Early-stage startup founders have to wear several hats. They’re tasked with not only building their business but getting their name out there as quickly as possible.
Without a marketing plan or know-how, however, many founders are left scrambling to post a few times a month to their LinkedIn in the hopes that someone notices. Or worse, marketing falls off their radar entirely. Some founders don’t believe marketing is even worth their time at the beginning. It’s a nice to have, not a must-have in their minds.
But it is! I couldn’t disagree more. You need to be building your brand every single day. Only when you truly understand the benefits of marketing can you embrace it and make it part of your daily workflow.
Getting Started with Marketing for Startups
Marketing for startups should begin with messaging. Startups often don’t know what they are or how to describe what they do and how it’s different. Marketing is your opportunity to craft and hone that vision.
To quote Socrates, “to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” As you’re exploring your message, you need to deepen your understanding of where your company sits in the market, who the other players are and the different pressures and challenges within the market.
How are other companies and their customers talking about themselves in the market? What are they good at? Where are they lacking? How is your company stacking up against them?
The juxtaposition of the market context and your unique offering is what should inform your message in the end.
Don't ignore marketing!
Learn why — and how to get started.
Benefits of Marketing
Startups have limited resources, and founders have limited time. But even if you spend just 10 minutes a day putting your message and unique point of view out there, it’ll start to make a difference.
Here are some of the benefits of marketing you can expect to see by executing consistently:
Message Testing and Audience Validation
Audience engagement is a good testing ground and feedback loop for founders.
You can easily get feedback on your message and amplify the positive responses from your audience. Put your message out there, see how it resonates (or doesn’t) and then double down on what seems to garner engagement from your community and prospects.
Quotes from partners, community members and clients — which can come from comments on your social media posts, responses to surveys, interviews for case studies and more — are also great ways to build confidence in you and your company.
Becoming a thought leader in the eyes of your key audiences isn’t something that happens overnight. But by regularly sharing your opinions on LinkedIn and posting longer content that highlights your unique point of view, you can get that ball rolling.
Everyone, from your friends and family to current and former co-workers to clients, prospects, analysts and investors — it’s one big potential community for your startup. And it’s a surprisingly small, interconnected world. By regularly messaging to and interacting with these individuals, you’ll start to build an engaged community.
More Organic Traffic
One of the byproducts of all these activities, beyond awareness and credibility, is driving new organic visitors to your site. And the best thing about building your organic traffic is that it’s visitors you didn’t have to pay for. What’s better than that?
By doing all of these things — testing your messaging, getting audience validation, developing your thought leadership, engaging your community and driving more traffic — you’ll achieve the ultimate goal of drumbeat marketing: increasing your brand awareness and credibility.
These are just some of the benefits of marketing for startups, but they’re a great place to begin. It’s a long game, and the best time to start playing is now.