Startup Marketing

Digital Marketing for Startups

If you want to use the internet to generate revenues, you'll need a solid team of digital marketers on your team. This includes coders, digital content producers and specialists in analytics and online advertising.

If you aren't sure your product is worthy of the startup investment, you should begin with some pre-launch market tests. The broad term for this process is startup marketing, but as you'll see below, pre-launch market tests are far more specialized.

Strategy

Every business needs predictable, repeatable systems for attracting customers at a profit. Ideally these systems are scale-able.

The point is; you need 'systems', NOT strategies or tactics. Think of your marketing systems as checklists that the marketing team follows, over and over, repeatedly producing the same profitable results.

These systems are what will enable you to grow your business. But not just grow. Survive. Yes, your very survival depends on you creating these repeatable systems. Without them, the ceiling on your business will be so low that eventually you will give up. History has taught us that this is written in the stars.

Systems like what we are discussing here are what makes a business valuable. Dream of selling your business? Then you must develop predictable, repeatable, scale-able systems for creating customers at a profit. Once you have those, the risk in your business diminishes considerably.

Not surprisingly, successful marketing systems take time to develop. There is an arduous journey to get to where your marketing strategies become fixtures, with only minor modifications needed to adapt to the changing environment. Until you get there, every dollar you put into marketing is at great risk of going up in smoke.

Launch strategy

As you get your business (or new product/service) ready for market, you must think of your marketing as a series of experiments.

The proverbial 'launch' can then be broken down into a series of test marketing campaigns, each one a trial balloon. Once you see results, it is time to step on the gas. But not before you see results.

Reserve your precious capital for these experiments, because you can't develop marketing systems without them.

These experiments are fragile. Like precious petri dishes of culture in a laboratory, if mis-managed, they will die before you know whether or not they would have worked.

Test Marketing

If you have not yet invested money into your operation, you would be wise to run some market tests first.

We refer to this as pre-launch testing, which is helpful for finding out how interested the market is in buying your stuff. This is a risk-management strategy, as it can help you avoid painful investments which do not pay off. You'll also learn what the true cost of advertising will be when or if you launch. But perhaps the most important thing you'll learn is how much it will cost you to acquire a single customer. From this data you can estimate your ROI (return on investment).

To accomplish your pre-launch market test, you will need to do the following:

1. Prepare ad campaigns

2. Prepare landing pages
3. Develop a testing protocol
4. Implement and manage the process
5. Evaluate the ROI results and also that from a conversion optimization perspective (identify improvements in ROI that can you expect if you bring this product to market)

To get reasonably accurate results, you'll need to get at least 100 people to take action (e.g. click the "I am interested button"). The ad cost alone to do this could cost between 2 and 5 thousand dollars. It all depends on what Google and/or Facebook come back with for ad pricing, and you won't know that for certain until the campaigns are actually live.

The setup of the experiments and the interpretation of the results requires highly specialized, trained technicians, so the process is billed at professional rates. In our case, that is $37.77 per hour.

There is no certainty that the ROI projections that come out of this will be favorable. If they are not, you can hold on to your stock and other startup money. If the results are favorable, you can order stock with more confidence that it can be moved at a profit.

Another benefit is that you can incorporate a price test (I recommend this). i.e. Should we charge $49.00 or $79.00? This process will answer that question, and then at launch time, you'll be coming out of the gate knowing which price produces not just the highest number of orders, but the highest profits.

Keep in mind that you decide to order your stock first, you will need to go through this entire process then anyway. So you won't be able to skip the expense. It is only a matter of when you spend it. If you do decide to do it now, you can then continue improving the conversion optimization process until your stock finally does arrive.