The Startup Marketing Roadmap

by Sarah Quinn on 28 May 2014
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If your business is a startup, then you know the challenges you face are very unique. However, you’re not alone. You may have spent weeks, if not months, toiling over how you can bring in new customers to your business. A lot of times you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not making any progress.

A big reason could be your lack of a coherent marketing roadmap. Without the ability to see where you’re going, as well as how far you’ve come, it’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed. After all, you’re already under budgeted and overworked. But not for long.

In this article we’re going to lay out a series of steps that will help you regain control over your marketing and give you the clarity you deserve.

1. Adopt A New Mindset

The way you have to market to your customers must be new and innovative. You can’t look to giants like Apple and attempt to mimic their marketing and messaging. You need to think nimble and agile. You need to be able to test, tweak and implement.

The good news is every great company started exactly where you are, at the beginning.

2. Niche It Down

We would all love to be the next Amazon.com, but this early in the game it’s impossible to be all things to all people. You want to serve a targeted group of people to the best of your ability. Once you have a niche defined, see if you can go smaller.

The better you can get in the heads of this small group of people the better chance you’ll have at solving their problems. As an added bonus targeting smaller groups of people is also cheaper.

In the beginning focus is key. Once you’ve mastered this group, then expand.

3. Define Your Outcome

You need to know where you’re going. Set either a financial or user-based goal. Once you have your goal defined, you’ll be able to work backward from that point, as well as see if you’re going in the right direction.

Without setting a quantifiable goal it’s hard to determine if you’re moving backward or forwards.

4. Set Your Budget

Now that you know where you’re trying to get, it’s time to set a budget. Even if you don’t have a budget for marketing, you can still reach your goal. It’ll just require more work and a little dash of creativity.

However, if you’re investing money into your marketing, make sure you set enough cash aside. You don’t want to run out of funds in the middle of a campaign. Similarly, don’t over stretch yourself, it’s important to make sure you don’t set aside a huge budget only to find you are spending it on a marketing tactic that doesn’t have a positive ROI for you. Start small and increase spend in areas as you see results.

5. Talk Conversions

If you have any current conversion data, then it’ll be helpful to take a look at that info. You’ll want to get an understanding of the average conversion rate of new visitors to customers.

You can either analyze previous data or extrapolate the data once your new campaign begins. Essentially, you’re trying to see how many people you can count on sticking around after a surge of visitors.

Once you have a conversion rate and know the amount you have spent on a marketing tactic you will be able to work out your cost per conversion. This will help you decide if the cost to gain a customer through this route is worthwhile for you.

6. Get Creative

This is where you can let your mind roam. Think of the best possible ways you can reach your ideal customer. During this stage, no idea is a stupid idea. Leave everything on the table.

Even if you’re an online startup, see if you can integrate the offline world. Think as far reaching as you can and try to make connections that others have overlooked. Remember, it’s all about service.

7. Implement, implement, implement.

This is where the validity of your ideas will be tested. You’ll want to allocate a small portion of your budget to ideas that you’ve deemed viable.

Always start small during this phase and scale if you have to. It’s important to measure and track whatever you can, the more data you have to work with the better.

After you’ve run a series of tests, you’ll be able to see what’s working and even tweak your current campaigns to increase their conversions.

8. Make It Easy To Share

Word of mouth is as good as gold for a startup. For this very reason, you’ll want to make it easy to share any content or anything else you’re generating.

A major benefit of running a small company is the ability to interact with your customers right away. The more you can engage, the more you can learn.

9. Go All the Way to the Top

In a perfect world, the visionaries and thought leaders within your niche would pick up your product and share it with their tribes. However, in most cases you’ll need to do this yourself. This means interacting with these people whenever possible. Most people are so accessible nowadays it never hurts to reach out to those who could give your company a big boost.

Mastering marketing for your startup entails being swift and creative. You’ll need to be able to adapt on the fly and test out new ideas, no matter how crazy they may seem. If you’re dedicated to always learning from your mistakes, there’s no limit to the impact your business can make.

Content Marketing

Sarah Quinn

Written by Sarah Quinn

I eat, sleep and breathe great content so it kinda works out for me that I get to do this as a job. But waaaaait, I'm not one dimensional..... I also LOVE peanut butter, odd socks, running, daydreaming about time and space, corgis in top hats, afternoon tea and Chandler Bing.