Marketing is a deliberate effort, not happenstance. It is one of the most vital aspects of starting up a company, yet one of the most overlooked and/or poorly executed.
Startups need to assign at least one person to be a marketing expert and that person must be held accountable for accomplishing specific, measurable activities. And those activities must be aligned with business objectives, or as described in this blog, the only ROI will just be "feel good".
I agree the blogging before hand goes a long way at creating value for the traffic that will eventually flow into the site. All to often I seen a new facebook business page, or blog that is "promoted" by the business and when you get there, they have nothing but the skelton in place and no content or value. In my opinion it creates a bad impression right from the start.
How about this for "F" Friendly Framing
Frame your message for the customer. Don't make the customer work to figure out your value, your product, or your features. Too many websites are loaded with trendy buzzwords and acronyms that make it impossible for a customer figure out what it is the company does.
Don't just supply lists of features. Customers want solutions to problems; you should know the problem and tell them what features they need to solve it.
@Edwin - Nice one! Maybe we should try to go all the way to Z? :)
Great article! Our company has recently started putting most of our creative efforts into creating a valuable blog for our customers. Although the results will probably be less immediate than other channels, I think it's a much better strategy. Writing a blog is a smarter way to use my time because a great post that took four hours to write will be around forever. Spending 4 hours on cold calls or optimizing my Google AdWords provides a lot less value in the long run.
Mike, going to Z? Now that could be a challenge! I'm stumped at G!
I would add a "C" in the word "Chose Carefully". We look at all Marketing, and especially for our startups, as a series of timed experiments. Given that no company ever has enough marketing money, every Marketing tactic not only needs to be carefully invested in and measured, there needs to be deliberate choices made by management as to what's working and what's not. Sometimes chosing not to invest is the most difficult.
Good Selling !
Great read Mike. SocialGrow actually did start blogging, tweeting and sharing content to educate our readers on their social media marketing questions from the start. It's allowed us to build brand recognition and have an organic twitter following of over $23K at present.
One other great method of marketing is by sharing knowledge with business networking groups that have email lists, Yahoo! Group email lists, Meetups on topic, and LinkedIn groups.
As an experiment, I posted a quick note for this article with the link http://ow.ly/1Wg0X which you used.
I'd be curious to learn if you see a spike in the next few days as a result of my reposting it to the different groups mentioned above.
@marshsutherland | @socialgrow
Thanks! Things like that work, for instance on 6/15 that Ow.ly link got 129 clicks, far more than the couple days before.
Mike, great post. Love the practical advice that people can incorporate quickly. Also love @Edwin 's advice of Friendly Framing. So important. Finally, is there some way we can find out your secret "...criteria for hiring marketing pros that "get stuff done"..." I'd love to hear that.
@Desmond Pieri - It is hard to find the folks that are GSD, but we do look for people who have a tendency towards action and roll up their sleeves. You can ask "case" style questions and see if they talk about theory or talk about what they would DO to attack the problem.
Maybe this post that I wrote will help. It will it at least help narrow down the hiring criteria.
A lot of what you talk about speaks to not only starting and marketing a successful business, but keeping and managing one. There really is no quick “trick” to being successful. It takes hard work, creativity, dedication, and like you mention, the right strategies.
I went to a business coaching seminar with Brad Sugars and the coaches there teach you exactly that. They have a ton of experience and can give some pointers that really do work. I paid for my tickets to go to the event, but there’s a site that is giving them out for free. http://coachmybusiness.net. It’s through Action Coach. I definitely got a lot out of it and I think your readers would too.
Look and see what they've done in their past. As I said on the panel at the MITX & GreenhornConnect Career Combine, the right candidates are ones who have tackled something on their own initiative.
As a manager, I don't want to have to do hand-holding. I want to educate them, instill my passion and vision for my startup in them so they can evangelize (even if he/she is a developer), and then turn them loose and support them with goals. Let them figure HOW to get it done on their own and take pride in it. (For instance, look at what Ken Herron has done forwww.twitter.com/SocialGrow)
So I want to see someone like Kristin Dziadul www.kdmedianow.com)
who just graduated from college in December and took the local marketing hiring community by storm.
Between her awesome blog, guest blogging on others, her tweeting, and active involvement in our startup community social events, she's made a name for herself. Now she's running all social media marketing for Backupify, a social media content backup company that just moved to Boston.
So to find your GSDoer, look to see what they've already done.
Great post Mike. We are building our dream and have started blogging about it as we have a few months before we launch.
From the beginning I've known I had to write engaging content for our potential customers but I feel more compelled to tell our story and hope it will interest others but I know what I'm writing will mostly interest others working on their startups.
So, I have to go put Mr. Ego in check or at least come to a compromise with him.
Hi, I'm tech geek at one uk startup, I will probably never need to actually "do" the marketing, but I would really like to understand the basics, to have some idea etc. Is there some really good book? Something as good for marketing, as 4 steps is for the customer development, GoF Design patterns for coders etc?
@Tomas - I would recommend both "Inbound Marketing" (by Dharmesh Shah from this blog and Brian Halligan) as well as "New Rules of Marketing and PR" by David Meerman Scott. Both of them are great tactical overviews of marketing.
Great post, Mike! And thanks so much for mentioning me Marsh!
Couldn't agree more with collecting and analyzing data EARLY AND OFTEN with marketing campaigns. Without this data, it would be impossible to gauge your success or search for potential tweaks in your plan.