By Fernando Berrocal
If you have a startup, you know how difficult it may be to get things started. There are many entrepreneurs with fantastic ideas. What most of these entrepreneurs don't realize is how to turn their excellent concept into a steady and profitable startup with plenty of cash on hand. Startups struggle for a wide variety of reasons, but a lack of knowledge appears to be at the root of many of them.
Step 1: Determine who your target audience:
According to CB Insights, 42% of startups fail for the same reason. What is the most important reason? “A lack of a market need for their product,” as they expressed it. Customers aren't interested in buying the products that startups sell, but entrepreneurs are usually the last to notice.
The majority of entrepreneurs are captivated by their concept. This is partially due to bad advice advising business owners to "scratch their itch." If so many of your consumers believe and feel the same way as you, this is good advice. If many of your consumers believe and feel the same way as you, this is excellent advice. Choosing a target audience and then scratching their itch would be a better approach. There are several options for doing so. You can do the following:
- Customers should be interviewed about their aspirations, ambitions, concerns, and frustrations.
- Conduct a survey.
- To gain useful feedback, read product reviews on similar products.
- For market research, use Google Trends and Keyword Planner.
There's a lot you can do to learn more about your customers and target demographic. The point is that it's something you should devote a significant amount of time to. Why? Because thorough research is the cornerstone of all else you accomplish. You can't make the appropriate product if you don't know your consumers and don't comprehend what they want. You're far more likely to make the wrong product at the wrong pricing. If you make this error, you've already wrecked your marketing. The great majority of the things that are important to you will be irrelevant to your consumers.
In reality, the vast majority of problems and difficulties that a startup has can be linked back to the creation of a product that buyers do not desire. If you make the wrong product, you'll face the following consequences:
- The thing you're offering is unnecessary.
- Because you're not selling the right product, you can't compete with your competition.
- You'll have pricing and cost difficulties because acquiring a single consumer is more expensive.
- Because you're offering the incorrect product, your marketing will be terrible.
All of this makes it easy to lose focus, enthusiasm, or funding, which implies that if you have any investors, your next round will be rejected. I'm emphasizing this topic because it's critical to define your target demographic, build profiles, and get to know your consumers as soon as possible. If you're tempted to skip this stage because you think you already know your consumers, don't. Your clients will change as your company expands.
Step 2: Validate your hypothesis:
Even if you've taken the effort to get to know your consumers and target audience, most businesses jump directly into creating a Minimal Viable Product (MVP), which is a bad idea at this point. Validating your product (or service) idea should be your next step. Getting to know your consumers isn't enough. You'll need to find out what your consumer thinks about your idea. Your aim should be to ensure that the product provides exactly what your consumers want, whether it's to solve a problem, teach them something, or just entertain them.
Validation is also expected to remove any consumer resistance. This allows you to include their objections into your product or service before investing a significant amount of time and money into creating the ideal offering. Real, paying consumers is the greatest method to verify your idea. Crowdfunding is completely based on the pre-sale of a concept.
Step 3: Concentrate on growing your audience:
You should be ready to start building your audience at this point. This is the moment at which the actual job begins. It's not simple, but it's a lot less difficult than trying to "wing it." You should be aware of the following:
- You know who your target audience is and who your customers are.
- You know what your customers want, what they want to achieve, what they are afraid of, and what they are frustrated about. You're aware of their issues.
- Whether via pre-selling, surveys, or one-on-one interviews, you've verified your concept with actual buyers. You've gone to great lengths to obtain genuine consumer feedback.
This implies you're ready to start building an audience. When your product isn't even done, why would you focus on growing an audience?
- You prepare ahead of time by assembling a group of enthusiastic clients.
- As you build your product, you obtain valuable input from your target audience.
- When pitching investors, a huge audience offers you greater credibility since it demonstrates that there is interest in your idea.
Step 4: Establish a connection with your target audience:
Building a solid relationship with your audience is critical. How do you set that up? You educate your subscribers on a topic they are interested in learning about. You provide them with fantastic material that they want to read. It's straightforward, but it's not simple. Take the time to follow these steps if you want to generate outstanding content for your consumers. If you're good at communicating with consumers, creating great content is very simple. If you want to keep your subscribers interested, take these three easy steps:
- Make engaging material.
- Consistently produce relevant material.
- Engage your subscribers, supporters, and followers.
If you do so, you'll find it simpler to attract more and more potential consumers who want to support your startup. This does not, however, prevent list deterioration. Unfortunately, it is unavoidable due to circumstances beyond our control. Perhaps our clients are no longer interested in our goods and services.
We may hurt them inadvertently. They may have chosen to collaborate with or follow a rival. Customers depart for a variety of reasons, and finding the appropriate solution isn't always simple. The majority of consumers won't say why they left or why they're no longer interested. It's the cost of doing business right now. Just remember to include that in your marketing strategy.
Because it's the traffic you control, a successful connection guarantees regular, stable website traffic. Customers will come to your site if you publish anything interesting. When you have enough subscribers, followers, and fans, your site will start to develop naturally.
Step 5: Find partners to work with:
Most people believe HubSpot developed to be the success story it is today only through inbound marketing. Their marketing strategy benefited greatly from inbound marketing, but the true key was relationships. Former HubSpot VP of Sales Peter Caputa utilized partners to build a $100 million sales channel.
When a startup has partners with whom to collaborate, it grows fast. The simplest method to attract long-term partners is through affiliate marketing. Here's my step-by-step guide to understanding the ins and outs of affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing may be used by anyone, from solo entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, to produce the proper type of business for their consumers and sales. But there's a catch. When you collaborate with organizations that are comparable to yours, affiliate marketing works best.
Why? Because your affiliates may request that you promote their startup. You won't be able to repay the favor if you don't have a list. This implies you'll be far less likely to receive their assistance in the future. You may still use affiliate marketing if you don't have your audience. It's just more difficult to get the collaboration, income, or outcomes you require. Partnerships aren't just for affiliate marketing; they may also be used to:
- To increase traffic to your website, write guest articles for well-known websites and magazines.
- Propose to journalists and editors to get publicity in the media.
- Use forums, LinkedIn, and Facebook groups to negotiate agreements.
Do you want to differentiate your company from competitors and ensure that differentiation has staying power? In our “Build for Equity” program at MassLight you can get access to a marketing mentor that can help you with presales and other marketing efforts. Additionally, our technical support from our software experts ensure the solution we craft for your business is best-in-class.