No, startups don't magically get discovered by tech reporters and suddenly enjoy meteoric success as investors clamor at their doors. Building a thriving startup company takes hard work, perseverance, and a commitment to connecting with customers on a continual basis. While incessant funding announcements on tech publications might make it seem like building a startup is as easy as panhandling among angel investors, the reality of launching and growing a startup company is actually quite different.
Marketing plays a crucial role in whether your startup lives or dies. Failure to nail your startup's marketing strategy can be the kiss of death for your company. Numerous variables go into a well-honed marketing strategy. Understanding how to create a diverse brand development plan is essential for long-term growth. As an entrepreneur, if you want help honing your startup's marketing strategy, following are five truths you should learn sooner rather than later.
1) If you are hanging onto the marketing tactics of the past instead of accepting that the future of marketing is changing, you are going to be out-performed by your more agile competitors. While some tactics like SEO (search engine optimization) continue to work, others are losing their luster as newer technologies take hold, e.g., standard influencer marketing versus blockchain-enabled influencer marketing. If you are relying on old-school marketing initiatives to grow your startup, chances are good your traction rate will be mediocre at best.
2) Understand which marketing initiatives are driving growth for your startup and focus your efforts on high-ROI (return on investment) activities. It's too easy to get sucked down a marketing rabbit hole and spend an inordinate amount of time on marketing outreach methods that don't scale. You want to spend the bulk of your time on growth tactics that drive conversions and sales for your company instead of focusing your efforts on outreach methods that will have little impact on your startup's bottom line. This is especially true for chasing press mentions from tech publications. Your time is much better invested connecting with potential customers on forums than it is on networking with reporters and journalists who will have little long-term influence on your traction rate.
3) If you want to increase your startup's growth rate significantly, learn to tap into the passion of your customers. Your startup can offer an excellent product or service, but if you don't have a loyal band of brand ambassadors touting your wares, your growth rate will be hampered. Learn what your loyal customers are passionate about and connect with them on topics they care about. Create social media posts or business blog posts about their passions that relate to your startup. By marketing at the intersection of your customers' passions and your company's product/service offering, you are killing two proverbial birds with one, well-targeted stone. You're engaging and acknowledging your existing customers while promoting your startup to a niche audience at the same time.
4) Think about the things that might be said about your startup if your company failed. What would your epitaph be on Autopsy.io and what would be your company's greatest mistakes? Once you learn to look at your startup with a "hindsight is always 20/20" perspective, you are able to spot corrective actions you can take now. Rather than make fatal startup mistakes, you are able to make smart moves to build your company and double-down on what is working.
5) The more you care about your customers and invest in exceeding their expectations, the likelier it is your startup will grow. Too many startups focus on targeting their marketing message to what they think should matter, e.g., cool new features, etc., instead of focusing their marketing on what their customers care about. Understand which aspects of your business are enjoying the highest engagement rates with customers and develop brand messaging around those elements.
Building a diverse and detailed marketing strategy is crucial for startup growth. One tactic won't make or break your startup; it is a combination of factors that will help your company to succeed eventually. Incorporate these five tips into your startup's marketing plans, and you will increase your odds of building a thriving and profitable business.