at this stage.

He then moved onto explaining lead generation (simply, the generation of consumer interest or an enquiry about your products or services) through the use of lead generation tools such as adverts (GoogleAds, Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads), landing pages and behavioural targeting and asking your customers what they want through groups, discussions and forums.

Talking about the significance of different digital marketing tools such as social media, website and email marketing, Nick’s opinion is that social media platforms are not essential for start-ups because organic search can be up to 90 times more successful at generating customers. However we slightly disagree as we believe social media platforms such as LinkedIn for networking, Twitter and Facebook for engaging with your customers can be extremely beneficial in the start-up phase.

The most important lesson we learned during Nick’s talk was that as a company you need to have a niche; avoid being general, be specific and know your industry.  Above all, be persistent with digital marketing because, no matter what people will tell you, it doesn’t happen overnight!