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If you are part of a startup company, you are probably working hard, trying to identify the right target audience for your product, and make sure that it fully answers their pain. But you’re probably also frustrated by the fact that many of the things you are doing don’t result in sufficiently bringing in new customers.
Startup marketing isn’t easy, and Cinderella stories are not as common as you may think. Bringing in new customers take hard work and some time.
Here are some marketing pitfalls most startup founders make that you should try and avoid:
Mistake #1: Spending all your marketing budget on BIG marketing projects
You probably heard stories about some amazing startups, who managed to boost their success over night. But in most of these cases, you will discover that months of hard work, spending small budgets on guerrilla marketing tactics is actually what led to their success. We are talking about smart marketing tactics that created a viral effect that led customers to pay attention. If we take for example social channels, it’s not about investing in the most popular, buzzed network, but rather focusing your efforts on the network where your target audience hangs out. You won’t find many B2C action on LinkedIn, but you’ll see lots of it on Facebook, Product Hunt and Quora. You need to do some initial research on where your potential customers are looking for information, what they care about and the best ways to get them engaged.
Mistake #2: Neglecting to creation of great content
We all know that viral marketing is important. You probably also heard that content is the king. Startups tend to neglect the process of creating great content. They are busy, launching their product or working on the next version, there is always so much to do. But let us not forget that content is key. It’s a great way to share new ideas, educate and talk with your audience. Don’t know where to start? Start simple by blogging about your insights of the market, of the pain your product solves, film interviews (can be homemade style.. cheap and quick), summarize industry events, and host webinars.
Moreover, it is important to customize your content to specific media channels or relevant journalists, so you establish partnerships and long term relationships. Journalists, bloggers and influencers can really help your cause.
Mistake #3: Bringing in the wrong people to your (marketing) team
Time to market can be a crucial success factor. It can be tempting to invest early in building the marketing team and DNA, especially if you want to build a strong brand (don’t we all). But sometimes we tend to do this prematurely. It will serve you better if you only bring in a marketing person after you have exhausted all DIY efforts. When you really can’t continue without a marketing expert. And do some thinking before you start interviewing. First impression can be misleading, so prepare some hard questions and list the exact skills you are looking for in this person. If you aren’t sure what these skills are, ask a marketer for a checklist and common questions that you need to ask in the interview. Other great options are to start with a marketing outsourcing company or bring in a young marketer that will help you boost your marketing without exceeding your budget.
Mistake #4: Waiting till you have the perfect brand
Lean startup methods such as MVP (Minimal viable product) can also be applied to marketing. Start small with testing the reaction for your brand in social media. You should know, startups tend to pivot, change their names, website, etc., so it’s not necessarily the best use of your time to spend a lot of time and effort on creating a “perfect” brand, right from the start. Here too, timing is everything and you need to be smart about your timing.
Mistake #5: Considering too many opinions when trying to make decisions
Everyone has their opinion about marketing. But the more people are involved, the longer it will take to devise a marketing strategy and start implementing the marketing tactics.
Remember that you can’t satisfy everyone, and you need to move forward with your marketing work. So be decisive on where to draw the line.
If you have done some or all of these mistakes, don’t worry, you most likely can still fix many of them, if not all. This is part of being a startup.
Would love to hear your feedback and additional common startup marketing mistakes in the comments below.