Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.
This week’s question comes from Charles Forster, who asks:
It’s always easy to answer a question like this after you’ve already figured out something that works well for you.
So of course, if I knew then what I know now, I’d be doing all of the stuff that ended up delivering huge marketing breakthroughs for us over the course of Groove’s history.
And I’m happy to offer my take on what those big wins were, with the caveat that this is what worked for us, in our market, with our position. These things may not work for you. But if I got my hands on a time machine, here’s what I’d start doing from day one:
- Deep, deep customer development. Before we did anything, I’d spend many, many hours talking to as many customers as possible, learning about their pains, challenges and goals, and thinking about how we could use our marketing to help them accomplish those goals (not to mention using these insights to drive our product development).
- Start publishing valuable, interesting and useful content as soon as we possibly can. I’ve always loved what Rick Perrault, CEO of Unbounce, said in his interview on our blog about the huge benefits Unbounce got from doing content marketing well before they launched their product:
The question we had from the beginning was “how are we going to find customers?” It’s not like people are searching “landing page solution” or “landing page builder.” People didn’t even know to look for us, so how will we go out and find them? So that was a really important challenge for us to tackle, and we made the decision to start blogging on day one. [Ed. note: actually, it was more like day -165, as the product was six months from launch]
We needed to make connections with thought leaders, and to become thought leaders ourselves. So we worked hard, blogging, guest posting and promoting, and by the time we launched, we already had a reputation in the space. The thought leaders we had built relationships with talked about our product and got people interested. I don’t think there would’ve been any other way to succeed.
As a result, the team had a strong launch and signed up a lot of users, fast.
- Drive top, middle and bottom-of-the-funnel traffic to our site. We didn’t launch our support blog until nearly a year after our startup journey blog launched, and already it has nearly caught up in terms of traffic (and gets more customer signups). Both blogs deliver tremendous value to us, and I’d make sure that we get them both launched from the beginning.
- Understand and embrace the power of SEO to drive organic traffic. It took me a while to get over my fear of SEO and realize that it’s not just some scammy tactic. Now that we’re taking it seriously, our traffic has never been higher. I regret not putting in the effort from the beginning.
- Influencer outreach is the reason that our startup journey blog has been as successful as it has been. Especially early on, our outreach campaign gave the blog the boost it needed to build a baseline of traffic that has been steadily growing ever since. We still use many of the same tactics for a lot of our marketing initiatives, and if I understood its usefulness when we launched the business, we’d be in a different place today.
I’m curious: what do all of you wish you had started doing sooner? Let me know in the comments below!