5 Advanced Startup Marketing Tips to Apply Today

November 1, 2021

Finding the right growth channel for a first-time entrepreneur can be tricky.

Some startups go through a long process of trial and error and end up with a number of channels that actually work for them...

… while others don’t. 🤷‍♂️

In 2021, failing startups are a part of the ecosystem; you’re more likely to fail than succeed.

So it’s a good idea to understand what you can do to maximize your chances of success in a harsh and fiercely competitive market. 

Here are 5 tips that I know will help you, as an early startup, to actually optimize your marketing efforts and get results faster:

1- Get in the customers’ heads

This is not a unique tip, not at all.

But the importance of this practice can’t be stressed enough, that’s why it gets the #1 spot on this article.

You can’t market to people you don’t know anything about. 

If you don’t know who they are, what problems they’re having, and what they’re expecting from a solution like yours; you can’t possibly help them.

So right from your first customer, focus on establishing an open communication channel where you can ask questions and get answers.

This can be in the form of user interviews, sales demos, or customer success sessions. You pick what works for you and start asking!

Understand who your customers are, fill out their demographics, problems, needs, and motives; then create a buyer persona or two.

And you don’t have to take my word for getting started, identifying users and creating personas has helped 56% of businesses to create better quality leads that are easier to sell to; and it will help you too.

2- Go after your competitors

Is your product unique?

Probably not. 

In fact, you probably have a few strong competitors that you look up to right now, in terms of company size.

What most startups do is act like their competitors don’t exist.

And what some startups that go after their competitors do is act like they’re much better than their competitors.

Both practices are equally wrong! ❌

First off, mentioning your competitors in every part of your marketing strategy should be your go-to. You can create comparison content around your competitors, which you could promote on paid channels, get organic rankings, and also utilize by sending out to your potential leads who use or might be thinking of using your competitor.

And secondly, in these comparison contents, you should always be transparent about the points you’re making. You can’t outright say their product is just inferior to yours; even if it is you should prove your point case by case.

You should acknowledge the capabilities of your customers’ products, mention them in your content and be straightforward with your customers. 

What’s important here is finding your selling point against those competitors and making a case for yourself.

You can try their product, make a genuine review, and honestly compare their product to yours in comparison.

Our “Appcues Alternatives” and “WalkMe Alternatives” articles are solid examples for this tip since they go after our competitors while acknowledging them.

3- Grow an audience right from the start

If you have your user persona figured out, you’ll realize that they have similar interests.

If your product is an email marketing tool, your potential customers probably are marketers who would love to improve their copy and content to get a better ROI on their emails.

If you’re selling men’s perfume, your customers would be people who actively invest in physically looking and feeling good in their daily lives.

Once you find a way to gather your potential customers around a community, group, or even an email list; you’ll have direct access to a huge number of potential customers that you can promote your products, your content, and your news to.

Most businesses today have huge email lists, Facebook or Slack groups, Telegram groups, and communities on a lot of different platforms where they’re actively trying to be helpful to their users. Of course, they don’t forget to promote themselves from time to time.

For example, Hubspot Academy has created this huge Facebook group for helping content marketers who graduated from their free courses.

Let me rephrase that: they have 27 thousand content marketers (who are excellent potential users for Hubspot’s Content Marketing Hub) at the tip of their fingers, in a Facebook group.

See my point?

4- Create consistently good content

Everyone loves good content.

When you search Google for a solution to your problem, you’re looking for an absolute solution.

It has to be precise, effective, and clear.

And when one of your ideal users is having a problem that can actually be solved with your product, you need to be there, and you need to be there with good content.

Let’s say you have an interactive piano learning app.

You can put out advertisements all over the place and get some new users. That’s a solid strategy when optimized.

But are you there when a piano beginner searches Youtube for “how to learn piano easily”?

Your app is a great solution to their problem as it enables them to “easily learn piano”, right?

So wherever they’re searching for piano tutorials, you should be there, but you should be there and be helpful.

You shouldn’t create simple advertisements or promotion videos that are not directed at their problem, no. You should first create actually helpful content to solve their problems, and keep creating these videos or articles or Instagram posts, whatever, weekly or even daily to consistently offer them value.

You can promote your product there as “further assistance when playing the piano”, or invite your new consumers to join your email list or community.

Who knows, you might end up with 27 thousand piano learners actively helping each other in a community you’ve created. 😉

5- Show users what’s possible

You might have the best product ever.

You might be allowing your users to solve their problems in the best way possible and actually add value to their lives.

But this all would mean nothing to a potential customer considering your business; they haven’t used the product yet, they don’t know what’s possible.

Now I know your website copy says “our product is the most capable and efficient solution”. 

But so does the copy of every other product in every category.

You need to actually make a case for yourself! 

If your product is as solid as you’ve said in your website copy, you don’t need outreach emails and sales calls to sell it. You just have to show it.

So don’t tell, show everyone what’s possible with your product.

For example, with our product UserGuiding, you can create beautiful-looking product tours on any website or web product and distribute it to help guide other people through them.

So I went ahead and created a beautiful guide with UserGuiding, on Youtube (a product everyone uses), to make a case for my business:

And that’s just one example of how.

You can show the best use cases of your product yourself or highlight what your customers have done with your product. Whatever works.

Overall: be helpful

At the end of the day, the biggest tip of all is to be as helpful to your potential customers as you can.

Nobody has turned away a business because they were too helpful!

Help them solve their problems, help them understand what your product does, help them choose between different products and yours, help them by better understanding their pain points.

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