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The Truth About Marketing Every First Time Founder Should Know

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While starting your own business is an exhilarating experience, many start-up founders struggle with successful marketing more than any other area of business. So if you’re thinking about starting a business, here are some of the key things you need to know about marketing before you take the plunge.

Paid Advertising Is Expensive

Every start-up founder will be looking to promote their business as much as possible in order to increase visibility and sales. But unfortunately, they will only have a limited budget and paid advertising can very quickly become an expensive exercise. In fact, most entrepreneurs will eventually learn that executing marketing strategies for paid advertising can end up costing so much that it cuts into too much of their bottom line to be effective.

And just because digital advertising costs more money over time, that doesn’t justify the expense, nor does it necessarily mean it’s any more effective than other strategies. It’s usually much better to spend your advertising dollars on a fully automated campaign with a bid strategy for maximising conversions. Then once you’ve worked out a cost per acquisition that’s both achievable and profitable, you will have a much better chance of potentially having a limitless ad budget.

SEO May Take Longer Than You Think

Seeing results from SEO takes time. While effective SEO is vital if you want to see your website reach the top page of search engine results, it’s a procedure that takes time to see results. The reason SEO doesn’t increase your ranking overnight is because it’s a cumulative process. Not only does researching markets and analysing the industry take time, it also takes time to create quality engaging content that converts. It also takes time for Google crawlers to recognise and assign your website the right authority, and then it’ll be a while before consumers finally start discovering your site.

No two websites are the same, even when they’re both competing for the same customers in the same industry. It basically comes down to variables around your website that impact how long it takes before you start seeing the results of an SEO campaign. But once you’ve started using good SEO protocols, your site will steadily perform better and rank higher as time passes from months to years.

“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.” – Andrew Davis

Make Data Driven Decisions

Even the smallest business or start-up generates data. The insights that can be derived from this data can not only provide value in general, but data-driven decisions can provide a competitive advantage. Data helps businesses evaluate how they can increase brand loyalty, improve operational efficiency, enhance customer experiences, and create new revenue streams.

Everyone talks about the importance of creating a data-driven culture in order to unlock the full potential of start-up businesses, but where do you start? You need to start by looking at whatever data is available to you to establish a foundational baseline. Once you have a decent grasp on the data, you’ll be able to tell things like which channels work the best and the most effective tone of voice, before you can start constantly testing ways of improving the marketing effectiveness of your business.

Never Launch To No Audience

The launch of your start-up is an extremely important event for your brand, so you need to give yourself more time than just a couple weeks. Choosing a launch date that’s far enough in the future will help you develop hype for your brand while making sure that everything is ready. Your launch also shouldn’t be the same time you start generating leads, so you should have a waitlist of interested people or a list of your product’s beta users.

One simple way to create a pre-launch buzz is to construct a landing page on your website with a form that encourages users to register for your brand. This allows you to evaluate market demand early on, which gives you a pool of potential users to start it up. Your landing page should provide potential customers with enough information to stimulate their interest while ensuring they feel comfortable about sharing their contact information. It also needs to be simple and user-friendly as possible, so don’t over-complicate everything.

Quality Content Is King

Quality content is a powerful tool that still maintains its position as the most effective of all types of marketing practices. While it can be tricky to implement for some, this is what wins most people over. Which most likely seems like common sense because people obviously respond better to high quality, authentic content. Even with the rise of online video over the last decade, marketing with quality content statistically generates more leads than outbound marketing strategies, and it also costs less.

By sharing a regular stream of informative, meaningful, and interesting content about your brand on your website and social networks, you’ll be better positioned to gain trust and make sales during the buyer’s journey. Quality content helps you extend your brand’s reach by delivering dramatic results which naturally increases and compounds engagement.

Golden rewards await the advertiser who has the brains to create a coherent image, and the stability to stick with it over a long period.” – David Ogilvy

Most Campaigns Fail (And That’s Ok)

No product marketing campaign will succeed all of the time. Many of them fail, and some of the failures are catastrophic. Failed marketing campaigns can be caused by many different things, from bad timing, to lack of interest, going too far outside their market, or a million other possible reasons. While unsuccessful marketing campaigns will be discouraging, it’s important not to dwell on your failures.  

By taking the time to review your campaign and ascertain how it missed the mark, a failed campaign can actually be a blessing in disguise. Once you understand the reasons, you can make the necessary adjustments for your next campaign launch to be more successful. And each time you fail, it can open up new horizons to conquer. Remember that failure is always an integral part of any start-up’s success. So as long as you’re always trying something new and you’re willing to fail, it’s okay if things don’t go as planned.

Launching a start-up is never simple. And while no one can prepare you for what’s ahead, you’ll have the best chance at success if you know about these marketing truth’s beforehand. Remember, if going into business was that easy, everybody would be doing it.

Felix is the co-founder of GrowthBoost, an online journal covering the latest software and marketing tips for entrepreneurs. Alongside digital journalism, Felix recently graduated from university with a finance degree and enjoys helping students and other young founders grow their projects.

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Startups

How to Avoid Startup Clichés and Buzzwords When Pitching Investors

Using jargon can make you sound like you’re trying to fill space instead of providing meaningful data

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How to pitch investors better

Entrepreneurs frequently seek startup funding through a variety of channels. Yet, none seem as challenging as successfully pitching to experienced investors. After all, investors are pressed for time and eager for opportunities. These characteristics make it challenging to motivate them, especially if you’re bombarding them with a pitch full of jargon. (more…)

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From Idea to Empire: 5 Power Moves for Your Startup to Thrive in Today’s Market

As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that understanding market dynamics and choosing the right business model are crucial

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How to thrive in the startup market in 2024

As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that understanding market dynamics and choosing the right business model are crucial.

A few months into the startup, I was quick to gauge why it is necessary to go beyond the nuances of operational efficiency and the art of sustaining a business amid growing competition.

Collaboration is key.

The HR and the recruiting teams work with departments to foster a culture of collaboration, but what’s indispensable to business performance is the sync between the marketing and sales teams. What we’d consider as entrepreneurs is the need to ensure seamless collaboration to predict and achieve business goals together. In turn, this will help secure long-term recurring revenue for the business.

Besides, entrepreneurs need to focus on revenue as they gear up to take their startup from $0 to $1 million. The journey is filled with critical decisions, from identifying your target customer base to choosing the right funding strategy.

So, what next?

Read on… because here are five practical, results-driven strategies that you as a founder can implement to make a mark in their industry.

#1. Embrace the Lean Methodology

What is lean methodology?

It is all about pivoting resources to create more value for customers with fewer resources. 

This principle encourages you to be more agile and allow rapid iteration based on customer feedback rather than spending years perfecting a product before it hits the market.

Want to implement it?

Here’s what you can do.

Build “Measure-Learn” Loop: What I did was develop a minimum viable product (MVP), a simple version of the product. You can do the same since it allows you to start the learning process as quickly as possible. After launching MVP, measure how customers use it and learn from their behaviors and feedback.

Here’s what I can recommend here:

  • Identify the core features that solve your customers’ primary needs and focus solely on those to develop your MVP.
  • Know the feedback channels where early users can communicate their experiences, suggestions, and complaints.
  • Analyze user behavior and feedback to make informed product development and iteration decisions.

#2. Focus on Customer Development

Let’s talk about taking our startup to the next level. 

It’s not just about getting customers – it’s about really getting to know them. We need to dive into their world, understand their struggles, and see how our product or service can make a difference in their lives. 

It’s like we’re detectives, piecing together the puzzle of our business hypothesis by actually chatting with our customers

What would you ideally do here?

Understand Customer Segments: I’d say, start dividing your target market into segments and develop a deep understanding of each segment’s demographics, behaviors, needs, and pain points. The idea is to get into their shoes and really feel what they feel.

Ensure your Product Clicks: When starting up, think of what you offer and consider whether it clicks with what our customers need. My thought was “Does my product solve their problems? Does it make their day better?” Put yourself through a tough grilling session to show customers the value proposition and ensure that the product’s promise matches what our customers are looking for.

I’d recommend the following actions here:

  • Talk to them – through surveys, interviews, or even casual chats. The goal? To gather real, raw insights about what they need and expect.
  • Use the collected data to create detailed profiles for each type of customer. This way, everyone on our team really understood we were serving. I think this should help your startup as well.
  • Try out different versions of our product with a few customer groups. It’s all about feedback here – understanding if you’re hitting the mark or if we need to pivot.

#3. Foster a Data-Driven Culture

The digital world is highly data driven since it fuels key decisions in a startup. 

I believe it’s essential for us to build a data-driven culture. This means, you’ll move from making decisions based on hunches or assumptions. Instead, the focus should be on data analytics and insights to guide our strategies and improve our outcomes.

What can you do?

Use Data Analytics Tools: You should be using these tools to gather, analyze, and interpret data related to customer behavior, market trends, and our business operations. Here, consider the adoption of pipeline forecasting that leverages AI to find patterns in marketing data. 

In turn, you’ll get areas for improvement since it can analyze historical data and predict the outcome for you to plan your.

Action Items:

  • Pinpoint key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your business objectives and ensure they are measurable and actionable.
  • Next, you can consider training your team to understand and use data analytics tools. This might involve workshops or bringing in experts to build a data-savvy workforce.
  • Once everything is in place, regularly review data reports and dashboards. This gives us a clear picture of a startup’s health and helps adjust your strategies and predict future trends.

#4. Strengthen Your Financial Acumen

A good grip on financial skills is important to steer your business towards growth and making sure it stays on track. For this, you’ll have to understand the money side of things, which helps you manage your cash flow. Think of figuring out smart investment moves and sizing up any risks that come your way.

Here’s a tip on how you can get savvy with your finances.

Maintain Rigorous Financial Discipline: I’m really focused on cultivating a strong company culture, one that truly resonates with our mission. So, I’d suggest fostering open communication and encouraging a sense of ownership and collaboration among everyone in the team.

Action Items:

  • Get to know your financial statements inside out – I’m talking about the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. These are like the vital signs for your business’s financial health
  • Use financial forecasting that helps predict your future money moves. With this, you will have a heads-up on upcoming revenues, expenses, and how much cash you’ll need. Also, research on the available financial forecasting tools that can make predictions spot-on.
  • Don’t go at it alone. Regularly touch base with financial advisors or mentors. With them by your side, you’ll have a fresh perspective on your financial strategies to ensure you’re on the right path to hit your business goals.

5. Prioritize Team Building and Leadership Development

It is crucial to focus on building a solid team and developing strong leaders. This means putting our resources into the people who are going to propel our company forward. 

What you’ll aim for here?

Creating a culture where everyone collaborates and every team member has the chance to emerge as a leader.

What I would do:

Cultivate a Strong Company Culture: This culture should mirror our mission and foster open communication. It’s important that it encourages everyone to feel a sense of ownership and work together.

Invest in Leadership and Team Development: As founders, we’ll have to make way for opportunities for teams to enhance their skills, face new challenges, and grow in their careers.

Some concrete steps that you should consider taking:

  • Begin with clearly communicating your startup’s vision, mission, and values so that every team member is on the same page.
  • Conduct regular team-building activities and workshops to boost skills and strengthen a sense of unity and collaboration.
  • How about starting a mentorship program within our organization? The more experienced team members could guide and support the growth of newer or less experienced folks.
  • Alas… encourage feedback at all levels. We should keep striving to create an environment where open, honest communication is the norm and everyone feels safe to speak up.

I know it’s one thing to get your head around these ideas and quite another to actually make them a part of your everyday business life. But that’s where the real magic happens, right? It’s all in the doing. 

As a startup founder, this means more than just being a big dreamer. How about rolling up your sleeves to be the planner who pays attention to the smallest details. Ultimately, these tips and more tactics around it will help carve a leader in you who listens and cares and the learner who’s always ready to adapt

So, as you’re either starting out or moving forward on this entrepreneurial adventure, keep these practical tips right there.

May these be your guiding lights, helping you steer through the wild and exciting world of building a startup that’s not just a dream, but a thriving reality.

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12 Things I Learned in 12 Months of Working on My Startup

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A few weeks ago I launched my startup. It took exactly 12 months from the initial idea until the moment I saw my app in the App Store. And these were some of the most challenging, fun and exciting 12 months of my whole life. (more…)

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8 Actionable Ways to Get Your Startup’s First 100 Customers

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What’s the one thing that every business wants? Is it money, fame, or endless resources? The answer is quite simple—customers. Having customers is the sure-shot way of ensuring that your business stays afloat in the long run. No matter how good your product or services are, without people buying what you sell, you won’t reach anywhere. However, establishing a customer base is one of the most challenging things a business has to do, especially if you are just starting. (more…)

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