It’s a no-brainer that getting funded is a great achievement. You can hire the best of talent, move into a proper workplace, and invest more in improving your product.
Also, now you can go all-out marketing yourself; and that is where the problem begins.
Once you get funded, there’s an irresistible desire to explore all marketing options which you were not able to afford previously. And that is perfectly understandable. We all want to grow and start marketing ourselves to our target audience, but a careful approach here will ensure that you reach them with maximum effectiveness while burning considerably less amount of money.
Let’s a dive deeper and find out how you can optimise your approach towards marketing so that you can get better results.
1. Hire a senior digital marketing resource
Instead of going for a digital marketing executive, I would strongly suggest that you go with a senior resource who has seven to ten years of experience in handling overall digital marketing for startups/brands.
You will be coming up with a marketing strategy at this time and his/her insights will help you a lot in charting a long-term plan. While hiring the marketing person, make sure that he/she is good with all the major digital channels like SEO, SEM, social media marketing, email marketing and digital PR; a good knowledge of analytics is also must.
From my personal experience, however, I have noticed that people who come from digital marketing agencies don’t live up to the expectation; possibly because agencies have different teams handling all the above digital channels. I would suggest that you hire people from other startups/brands that are in the same niche as yours or somewhat related.
PS: I am suggesting a marketing resource in digital because it has a low entry barrier. Traditional marketing channels are very expensive and you will blow up your money in no time.
2. Work on your branding
Once you have decided to kickstart your marketing activities, you need to start working on your communication.
Coming up with a brand personality will help you define an identity for your brand. This, in turn, will develop an emotional connect with your customers and also help you stand apart from your competitors.
Once you have this in place, you will find that coming up with a tweet, an ad-copy for SEM campaign, or even the copy of a landing page becomes lot more easier.
To read up more on this, please refer to my earlier column on why startups must have a brand personality.
3. Start creating remarkable content
Content marketing is the most reliable way to make an impact on your audience. Having good content writers on board will make sure that you are coming up with content that people like and share. More than that, it will ensure that people get to know you and adopt your product/service.
This is a very big playground and you can dabble with so many options here. From videos to infographics, to blog posts and downloadable content; there are N number of ways you can create and share content.
However, you should stay away from fluffy content if all it gets is page views but no leads/sales. There’s no point in having a blog that shares listicles on food and lifestyle while you are dealing in real estate.
So keep analysing the impact of your content strategy on your KPIs (brand awareness, leads, sales, etc.) on a regular basis. You should always see content as a way to increase more sales, and not just a channel to get more likes or pageviews.
4. Focus on product marketing
While the initial version of your product was about giving customers a good experience, you should now look at maximising your returns from the customer’s usage of your product.
We all know that product marketing is a good way to spread the word organically and it saves a lot of money; but many startups wait till they hire a good growth hacker to get started with this. However, this shouldn’t be the case.
Numerous case studies have pointed out that simple tweaks can lead to good returns, and your senior marketing resource should be able to pull this off (with some training, if required).
5. Work on your landing pages
Since you will be beginning with your paid marketing campaigns, you must have a landing page that converts like a charm. Being the first point of interaction of the customer with your brand, it becomes imperative that you focus on delivering a great experience to them.
Instead of going with a template and letting it run on auto-pilot, you should run A/B tests on all the aspects that are crucial to conversion (headlines, text, CTA, button, colour scheme, etc.). This should be an ongoing process and not a one-time affair.
6. Invest in great tools
Now that you have the funds, you should start looking at working with premium tools that do a better job than the free ones that you’ve been using all this time.
There are many good tools out there that can help you with SEO, lead generation, project management, and analytics. Give their free trials a spin and see which ones fit your requirements.
Suggested tools: Moz Pro, Crazy Egg, Webengage, SumoMe, Wishpond, Mixpanel or Kissmetrics.
7. Follow Pareto’s principle
In your eagerness to market yourself aggressively, it would be wise if you don’t spread yourself too thin here. You don’t need to do everything to build up your sales funnel. More often than not, you will see a handful of marketing activities giving you maximum returns.
Once you begin your marketing activities, you will start seeing the effectiveness of various channels. Invest in the ones that are more impactful than others. May be it is SEO, or SEM, or product marketing – it can be anything.
Running after every marketing channel is not going to help you. Stay focussed.
8. Work on your employer branding
Since you will only be growing more in the coming months, you should invest in branding yourself as a good place to work at.
Hiring is a lot of pain and trust me, there are very few talented people out there. This makes employer branding all the more important for you. Having a nice team page and a company blog always helps, but nothing beats tapping into the contacts of your current team via social media.
When people see their friends having a great time at their workplace, they start aspiring of a workplace like yours. This positive perception of your brand comes into force when you ask your team members to share the current job openings in your brand within their network.
I hope the above pointers were of help to you and gave some direction to your marketing aspirations. In case if you have any queries please feel free to comment below, I will do my best to answer them at the earliest.