For anyone who’s ever owned a startup this is such a key and seemingly simple question but as you start to get into it, discuss it with peers and mentors and even start meeting with marketing consultants or agencies you will realise that your mind might be blown by how confusing this space is at the moment.
Should you be investing in marketing software – Pardot, Marketo, Infustionsoft or get a Digital, Content or PR Agency on board for a year? How much should you invest in FB advertising and what’s going to get me return on investment.
Ahhhh the ever sought after ROI! So many things to do and invest in, so little time and money!! And who do you trust when everyone is telling you different things?
With digital marketing opportunities giving us small startup owners more options than ever, why does it sometimes feel like we’re still not reaching our ideal clients and target market?
So in our experience of working with tech startups specifically, there are some stand out ways you can generate new leads by doing it yourself. As a startup doing it yourself is a great way of learning how so that when the big bucks do come rolling in you not only understand the process, you can write it down and outsource what works. Here we go. The outcome of reading this post should be to implement one of these today, go:
TIP #1 – Know who you’re talking to
If you don’t completely NAIL who you’re target market is your startup will be in trouble from the get go. The reason is you’ll be too broad. We don’t have to communicate mass market anymore – that’s like soooo eighties – we can now be hyper-targeted and hyper-local.
Pick one or two real people you would love to be your customers and then go from there. Name them, find a pic of an avatar and think about the following. What are their hopes and dreams? Their aspirations? What do they want from your product? And what are other brands doing that they love? What primary emotion does he/she feel at the exact moment she’s about to buy your product or service? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, bring a couple of your ideal clients together and ask them.
TIP #2 – Where are they hangin’?
Figure out where your little personas are hanging out….and then go hang there. If they’re a 25yr old foodie, designer they’ll be on Snapchat and reading Urban List, Broadsheet and Frankie. If they’re a 45yr old CEO they’ll be on LinkedIn and reading AFR, CEO mag and Qantas mag.
Tip #3 – Create awesome content
Blogging and creating content regularly can suck. But the more content you’ve got up the more Google will be loving you…and you want Google to LOVE you! Create content around what sort of questions your target market might be asking Google. One of our best lead-gen blog posts on Rhetoric is ‘How much do PR Agencies charge?’, it drives leads and traffic straight to my inbox without having to do anything. The post was written in 2013 and is still bringing in the $$ for us.
Don’t worry too much about ‘key words’ either, Google has moved beyond key words and is much more sophisticated in how they pinpoint you as leaders in your field. Be authentic, talk about your industry, the spiders will do the rest!
Tip #4 – SEO
Creating great content, even if you’re only doing it once a month, is great to enhance the Domain Authority for your startup’s website. Ensure your website has been set up correctly so you have SEO plug ins like SEO by Yoast which help you optimize your blog posts and teach you about SEO as you go. Also, ensure you have Google Analytics set up and you learn how to use it. This will be a MASSIVE asset to you in generating leads and knowing where your web traffic is coming from.
Tip #5 – Be a thought leader
Build your own personal brand – face to face and via social media channels. Blogging is great for this, but you can also suggest to media outlets or other bloggers that you blog for them.
Find complementary products and services who are targeting the same clients and customers as you and blog for them occasionally. In a digital world the number of ‘touchpoints’ a customer needs now (ie: how many times a customer sees your brand before they buy) has gone from below 10 to over 40, so you need to try and get in front of your leads more.
Tip #5 – Build your credibility
You know referrals are going to build your startup. Capitlise on this by being much more organized about collating case studies and testimonials. There are some nice little plugins you can use from Google which prompt customers to give you a ‘star rating’ as they’ve used your service. PR is also mega helpful with this via working with media and influencers, see Tip #12.
Tip #6 – Social media savvy
People care about people. Tell a story. From your family’s history and connection with the land to your employees’ stories, personalizing your brand will garner trust and build connection with your target market.
Vinomofo are great at this, follow them on Facebook here.
Tip #7 – Be profesh
If you launch with a slick brand you’re automatically building credibility. Positioning yourself in a more premium way is a highly beneficial strategy in a busy and noisy market.
And don’t be afraid to invest. The difference between professional photography and graphic design really does show.
Look at hiring a photographer or use good quality stock photos – check out our fave Stocksy.
Tip #8 – Don’t be boring
Gone are the days of corporate, stuffy brands pushing out dry and boring content. In our new digital and social world, consumers expect two-way conversations, engagement, timely responses and a heap of personality!
Bring your brand to life and be brave. Pull back the curtains and show them the behind the scenes of how your business operates.
Tip #9 – Piss people off
If you’re pissing people off that’s actually a good thing. Bear with me! The more niche and targeted you are in your communications the more you’re nailing it with your ideal customers and maybe alienating the ones (timewasters) that weren’t going to buy from you anyway.
Celebrate each unsubscribe from your mailing list!
Tip #10 – What gets measured gets done
The great thing about our digital world is that it’s getting much easier to measure our marketing influence. Determining which are the most impactful links to your website, click-throughs, press mentions, website traffic, impressions and engagement on social media, number of fans, number of leads, bounce rates on your website, the list is seemingly endless. Measuring results can help create informed decisions in the short and long term to build your startup.
We use Similar Web to check out web traffic for any website in the world and we can quickly decide whether we’d like to pitch article ideas or give certain websites content based on their traffic. Put your own web address in and see how you rate!
Marketing can take time and money but investing even a small amount each month will help build your credibility, increase your reach and will build that sales pipeline to help grow your startup.
Tip #11 – Don’t be a scaredy cat
I don’t know if it’s the people I hang out with but everyone thinks that cold calling is bad. Make a list of your ideal clients and connect with them on LinkedIn, Twitter, email them. I’m not talking harassment here, I’m talking about offering people the opportunity to get to know you. People – your potential clients – who might have just been thinking, “I really need help with this right now,”
Be positive and go for it. You have nothing to lose. And if you don’t do it, you could lose your business.
Tip #12 – Go to the media
Maybe pick two points in the year where you go the media with a media release around a new product launch, an award you’ve won, a new trend you’re seeing in your industry backed up with stats (media love stats) or a new partnership for example.
Reaching more people via the media is a great way to access new and different audiences and feed traffic to your website. It also helps you position your brand and builds credibility helping speed up the decision making process by prospective clients.
Media like things that are new, exciting, different, firsts and quirky stuff. And be a bit daring, go to them with an alternative or controversial opinion on a trending subject.
Tip #13 – Sort your brand out
When looking at public relations as a way of promoting your new product, App or software you need to think strategically. Getting your messaging right and consistent across all platforms is key and a good PR Agency can help you get this right up front as we’re experts at generating relevant, punchy and intelligent content.
We worked with a new disruptive medical tech startup recently and spent three months nailing their target demographics, creating copy for each target segment and buying stunning stock images (they exist trust me – see link above) which would resonate with our differing target segments too. Content is king and by creating a tonne of awesome content which was the basis of the website once you start implementing your marketing plan and PR as we generate traffic to your website you’ll be able to convert your leads into sales.
PR should not be your only method of lead generation for your startup. Yes we can get you exposure to new audiences, yes it builds credibility, positions you as leaders in your field and helps speed up the decision making process for sure. However, with regards to generating leads you’ll also need to invest in Google Ads, social media advertising and more depending on your budget. PR works awesomely hand in hand with these other marketing activities and fits in well with
Tip #14 – Give exclusives
One of the things we do as a PR Agency for tech startups is give exclusive stories to the bigger media outlets – ie: 1million monthly view websites eg news.com.au, Australian Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald. We tell them its an exclusive, that we haven’t approached anyone else, then we give them some well written content and some awesome digital assets – minimum professional shots of the business owners or something related.
I hope you found this useful. Any questions or feedback drop me an email at email@example.com, happy to help 🙂
Rhetoric PR works with tech startups including Zegami, Dr Sicknote and JoeyCrowd. From Internet of Things to App PR, FinTech to InsureTech and working with passionate entrepreneurs, we’re sought out by national media and we keep them up to date on what’s happening, who’s doing what and why new technologies that our clients are producing are going to create profound changes to the way we live, work and play. Check out how we work here.