Startup Marketing: 3 Things to Do Now (even if you don’t have a product yet)

Last week in a workshop about marketing for young companies and startups some of the young entrepreneurs asked if there are some things in marketing we would recommend for every founder. And there are some things in marketing we think everyone should, at least, know about. And we would even suggest looking into some of these BEFORE you actually decide to found a company, have a product and get everything else on the road.

Why do we recommend these things for startup marketing

These things might not be the most efficient marketing methods for everyone or every product. There are tons of other legitimate and highly successful marketing methods. Still, the ones I recommend here are accessible to everyone, and they can be used in a wide variety of cases. They also are an excellent start for many of the other marketing aspects you might consider in the course of building your business.

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Plus these methods are no secret or highly risky practices. You do not need a huge budget to be successful. A little time from you, persistence to keep going even if the beginning might be a bit rough – and the willingness to learn and dip into new things, try things out and listen to advice is all you need. The combination of the three has been used multiple times by founders and entrepreneurs. Some of the most influential social media people have grown their business based on exactly these three things.

We have used exactly this combination of things to build our publishing platform – and again The SocialMs. And you can use them for your startup marketing, too!

Twitter: An easy starting point for every niche

On a startup event last year an investor said, he would not understand why so many founders and startups especially in Germany are not on Twitter (yet). I think he is dead right. Twitter offers enormous opportunities to build an audience in Social Media without a budget and in almost any area of interest. It also provides huge opportunities to connect with people otherwise totally out of reach.

On Twitter, you can start your startup marketing long before you have your product ready to market. You can even begin to build an audience before you have your own content to share.

If I had known what I know today, I would have registered on Twitter the minute we decided to found a company back in 2009. As it was, I signed up in 2010 and only really started using Twitter to grow an audience in 2012. With the advantage of additional three years of audience building in our most successful marketing channel (=Twitter) our publishing platform exploreB2B, which went to grave in January of this year, would probably have made it to success.

So, my advice to every founder is: Do not make the same mistake I made, do not underestimate Twitter. Simply go ahead, read some articles about building an audience on Twitter, register and start trying things out. Do not be afraid to say the wrong things. There is not such a big secret to being successful on Twitter.

While you might need some time to figure out how Twitter works best for you, you can get your marketing on track without a budget or even without any product to market yet.

(A small tip on the side: It is often easier to grow followers for a personal account rather than for a company or product account. The reason is simple: People like to connect with people. Therefore, it might be a good idea to start with two accounts: Your personal account and an account for your product or brand).

Do you want to know how to build a social audience and generate reliable Social Media Traffic?! Find the answers in our ebook “The Social Traffic Code!”

The Blog: Your own personal content hubWith Twitter, a blog (and content), a targeted email list and good email marketing, you have your startup marketing success in your own hands.

There are several reasons why a blog is a good idea for young companies. For any social media success, you will need content. A blog allows you to publish exactly the content you want to publish; no one else is going to dictate you some rules – apart from your audience. And as with Twitter, you can start a blog for your startup marketing long before you have your product ready.

There is no question that it is a challenge to build an audience for a new blog – but there is also not much doubt that once you have an audience for your blog, it is worth the effort. And you can certainly learn how not to fail with your blog.

It is true that in social media to build an audience you can start with other peoples’ content. But the real success comes with your own content and your own content hub: Your blog.

You can tell your own stories, write about the information you found on the web, people you met, experiences you made. And yes

And your blog is also the perfect starting point to get started with growing your email list for your email marketing.

Email Marketing: Building your own targeted audience

We are not talking about buying a list and spamming it with sales messages here. Instead, we strongly recommend you to look at how to build your own audience for Email Marketing. There are several ways of building an email list with targeted subscribers. And once you have your targeted audience you can nurture with Email marketing: It is invaluable.

A list of email addresses of people potentially interested in you, your offers or the topics you talk about is a treasure right from marketing heaven. A targeted email list is the secret to many success stories: From selling books, over consulting services and real physical products. There are millions of people who successfully use email marketing to market their products and services. But there are also some who try email marketing and fail.

Here is what you need to keep in mind:

  • you need to target your list building at your target audience – an untargeted audience will never give you the results you are looking for
  • you need to nurture your audience with value before you can sell anything to them – and only then will they listen to you when you present what you want to sell

Play the three together and your startup marketing is all set for success

You can use Twitter to share your content from your blog and get an audience to your content. You can use the content from your blog to attract more followers on Twitter. And you can use your blog to get people to signup to your email list. Even though this is just a start, the three can go hand in hand and serve to help you build trust with your growing audience.

There are many more things you can do to market your new products and services. You can set up a Facebook Fanpage (and you should do that) but to start on Facebook without any budget and no audience or recognition somewhere else is hard. You can publish some guest posts on other peoples’ blogs to get the attention of their already established audience – and I do recommend you consider doing this to force growth.

With a growing audience on Twitter, a blog (and content), your targeted email list and a good plan on how to nurture your audience with email marketing, you have your marketing success in your hands. And the good thing about this is, that you do not need a huge budget to achieve it.

Now, I hope you are not disappointed that I did not reveal any secret success formulas. But the simple truth is: It works :)

Get a Free and In-Depth 6-Day Email Course On Social Media Marketing and Traffic Generation from The Social Ms

Do you want to learn more about using Twitter to build a business? Check out our Twitter Cheat Sheet!

This article was proofread and edited by myself with the help of Grammarly. If you are blogging in English and cannot afford a professional editor, Try Grammarly Now! It rocks.

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  • John Matheson

    You have to build your business plan which is morphing into an operations manual, while you are doing blog posts and social media. When you get enough revenue to bring others aboard, you need a strict set of rules for their behaviour, which you will have in the operations manual.

  • Kimetta Coleman

    I totally agree with what you have pointed out here Susanna. I did it all wrong as well because no one I feel, really understands the value of Social Media and how this digital interaction really is the ‘new’ way of doing business.

    I too have had to shut down my business and begin new strategy planning and design for my next venture. However, this time I can go into it right from the start – I’ve gained enough now on this end to prioritize efforts, energies, resources, and design with digital marketing evermore.

    This article is a ‘great’ help for all of whom are currently ignoring the personableness of business, even if it is in the digital distributive property, and reach out to people. Thanks for sharing a piece of the blueprint we can all share with others.

  • Bill Carroll

    Excellent post Susanna with some really simple tips to get going. I have two of the pieces (Twitter and blog) but have yet to add email. I plan to add an email sign-up form to my blog and begin that process.
    I think the reason I’ve been dragging my feet is this: once I get the list started, that means I have to send emails (with value) to my list and I’m not sure I can do that AND add valuable content to my blog weekly.
    How often would you recommend reaching out to the email list? I’m aware of some folks that email every single day. How often do you send emails to your list?
    Thanks again!
    William S

  • ChantraBE

    Thanks for sharing this value content. I agree with this 3 keys point for Startup.

  • evelyn

    Thanks for the post !! Knowing your target audience and moving ahead with all these three steps for startup marketing is the ket to build a successful path.
    Bizbilla b2b portal

  • iHustle Academy

    Without a doubt, Twitter has been absolutely instrumental to growing my audience when I first started out, even without a concept of my WHAT.

    Great recommendations.