Do you want to make your startup successful through innovative, out-of-the-box, and cost-efficient product marketing strategies?
Of course, you do, else why’d you be here.
Everyone business wants more customers, more sign-ups, and more revenues. To reach a massive audience, start-ups need to use different growth hacking strategies. Successful entrepreneurs across the globe have made these marketing strategies an integral part of their business, and it’s about time you do the same with your start-up.
But problems lie in which growth strategy to use and how to implement those successfully without spending too much.
It’s not easy to make a big creative splash of out-of-box product marketing strategies because great strategies don’t appear out of the blue. They require an innovative thought process and overwhelming hours of brainstorming sessions.
But what if we provide you with the time-tested product marketing strategies that actually work? If you are serious with your start-up plan, I’m sure you’ll find this article valuable. So, stay on the board, bookmark this page, witness as we reveal the best experiment-driven strategies of growing a business.
3-Foundations of Start-up Marketing Strategies
- Building Marketing into the Product Development
In today’s digital world, there is an aspect of product development which start-ups often tend to overlook. It is Virality. Product development today is an integral part of the marketing strategy. It’s not about creating a product that amazes the audience, it’s more about building marketing engines within your product which can help you drive a one-to-many scenario. For example, when one user joins your product, they drive more customers with them. Think about this: Your product alone has the potential to turn one user into ten users. The best way to do this is by creating the product roadmap around offering better and better service to the customer, and some of the great ways are discussed in the next section of this article.
- Finding your perfect audience
The ultimate difference between a successful and a failed start-up is how well they segmented their target audience. Many innovative businesses fail because they didn’t find the right audience and instead channelled all their marketing tactics in the wrong direction. Whenever you plan a marketing plan, the first thing that should come to your mind is the audience. Create all the growth strategies around your customers because they are the end users.
- Customer Feedback Loop
Collecting and working on customer feedback is important for start-ups to provide users with the product they need. Customer Feedback loop not only informs your decision making but it also influences the product roadmap. While you create strategies to market your product, it’s imperative to seek regular feedback from your audience.
10 -Highly Effective Growth Strategies
- Referral Program
Ever Wondered how Start-ups like Dropbox gained so much popularity in such a short time span?
It’s because of the referral marketing strategies. If you want your start-up to have a great following in a small time, you must implement the referral strategy. In this program, you allow an existing user to refer or promote your product to their friends/family.
Referral strategy is very simple and extremely effects, and that explains why it is used by majority of the start-ups today. Through this strategy, you are most likely to have new customers because they received personal recommendations from their acquaintances.
92% of people prefer personal recommendation (same as word of mouth strategy) more than other forms of marketing. Build a referral program for your product from scratch and get your customers excited to share your product with their friends and offer referral rewards to promote it heavily.
“Dropbox, the cloud-based storage application went from 100,000 users in the year 2008 to more than 4,00,000 users in 2009. On calculation, they witnessed an increase of 39% in their user base within a time span of a year. What built this most-valued empire was the existing user’s referrals/ word-of-mouth values. Dropbox used a very simple referral program: for every person you share Dropbox with, you get more storage space. This simple program landed Dropbox with a great deal of users.”
- Become the biggest user of your product
If you’ve ventured a start-up and you want to introduce the product in the industry, the thumb is becoming the biggest user of your product. As a start-up, you’ll most definitely find your product or software struggling to gain traction because of an inadequate number of users.
A small user base not only means little content but it also discourages the external users from downloading/buying it.
“To break through this problem, Tvisha Technologies, the developer of Troop Messenger became the biggest users of their office messenger app. All the employees and members in management use the app, leading to more-in-depth analysis on the application’s functionalities, and improvise it further with regular updates.”
If you have a small user base, start by becoming the biggest user of your company’s product.
- Bribe the New Users with Some Cash
This may sound like an expensive product marketing strategy, but in actuality, it is one of the most effective strategies now used by many startups. As a start-up, you are already bound to spend money on acquiring new users. You can spend money on advertising and promoting. But, think about giving that money to the users only?
“PayPal used the very same strategy to increase the user base when it was launched. In the initial year, PayPal offered $10 to every new customer who registered and another $10 for referring it to another customer. Hence, the total cost per customer was $20. While this may sound very expensive for companies who are short on finances, it is one of the highly effective methods of attracting and retaining customers.”
- Follow Your Competitors but also Differentiate your brand
There is a reason why a certain company has become your competitor- they are either doing better than you or you are failing at being ahead of them. As a start-up, you might not have the best experience in the industry, but if your rival has established a name in the industry, they sure are using strategies that work.
So, an important step would be keeping an eye on the rival and following them for a while. Follow their strategies and find ways to out-do them by brainstorming strategies that’ll work in your company’s favour. But your focus shouldn’t only be on following the rivals, but also on differentiating yourself from the competition. This will give a unique identity to your product and help in the differentiation of your brand.
“An example can be Inbound (Hubspot’s marketing event), whose main competitors are the content marketing companies offering similar events and marketing programs. Inbound differentiated itself by featuring both the non-marketing and marketing speakers, being transparent about their agenda, emphasizing on the audience of the benefits will get as an attendee.”
- Create an Aggressive Content Strategy
An aggressive content marketing strategy always works, no matter whether your start-up is in B2B or B2C domain. 90% of the B2B companies and 88% of the B2C companies are committed to an Aggressive Content Strategy. You can follow the same approach for your start-up.
When creating content, try to write them around the different stages of a buyer’s journey. Make sure the content is useful, informative, and has the potential to increase the conversion rate. As an added bonus, support the content with SEO and SMO to boost brand recognition and create a relationship with the consumers.
“Hubspot is a perfect example of this strategy. It’s a SaaS company which helps businesses to attract visitors and convert them into leads. Unlike other companies, Hubspot creates content that has been developed around different stages of a buyer’s journey. The blog has a catchy headline, SEO optimized content, and accurate information. The articles are to educate users and help them find potential solutions to their problems.”
- Emotive branding
A number of researches have revealed that emotive branding outsells logical branding. It may sound impractical at once but emotions are one of the important factors affecting the buying decisions. In the year 2015, the most shared advertisement were the ones that relied on emotional awareness like inspiration, happiness, motivation, and friendship. The same way you can connect with your audience through emotional ads and content.
Hence, create ads that induce emotions among your viewers and urge your audience to ask questions. Emotional content can be an excellent way of targeting the audience. Remember that your consumers first tend to be emotive and then strategic. So, develop your content, campaigns, and ads around this only.
“Optimove, automation software solutions, emphasized heavily on the emotional connection with users. The company’s automation software emphasises on the re-engagement and retention, providing personalised content, and using the emotional connection to appeal the customer’s preferences and taste. They use segmentation to send personalised deals to keep loyal customers.”
- Leveraged Acquisition
Partnerships and acquisitions can be powerful mediums to hacking the growth of a start-up. Through acquisitions, the start-up can emphasise on what it wants to drive and where it wants to focus. There are several start-ups that create simple products that can carry a message from another company.
“Salesforce teamed up with Skype by disrupting contact management while Skype was disrupting the telephony sector. Salesforce’s formula was simple. With basic coding, it created a tool that could plug a user’s contacts within Skype and manage conference calls. It was not only a brilliant idea but also a brilliant collaboration. Both the companies understood the potential of the collaboration and wrapped a larger and better feature for their customers.”
- PR APIs:
If you want to make it big with your start-up, you’ll have to play big stakes. You have no alternative but to make national headlines through efficient PRs and unique promotional campaign. PRs for product marketing has APIs around which your company should format the stories.
These APIs can be ranked in order of priority and they have immense potential to create an impact on the audience. Here’s the five APIs ranked in order of the impact they can have on your target audience:
- Company Acquisition
- Product Release
Creating controversies around your product will always get you the coverage you need for your product. By controversy, we don’t mean to emphasize on fake stories or subjects that mean nothing to your target market. You can make controversy that can help your consumers understand what’s different in your product.
“Salesforce didn’t create controversy around its competitor Oracle, instead did it around keep the contacts on your own server. Your PRs can revolve around company acquisition and partnerships. Finds methods to acquire a company and later position it as a partnership. Create National headlines about the product release and invest in promotional campaigns. You can also use the hiring API as it assures a great deal of coverage.”
- Email Marketing
Can any startup ever ignore the potential to email-marketing? I bet no.
It is indeed the most effective strategies for attracting buyers for little to no cost. To avail the benefits of email marketing, you must first collect their email addresses. If your company has an official website, the best way to accumulate email addresses is placing a signup column for visitors. The key is to diversify the emails with how-to-articles, infographics, and non-commercial videos. Don’t send paid advertorial because your subscribers will soon opt out of receiving the emails.
“One of the best examples is Canva: an online graphic design software. In their email marketing, Canva makes their user and their designs the highlight of the newsletter. It celebrates the user’s current feat and sets a landmark for more motivation. Canva uses the newsletter to appreciate ongoing uses and encourages them to continue designing by providing them with new goals.”
- Social Media Marketing
In today’s era of digital marketing who can ever forget the potential to Social media marketing? The platforms like Facebook and Instagram have immense potential of driving benefits for your startups. As your business’s presence grows on the web, more people will recognize it. You can gain more exposure through these channels and with paid ads, you can get the desired traffic and exposure. First aim to get the right exposure and then encourage the audience to stay by being responsive.
“An example can be Trello. The company doesn’t rely heavily on the pay-per-click campaigns and instead focuses on word-of-mouth through social media engagement. They have effectively used social media presence to promote the valuable features, new updates, and achievements.”
Strategic marketing has always been a challenge for start-ups. The main issue is that your product is not exposed to the target audience and your competitor has a strong position in the market. In such an environment, the only way to growing business is by using the aforementioned product marketing strategies. Every start-up must deploy their popular growth strategies and also try out new things. There is no single strategy that resolves all the marketing issues. You’ve to experiment, analyse, and repeat. Henceforth, never forget to try these strategies.
Author’s Bio: Md Mohsin Ansari is a Marketing Manager at Troop Messenger – a business messenger that comes with all the requisite features. It is a viable Collaboration Software that is spreading its wings across all industries by bringing all the internal communication at one place. Mohsin is accountable for analyzing the market trends, demographics, and dealing with all promotional and media channels. Connect with me on Linkedin.