Startup founders wear many, many different hats in the early months and years of being in business. In addition to laying out the vision, establishing a growth strategy, and building and supporting their team – in most cases they’re also doing (or managing) all of the marketing efforts. Nine times out of ten, marketing is not the founder’s specialty. And that’s why we tend to see the majority of startups making the same avoidable mistakes.
Also read: 7 Tips for Small Business Startup Success
Here are the seven most common startup marketing mistakes startups make, along with ways to avoid them:
- Not having a marketing strategy. For your startup to be successful, you need a proactive strategy. “We will build it and they will come” simply doesn’t work in the real world. For startups especially, the focus needs to be on user acquisition, engagement, and driving sales. We recommend an inbound marketing strategy, as it’s the most effective methodology at your disposal. Consider channels that are appropriate to your key buyer personas (target customers), and build meaningful content to attract and engage these users.
- Not identifying their target market. It’s ineffective to try to be everything to everyone. Startups have a much higher rate of success when they focus their messaging on a specific target market. Use buyer personas to clearly frame your target customer and focus marketing efforts around the needs of this target customer. (consider to read:
- Not using analytics to inform design, flow, and content. A beautiful website is important, yes, but it also needs to be effective. Use analytics to identify and fix what’s not working, so you can attract and retain more visitors. Consider Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools or a larger, more powerful system like Hubspot to understand what is working and what is not.
- Not constantly improving. You should always be on the lookout for ways to strengthen your messaging and value proposition. Marketing isn’t something you do once and then you’re done. It’s constantly changing and evolving over time, as you acquire new information about your target market. Use analytics to track what content, campaigns, channels and landing pages are engaging users the best and driving your best ROI.
- Not asking for feedback. Feedback is invaluable to a startup. Ask current and potential users how you’re doing. What do they appreciate? What could they do without? What would they like to see more of? Use the information you collect to improve your strategy.
- Not developing a strong brand story. A strong brand story makes you memorable and desirable. It differentiates you from the competition and conveys your value to the marketplace. Without it, you’ll have a difficult time resonating with your consumers.
- Not being consistent. As we mentioned before, you have to work your marketing strategy consistently and over time. The effort has to be ongoing if it’s going to be effective.