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The Ultimate Guide to Startup Marketing

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From Content Marketing, to Social Media and PR, here is a scaled down version of the ultimate guide to startup Marketing.
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  • presents The Ultimate Guide to Startup Marketing Friday, December 20, 13
  • Table of Contents Foundation Social Media Startup PR ● Choosing a market ● Choosing social media networks ● Craft meaningful position statements ● Defining success ● Defining the best times to post ● Define your startup sensitivities ● Defining keywords ● Using a keyword list ● Identifying writers for a media list ● Setting core metrics ● Creating & using an influencer list ● Creating a press kit ● Estimating a conversion rate ● Setting up a blog ● Reaching out to journalist Slides 17-19 Test and Iterate Slides 20-23 Best Practices ● Creating a topic list ● Setting up analytics tools ● Sell the solution ● Knowing what content to publish ● Measuring against benchmarks ● Have a compelling story ● Guest blogging ● Brainstorming creative new ideas ● Use all your resources Slides 1-6 Slides 7-11 Slides 12-16 ● Setting a budget Content creation ● Capturing emails Friday, December 20, 13 Slides 24-27
  • Startup Marketing is a Whole Different Science “Build it and they will come” doesn’t work Those overnight success stories are often the result of years of hard work. Startup marketing is challenging because of limited resources (Time, money, or talent.) Every effort, no matter how small, must be flawlessly executed. Traditional strategies don’t always work. The secret is combining the right channels: Content marketing and PR. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Foundation Before you start laying bricks you need a solid foundation. Learn how to choose a market, define keywords, define success and set a budget. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Choosing a Market Only a small portion of the population is interested in your product. You
  •   can’t
  •   be
  •    everything
  •   to
  •    everyone You waste time and money by trying to market to everyone. Identify a niche target market and focus on just them. Friday, December 20, 13
  • How Do You Choose a Market? 1. Market Size - Who are you targeting and how many potential customers are there? 2. Market Wealth - Does this target have money to spend on your product? 3. Market Competition - Is the market saturated with competitors? 4. Value Proposition - Is your value proposition unique enough to cut through the noise? What are your differentiators? Friday, December 20, 13
  • Defining Success Success is different for every startup. Define your idea of success early and rigidly. Make sure your team and partners understand your definition of success. Stay consistent each month. Pick a definition and commit to it. Friday, December 20, 13 Success
  •   may
  •   be
  •   500
  •    new
  •   signups
  •   for
  •    Startup
  •   A
  •   while
  •    Startup
  •   B
  •   thinks
  •    success
  •   is
  •   $50,000
  •    monthly
  •   revenue.
  • Setting Core Metrics Core metrics should be measurable and specific. Use highly valuable metrics based on your customer acquisition funnel. Only measure what matters! Focus on your KPI’s. TIP: record baseline metrics as soon as you start so you can easily determine growth and what’s working/what’s not. Friday, December 20, 13 Vanity
  •   metrics
  •   are
  •    appealing
  •   to
  •   your
  •   ego,
  •    but
  •   they
  •   are
  •   useless! They
  •   are
  •   not
  •   tied
  •   to
  •    real
  •   growth
  •   so
  •   you
  •    won’t
  •   know
  •   how
  •   your
  •    startup
  •   is
  •   doing
  •   until
  •    it’s
  •   too
  •   late. Let
  •   me
  •   explain...
  • Setting Core Metrics Let’s
  •   say
  •   your
  •   goal
  •   is
  •   100
  •   email
  •   signups
  •   in
  •   one
  •   month.
  •   To
  •   determine
  •   your
  •    core
  •   metrics,
  •   work
  •   backwards
  •   through
  •   the
  •   signup
  •   funnel.
  •   For
  •   100
  •   signups,
  •    you’ll
  •   want
  •   to
  •   focus
  •   on
  •   (1)
  •   the
  •   conversion
  •   rate
  •   of
  •   the
  •   signup
  •   form,
  •   and
  •   (2)
  •    the
  •   amount
  •   of
  •   unique
  •   traffic
  •   you
  •   get.
  •    3%
  •   is
  •   a
  •   decent
  •   conversion
  •   rate
  •   for
  •   most
  •   SaaS
  •   startups,
  •   so
  •   we’ll
  •   use
  •   that
  •   as
  •    an
  •   estimate.
  •   In
  •   that
  •   case,
  •   you’ll
  •   need
  •   to
  •   send
  •   approximately
  •   3,333
  •   unique
  •    visitors
  •   to
  •   the
  •   top
  •   of
  •   your
  •   conversion
  •   funnel. If
  •   you
  •   focus
  •   on
  •   those
  •   core
  •   metrics,
  •   you
  •   know
  •   you’ll
  •   be
  •   able
  •   to
  •   achieve
  •   your
  •    goal
  •   of
  •   100
  •   signups.
  •   A
  •   3%
  •   conversion
  •   rate
  •   and
  •   3,333
  •   unique
  •   visitors
  •   sounds
  •    much
  •   less
  •   daunting
  •   than
  •   100
  •   signups.
  •   Focus
  •   on
  •   the
  •   moving
  •   parts
  •   (core
  •    metrics),
  •   not
  •   the
  •   big
  •   picture
  •   (goal). Friday, December 20, 13
  • Setting a Budget Inbound
  •   marketing
  •   leads
  •   cost
  •   less
  •   than
  •   outbound
  •   marketing
  •    leads,
  •   but
  •   don’t
  •   kid
  •   yourself:
  •   they
  •   are
  •   not
  •   free. Set a budget early in the game and accept that limit. Carefully plan how you intend to divide that budget. If your blog has been your most powerful lead generator, consider investing upwards of 50% of the budget there. If not, try a new eBook, guide, webinar or whitepaper. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Defining Core Keywords Build a list of words or phrases that are highly relevant to your brand. What would someone type into Google to find your startup’s website? Start a core keyword list of three to five keywords that summarize your startup. Your core keywords should be based on your value proposition. Tip: Your core keywords make excellent blog categories. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Defining Secondary Keywords “Content
  •   Marketing
  •   requires
  •   an
  •    intelligent
  •   approach
  •   that
  •   hinges
  •    upon
  •   fresh,
  •   relevant
  •   content
  •    that
  •   will
  •   offer
  •   value
  •   to
  •   visitors
  •    while
  •   attracting
  •   Google
  •   and
  •    other
  •   search
  •   engines.”
  •   It’s
  •   not
  •    just
  •   about
  •   keywords
  •   anymore.
  •    -
  •   Blake
  •   Boldt
  •   of
  •   SocialMedia
  •   Today Friday, December 20, 13 Expand your core keyword list to include more specific terms. E.g. “content marketing” might include secondary keywords like corporate blogging, blogging best practices, email marketing how to, etc. Use free tools to find keywords that are low competition and high traffic (Lots of people are searching for them, but few results are displayed.)
  • Estimating a Conversion Rate Assign values to your goals and conversions. Example: Newsletter signups. 100 signups could be incredible growth if your conversion rate is 20%. If the conversion rate is closer to 1%, 100 signups might be insignificant. Estimate your lead conversion rate and the lifetime value of a customer. Assign values to goal completions, like newsletter signups. $2,500 per month from a newsletter is more indicative of success than 100 newsletter signups. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Social Media Social media is one of the most popular ways to promote content and reach influencers. (That can mean potential customers visiting your website and thousands of new leads.) Social media is invaluable to startups. Here are a few tricks to get the most out of it. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Choosing the Right Social Media Networks A common mistake is trying to master every social network. Each popular social network has unique characteristics. For example, Facebook is typically for visual posts. Twitter is often powered by links. Tumblr, caters to a young, laid-back audience. And Reddit detests spammers. Content shared on those channels require a different approach. For example: Reddit requirers a slower, specific and unique conversational style. Be mindful of the network and community you are trying to reach. Consider the demographic! Friday, December 20, 13
  • Best Day & Time to Post There
  •   is
  •   no
  •   universal
  •   perfect
  •   time
  •   to
  •   post.
  •    But,
  •   here
  •   are
  •   some
  •   best
  •   practices: Twitter: Facebook: - 5 p.m. EST is the best time to get a retweet. - Saturdays are best. - One to four link tweets per hour is the best - 12 p.m. EST is the best time to share. frequency. - 0.5 posts per day is the best frequency - Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays are the best days to tweet. - 6 a.m. EST, 12 p.m. EST and 6 p.m. EST are the best times to tweet to get clicks. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Using a Keyword List Use your keyword list to maximize engagement efforts on social media. For example, an employee feedback SaaS company like 15Five should use keywords like “employee feedback”, “employee engagement”, etc For Clarity, an advice service for entrepreneurs, some of the keywords might be for “professional advice”, or “Business advice”. Using a social networking management tool like HootSuite allows you to monitor these keywords. Set up search streams with your core keywords. You’ll be able to monitor conversations, join in and solidify a reputation this way. Tip: Use your keyword list in your online ads (If applicable) Friday, December 20, 13
  • Creating and Using an Influencer List Influence the influencer. It will take a long time for your startup to influence thousands of people. Focus on connecting with people who already have that influence. Look for how engaged their followers are and check their follower/following ratio. Don’t be fooled by a high follower count. Tip: Journalists and community leaders are great influencers as well. Don’t limit yourself to celebrities. Friday, December 20, 13 78%
  •   of
  •   social
  •   media
  •    users
  •   said
  •   blog
  •   posts
  •    by
  •   brands
  •   influenced
  •    their
  •   purchase
  •    behavior
  •   moderately
  •    or
  •   highly.
  • Setting Up Your Blog Choose the right platform for your audience, install the necessary plugins and extensions and make the design functional. Remember, people are here to read/see GREAT content so that should be the focus. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Setting Up a Blog Choose the right platform for your needs. Is it Wordpress, Blogger or Tumblr? Install necessary plugins to help with the workflow (We like SEOYoast, Calendar, and Akismet. How does your design look? Does it appeal to your target demographic? Is it professional looking? Your blog is about publishing great content at the right time to the right people. Design should simply enhance that. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Be Sure Your Blog Design Is Functional Basic requirements for a great design include: 1. Clear Call to Action (Do the eye squint test. Sit 6 feet away from your screen and squint your eyes. What stands out at you the most? It should be your CTA!) 2. Search functionality 3. Clear subscriber box 4. Social Media Icons for sharing 5. Large area in the header for a great photo 6. Featured Images Friday, December 20, 13
  • Startup PR PR remains a mystery in many startup circles. When’s the right time to tell people about your startup? Is early coverage in industry blogs valuable? What message resonates with writers? How can you translate press coverage to sales? Should you hire a PR firm? Friday, December 20, 13
  • Craft Meaningful Positioning Statements A series of engaging positioning statements is vital. Think of your product as the solution to a common problem. • What is your product? • How will it affect others? • Who will care? Say what the product is capable of, but also clearly describe its value proposition and the problem it solves. Friday, December 20, 13 It
  •   all
  •   boils
  •   down
  •   to: -
  •   What
  •   to
  •   say. -
  •   When
  •   to
  •   say
  •   it. -
  •   Who
  •   to
  •   say
  •   it
  •   to.
  • Define Your Startup Sensitivities “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses to understand how to market your product better. Gather all information available on competitors. If they have an edge, then look at an angle where they’re lacking. You’ve only got a short time to engage writers before pitching them. Focus on the one or two strongest aspects of your value proposition and use those to gauge media interest. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Identifying the Right Writers for a Media List Pitch only writers/journalists who already write about your industry. Look at writers who have covered stories with similar themes. Pitch the right writer for your story. For example, if your product is exclusively for iPhone, don’t pitch an Android product journalist. Build real relationships and get to know the identified writers on a personal, non-promotional level first. Set up private Twitter lists and actively engage with them. In due time, those relationships will benefit you and your startup. Friday, December 20, 13 “Build
  •   your
  •   network
  •    before
  •   you
  •   need
  •    them.” -
  •   Jeremiah
  •   Owyang,
  •   Partner
  •   and
  •    Industry
  •   Analyst
  •   at
  •   Altimeter
  •    Group
  • Creating a Press Kit The key to a successful media launch is rooted deep within a killer media kit. Here are the items needed: • Media Advisory (The product pitch!) • Logos & Screenshots • Founder Bios & Photos Friday, December 20, 13
  • Media Advisory Include how the product is changing the world. The “pitch” should be included in the headline or first paragraph of the release. Write it and direct it towards someone who will care. Include this information on the company and its founders: • Company Name • Website • Twitter Handle(s) • CEO & Co-Founders • Launch Date • Fees Friday, December 20, 13
  • Logos & Screenshots Most writers merely skim a media advisory, so increase the chances of coverage by ensuring it is tight and effective. Visuals and Founder Information Include supplementary visuals to accompany the story (e.g. company logo(s) and relevant screenshots). Provide a brief biography of each co-founder and include headshots. What is the driving force behind the company? Include any tidbits writers can use to make your story more interesting. We recommend using a personalized Dropbox for each journalist. It will also tell you if they’ve viewed the folder - confirming interest. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Reaching Out to Journalists Engagement with journalists prior to reaching out is key. Don’t assume they’re interested. Be polite and request to send information on a story that may interest them. Build a relationship first so it doesn’t come off as insincere. They may decline, but by continuing to build on the relationship, they could accept in the future. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Content Creation It’s time to kick content creation into high gear. Managing a blog and other forms of content can seem daunting though. Fortunately, four little steps is all you need to get started. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Creating a Topic List Create a topic list based on your core keywords. Put all of your ideas on a calendar once you have around 15-20 topics. Tip: Add descriptions to your topic ideas. You might not remember your idea when you go to write the post three months from now. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Knowing What Types of Content to Publish Each of the five main types of content (eBooks, webinars, newsletters, video and guest blogging) have unique advantages and disadvantages. Consider your options carefully with your target market in mind. Don’t try to do everything right away. Friday, December 20, 13 When
  •   starting
  •   out
  •   with
  •    blogging,
  •   aim
  •   to
  •    contribute
  •   70%
  •   of
  •   the
  •    content
  •   you
  •   create
  •   to
  •    other
  •   blogs
  •   to
  •   help
  •    establish
  •   yourself
  •   as
  •   an
  •    expert
  •   in
  •   the
  •   space.
  • Webinars Hearing your voice and engaging with you live gives customers a sense of familiarity. Use webinars to help establish yourself as an expert in the space, establish rapport with prospects, as a lead generating engine or to explain a complex idea or product to an audience. Have someone on your team live tweet your webinar using a custom #hashtag(s). Make sure you are providing great nuggets of wisdom, something easily re-tweetable. Make sure to post your contact information or a call to action. Cross-promote your webinar on your blog. Friday, December 20, 13
  • eBooks & Guides Offer a free eBook in exchange for an email address. This is simple to create using tools like Mailchimp and Wordpress. Follow up. Ask their opinion of the eBook to open the door for conversation. Track downloads and metrics against your goal(s) to see if free content works. Remember, Content Marketing is a slow process. Don’t expect quick wins right away. It takes time to build a great reputation! Friday, December 20, 13
  • Newsletters Email marketing is far from dead. In fact, “56% of businesses said they planned to increase their use of email marketing” in 2013.* Make subscribing to your newsletter quick and straightforward. The setup is so easy a monkey could do it. But ... don’t go overboard with email blasts. Once you overuse the connection, you’ll lose it. Don’t be an annoying friend. * ExactTarget: http://www.exacttarget.com/blog/50-email-marketing-tips-and-stats-for-2014/ Friday, December 20, 13
  • Videos If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what a video is worth. Keep it simple by creating an explainer video or an introduction video. Put the video on your startup’s website or blog. Statistics show most people would rather watch than read. They’re also more likely to buy after watching a video... Friday, December 20, 13
  • Videos = More Customers Dropbox
  •   introduced
  •   a
  •   simple
  •   explainer
  •   video
  •    on
  •   their
  •   landing
  •   page
  •   and
  •   saw
  •   an
  •   additional
  •    75,000
  •   subscribers
  •   in
  •   only
  •   24
  •   hours. Onlineshoes.com
  •   converts
  •   45%
  •   more
  •    customers
  •   using
  •   video
  •   and
  •   has
  •   seen
  •   a
  •   359%
  •    year-over-year
  •   increase
  •   in
  •   video
  •   views.
  •   
  •    Product
  •   pages
  •   with
  •   video
  •   have
  •   higher
  •    conversion
  •   rates
  •   than
  •   product
  •   pages
  •   without
  •    video. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Guest Blogging Guest blogging is an incredible way to build your influence and establish expertise in your field. Start by making a list of 20-30 blogs / publications that interest you and compliment your industry. Look for contributing guidelines and follow the process. If there are none, reach out (via email or Social Media) to the editor to ask if you can contribute some content. The content you contribute should always by 100% authentic and original. Once you’ve built a reputation, create your own writers’ page and link to the content you have published. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Capturing Emails Capturing emails can be divided into three categories: email submits, newsletter subscriptions, and blog subscriptions. Email marketing is best managed by a tool like MailChimp, which allows you to send custom emails. You can setup email campaigns based on your RSS feed, which means subscribers will receive an email whenever new content is published. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Test and Iterate You have to continuously improve your marketing strategy by testing and iterating. Always refer to your metrics for success to see if you are on the right path. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Setting Up Analytics Tools The key to measuring success is a great analytics tool. Google Analytics is a no-frills solution. If you need something more user-friendly and advanced, tools like KISSmetrics are available. All analytics tools will have you insert a snippet of code on your website. Be sure they are committed to preserving fast load times. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Measuring Against Benchmarks Measure week over week and month over month. Compare your core metrics to the previous period. Look for consistent growth. Attribute significant growth or decline to an event (e.g. a viral tweet or a disastrous newsletter). Isolate and then either replicate it or avoid it. Friday, December 20, 13 “If
  •   you
  •   can’t
  •   measure
  •   it,
  •    you
  •   can’t
  •   manage
  •   it.” -
  •   Peter
  •   Drucker,
  •   Management
  •    Consultant
  • Brainstorming Creative New Ideas Don’t only iterate and optimize what you’ve already been doing. Always try creative new things. Some of your new and innovative ideas will fail, but the few that succeed will be well worth it. Never get complacent! Friday, December 20, 13
  • Best Practices What are the industry experts saying? What are the top startups doing? Here are three startup marketing best practices. 1. Sell the solution. Touch upon, but don’t dwell on the problem. Quickly get to the point: how your solution is the ultimate fix. 2. Have a compelling story. Use your story to differentiate yourself from the competition. Having a relatable story is a fast-track to establishing authentic relationships. 3. Use all of your resources. Don’t overlook any marketing idea - big or small. Get your team excited to tell your startup’s story. Write a blog post on a trending topic. Run a contest to drum up some hype. Friday, December 20, 13
  • Conclusion Startup marketing is a blend of complex science AND art. Tested formulas should always be approached with personal finesse and flare.  When marketing comes from a passionate perspective and mapped with thoughtful strategy, the results will not only be measurable but exactly the momentum you need to take your startup to the next level. Friday, December 20, 13
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