If there’s one thing I’ve learned while working with tech startups, it’s that they don’t have time for marketing. They know they need to do it, but don’t know where to start and don’t have budget to hire someone to tell them where (at least at the beginning).
Even more scary is the return on investment. It’s easy to see what your developers are developing; your salesperson either makes sales or doesn’t; but how does marketing really drive your bottom line? Is it worth it to market at all?
Well, as a marketer that mostly works with B2B startups, of course I’m going to say “Yes. It’s worth it.” But in the early stages, you have to do it in a certain way, or risk your marketing efforts really not being worth it.
1. Pick one thing and do it well. You want to do social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing and A/B test your website? That’s a perfect plan if you’re hiring a marketer (or two) to manage it. If you’re one of three people on your team and none of you are marketers, I suggest you choose only one marketing activity and make it count. (Don’t know which to pick? Get in touch and I’ll send you resources or chat with you to figure that out for free.)
The mistake you might’ve made: Small businesses half-do all of the the activities I just listed: send out a few tweets, write a few blogs, send one email. Then they say “this isn’t working.” Of course it isn’t. Marketing is just like any other sport, hobby or other activity you’ve ever tried: you have to work at it and try different techniques to be good.
2. Automate everything. I cannot say this enough: there are cheap or free tools that will streamline your marketing efforts, whatever they may be. Use Buffer to schedule all of your tweets for the week, automate email marketing with MailChimp’s new (free!) automation features.
The mistake you might’ve made: “We don’t have the budget for that. I know it’s only $10 per month but these things add up.” Look at it like this: what are you worth? If even one hour of your time is saved per week, it’s worth it. Don’t be so blinded by your small budget that you can’t see the real benefit of automating your marketing.
3. Define success up front (then make sure you succeed). For those unfamiliar with marketing, steps one and two were probably daunting, and this one might seem even harder. How can you set goals when you have no idea what outcome you desire? I suggest you start small. If you’re concentrating on social media, define a number of viable leads you’d like to gather in your first month. Start small and make sure your marketing goal is directly related to your overall company goal: to make money.
The mistake you might’ve made: Starting your marketing efforts without a clear goal in mind is a huge mistake. You’ll constantly be asking yourself “is this working?” and the worst part is, without goals, you’ll have absolutely no clue.