If you have a product startup like on Page Champ, the easiest thing you can do in your early days is to build the product features. However, this is probably not the best thing to do. It is always easier (and fun) to build features and get excited about your startup.
At the same time, it is extremely difficult to market and sell those features. And since that’s the hard part, many founders keep focusing on the former while delaying the latter without realizing that they are elongating their go to market period.
"Thanks to it, I had 100+ beta users within the first 2 weeks of my launch, saving me crucial time in collecting initial customer feedback and building features that my users are demanding." - Tushar Jain.
9 Growth Hacks to Market Your Upcoming Startup
Connect one to one for user interviews
Your first marketing effort should always be towards interacting with your user group. Not only will this validate your idea but also get you your first few users (and customers) when you finally launch your product/service.
Therefore, invest time in finding such people on social media groups, in your friend circle or through referrals. The world is full of people who are open to help you out. Check with them if they face a problem and validate if your solution can help them. This will also serve as an initial feedback on how difficult it is going to be to sell your solution.
Talking from my experience at OnPage Champ, I spent the first 2 weeks of my startup journey finding and interviewing my target audience and collecting their feedback. I started product development only when I was sure that my target audience is facing challenges write on-page SEO and my SEO tool can help them.
For example, read the interview notes of one of my target user.
And 2.5 months down the line, all my 20 interviewees became my beta users when I finally launched my product. These people agreed to be interviewed because they were genuinely interested in my on-page SEO tool. All I had to do was keep them engaged and well informed about my progress.
Build your marketing list
It’s a no brainer that you need to have a landing page once you start working on an idea. However, many people miss to collect email IDs of their website visitors. Start building your list and keep sending them regular updates. Even if you don’t have an update, there is no harm in just saying 'Hello'. Do this even if you are a couple of months away from going live. Once you are ready to onboard users, this list will help you get early adopters. In my case, 25% of my email list converted to my beta users once I launched OnPage Champ.
Explore Quora for building website traffic
Start with answering questions on Quora right from day 1 of your startup launch, even if your product/service is still not available in the market. It takes time to generate traffic online, and Quora can be your savior. If you take a strategic view of Quora, you will have people already visiting your website by the time you go live with your offering. And that too for some of the most competitive keywords in the industry where you won’t be able to rank on top of Google as a new business. Quora works brilliantly for both B2B and B2C businesses.
However, I have found it to be specifically helpful for industries where the buying cycle is not impulse based and the user actually does some secondary research before he makes a buying decision. Here’s one of my answers that got an auto boost from Quora and generated a lot of traffic for my website.
Write content in your niche
If you want to grow organically, you need to have a focused content strategy to feed your SEO campaigns. Since SEO takes time to deliver results, you should be invested right from the start to produce quality content within your niche.
This will serve 2 purposes:-
- Content within your niche keeps the user engaged and feel confident about the brand
he is interacting with.
- It helps Google see you as a source of authority in that niche.
Therefore, focus on writing quality and authoritative content.
Write content outside your niche
Writing content within your niche helps you establish authority. However, writing content outside of your niche helps you drive relationships and generate engagement. This works beautifully well when your target audience face the same issues as you are facing and they are looking for solutions.
As an example, I write extensively on marketing and growth hacks, both on OnPage Champ blog as well as on 3rd party websites. That’s because my target audience consumes similar content. And such content marketing helps me establish brand visibility for OnPage Champ, before my target audience gets formally exposed to the brand. This post on Startup Talky is done keeping the same logic in mind.
Start building a personal brand on Social Media
As a new business, most of us tend to consider social media marketing equivalent to pushing our company updates down the social media timeline. That’s not the right way to do social media marketing for a startup. If you want to grow organically via social media, understand that people on social media trust the people they know; not the brands they don’t know.
As a new business, lead from the front and focus on building your personal brand amongst your immediate network. Do some story telling, celebrate your wins, laugh over your failures, talk about your learning; and make a human connection with your network. While you do all this, place your brand strategically in this story telling.
This will make your brand more noticeable; at the same time drive traffic to your website.
Here’s detailed blog post on how I used personal branding to market OnPage Champ during the first 3 months of starting.
Engage actively in Social media groups/communities
If you are not active in social media groups, you are missing on a big traffic potential. There are focused social media communities where you can find not just great advice but also your target audience. Identify such communities and contribute actively.
Once you launch your product/service, you can always request these communities to try out your product and offer feedback. In addition to some great suggestions, you get initial beta users for your business. Here’s an example of how I requested for initial feedback for OnPage Champ in one of the Facebook groups. As a result of this single post, I got more than 30 email verified users for OnPage Champ.
When you engage with people on social media or online communities, add them to your network. You don’t just learn from them, you can also turn them into your paid customers and brand evangelists. Send them personalized emails/messages telling them why you are connecting with them.
Once you are connected, engage with them by posting/liking/commenting on their posts. I am not saying you to fake anything, but be genuinely interested in their work or the problems they might be facing. Just stay in front of their eyes, and your personal branding will do the heavy lifting for you.
List on industry specific directories
Get yourself listed on industry specific directories (like betabund, betalist, SaasHub for SaaS businesses). While some of the platforms allow work-in-progress products to get listed, others want at least a private beta before they accept your submission. Understand the guidelines of each platform and do the submissions accordingly.
Again, the idea is to generate traffic to feed your email list or get signups for your product, by the time you launch.
While this post is all about marketing, I am not saying to ignore building your product or service. But understand that it’s your ability to sell that defines your success. Therefore, don’t wait for that perfect moment to start marketing. Frankly, that moment will never come. Especially when most of the businesses market digitally, the right time to start your digital marketing effort is always NOW.