Being a startup owner adds numerous additional strains on your daily work schedule, oftentimes extending all the way through your daily life as well. What options do we have as startup owners, to attract new customers without spending all of our time doing just that? What kind of a campaign strategy do we need to adopt in order to manage our business equally across all areas.
The customer is still the most important asset that your business possesses, and learning how to talk directly to your customer through the means of marketing is one of the most invaluable skills that your startup can have. It saves you time, and money, but it also brings in the positive results that you seek.
Learning to establish a marketing partnership can be an essential stepping stone in getting your business out there, the first step is finding another business that can compliment your product, application or service that you're providing. We will look at promotion channels further in the article, as those are usually the places where you can find like-minded businesses.
However, you can also involve your customers directly into the partnering experience. The most common way of doing this is by encouraging User-Generated Content (UGC) in the form of reviews, stories, direct participation in the expansion of the startup, you could also host competitions where users can submit their work and then compete between each other -- an example would be getting people to design T-Shirts for your startup.
That by itself will further generate the exposure that you need, and user generated content practices have proven to be very rewarding in the last few years, as documented by HubSpot.
Dominate a Field
If your product is about providing a better project management service to the masses, then solely focus on providing an exceptional service in that field alone, this applies to writing research papers, submitting news to popular media websites, writing insightful articles, even starting a video series. You want to portray yourself as someone who is capable of being a leader of thought in the specific field that you operate within.
The great thing about doing all these things is that you get picked up by influential minds very quickly, people who have influential power -- know what it takes to get to that point, and value quality content very highly. The traditional blogging approach is still one of the best ways to get your startup noticed in new places, and it costs nothing but a drop of your knowledge.
Pitching your startup individually used to be a great way of generating attention, but these days everyone seems to be doing it, and editors, including journalists, are simply not willing to go through all the extra trouble, just to give you free exposure. Focus on understanding the problems your customers have, and then help those customers understand the solutions to their problems.
A battle against time can be a tough one, but you don't necessarily have to make it hit and run every time, there are plenty of growing communities out there that provide both insightful content, but also a way of generating incredible amounts of leads and even business partnerships in some cases. You should look into the following communities to expand both your view of the startup scene, but also the potential behind such communities:
- GrowthHackers -- here we return back to being the leaders of our field. Researched growth material is received incredibly well by this community, and can generate hundreds+ of new customers.
- Product Hunt -- share your startup with the most active startup community on the web. Listen to feedback, improve and watch the growth rate amplify.
- Outbrain -- get your content promoted and exposed to premium quality websites, including media websites. Great return on investment.
- Medium -- connect your Twitter account and notify your followers every time you publish a new Medium post. Amazing for direct customer interaction.
- Quora -- a sensitive problem is usually discussed on daily basis on Quora, this is your chance to become part of the conversation and let people know that your product can solve a particular problem, better than anything else on the market.
even then, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The market is massive, and the research can take some time to really start seeing some good results, but it's time well spent.
Your existing customers is a huge asset of your startup, even if you're just going against the wind in the very early stages, a few customers can make a big impact on how you solve problems, how you perceive the overall standing of your startup. The thing to start with, is always questions. Question your existing customers, what they like about the product, what they don't like, what they'd like to see improved. It's such a elementary thing to do, but so many startups focus on their initial vision and totally ruin their chances at becoming one with customers.
In the same respect, reward those customers who do interact with you and do want you to build a better product, this can come in the form of freebies to give away to friends, or additional usage time to their current subscription, or whatever business model you're using. Build a forum around your product just for your customers, it will save you time in the long-run -- as customers will start to interact with each other and share their take on what your product means for them.
Marketing strategies are often about the personality of a product, than they are about the dozens of solutions they provide. Learn to tell a story of how you've come to be in this startup world, and watch how people start to follow that which you're truly passionate about, inspired and driven by. It can get really thick in the current startup scene, but exceptional teams never go unnoticed.
Alex Ivanovs has been writing about business and technology topics for the past ten years, and holds vast experience within both fields. Currently he is managing CodeCondo -- an evergrowing community of developers.