Startup Marketing: 5 Fundamental Lessons
Whether one subscribes to the idea that startups should spend as little as possible on marketing or not, one fundamental truth remains impossible to deny, even in this fast-moving and hyper-competitive industry where nothing remains static. That is, if people in any target market do not know about a business’s existence or their product or service, people will hardly be able to buy that product or service.
That being said, usually, the best way to look at startup marketing is focusing on ROI (return of investment). If a media can profitably attract paying customers, there is little room for excuses for not using it. However, marketing for startups is a unique case and some conventional advertising methods, though well tested, might not work or be possible for most developers and founders.
With that in mind, we have summarized five fundamental lessons that all startups can follow in order to market what they offer successfully.
- Growing the audience before launching
A lot of developers and founders ignore marketing completely and neglect starting promotion and building their audience until they have their finished product. That is a big mistake usually done by first-timers. Finding out how to promote something only after the launch date is a recipe for disastrous nightmares. There is a lot that can be done even in the early stages of the developing process!
- Market always to a specific audience
Resource limitations concerning time, talent or money are common to almost every startup. Since that is the case, every effort needs to be well planned and executed purposely to avoid wasting any valuable resource. Choosing the right market and reaching it with the appropriate strategy is fundamental to establish a solid foundation for any marketing attempt.
A product will hardly appeal to everyone. In fact, marketing to everyone can prove to be very expensive and unproductive. In reality, any product or idea appeals to a specific portion of a population and identifying niches are key to a successful marketing campaign. Any value proposition should be constructed around a specific customer in mind.
- Focusing promotion only on effective mediums
Knowing where to market is also a fundamental aspect to consider. Any business should study the most effective strategies and platforms to reach the audience they are trying to reach. In present days, digital presence is necessary for all businesses. Having a website and active profiles in the social platforms with the best appeal to the desired market are two of the most common mediums for all startups.
- Good SEO and proper content marketing
Another aspect commonly ignored by a lot of developers and founders is the use of effective keywords and quality content in their digital sites. If the defined market cannot find them is the same as if the business does not exist. In addition, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) data can provide valuable insight, which could be applied for strategies both online and offline, allowing getting lists of words or phrases highly relevant to the people interested in the business and help fine-tuning any marketing campaign.
- Participating in events or established sites to reach more people
As we have seen, putting the business existence on the prospect’s radar is the basis for all marketing. A great way to achieve this is by creating conversations, disseminating important information, and bringing the idea closer to the interested people. That can be done by attending (armed with attractive promotional items such as pens, mugs, hats, and T-Shirts) job fairs, summits, expos, festivals, and other venues, sponsoring events, or by sharing valuable content in established sites with broad reader bases.
There is a limit to what great marketing can achieve if the product is the issue
These fundamental lessons about marketing a startup should help any developer or founder promote their business, generate awareness, and convert members of their target market into paying customers. However, that line that goes “nothing kills a bad company faster than good marketing” will remain true. The best way to protect a business is by testing all assumptions.