Attracting attention to your startup is one of your most crucial tasks if you want to build a profitable business that survives. While investor funding can help you scale, it is a focus on ongoing customer acquisition that will help you build a money-making venture.
But growing a startup via sales and marketing isn’t as easy as it might seem. With hundreds of thousands of global startups (f6s.com/startups) clamoring for the same attention, attracting eyeballs to an up-and-coming startup can be difficult, regardless of which growth-hacking techniques you use.
Old-fashioned sales and marketing with a focus on customer acquisition and reduced churn is your best bet for sustainable startup growth.
Developing a name for yourself as a reputable startup (there are plenty of questionable startup companies vying for attention too) is essential if you want customers and investors to trust your brand.
You must develop a series of techniques you can use to build your digital footprint, increase your social media following, and start generating serious, repeatable revenues. If you want help to grow your startup via sales and marketing, the following are 10 tips you can use to build a thriving business.
1) One of the biggest growth hacks many startup entrepreneurs overlook is building a product/service customers actually want. You can have an awesome idea for a startup business and receive plenty of praise from your friends and family for your ingenuity, but if paying customers to have little to no interest in your idea, your startup is dead in the water before you even start.
You will have a tough time gaining traction if customers aren’t willing to pay for your product/service and think of your offering as a nice idea, but not something they would pay for. Understanding the difference between a lifestyle business and a revenue-generating startup is crucial.
If you want to grow your startup via sales and marketing, it is imperative you conduct ongoing market research to validate your business idea. Focus on building a truly awesome product that solves a customer issue and ensures you’re working on business customers will gladly pay for. Anything else is likely to be a gigantic waste of your time.
2) It can’t be stressed enough how important content development is to the life of your startup. Learn early on how to use SEO (search engine optimization), content marketing, and social media marketing to grow your company. Too many startups think all it takes to attract customer and investor attention is to post their startup on Hacker News, Reddit, and ProductHunt.
While mentioning your startup on curation websites and forums is a good first step, the real hard work comes when you focus on continually creating awesome content for your brand.
A startup blog is absolutely essential, as are engaging profiles on multiple social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Actively publish content on sites where your target customers hang out, including LinkedIn, Quora, and niche-specific forums (use a tool like BoardReader.com to find these forums).
Your startup should be posting a minimum of one blog post per week and should be publishing new posts on social media multiple times each day.
3) Networking is an essential skill for startup builders.
You must become a master at networking on social media platforms like Twitter, connecting with relevant individuals at conferences and trade shows, and building an extensive list of media personalities and tech reporters.
How your network (and who you network with) can make or break your startup. Fail to realize the importance of networking as a vital component of sales and marketing and you are dooming your startup to the dead pile.
If you aren’t great at networking, hire sales and marketing professionals who are. You can work with a public speaking coach or join Toastmasters to improve your skills, but it is imperative your startup has a number of people focused on continually networking your company.
You should develop a detailed networking strategy and constantly tweak it as new opportunities arise.
4) Who you are as a startup builder plays a huge role in the success of your company. Part of building a thriving company through sales and marketing is to build a reputation as someone others enjoy working with.
Each member of your team must be approachable, friendly, knowledgeable, and focused on building a warm and welcoming company culture. Customers and investors will do business with you if they like who you are as a team and enjoy their interactions with you.
While you might be tempted to overlook brand reputation as an integral part of sales and marketing, doing so would be a huge mistake. Reputation building for your brand and your team members should be a top priority if you want your startup company to flourish.
5) Don’t forget the role stellar customer service plays in accelerating your sales and marketing efforts. You can have a rocking sales/marketing strategy, but if your customer service team is surly or too busy to offer valuable assistance, all the growth hacks in the world won’t save your startup.
Your customer service team must be given the right tools to succeed, the right training to satisfy customer queries, and the right encouragement to share their knowledge with others. Involving your customer support staff in your brand-building efforts is one of the savviest moves you can make to grow your company.
6) Trend analysis and future forecasting is an essential element of strong startup marketing. If you aren’t watching how your industry is changing and how new challenges are approaching your market, you will be overtaken by more agile competitors in your space.
Understanding how technology is changing your industry, e.g. blockchain technology, is critical for startup staying power. Read futurist magazines and websites, follow futurists on social media networks like Twitter, and pay attention to intriguing areas angel investors are spending their cash.
The more attention you pay to future forecasting and trend analysis, the likelier it is you will spot opportunities others miss.
7) Developing a brand ambassador program is a smart way to increase the effectiveness of your sales and marketing efforts. Engaging with your first loyal customers and encouraging them to share your startup with their social networks can significantly grow your company.
Understand what your customers want in order to become brand ambassadors and then create initiatives to meet their needs. You can market your startup incessantly, but a testimonial from a happy customer will often trump your sales outreach efforts.
8) Don’t focus on achieving sales quotas, but instead focus on generating positive outcomes for your customers. Work closely with your customers to understand their challenges and make it your mission to go above and beyond in satisfying their needs.
Customers know when they are being sold to and won’t appreciate a pushy approach. Instead, focus on being a successful partner to your customers and your sales rates will naturally increase.
9) How you take care of your team has a huge impact on your sales and marketing success. Your team members can’t flourish if they are overworked and underpaid. Make sure your team knows how important they are to your startup’s success and encourage them to take care of themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally.
A strong team is a healthy team, and a healthy team naturally does awesome work.
10) Don’t forget to get outside advice on ways you can improve your startup’s sales and marketing. Work with a startup adviser you know and trust and who can give you growth advice you might otherwise miss.
A talented startup adviser can help you spot opportunities, make connections, and try growth initiatives to gain traction. Be cautious in choosing a startup adviser though as they’re not all who they claim to be.
Ask other startup entrepreneurs for their feedback on great business coaches and startup mentors to ensure you pick someone who can add significant value to your company’s growth trajectory.
These 10 sales and marketing tips can increase your startup’s growth rate if you are consistent and focused on building a lasting brand.
Understand the company you are building, have a long-term goal in mind, and make customer happiness a top priority if you want your startup to succeed.
Startup building isn’t for the meek and mild, but growing a company through ongoing sales and marketing can be one of the most satisfying business adventures you ever embark on.
10 Top Tips to Grow Your Startup via Sales and Marketing
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