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How to develop a successful startup marketing strategy

Creating successful marketing strategy for startup – part one “Getting Traction”

Leading a startup company means dealing with lots of challenges. At the beginning, it’s getting funds and to get funds, you got to have a traction – and that’s what we will discuss today.

Traction – simply put, is an indicator of interest in the product. It may be in the form of list of potential customers that are interested in buying it. Ideally, some of them have already bought your product as a pre-order (and that’s hell of a traction!) but usually it is a list of subscribers of the webpage, that are potentially interested in your product.

Having a traction means few things and all of them are good for the startup founders.

First of all, it shows the idea actually MAKES SENSE and that people are interested in it.

Secondly, it’s a great base for getting opinions – you can ask your (potential) customers about the features they consider most important, redundant and missing, and their feedback allows you to correct the course of your product while it’s still being developed. What is even more important, it helps you to better fit the need of the market.

So, where to start?

First of all, find a good software house that works in agile methodology and creates elastic products – namely, you need a team of developers whose code can be easily changed and adapted to your current requirements, because it’s highly presumed that your product is going to be changed a lot during the development process.

Secondly, meticulously plan an efficient marketing strategy.

1. Define your target market

Don’t expect that whole world will love your product – it (probably) will not. Actually, if you don’t advertise it good enough, no one will even know about its existence.

On the other hand, if you will try to get attention of everyone it will be a waste of time and money – there are different ways to attract children, parents and CEOs.

Define your target precisely and create your offer fitted to it.

2. Sample and score

As Gabriel Weinberg states in his book “Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth”, best strategy is to test all the possible channels then cut off those that don’t work and develop those that work best. It’s called “Bullseye framework” and you can see it on the graphic below:

Start sampling all the 19 channels (will be listed below) and divide them into three categories, as in the Bullseye above – A, B and C.

C – all the channels

B – channels that may work

A – channels that actually are working

and focus on the inner circle, as it includes channels that are most profitable and efficient.

Keep in mind, that what’s working for the small company, may not work at all for the big one so once in a while make sure that channels in the inner circle are still up to date and try channels from the other circles – maybe that’s right time to tune them in.

Remember the Pareto principle – roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Those 19 channels for getting traction are:

a) Affiliate Marketing
b) Off-line Ads
c) Existing Platforms
d) Offline Events
e) SEO
f) Engineering as Marketing
g) Speaking engagements
h) Trade Shows
i) Sales
j) Viral Marketing
k) Community Building
l) Content Marketing
m) Target Market Blogs
n) Business development
o) Social and Display Ads
p) SEM
q) Unconventional PR
r) PR
s) Cold mailing and cold calling

startup tips

3. Set goals, measure results

Set small goals and milestones and see if you are making progress! Small ones are great to see how things change while milestones are vital to see if the strategy is effective enough.

Let’s assume that in one year, you want to have 15 000 customers. To achieve this, start with a goal to get 100 new customers in the first month, 500 in the next one, 1000 in the third and the milestone will be 5000 until the end of the 6th month.

Record everything you can – expenses, effectiveness of traction channels, number customers etc.

More things you record, more you know and it’s easier to spot where the leaks are coming from.

Using a CRM is a great way to do it, but even an casual excel will do the job, especially at the beginning of building the company.

Part two is coming soon.

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Łukasz Wybieralski

Sales Specialist