Hello?! Customers! Startup marketing: the 5 step guide to growth

Hello?! Customers?! Come to us! We are here! You keep on screaming. But they do not keep on coming. Let’s talk about startup marketing.

To name a few of the low-lands greatest startups: Booking.com, VanMoof, MosaMeat, Swapfiets, The Ocean Cleanup, and 3D Hubs.
You have heard of them. Through newspaper articles, blog posts, LinkedIn ads, or the hype surrounding them. We didn’t even talk about the banned TV-commercial from VanMoof. Or the number of times you have seen the face behind The Ocean Cleanup passing by.

It does not surprise me. Since the Dutch tech scene employs more than 69,000 people. Consisting of early-stage startups to scaleups resulting in 1,661 companies. The Netherlands ranks as #4 in Europe’s best startup land.

The marketing budget is limited but the goals are endless. Unlike the 800 people teams inside corporates, startups might have one or two members dedicated to marketing.

They focus on too many of the 50+ marketing channels and there is no real strategy in place. They simply want to do too much. However, they need expertise and high-quality skills. Narrowing down the focus, and tapping into know-how is key.

Here are 5 steps to slay your startup marketing.

1. Give rise to your message

Create a message that compels your audience. I know you are bombarded with Simon Sinek’s golden circle. I’m sorry. But constructing your why, how, and what are the essential first steps in creating a brand that sticks.

The golden circle in short:

  • Why: What is your purpose? What do you believe in? 
  • How: What is your process? What are specific actions you take? 
  • What: What is the result? What do you do?

Combine this with your mission and vision. Now you got your hands full with messages to shoot into the world. Spread among your team members to keep internally. Or merge with your team or about landing-page. 
Can’t get enough of branding? Victor, one of HelloMaaS’s 350+ marketing freelancers, wrote a blog on creating attractive brands.

2. Clear target groups

Startup owners, I hate to break it to you. Your product or service is not for everyone. I know you sometimes think it is. It is not. Know who you sell to.

When you create specific customer personas. You understand the needs and wants of your audience. It is not only about age and where they live. No, we want to know what Dominique, his hopes, and dreams are. What Olivia is struggling with. Where Geraldine shops and seeks career advice. The more specific the better.   

After creating personas, you know who to focus on. The next step is how to reach them. By creating audience segments you optimize targeting and advertising budgets. You can tailor your brand, channel mix and messaging to specific groups. Improve your chances to grow faster and smarter. Audience segmentation includes criteria such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Geography
  • Interests
  • Affinities
  • Connections
  • Location
  • Buying and online behavior

Critically narrowing down your target market is tricky. Because you want to sell to everyone. Get help from outside in, to accelerate this step. Check out our marketing packages on personas and audience segmentation

3. Get a strategy in place

To get most out of your startup marketing plan. You need to create a strategy. After getting your message straight and your audiences clear. It is time to set goals, align departments, and do competitor research. Often goals are set in a SMART way: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. A smart goal looks like this:

Sell 30% more of product X over the next 3 months.

Creating goals that are SMART encourages the realization of them. Since employees within startups obtain multiple roles, it is important to align your goals and KPIs. Because marketing overlaps with sales or product and vice versa.

Knowing what your competitors’ do on a marketing level helps direct your strategy. Following their footsteps, or doing the exact opposite. There are no rules in marketing. Only when it comes down to SEO.

Startups that need to attract customers, try the growth hacking stuff. But traction and growth are not the same things. You know all the hacky tricks: building email lists, cold outreach, guerrilla tricks, and a/b testing. However, growing a startup to a billion-dollar company is not the same thing. Just like Ferdinand Goetzen from 3D Hubs says, you need to start with growth. A sustainable marketing strategy to attract, keep and understand clients. Build your product with your customers. A match made in heaven for any marketing strategy.

4. Create content marketing

Content marketing is the way to lure in customers. Since 70% of them would rather get to know a company through articles than ads. 

Try this:

  • Blogging: the easiest way to enhance SEO and share value with your customers. Write along with an extensive keyword list. 
  • Ebook: understand the interest of ‘early adopters’ in your product. Also, another way to share your knowledge and increase your email newsletter audience. 
  • Podcast: since Joe Rogan’s podcast was sold to Spotify for 100M, podcasting is now serious business. Check out our podcast HelloMasters with insider marketing tricks from CMO’s and startup founders. 

It’s tempting to start producing content, but I recommend creating a strategy first. At HelloMaaS we handpicked 5 content specialists to enhance your content strategy

5. Increase credibility through PR

The world of PR is a mystery. Releasing stories through internal connections and press kits is key. It is crucial to win at startup marketing. How and where to start? 

Public relations helps increase awareness online and offline. As a startup, you have many stories to tell. From the amount of money that you raised to the market you are disrupting. If done right, PR is successful to create long term buzz. News articles and tv-visits are everlasting. 

We at HelloMaaS, are also a startup. One of our main marketing focuses in the traction period was PR. Through the help of a marketing specialist, we gained traction from multiple media and news sources. Check out HelloMaaS featured in Quote, het AD, JAN, Emerce or BNR newsradio. 

Our PR specialists work performance-based. Easy right? Check out what is included in our PR package or contact us if you have any questions. 

We help startups and scaleups with marketing. HelloMaaS is a new platform to organize your marketing smarter and cheaper with 30+ marketing packages. 

Tune in to our HelloMasters episode where we debunk 10 startup myths. With startup founders: Rado Raykov of Holler.Live, Willemijn Schneyder of SwipeGuide, Sander Nagtegaal of Unless, Louise Doorn of HelloMaaS, together with co-host Ellen Bark-Lindhout of Collider.io.

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