Marketing Strategies for Startup
26 May 2015

10 Marketing Strategies Your Startup Can’t Go Without

Competition is always springing up. The marketing ecosystem is a hot spring, producing startups on a daily basis. Faced with a wide range of new possibilities, entrepreneurs should carefully consider certain marketing strategies that might launch their project to success. However, it is not only about finding your scalable model, it is also about being able to deliver and access your customer base in order to grow.

In this post, utilising best practices we will explore these indispensable strategies.

1. Promote yourself among an existing community or piggyback one. Find your place on websites with a community that might have an interest in your product, or try to generate one yourself. Build interest in your project and construct your community around it.

An example of this method of promotion is Fit Men Cook, an app about healthy recipes for iOS devices which featured second on the top paid app list on AppStore. Behind the success of this app, we find an interesting strategy based around two communities: on one hand there is Product Hunt, where the app managed to lead the ranking of new products. On the other hand project funder Kevin Curry utilised over 15,000 followers on Twitter and around one million on Instagram.

2. Reward the first to arrive (if they attract new users). This strategy was originally employed by PayPal. This was when many Internet users got involved with the company’s online payment service. Any customer who referred a friend to use PayPal would be given $10 by PayPal for each referral.

Obviously, the platform ceased this reward scheme after attracting millions of users by 2003. PayPal has continued rewarding its loyal users, but only those that recommend a seller to use PayPal’s services. In their current reward scheme the lucky referrer receives part of the benefits generated by the new account for a six month period.

3. Create content and make you audience grow. It is not original to recommend creating interesting content to generate traffic around your project. However, the challenge remains in going a step further and working on the content strategy for the medium and long terms.

Study competitors’ content in detail. Identify your target audience and study its searches on sites like Quora. Determine what your blog can offer them. This was the role of the blog Design School by Canva, a graphic design app. Results? After meticulously planning its strategy, they saw their traffic increase over 200%.

4. Fight for your spotlight in the media. Frequent press releases are not enough. The best strategy is to study media and journalists that may be interested in publishing information on your project in order to focus all your efforts on those specialised editors who can inform the world on your startup’s news. This method was adopted by business management platform Attentiv, who got FastCompany to advertise their launch.

5. Look for clients wherever necessary. Competitor’s platforms are a good place to look for potential clients and attract them towards your project. Airbnb did this at the beginning, integrating its platform with the classified advertising website Craigslist. When publishing a property on Airbnb, users had the option of posting it automatically on Craigslist, for its tens of thousands of users. In this way, Airbnb multiplied its visibility.

6. Avoid friction for users. This is anything that acts as a barrier to consumers and their goals. Amazon tries to reduce friction for each of its new products by, for example, including dictionaries in their Kindle to prevent readers from having to search for the meaning of some words.

7. Create as much hype as possible. Generate expectation before launching the product. Mailbox did so before going to the market. This email management app set up a booking page and published a video on the tool which got them to have a million people queuing to acquire the app before its launch. Join the hype, then sit and wait for everyone to want your product.

8. Get rid of bureaucracy. In the making of internal processes of the product or its distribution, the key is in team efficiency. In order to achieve it, internal bureaucracy is the same as frictions for consumers. Mike Curtis, responsible for the Airbnb engineering team, has achieved the stability for a growing team through a key philosophy: you have to get rid of rules, not create them.

9. Pamper emails sent to clients. Sending emails as a marketing strategy might become a real annoyance for addresses or, on the contrary, a powerful tool that a company cares about sending periodically.

Emails should be useful, not simply ways of creating traffic for your company’s website. Airbnb thought about it early on, and it has been a success: emails become a useful way of accompanying clients during the booking process (or for reminding that a booking needs to be completed).

10. Provide fluidity to the community. If the project depends directly of a community (or is even a new social network), one of the main aims is to achieve the highest possible dynamism: if the conversation stops, the project dies.

Twitter knows this well. Users are made to follow several profiles for the networking experience to be lively from the beginning. On the contrary, they risked users giving up from the start when not finding interesting people or conversations.

Marketing should be an strategy towards a goal – growing and creating awareness – and include little hacks to achieve it. That is what we have tried to summarize in this list. Got more tips? Let us know.