Anyone who has ever tried to keep a startup alive knows how difficult this can be. Startups are fragile little things and they need every bit of help to survive long enough to thrive. Good marketing can do a lot to ensure a startup finds a customer base and grows enough to reach stability.
Unfortunately, a huge number of startups do this the wrong way. Considering how complicated startup marketing can get, this is no surprising. Now, there are many startup marketing mistakes that you can make and, today, we will concentrate on the biggest among them – those that will completely miss the point and cost your startup money instead of helping it make more.
Not Developing a Strategy
Marketing is often seen as a non-essential aspect of running a startup. The essentials include coming out with a product people will want to buy, coming out with it in time and finding a niche on the market for it. Attracting initial funding is another essential part of the startup life.
Marketing is rarely seen as absolutely essential and, if we are being completely honest, it is often not. Namely, startups can survive with a minimal amount of marketing, at least in the earliest days.
Unfortunately, many startups take this as a sign that they can just jump into marketing haphazardly, eventually hitting the right notes and ultimately reaping the benefits.
This simply does not happen. You cannot just start pressing marketing buttons in the hopes that you will hit the right combination.
It does not work that way.
If you do your startup marketing without a strategy, you will be throwing money away and your results will be underwhelming, at best. In other words, you need a marketing strategy.
This strategy will, first and foremost, identify your goals. Not all startups have the same goals when it comes to marketing. For example, some startups want to expand their customer base. Others want to keep the customers they have. Some startups just want to spread the word among the investors.
You need to know what your goals are.
Next, you have to determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) will best show how your marketing efforts are doing. Maybe these will be the number of new sign-ups. Perhaps these will be an increased revenue. Maybe these will be the amount of interest you get from investors.
Of course, you will also want to determine how much money you can spend on marketing and what part of it you will be doing yourself. Some startups decide to do everything in-house as it is a cheaper option. Other startups decide to hire marketing agencies and similar types of professionals who can help them achieve the best possible results with their marketing investment.
The important thing is that you keep all of this in mind and come up with a strategy that will reflect all of this.
Getting Caught Up in Hype
The marketing industry has become infiltrated by people who know very little about marketing. These so-called experts are all over the place and, for whatever reasons they might have, they are constantly hyping marketing techniques and channels that simply do not bring results.
Social media marketing is the perfect example. This is not saying that social media marketing cannot be effective. It can. However, when they say you should forget about email marketing altogether and spend all of your money on social media marketing, they are sending you down a very dark alley. Email marketing is still far more effective than social media marketing and you need to understand that social media is more about brand awareness than actual numbers. At least at first.
Nowadays, everyone is talking about account-based marketing and data-driven marketing, as if these are somehow magically supposed to help startups attract customers and make more money.
Marketing is hard work and certain tried and true practices will usually work much better than the last marketing buzzword.
It is important not to get caught up in the hype and to weigh your options carefully. If you are inexperienced in marketing, talk to someone who has been doing it for a while, and we are not talking about your local marketing guru. We are talking about a professional who has been doing marketing for at least a decade or two.
Forgetting about Mobile
It has been more than two years since the number of mobile internet users surpassed desktop users. When you consider the amount of time people spend browsing the web on their mobile devices as opposed to desktop computers, the trend is even more noticeable.
And yet, mobile marketing is still to catch up with the more traditional desktop-based digital marketing.
Now, there are some sound reasons for this. Developing apps can be expensive and producing mobile-oriented content can require additional specialization. In general, the promise is tremendous but the practices are difficult to adopt.
If you want your startup to benefit from marketing, you must take the extra step. You have to utilize mobile marketing in order to grow. The future is so obviously mobile-leaning that you cannot afford to miss out on this enormous market.
You might feel a bit apprehensive about spending money on the mobile marketing platform like Leanplum, but you shouldn’t be. With a good solution, it will be as easy as you cannot imagine and your mobile engagement rates will go through the roof.
Your customers are spending most of their time on their mobile devices. You need to be present and you need to let them know that your startup is just what they needed.
Doing marketing for your startup is not an easy task and there are many traps to avoid. The ones we covered in this article are definitely the most dangerous potentially and you need to do everything in your power to find a way around them.
If you are not sure where to start and how to start doing marketing for your startup, there is always free content you can check out online.
Do so. Learn. Grow.