There are a lot of articles about growth hacking. But they apply to your usual types of businesses and rarely cover the special breed of growth hacks for startups. So we decided to provide a simple overview of how real growth marketing for startups looks from our point of view.
This article stems from Glorium Marketing’s decade of delivering proven results to dozens of B2B startups.
Following the steps below, you’ll be able to get the first leads in a month or two and set up a sustainable customer flow for your business.
How is growth marketing for startups different from any business marketing?
If your usual business marketing supposes that you have a product or service in place, a clear understanding of the market to work on, and a customer, in the case of a startup, you are working with a clean slate.
Two challenging differences between startups and established businesses are:
No tangible or ready-made product. All a startup can market is an idea of a product or service, in the best case – a prototype or MVP. It means you don’t have solid testimonials or an established reputation.
How to overcome it? When you can’t win with rational arguments, use emotions. Combine your idea, brand, product, or service with hype or popular topics. For instance, you might promote bullet-proof glass as a zombie-proof window. A cleaning service can use Nimbus 2000 as a metaphor for its innovativeness. This approach allows attracting public attention even before you start selling.
A small team combines many roles. Startups rarely have the benefit of the 20+ people marketing division to handle every campaign and channel separately. What you have on your hands are you and your few (overworked) partners and employees.
How to overcome it? Stay consistent, don’t try to do everything at once. Utilize the tools heavily. Many SaaS marketing solutions might help you to streamline and automate the processes. Outsource growth marketing completely or augment with some specialists to enhance the direction you feel weak in or lack knowledge.
5 steps to hack growth for your startup
Step 1. Develop a simple but efficient marketing strategy.
The best time to create a marketing strategy is the ideation phase. It allows you to regulate your decisions further and save resources and money. You’d want a guidebook for marketing activities with the following points: positioning, targeting including buyer personas and ICP, sales funnel, USP, and competitors’ research.
Step 2. Create a website.
Guide your decisions by the current demand. Follow the potential client’s needs, requirements, and vision of a perfect service provider. The website structure should be enough to present all the benefits and features of your product or services and prove your business is real.
What should be on a startup website:
The prime description, message, and CTA
A bit of information about your company and team
Benefits and features
Clients and testimonials
Contacts and office locations
Use extensive on-page SEO – it might be time-consuming but will give you a powerful boost with cost optimization in the future. Set up analytics and conversion tracking (more about this below).
Step 3. Boost your online presence right from the moment your website is live.
Use the Google ads as soon as your website goes live.
Use Google ads (search campaigns) for the most convertible (commercial) keywords that drive leads.
Use the “Maximize clicks strategy” before Google’s AI learns your case.
After a couple of weeks, you may switch to the “CPA strategy”.
Also, register your startup everywhere possible: social media, platforms, marketplaces, etc. And make sure to choose the most accurate category for your type of business. Explore PPC opportunities if possible. For instance, Capterra allows showcasing your SaaS and charges for clicks.
Marketplaces to register your startup at:
Step 4. Publish your content and engage PR.
Content strategy and public promotion will allow you to share your expertise and provide value even before your prospective clients will pay. Create articles that raise the relevant issues in your niche and propose solutions. (This article on growth hacks for startups is content marketing, too!)
Use not just text but try to develop different types of content, such as:
To streamline content creation, you may outsource writing on Fiverr, providing the author with a precise technical specification. Remember, they aren’t experts in your niche – you are. Hubspot might be a popular automation solution, but we at Glorium Marketing Agency for B2B startups prefer a manual approach.
Use different channels to distribute information published in your blog and news: social media, content platforms, related groups, newsfeeds, public media, press releases, and email marketing.
Step 5. Analyze everything and make improvements immediately.
Use Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, Hotjar, and Pixels – to track traffic sources and every important event on your website.
Metrics to track:
The number of visits and users (real ones)
How much time did they spend on which pages
How deep scrolling was
Anything else relevant to your case
More insights might be investigated, like devices, demographic, interests, geography, etc. All this data will allow you to make the right decisions to aid your progress.
To streamline growth marketing for your startup, keep observing all your activities and make quick decisions about further actions. The simplest tactic is A/B testing: there is always something better and something worse. Choose the better option, move on, and create a new one.
Take a step back and make some tweaks
If you feel there your strategy is faulty on a deeper level, like wrong messaging or target audiences, and your lead generation machine is stalling, get back to your basics. Pretty often, marketing strategy is created by the personal vision of the startup founder and without considering the current market and realities of the external environment. Fix it, and move on!
Feel free to contact our Growth Marketing Team if you are stuck and need a good shake for your startup. We are great at crisis management and growth strategy development and implementation.
Ready to give it a go?
Growth hacks for startups are different from usual marketing due to several factors. The novelty of the product for the market, lean teams, and other specifics can be a setback when you try to apply traditional growth hacking.
To avoid lagging and misreading, use the advice above to build the growth strategy for your future product, and stay assured that your startup will grow as planned.