Welcome!

CRM Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Ian Khan, PR.com Newswire, Steve Mordue

Related Topics: CRM, Agile Computing

CRM: Blog Post

Startup Marketing: 10 Things To Do In Your First 90 Days

Startup Marketing

So you got yourself involved with a startup company.  It may have happened by circumstance or by choice.  You're either a founder or one of the first employees.  You either envision your concept as a potential single to be flipped in 3-4 years, or a grand slam that will allow you to socialize with the likes of Brin, Bezos and Cuban.

Awesome.  We all love a good startup story. 

Unless you've got an inherently viral concept on your hands (and by the way, keep in mind that there have only been about 5 inherently viral products introduced over the past 5-7 years), you're going to need to put a significant emphasis on marketing.  I wrote an earlier post about the necessity of bringing marketing expertise to your internal/external team, but this post isn't designed to belabor that point.

You're going to need to do certain things during your first 90 days to survive and show some traction from a marketing standpoint.  Why 90 days?  It's simple.  Business plans are great for fundraising and for attracting senior-level employees, but executing on a 5-10 year grand vision usually happens in pieces.  I happen to believe that this execution is best broken down into 90-day pieces.

One caveat before we get into the list.  All of the items below are tactics.  Tactics that do not flow from a broader strategy usually fail at some point.  Build a sound marketing strategy - identify goals, build your messaging, pinpoint target audiences - before you start getting tactical.

Here are the 10 marketing items every startup should consider executing within the first 90 days of operation:

1.  Build a clean, easy to navigate website.

I know.  Quite an "outside the box" statement.  All I can say is that people still miss on this first step, and miss in an embarrassing way.  Remember this - depending on which web genius you listen to, you have between 3-10 seconds just to convince a visitor to move further on your site. 

And if you're a startup that doesn't think you need a web site at all, I wish you luck.  No need to read further.

2.  Create a blog, post quality content, and learn how to market it.

You're still reading this post because you find the content interesting and the site doesn't look half bad.  You're here because you found the content via a search engine, another website, or perhaps a social media property like Twitter or LinkedIn.  

If your website is your brochure (and hopefully it doesn't look like one), then your blog is your platform to express your ideas and distribute some of your marketing content.

3.  Spend the time to do the basic SEO work, or have someone do it for you.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), generally speaking, rarely will impact your business in the short-term.  That being said, if anyone tells you that SEO is dead and you shouldn't worry about it, toss them out the window like the guy in the Bud Light commercial.  Even the most basic SEO work, if done appropriately, will pay significant dividends eventually.

4.  Do some public relations, or at a bare minimum issue a press release surrounding your launch.

Not every startup can afford to spend thousands of dollars a month on retaining a public relations agency, but that's not an excuse to ignore public relations.  You can get a high quality press release written, distributed and pitched for as little as $1,500 - $2,000, even less if you do some of it yourself. 

Is there a good reason NOT to announce your business?  Afraid of a poor first impression on the media and consumers of your product?  If so, you may be facing a product problem or a problem with other elements in your marketing mix.

5.  Get involved in social media.

Notice that I didn't say to rush out, join all 10,000 social media properties and start posting.  As always, with social media, my advice is to join, listen, learn, then post.  Most startups join and post.  They don't even acknowledge the listen and learn part.  Startups are typically in a rush to show some traction, and unfortunately some investors judge traction based on Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and LinkedIn connections.  That's just silly, almost as silly as the valuations those investors placed on the revenue-less companies of dot-com boom times.

6.  Make your first customers raving fans, and squeeze everything you can out of them.

Those who have launched startups know that you rely on your immediate network for feedback and funding during the first stages of operation.  Provide exceptional service to those customers, solicit as much feedback as possible, and then use those customers in press releases, case studies, testimonials, videos, etc.  Of course, I would recommend asking for permission from those customers first.

7. Send an email newsletter on a monthly basis if possible.

If you're executing on some of the items above and below, you'll have plenty of content for a basic email newsletter that updates customers, prospects, investors, media, friends and family on the company's progress. 

Much like public relations, is there a good reason NOT to send a quality email newsletter to 500-2,000 people that have some level of interest in your business?

8.  Install web analytics.  Monitor it.  Don't obsess over it.

Web analytics packages are a lot of fun.  That may sound geeky, but once you've actually logged in and viewed all the cool stuff that is trackable on your website, you don't know. 

Go ahead and get web analytics installed on your website.  Tie it into pay-per-click advertising if you're doing any of that.  Look at the results once a day or once a week, whatever makes you feel comfortable.  Just don't get too caught up in why your site attracts more visitors from Idaho than Florida until you have enough data to make reasonable judgments.

9.  Start considering distribution partners.

This is easier said than done.  Unless you are pursuing the most unique target market in the history of the world, there are likely other companies that have already climbed that mountain and can claim thousands of customers in your target market.  You need to start conversations with these types early, as partnership deals rarely happen quickly.

This should start during the 90-day period, but likely won't show results during those 90 days.  That being said, imagine the marketing cost savings of reaching a partner's existing 2,000 customers vs. attempting to acquire those 2,000 customers through traditional marketing means. 

10.  Get organized and actually create your 90-day marketing plan.

Especially in a startup, whoever is responsible for marketing ought to also be one of the more organized people in your organization.  You likely don't have a lot of marketing dollars to spend, and therefore you need to be extremely efficient with the tactics you execute.  Disorganized people typically aren't very efficient. 

About the Author: Mike Sweeney is Managing Partner of Right Source Marketing and co-founder of PR Flex.  Don't hesitate to drop Mike a comment on this post.  Follow Mike on Twitter for more marketing commentary.

More Stories By Mike Sweeney

Mike Sweeney and Right Source Marketing help organizations build their marketing strategy, organize the structure to accommodate that strategy, and deliver the specific services to execute that strategy. We do this through a unique model that provides senior level strategic consulting as well as specific services that cover every area of an organization’s marketing plan.

@ThingsExpo Stories
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, discussed key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the age ...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
Here are the Top 20 Twitter Influencers of the month as determined by the Kcore algorithm, in a range of current topics of interest from #IoT to #DeepLearning. To run a real-time search of a given term in our website and see the current top influencers, click on the topic name. Among the top 20 IoT influencers, ThingsEXPO ranked #14 and CloudEXPO ranked #17.