What is your favorite startup blog

6 marketing strategies for your startup success

Most young companies fail sooner or later.

I don't want to take all hope away from you now.

But you should know how hard it is.

A study shows that around 50% of all companies fail in the first five years, but in all likelihood it is closer to 75%.

But don't let that discourage you. I've wasted millions of dollars too.

You have to learn from your mistakes and find out what went wrong so that you don't repeat the same mistakes.

In this article, I'll show you how I built several multi-million dollar companies. You can learn from my own mistakes and do better.

We will mainly deal with branding because many companies neglect this topic in particular.

But first you have to be absolutely sure that you are serving the right target group. I will now also explain to you why.

1. First think about your positioning, then think about itdistribution

Most companies fail before they even really get started.

Let me explain this briefly.

Software developers always say that they "solve their own problems" when developing new software.

But you don't work for yourself, but for your customers!

Solving your own problems is all well and good, but you will never make enough money if you don't solve other people's problems.

You need to do a market research and find out if your target audience is facing problems or challenges that match your original idea.

I used to watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Not any longer longer.

And I'm not the only one. Around 40% of the audience jumped off.

The new host isn't bad. He's just different. And he does not fit to the regular audience of the show.

So before we get into strategies and techniques to build your business, you need to make sure that you are serving the right market and target group.

You need to prepare well to grow your business. Here's one way:

You can look for platforms that already have a large and active audience. You should look for popular blogs (these blogs will act as advertising partners later).

To demonstrate this strategy, I just came up with an example.

I searched Google for the term “gluten free blog” and found the following:

I immediately notice two things. For one, the size of the market: 15,800,000 search results!

And these are content blogs. Think how many people read the articles on these blogs.

I also notice that BeyondCeliac.org advertises the most famous bloggers who deal with the topic of “gluten-free”.

The market is big and the topic is in demand. The infrastructure ’is there because many large organizations report on the subject. You have a list of potential advertising partners at hand.

So the market is there. Now all you have to do is figure out how to make your product or service stand out from the crowd.

Marty Neumeier has a book called Zag: The Number One Strategy for High-Performance Brands written. This book is about how to “make your product unique”.

Basically, you're asking yourself a few questions to make sure there aren't tons of other people coming up with the same idea (or failure is bound to happen).

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is the value of my product or service clearly recognizable (and can the customer simply implement / use it)?
  2. How can features, pricing strategy and other factors be adjusted to suit the only one To be a provider with that certain something?
  3. Do you serve a growing market with enough demand? (Like the market in our example.)

With Lean Canvas you can answer these questions.

In the past, your product slowly took shape over time. It has changed and got better with time and feedback from real customers (who pay for the product).

That was totally OK too.

The Cirque Du Soleil has become the world's largest circus in just a few years.

When in Las Vegas, the show is not to be missed.

But especially at the beginning the circus had to reinvent itself again and again. The company knew there was a demand for live shows and circus events.

The difference was that Cirque Du Soleil had recognized the problem with conventional circuses and could then use that knowledge to their advantage.

They didn't want to work with animals and instead focused on new elements, like an event theme and a nifty venue.

The result is a mix of circus and theater, but it worked.

There is no such thing as a magic bullet.

You have to constantly reinvent yourself, hone your strategy and collect feedback in order to develop yourself further.

Then you can avoid the problems that make many businesses fail. These companies are often too stubborn and inflexible. You mustn't make this mistake.

Once you've found the right strategy, you can start thinking about growth.

2. Benefit from the success of other platforms

Most businesses fail because of them grow too slowly.

Nobody knows you, nobody trusts you and definitely nobody looks for your name.

That's why, especially at the beginning, you should make use of other people's successful platforms.

Let me explain this briefly.

Airbnb also started at the bottom. So they looked for platforms that their target audience was already on.

Back then, people were still using Craigslist to find people and homestays in cities (or to offer their sofa as a place to sleep).

So first Airbnb approached the people listing their properties on Craigslist.

This was possible with software that enabled these providers to offer their accommodation on the Airbnb platform at the same time.

That worked great, but it wasn't enough. The company had to step up a gear and attract more suppliers if it was to be successful.

So they found an ingenious and at the same time borderline solution.

Airbnb copied Craigslist's contact information and sent out tons of emails like this one:

Fortunately, you don't always have to resort to such measures to get the same results.

Unbounce was a brand new company a few years ago. Of course, being a small private company, it didn't have the budget that many large software companies have on hand.

So Unbounce had to cause a stir elsewhere.

Co-founder Oli Gardner has spent endless hours creating the beginner's guide to online marketing.

The instructions contain a huge infographic with 60 tasks and a detailed course that will help you put the information presented into practice.

Impressive, isn't it ?!

When you have such a resource, you want to publish it on your own website immediately to take advantage of the benefits.

But Unbounce didn't do that.

Instead, the company offered the guide for free on Moz.

And for a simple reason.

Unbounce wanted to grab the attention of potential customers. And Moz had the right target group.


You can easily apply this strategy yourself.

Software companies promote their products to one another or enter into partnerships when their target groups overlap.

Treehouse teaches people to code. Many of these people then offer their services as freelancers. That's why Freshbooks is the perfect partner.

Both parties benefit equally from these partnerships. You can also attract the larger company by offering part of your sales resulting from the partnership as an incentive.

You can also expand these partnerships offline.

3. Benefit from other people's messages

Almost everyone made fun of the new GAP logo when it hit the market.

Really, people hated it:

The start-up company 99designs recognized a great advertising opportunity and immediately struck.

99designs helps its clients to create new logos. There are many different choices and feedback available to 99designs customers to avoid repeating Gap's mistake.

It fits like a glove!

The company launched a competition to help Gap redesign the logo.

This competition caused a huge stir because it dealt with a current topic.

The company has only benefited from one current issue and as a result has received tons of mention (always positive) because another brand made a mistake.

4. Take part in events, organize an event yourself and offer your services as a volunteer

We humans like to do business personally.

In such a one-on-one conversation, you can gain the other person's trust much faster and lead a fruitful discussion.

Hakka Labs founders attended local events to learn about the interests of the engineering community.

The discussions were helpful, but there was no record. The valuable information was always lost after the event.

So they recorded the conversations and then made the audio available on their website.

The file was also shared with the event organizers, who in turn shared this information with all group members.

You can build on this approach by inviting more people and attending more events.

The whole thing was so well received that at one point Hakka Labs held its own events. In the end, the company even launched an industry conference.

Using this tactic, they have landed an investor who invested $ 500,000.

This strategy is similar to the platform strategy. In this case, however, you will get to know your contacts personally.

This way you can stand out from the crowd.

Think about it: nowadays everyone sends out emails to make new contacts.

But that almost never works! The success rate is negligible. So why bother?

Try something new. Meet new people at an event or send potential partners a letter to get noticed.

It's more work, but it makes you stand out from the crowd.

5. Your customers can do word-of-mouth advertising

Have you ever had a Hotmail account?

I once had one. Almost everyone has had one!

Hotmail was one of the first free email providers.

In return, every email sent contained a link to ask the recipient to create a free Hotmail account.

The strategy is simple, but it brought the company to millions of new users in a flash.

Can you remember another company that implemented a similar tactic?


One trick fueled Dropbox's early growth (and worked better than PR, SEO, or advertising).

There are even programs with which you can easily implement this strategy yourself.

ReferralCandy is a program for e-commerce companies.

If an existing customer recruits a new customer, he will be rewarded.

I love this tactic because of it free is.

You only have to withdraw the bonus when a new customer spends money on you.

So you don't have to invest tons of money in advertising or other channels. Instead, you can hire new employees, offer more products, and invest in growth.

That way you won't slip into the red. No company wants to find itself in this situation.

6. Find an influencer (or become one yourself) to increase your brand awareness

Influencers have a large target group that you would like to address.

What you need is money.

This is why influencer platforms like Tribe are so successful. They introduce brands to suitable influencers.

You can post your product on these platforms and describe your marketing idea.

Then you can search for influencers who have a perfect target group.

You only have to invest a few hundred euros and you have access to hundreds of new fans (and more traffic, more potential customers, etc.).

The co-founder of Luxy Hair had the same goal. But instead he just grabbed a camera and made a video.

Five years (and many videos) later, he had over three million subscribers.

For the B2B industry, you can write guest posts or appear in a major brand's webinar.

Kissmetrics offers a webinar every month. The company is therefore constantly on the lookout for experts who can provide great content.

Of course, the preparation takes a little time.

In this way, however, you can increase your brand awareness, drive more traffic to your website and attract potential customers.

In addition, you gain credibility. Kissmetrics is an established company and a well-known brand.

People trust Kissmetrics.

You can enjoy this trust when you partner with such a company.

Money is always tight, especially at the beginning. That's why you have to hang in there in order to attract attention.

However, all methods have one thing in common: You are not just asking for help.

You are doing the potential partners a favor first.

You have to give the partners, platforms, brands and companies exactly what they want. Then the effort pays off.


Your success, especially at the beginning, is largely dependent on other people.

Nobody knows who you are, what you do or why they need your product.

So the first thing you have to do is figure out what people really want before you start advertising!

Sounds banal, but it saves you a lot of headaches and problems.

You need to make sure there is enough demand before you launch your business because you have a lot of the people serving the same market in the beginning helpful will be.

You have to benefit from their successful platforms and "borrow" a bit of the attention of their target group.

You can try many different techniques. The most important thing, however, is that you first help your potential partners.

Then they want to return the favor and give you access to their target audience. Maybe you can get a few new customers this way.

Do you have a favorite strategy that made a large company successful?