Table of Contents
- 1 The Planning Stages for a Product Launch
- 1.1 Ideas vs. Opportunities
- 1.2 Market Research for Startups
- 1.3 Market Requirements Document
- 1.4 Product Requirements Document
- 1.5 Testing Your Product
- 1.6 Build Your Product Team
- 1.7 Research and Development Stage
- 1.8 Early Growth Stage in a Startup
- 1.9 Plan for Rapid Growth for Startups
- 1.10 Keep a Close Eye on Your Finances
- 1.11 Create a scalable operational process.
- 1.12 Address staffing needs.
- 1.13 Set Goals for Startups
- 1.14 SMART GOAL EXAMPLE:
- 1.15 The Action Stages of a Product Launch
- 1.16 Rev-Up Your Marketing Tactics
- 1.17 Always Start with Marketing Research
- 1.18 Create Your Marketing Foundation
- 1.19 Before the Launch: Building a Community
- 1.20 Content Marketing
- 1.20.1 Email Marketing
- 1.20.2 Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
- 1.20.3 Public Relations
- 1.20.4 Network, network, network for startup marketing
- 1.21 After the Product Launch: Don’t Lose Momentum
- 1.22 General FAQ’s
How to Turn an Idea into a Steady Revenue Stream for Startups
Whether you’re new to the startup world or you’re a veteran entrepreneur, you know startup marketing and launching a new product can be difficult. With a high risk of failure (70 percent of product launches fail in the first year), there’s a lot to do to ensure your product launch succeeds.
Our CEO and Managing Director, George Schildge, has been a part of the startup world for over 30 years.
From selling groundbreaking products like the first pulse oximeter, the first check-reader, the first digital security surveillance system to consulting with some of the top startups in the Boulder and Denver, Colorado startup community to all over the United States – he’s been around the block a time or two and has a lot of great insights to share.
But first a little more about George. George’s career all started when he landed in Boulder, Colorado in 1982. While working at a little startup called BTI, later sold to British Oxygen Company (BOC), is where he caught the startup bug.
After that, he worked for other startups like Soricon, Loronix, CoCreate Software, Baan Business Systems, and most recently Matrix Marketing Group.
During these affiliations, he gained experience in developing, launching, and managing both products and businesses. George has been involved with Startup Grind, TechStars, TiE Rockies, Rockies Venture Club, and many other organizations.
During his tenure in the startup community, he has been a conduit for startups looking to secure funding or broaden their market reach.
He’s worked with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Soundview Technology Group, Credit Suisse First Boston, Robertson Stephens, Deutsche Banc, Lehman brother, Merrill Lynch, Bear, Stearns, Goldman Sachs, SG Cowen, J.P. Morgan, UBS Warburg, Dain Rauscher Wessels, and many other angels and venture capital firms.
So, I sat down with George Schildge to soak up some of the knowledge he’s gained throughout the years as it relates to bringing new products to market. In today’s post, I’ll share some of my greatest takeaways from our conversation along with some tips on how your startup can ensure a successful product launch.
One thing that caught my attention from George was what he said to me about startups. “The way a startup makes money is betting on a market segment that starts out small,” stated George. He continued, “And once the startup gets going with a proven product or service and market acceptance it ends up really big.”
The problem with your typical startup is that they miss the market, poor marketing, or they run out of money. So they often turn to Venture Capital or Angel money.
The capital market often uses a model he called a ‘paint by number analysis.’ If it doesn’t fit their model with market size, often in the billions of dollars, they walk away.
So let’s dive in and learn about how to make sure your startup has the marketing horsepower to be successful.
The Planning Stages for a Product Launch
First, we will talk about planning. One of my favorite quotes (ask my colleagues) is “An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing,” because I believe in its message.
If you’ve already begun your startup journey, you’re well aware this won’t be a journey of constant upward growth. Instead, the journey to your startup’s success will feel like a roller coaster ride, with many ups and many downs. Take the time to plan for your future before diving into the action phase to ensure your preparation for the crazy ride ahead.
Ideas vs. Opportunities
If you’re at the beginning stages of your product launch (i.e., you have a great idea, but you don’t know where to go from here), this section is for you. Throughout, I’ll reference what we like to call “the startup bible” in our office. Its real title is New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship in the 1990s by Jeffry A. Timmons.
Don’t let the title fool you. The book was written a while ago but still contains staple knowledge that can help any entrepreneur succeed in today’s competitive business environment.
The most important part of this stage is recognizing that all ideas are not great opportunities. According to Timmons, not only is an opportunity timely, attractive, and durable for its users, but it must also provide value for its users. Not exactly rocket science, but it is important to realize. Without opportunity, your product launch is at high risk of failure.
In his book, Timmons also posed the following four criteria for an opportunity to be timely, attractive, durable, valuable, etc. He said:
- “The “window of opportunity” must be opening rather than closing, and remain open long enough.
- Entry into a market with the right characteristics is feasible (and the management team can achieve it).
- The venture has or can achieve a competitive advantage (i.e., to achieve leverage).
- Finally, the economics of the venture are rewarding and forgiving and allow significant profit and growth potential.
So, if you are still in these beginning stages, make sure you not only have a great idea but a promising opportunity. Because without that opening “window of opportunity,” your product could be shortlived and offer little room for growth in the future.
If you’ve identified an opportunity and you’ve begun to create your startup, keep in mind that the general timeline of the stages of a startup are:
- Research and Development Stage (0-3 years)
- Early-Growth Stage (4-10 years)
- Maturity Stage (10-15 years)
- Stability Stage (15+ years) – Yay! No longer just trying to survive, but instead the goal is to maintain, steady profitable growth.
This timeline may be an approximation – some stages may last longer, and others may be cut short. But, it’s important that you not get discouraged during your early years of development.
If you’ve truly found an opportunity in the market and remain diligent through each stage, you can move forward to the stability stage and experience predictable revenue growth.
Market Research for Startups
As we just discussed, it’s one thing to have an idea, it’s another thing to have an opportunity. So how do you know you’ve got something more?
Market research will help you determine the gap in the marketplace (and help you to determine if your idea is just an idea or an incredible opportunity). Start by creating some fundamental requirements documents – an MRD and a PRD.
Market Requirements Document
First, you’ll start with a market requirements document (MRD). An MRD will help you pinpoint the customer’s need for your products so you can define your target market and create buyer profiles. This document will also help you identify the competitors in your industry.
Overall, the MRD will help you build a business case for your product that you can then begin to share with potential investors.
Product Requirements Document
After you’ve proven there is a strong market for your product, it’s time to develop a product requirements document (PRD).
While the term PRD is often used interchangeably with the term MRD, they are actually pretty different.
The market requirement document should define whether or not there is a business opportunity for your product, while the PRD is an exhaustive document that outlines the ins and outs of the actual product. Check out this article for an explanation of MRD vs. PRD.
The PRD is written from the user’s point of view and reviews the product’s capabilities and features that will help meet the market needs (outlined in the MRD). Your product team will use this document to build and test product prototypes, so it should be detailed enough to enable them to construct the product.
Testing Your Product
Once your product developers have created a product, testing it with beta testers and focus groups will give you an idea of how customers are going to react to your product.
When you have test results, you’ll have a better idea of who is going to connect with your product (and you can use testers’ quotes in customer testimonials if needed!)
It’s important to remember that your product doesn’t have to be perfect before releasing it to beta testers. Give them a prototype with basic features and obtain regular feedback from your users.
This will help you identify what matters most to your consumers so you can spend most of your time developing the important features that will help to grow your products’ popularity.
Build Your Product Team
Research and Development Stage
If you’ve confirmed that you have an incredible opportunity, then you should move forward by building a team that will support your launch through to success. At startups, your team is incredibly important.
In fact, if selling your company (or idea) is a future goal, developing your management team may play a bigger role than you realize. In fact, George informed me that VCs and investors are often more interested in buying products because of the team behind them – not the product itself.
It’s your creativity, hard work, and dedication that are often viewed as most valuable, so as you build your team, ensure that you’re looking for employees that will bring high value to the table and continually push your startup to better places. In other words, don’t take this task lightly.
During your beginning stages, your startup team will consist of a small group of people. Typically there’s a CEO, one to two product engineers, and maybe a VP of marketing or a CMO. At this time, everyone on the team is a “doer,” has creative freedom, and makes all or most of the key decisions.
Pro Tip: One factor that can cause friction during this stage is confusion over the roles and responsibilities of the founding group. To avoid conflict, make sure everyone on your team has a defined role both during the startup and early stages of growth. Clarify what team members have authority over which areas of the business to reduce chaos during the product launch.
Early Growth Stage in a Startup
When your company begins to grow, and it’s time to add team members, you should remain diligent about what type of employees you hope to have within your company. Below, I’ve included a few steps to follow when building your startup team.
Hire team members that can have full utilization and that fill in the gaps.
I’m sure you know startups don’t typically have a large budget to work with, so be strategic when putting your team together. It can be difficult for startups to hire a lot of full-time staff during this early stage.
Focus on hiring team members that can fill in your talent gaps within the organization. If you have a lot of skills overlapping among employees, you may not be fully utilizing your team. Identify the key positions you’ll need full-time and find candidates that fill each spot. After that, you can begin outsourcing.
Outsource your marketing.
It’s important to build a marketing team that’s going to help publicize your product. After all, what good is it to have an incredible product that no one knows about?
While you’ll likely have a CMO or VP of marketing in your group of co-founders, bootstrapped startups often don’t have the budget to build a full-service marketing team.
So, they often turn to outsourcing to get a full team of experienced marketers – often at the price of one in-house employee’s salary. Some outsourcing options include:
- Hire Freelancers.
- Hire multiple agencies with various specialties (public relations, marketing, graphic design, etc.).
- Hire a full-service agency to handle all marketing, design, and PR needs.
*Be warned with options one and two. It can be overwhelming to manage all these moving parts while balancing day-to-day duties – so make sure your team is up for the challenge.
If you’d like more information on outsourcing, check out our resource on it here.
Look for diagonal thinkers.
Because startups often have fewer resources, employees strongly rely on each other to ensure tasks are completed on time and to the highest degree. To identify high-quality job candidates, we recommend testing your prospective employees for “diagonal thinking.”
Diagonal thinkers can combine both linear (analytical) thinking and lateral (creative) thinking – hence diagonal. By identifying diagonal thinkers during the hiring process, you can recognize who will bring the most breadth and depth to your team.
It also helps to fill talent gaps and refresh the way you approach problem-solving. You can find a free diagonal thinking self-assessment here.
Look for these 5 traits when building your sales team.
Your sales team can make or break the success of your product, so when it comes time to hire, it’s important to take a strategic approach. Our CEO, George always looks for these five traits:
- Prior success
- Work ethic
You’ll notice that, for the most part, these are soft skills. Your salespeople should have the drive and the personality to aptly explain how your product will improve your customers’ lives to a variety of people.
Curiosity, intelligence, and work ethic will help them succeed, but they aren’t traits you can teach. Finally, if they’re coachable, a mentor can help fill in their skills gap to make them unstoppable.
These five traits will help you find people that have the potential and drive to bring your startup to new levels. If you’re trying to sharpen your sales skills, check out this article for tips on becoming a modern sales professional.
Align Your Marketing and Sales Teams
When building your team, make sure your marketers and sales professionals are willing to collaborate in their day-to-day lives. To create a seamless experience for your customers during your product launch, your sales team should be fully aware and involved with whatever your marketing team is planning.
Before launch, determine what is considered a qualified lead and how you’ll notify sales when these leads occur.
You don’t want to attract a lot of hot leads to your website if your sales team is ill-prepared to follow through with nurturing. For more tips on marketing and sales alignment check out these articles:
- Marketing and Sales Alignment Is Crucial To Your Business. Learn Why!
- Sales vs. Marketing: How to Align the Two
Take the time to do some strategic planning for your future.
Startups go through multiple stages and each stage requires different employee involvement and different management skills.
It’s best to be clear about what your startup will need and how your team members will adapt to ensure the business is equipped to move forward into each stage.
Plan for Rapid Growth for Startups
Your product launch will take a lot of planning, not just for the product but for the company as well.
Before the launch, it’s important to create a business growth strategy that will prepare you for sudden rapid growth.
While growth is typically thought of as a positive aspect of a business, it can also have a negative side. This occurs when the business isn’t prepared for the product launch to go exceedingly well and for customers to flow in at alarming rates.
So, you’ll want to have a plan so that you’re not scrambling if and when things take off. Consider what issues come with unexpected or rapid growth. How will your business prepare? Do you have the infrastructure in place for growth?
When creating your business’ growth strategy, it’s best to start with three angles – your finances, your operations, and your staffing.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Finances
Maintain your cash flow.
As you grow, it will become more and more difficult to track all the money that is coming into and leaving your business. From the beginning, keep a cash flow statement and update it regularly. Don’t let yourself get behind only to find you’re deep in the red.
Watch Your Profit Margins.
It’s easy to assume that if your revenue is increasing, so are your profits, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. As your business grows, so will your expenses. Things like employee salaries, administrative costs, rent, etc. can add up quickly, so be prepared to review profit margins and make adjustments where necessary.
Don’t let your taxes surprise you.
With rapid growth, your company’s taxes will undoubtedly skyrocket as you become more profitable. Make sure you’re prepared if you jump into the next tax bracket.
Create a scalable operational process.
If your business takes off, you need to be able to meet customer demands and provide a seamless customer experience. If your customers are unsatisfied in a world where most buyers rely on customer reviews before purchasing, your company can go downhill fast.
So, take the time to make sure you have a scalable process to ensure you can deliver on quality and customer service, whether you’re dealing with 500 customers or 5,000 customers.
Address staffing needs.
We addressed staffing in the previous section, but the tips in this section are more about creating a human resources plan. If your business takes off, who will be in charge of hiring? How will you determine who is a good addition to your team?
It’s a good idea to document your HR processes before the product launch. What kind of culture do you want to develop at your company? What kind of employees are you hoping to hire?
Create a booklet that outlines your company standards in the HR department. This will help provide direction during the growing stages, so you don’t end up settling while trying to meet the demands of your growing business.
Set Goals for Startups
The final subject I want to discuss in the “planning” section of this article is the importance of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals for your product launch. Goals will help you determine your benchmarks for success.
It’s best to establish these in the beginning so that you can monitor, analyze, and adjust your tactics as your launch moves forward for your greatest chance of success.
What are S.M.A.R.T. goals?
- Specific – Don’t be broad, instead make them specific to one area of your launch
- Measurable – Quantify your goals – think percentages or sales numbers
- Attainable – It’s okay to dream big, but don’t set impossible goals. If it isn’t achievable with your current staff, budget, etc., then lower your standards. You can always aim higher next time.
- Relevant – Is your goal worthwhile? If it’s not a building block toward larger successes, it’s irrelevant.
- Timebound – Set deadlines. Do you want to achieve this goal in a week, in a quarter, by the end of the year?
To get you started, here are some areas where you can set goals to focus on during your product launch:
- Awareness: Do you want to reach a certain amount of social media followers, do you want to secure a certain amount of media mentions, features, etc.? If so, by when?
- Website traffic: Do you want to attract a certain amount of visitors to your website before your product is on sale?
- Funding: If you’re fundraising before the product is available to the mass market, do you have a funding goal? How much do you need to secure and when?
SMART GOAL EXAMPLE:
We will gain 1,000 Instagram followers by the end of the quarter.
This goal is specific (Instagram), measurable (1,000), attainable (this is possible if using strategic Instagram tactics), relevant (a large social media following will help you build product awareness), and time-bound (achieve it by the end of the quarter).
To help you keep track of your goals, create a launch calendar that outlines your activities throughout the pre-launch, launch, and post-launch phases. This will help you map out what needs to be done to meet your time-bound goals.
When creating your calendar, here are a few questions that can guide you:
- What is your product launch date?
- When will testing begin?
- When will the testing end?
- When are you going to go live with your social media?
- When will your content production begin?
You can’t be too specific in your launch calendar – get down to the nitty-gritty here so that you always have an ongoing to-do list to help you stay organized and on track.
The Action Stages of a Product Launch
Okay, now to the fun part. Here, we’ll talk about all the marketing steps you should put into action to make the most of your product launch.
Rev-Up Your Marketing Tactics
One question that we get a lot is, “When should I start implementing my marketing strategy?” If you Google this question or look it up on Quora, you’ll also find there’s a lot of discussion about it. But, our answer is: right away!
Don’t just use marketing to write a press release. Marketing should be involved from the get-go to ensure you are fully prepared when your launch date arrives.
Use these startup marketing tips and watch your growth begin to take off.
Always Start with Marketing Research
Technically, while you were completing your market requirements document (discussed in an earlier section), you simply were just in the marketing research stage of your business.
You need to know who you’re marketing to. In the digital age, your interactions with your customers can make or break you. And, it can be hard to have genuine interactions with your target consumers if you don’t know anything about them.
So, get your marketers involved early and have them conduct market research before starting any tactics. Your consumer preferences should dictate where you have an online presence and how you interact with your community.
Create Your Marketing Foundation
Build a Brand
Before you begin building your online presence, you should have a clear idea of what you want your brand identity to be. Your brand identity will determine how you present your company online. Are you a bold, brash brand? Are you socially conscious?
Don’t forget to use your findings from your market research to shape your brand. If something is highly important to your supporters, consider how it can become a part of your brand.
Check out our blog on the key steps to building a brand identity to start constructing the foundation of your brand.
Develop Your Messaging
What makes your product different? Keep your product messaging simply before and during the product launch. It should be clear what your product does and what makes it valuable.
Your messaging might be the most important startup marketing activity that needs to happen very early on.
Before the launch, you may not have the attention of your audience yet, so you don’t want to bore them with lists of product features. Instead, keep it short, simple and interesting.
Catch their attention and draw them to your website. You can always lead them to company blog posts or articles that delve into different features at a later time.
Related Article: Does Your Brand Positioning Actually Sell
Create Your Product’s Website
Before you start flushing out your online presence with social media and content, make sure you have a strong website in place first.
Your website will likely be the first place that potential customers interact with your product, so make sure you create an incredible user experience. Things like navigation, a welcoming home page, and clear CTAs (call to actions) can play a big role in how well people perceive your brand.
If you’re looking for more information about this, check out our blog series on website design.
Once you have a great website built and live, it’s time to start developing your online presence to share your messaging and begin building a community.
Before the Launch: Building a Community
In your market requirement document (discussed above) you’ve already outlined your ideal customer profiles, so now it’s time to determine which marketing tactics will best allow you to communicate with your target audience to build up buzz and excitement around your product.
When you start building your online strategy, make sure to consider your customer journey. How will you garner people’s attention? How does the audience in your space typically go about purchasing products? Do they do online research? Do they check out customer reviews? Are they active on social media? Consider how your target audience uses the internet and then customize your marketing strategy to suit their needs.
Luckily, the internet allows you to share the word with your audience cheaply and in highly-targeted ways. Below, we’ve included some of our favorite digital marketing tactics to promote your product launch.
Use these social media tips for your startup marketing.
Social media marketing can start up as soon as you have your product solidified. At this stage, you can begin posting content like blogs, videos, and relevant news articles to build up hype and start developing a supportive community. These tips will help you make the most of your social media.
1. Choose the Right Platform
It’s important to note that social media isn’t an area where you need to be on all platforms for it to work. This will boil down to your market research and your resources. Where is your audience active? How much time do you have to dedicate to posting on social media? These factors will help you decide where you should be active.
If you are low on time or budgeting in this area, it’s okay to start with one platform and slowly add them on as your community grows. Social media content is more of a time commitment than many people may presume.
2. Engage with Your Audience.
Not only do you have to publish strategic, frequent posts, but you also need to engage with your audience. If your followers are tagging you in comments and sharing your posts, make sure to interact with them by responding to their interactions – this will only help build your community.
3. Post Frequently.
Consistency is key when trying to build a social following, so don’t overwhelm yourself by choosing outlets that don’t fit. For a frame of reference, I’ve included some frequency recommendations for the major platforms to increase your chances of your content being seen.
- Linkedin: 1x per day
- Facebook: 5x per day
- Twitter: 15x per day
- Pinterest: 11x per day
- Instagram: 1-2x per day
That’s a lot to commit to, so pick your platforms wisely (see tip #1). For more information, check out this blog from CoSchedule.
4. Stay organized.
When you’re planning out your content, put it on a calendar. Check out our social media content calendar template here. It’s best to be organized because the last thing you want on your mind is whether or not you posted on Twitter this morning.
If you want to make it extra easy on yourself, use a social media planning software, like Buffer, Sprout Social, or Hootsuite so that you can schedule your content ahead of time. These will also allow you to analyze the activity on your social media accounts and see what is and isn’t working (see more about this further down in the Monitor and Analyze Section).
5. Keep Branding Consistent
No matter what social platforms you choose to activate, make sure to keep your branding consistent. Keeping your logo and bio information parallel across platforms will help you build brand recognition.
When you create content, always remember that you are trying to build a relationship with your audience – not just trying to sell your product.
So much about business in the digital world is the ability to have a two-way connection with your audience, so keep your content relevant and valuable to your audience.
Use these startup marketing tips and watch your growth begin to take off.
Keep reading for more content tips.
1. Start developing content now.
Take my word for it, content can take longer to develop than you may think – especially if you’re juggling multiple tasks for the product launch.
So, get started on developing content as early as you can. This will allow you to build up what I like to call a “content bank,” so that when it comes time to publish a new blog or newsletter, you have multiples to choose from.
2. Optimize for SEO.
You’ve certainly heard this before, but optimizing for search engines is a fundamental part of getting your website at the top of the search results page and in front of your target audience.
Google’s search engine algorithms are always changing, but these tips are a great place to start when optimizing your website.
Matrix Marketing Group is always testing new methods and they hit a streak out top Google search. The golden SERP.
3. Don’t start publishing your content too late.
Don’t wait until after your product launches before you start publishing blogs. If you’re entering a new market (or entering the market in general) for the first time, start to build your presence in that industry before the launch date.
Start writing blogs and posting about issues, products, and news topics that are relevant to your industry. This will help you to start building a following of people that are genuinely interested in your products and maybe an early adopter.
And, on another important note, SEO can take a few months to gain traction, so you want to start writing blogs and valuable website content right away. This will help to ensure you’re ranking well in the SERPs before your product hits the market.
4. Diversify your content.
It’s no secret that the online world is flooded with content, so you have to make sure yours is of high quality and comes in many forms to suit the preferences of your audience.
Infographics, podcasts, and how-to videos can all help you build excitement for your product and show potential audiences how they can put it to use.
Determine what formats are best for your audience and then reuse and recycle content in various forms to keep them interested and engaged.
5. Organize your content with topic clusters.
Organizing your website’s content is highly important, not just for user experience, but for Google bots as well. The better it is organized, the easier it is for Google to index and will help you improve your search rank. For more information on website architecture, check out this blog post.
Related Articles: Combatting Marketing Challenges with Content Marketing
Email may be one of the oldest digital marketing tools, but it is also one of the most successful marketing tools. In fact, it’s estimated that for every one dollar you spend on email marketing, you can expect to receive approximately 38 dollars of revenue. That’s a pretty incredible ROI.
1. Personalize your emails.
Today’s consumers have high expectations for the emails they receive. Emails that aren’t customized to your customers’ needs will never inspire action – they may never even get opened. So, when writing email content, provide your customers with a personal, engaging experience, leaving them inspired to take action.
2. Use an enticing subject line.
According to this article, 33 percent of email recipients open an email based on subject line alone. To create click-worthy subject lines, consider personalized introductions, including a discount or a special offer, or being a bit mysterious to pique their interest. Also, make sure to keep it short and simple – don’t let it get cut off on mobile devices.
3. Test your emails.
Don’t blindly send out emails and hope they work. Instead, try using A/B tests to see which subject lines, designs, copy, and CTAs result in the highest open and click-through-rates.
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
While organic search is incredibly valuable in garnering website traffic, it can be hard for new businesses or new products to quickly make their way up to the top of the Google results page. So, a quick fix is to start developing PPC ad campaigns.
PPC ads are the paid search results that pop up at the top of your Google results page. As its name suggests, the sponsor of the PPC ad pays each time it is clicked. The price per click can vary greatly, ranging from a few cents to more than $50 per click, depending on the popularity and specificity of the keyword.
PPC ads can be a quick, relatively cheap way to build awareness for your product. Interested? Check out our beginners guide to PPC ads. Or, if you want to know more about how PPC differs from traditional SEO tactics, check out this article.
Build a buzz around your product. If you’ve done your research, you know how your product is going to affect the lives of your consumers – make it known to others too!
Pitch your product press release out to relevant media outlets or offer interviews with influencers to start building awareness (and excitement) for your product. The key to successful media relations is to identify highly relevant journalists or influencers – don’t just “spray and pray.”
Instead, reach out to a few specific journalists. Pitch them a unique angle and make it clear how your product is going to be innovative and highly valuable to their readers.
Use these guest blogging startup marketing tips and watch your growth begin to take off.
Another aspect of public relations today is securing guest writing or guest blogging opportunities. Guest blogging is when you write an article, but instead of posting it on your blog, you’ll publish it on another website or media outlet.
Guest blogging has a few benefits. First of all, it allows you to write for an outlet that may have more readers than your blog – enabling you to reach a larger audience and increase awareness. The second benefit is that it helps you build backlinks to your website.
Gaining backlinks is like gaining trustworthiness votes from other businesses on the web. Typically, you earn them for creating high-value content that others want to share and link to. When you’re able to attract a lot of backlinks from various dependable sites (think Forbes, NeilPatel.com, Entrepreneur, etc.), you become a more credible website in Google’s eyes.
You can start guest blogging by reaching out to various relevant media outlets to see if they accept guest posts. To up your chances of securing a guest post, go ahead and pitch them a few article ideas in your initial outreach. These ideas should have headlines and topics that closely resemble the articles that are already published on their site.
You can start guest blogging today, we accept guest blog posts. Interested? Go here.
Related Article: PR for Startups
Network, network, network for startup marketing
Get involved in your city’s startup community. For example, we love Denver Startup Week, where thousands of entrepreneurs converge to share ideas and tips on how to succeed in the startup world.
Use these startup marketing tips and remember people still buy from people, not emails.
After the Product Launch: Don’t Lose Momentum
What do you do on the day of the product launch and the critical weeks following launch day? The key here is not to lose momentum and keep the buzz going about your product.
During this time, your marketing tactics will largely remain the same to keep the hype going about your product. However, there are a few more topics I’d like to mention.
Monitor and Analyze Results
Before the launch, you had your strategy, messaging, and tactics all laid out, but it’s important to monitor and analyze your results as your product launch moves forward to determine what is resonating with your audience.
If some of your tactics are getting better results than others, look into it and see what may be causing your success (or lack thereof). Use these insights to shape ongoing or future marketing strategies.
Remain Persistent But Never Pestilent
After the launch is over, don’t stop marketing. Very often, your product is the right fit for people, but it may not be the right time. Continue to move forward by maintaining open, consistent communication with your audience. This can come in the form of a newsletter, regular blog posts, and email marketing.
The key here is never to be irritating. You don’t have to email people once per day to remain top of mind. And, when you do reach out, always provide value. By becoming a reliable resource for your audience, you can build up credibility, and when the timing is right, you can rest assured your company (and product) will be top of mind.
Focus on Retention
When all is said and done – this maybe weeks, months, years down the road – don’t forget to focus on retention. It’s common knowledge that it’s cheaper to keep your customers than to attract new ones. Once you’ve begun selling your product, don’t neglect your loyal customers – they’ll be your product’s advocate, which plays a major role in attracting new customers.
To keep your customers happy, build a relationship with them that shows them you care about your customers and will be there for them if they ever encounter problems. When trying to increase retention, consider implementing some of these ideas:
- Start a loyalty program.
- Occasionally distribute discount offers.
- Consistently provide helpful content.
Thanks for sticking around to the end! I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment or contact us. We’d be happy to help.
Use these startup marketing tips and watch your startup begin to gain traction.
In startups, what is the “window of opportunity?”
The window of opportunity must be opening rather than closing, and remain open long enough to capitalize on the opportunity. A window of opportunity is a short, often fleeting period during which a rare and desired action can be taken.
How do you scale a startup company?
Your team is the most critical element of the startup. When building your team, make sure your marketers and sales professionals are willing to collaborate in their day-to-day lives. This is the period when you must be testing marketing messaging, workflows, and sales funnels. Once tests show results, you can begin to scale these marketing activities.
What makes a startup successful?
The team needs previous startup experience, product knowledge, and industry skills to predict the success of a new venture, like a startup. From our experience, we have found that experience alone was not enough to make the team thrive. While experience broadens the teams’ resource pool, they need to be able to identify opportunities, and they need soft skills too.
Who is George Schildge?
George’s career all started when he landed in Boulder, Colorado in 1982. While working at a little startup called BTI, later sold to British Oxygen Company (BOC), is where he caught the startup bug. He’s been helping startups with ideation to the commercialization of product portfolios for diverse revenue streams.