Marketing for start-ups on a shoestring

Today I had the pleasure to present at Launch48 about how to market your start-up on a tight budget (or no budget). If you couldn’t make it you can view my slides here: ‘Startup Marketing on a shoestring‘.

Some of the key points for start-ups to remember when they’re looking at marketing their business and their product are:

  • Marketing is about understanding your users and building a relationship and an emotional connection with them. Find out what interests your target audience, what they read, who influences them and what problems they have that you can help to solve.
  • Get the basics, including your branding, user journey and metrics, right before you start outreach.
  • Focus on your key differentiators and make your messaging clear and engaging. Tell a story with your messaging and people will be able to tell their friends and share your product easily.
  • Have real users review the user journey and see where the friction is and improve it to make it simpler.
  • Engage the influencers and ask for their input. If the influencer can feel ownership over your idea and your success then they’ll be more motivated to help you.
  • Create content that is interesting and useful to your target audience, e.g. video, RSS, blogs, podcasts. Don’t try to sell, focus on building a relationship and providing real value to your audience. Re-use this content everywhere you can – Twitter, Facebook, your Blog, newsletter to current user and so on.
  • Build viral into your product’s DNA from the beginning and make it simple for people to share.
  • Share your content and views on social media, including Twitter and Facebook, and if the content is useful and interesting you’ll benefit from the network effect and gain new fans, followers and ultimately users.
  • Email is a powerful channel so don’t ignore it. Think about not only regular promotional emails but also emails to guide users through key points in their journey with your product.
  • Build a community and give users a voice using tools like UserVoice and Zendesk. Listen to your customers wherever they may be, on forums, Twitter or in blog comments, and engage and respond to them.
  • Test, Learn and Iterate – Embrace AB Testing and don’t be afraid to try things with no budget or a small budget, if they work improve and invest in them and if they don’t find out early and stop wasting time and resource on it.
  • Be passionate about your brand – others will follow.

  • Do the right thing. Treat customers as you would like to be treated yourself and they will thank you for it.

Launch48 brings people together for a weekend to build a web app. Last year Vouchacha and ILikeUCoz came out of it and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of the event this year. Good Luck everyone and have fun!