Congratulations, you recently got funding. Or maybe you just graduated from an accelerator program. Awesome.
But now the pressure is on!
You know what your investors expect of you.
But how can you double the number of customers by month 14 if you are just starting out? You are not ranking for anything without your name on it, you pay for most of your traffic you hard earned cash and your new still gleaming website is not converting as many leads as you had hoped.
But what are you going to do? Your marketing team is you: You alone and you do not have time to find, hire and train a marketing team of marketers, social media gurus, certified copywriters, SEO nerds and awesome graphic designer.
All you know is that you have to hit your milestones.
What Is Your Marketing Strategy?
Have you ever been camping? Imagine, the sun is about to set and it is getting a bit chilly. Time to light a camp fire. It should be safe and last throughout the night. Now there are several ways to light a camp fire.
You can clear a spot, spray some expensive lighter fluid on the floor and throw a match on it. You will have a fire immediately but it will burn out quickly because it has nothing to sustain it.
You can also go, chop wood, gather twigs and newspaper, strategically arrange them in a cone form, and spray a little lighter fluid on the paper, stuff it in the middle of cone and light it. Most likely, this fire will last you through the night and keep you warm.
You are a smart cookie, you have figured out, where I am going with this…
If you are taking your funding money and paying for advertisement, you are spraying lighter fluid on the ground: you get immediate but unsustainable attention. That is because you are not not buying the attention, you are renting it. As soon as you switch it off, its gone.
Sure, you could hire a PR company, but usually PR firms are not a good fit for start-ups.
Or you could throw tons of money into traditional advertisement, but your mammoth competitors have the deeper pockets and you will run quicker out of money that you can say Look here, I am awesome! three times fast.
Oh, and one more thing about traditional marketing: people hate being interrupted. The internet has given consumers access to endless way to inform themselves and compare prices, solutions and products. This has changed the way people shop. Your approach to marketing needs to change too.
Inbound Marketing Gives Start-ups Long-term Leverage
But there is a way to build the campfire that will last. But it needs strategic planning, hard work and some lighter fluid to get the spark going.
It is called Inbound Marketing.
It is no coincidence that the co-founder of HubSpot, Dharmesh Shah, is an angel investor in more than 50 start-ups. Inbound Marketing and start ups go hand in hand.
The day your startup starts building product, it should start building an audience for that product. Inbound gets you going, so you can get growing. — Dharmesh Shah, Founder, OnStartups & HubSpot
Inbound Marketing will help your start-up to attract interested visitors to your website, capture prospects early in the funnel as leads, close those leads into happy customers and eventually turn them into promoters that will help you grow.
And the best part is, you can do all that without interrupting people.
If you have recently graduated from an Incubators or Accelerators programs from Y Combinator, 500 Startups, techstars, Accelerator Centre, Surge, Mass Challenge, BetaSpring, The SandPit. Health Box, or StartX you might qualify for a scholarship program for seed-stage startups.
This 2 year program gives you access to 30+ marketing tools (seriously all the tools your startup will ever need) on one integrated platform a highly discounted rate. In the first year, HubSpot will cover 90% of the cost, in the second year 50%. A HubSpot license costs on the entry level $200/month and the high-end $2400/month. Support and training are included as well.
There are many benefits to using HubSpot, but the biggest benefits to the software is the unparalleled ability to measure and report your return of investment across many marketing channels. You will be able to prove in real numbers what works, what did not work, where the funding is going and how fast you are growing.
To qualify for the program, you will need to have less than $1million in funding and revenue, be a recent graduate of the above mentioned programs (less than one year), have less than 100,000 marketing contacts and have your headquarter in the US or Canada.
In-House & Outsource
HubSpot is easy to use and requires only minimal technical background. But you will need a team of experienced Inbound Marketing experts, copywriters, SEO nerds and graphic designers to get up and running quickly and effectively. A monthly retainer between $3,500 – $6,000 a month is about the cost of a qualified marketing professional that you will have to find, hire and train first!