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How to market your startup

Marketing your startup effectively is often the difference between success and failure.

With the vast amount of companies competing for the same market, combined with the abundance of marketing messages, your marketing efforts need to stand out from the crowd.

To do so, you’ll need to have a defined target audience - a generic ‘my product can be used by anyone’ approach to segmentation will lead to wasted money and failure.

Defining your target audience:

If you’ve got a business plan for your startup, then you’ve already done this part (see what we meant when we said that business plans would save you hassle down the line?).

You need detailed knowledge of your target market, to know when and where will be the best time to promote your startup. This will also inform you about the wealth and size of your target market. Is it big enough for you to have sufficient customers? And of the people it appeals to, will enough of those people be willing to pay for your product/service?

Defining your target audience properly is vital, because it will influence your value proposition, which is a key way to make your message stand out.

Your value proposition

Your value proposition is the core message you want to get across to your target audience.

It shouldn’t be any longer than a sentence, and will guide your marketing efforts ensuring you have a consistent campaign across all your chosen channels. It doesn’t need to sound particularly good or roll off the tongue, it’s not a slogan. But your slogan should be derived from your value proposition.

For example, Apple’s value proposition for its Macbook Air could be: A lightweight portable computer with more advanced technology than its competitors.

And here is their campaign:

Do you see how the tagline in the image promotes the value proposition’s message, but in a more catchy way?

How to know if your marketing efforts are successful

Once you’ve got a clear target audience and a defined value proposition, it’s time to start marketing! Depending on your audience, you might want to focus all your marketing efforts into social media campaigns on Snapchat and Tik Tok, or rely solely on email campaigns - or a bit of both. No matter what you do though, make sure that you are evaluating the campaigns’ performance based on KPIs.

KPIs are Key Performance Indicators, and are the goals you plan to achieve through your marketing campaigns.

But that means more than saying you want to get 250 likes on your promoted Instagram post. If your goal is exposure, that might be a decent start, but you’ll need to focus on more than vanity metrics such as likes or followers.

You might be amassing likes and followers by the boatload, but if you’re noticing that no one from Instagram is buying your product or even going to your website, then you might be wasting your time. However, if your email campaign seems to be funnelling quite a few people to your website and a couple of them even purchased your product, then perhaps you should scrap your Instagram campaign and focus more heavily on emails.

That is why you need to closely monitor your campaigns, so that you can see which ones are working and which ones are a waste of money. Monitoring tools are usually included with the platform that you’re advertising on, but you can also use some independent marketing analysis tools if you want an overview of all your campaigns in one place or if the metrics you want to track aren’t included in the platform’s own analytics.

You’ll also want to check out your website’s analytics with Google Analytics, which will allow you to see how people got to your website (was it your Instagram ad? Did they come from a Google search?) and how they behave once they’re on your website. This will show you what pages they visit, what the last page they visited was before they left your site, etc.. If you’re seeing an 80% exit rate (commonly referred to as bounce rate) on your home page, maybe you need to think about redesigning it so that people are more inclined to stay on it and browse through more pages on your website - ideally purchasing something as a consequence.


End Note

Marketing can be very confusing, and getting it right certainly isn’t easy - even if you know what you’re doing.

The key is to know who you’re talking to (your target audience), what you’re saying (your value proposition), what your end goal(s) is/are (KPIs) and whether it’s working or not (using analytics). That way, even if it’s not working, you’ll know where it’s going wrong and what needs to be changed.

That being said, if you need more help with marketing your startup (or anything else), our team of Startup Gurus would be delighted to see what we can do for you!

Message us on LinkedIn, or send us an email at to get in touch.


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