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Startup marketing: first steps and growth

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Startup marketing: first steps and growth

  1. 1. IMPRENDITORIALITA’ E STRATEGIE Laurea Magistrale in Sviluppo Economico e dell’Impresa ALESSANDRO BIGGI
  3. 3. 3 CHALLENGE You had a great idea. You validated it, people are actually interested in it. Now you developed a nice MVP (or a MLP). You’re out there, but still nobody knows. You have to go get your first users!
  4. 4. 4 HOW? 1. Recruit 2. Test 3. Delight 4. Experience 5. Niche vs. Big 6. Use it yourself 7. Manual vs. Automation
  5. 5. 5 Recruit DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE Recruit users manually. Nearly all startups have to. You can't wait for users to come to you. You have to go out and get them. 1 For a startup to succeed, at least one founder (usually the CEO) will have to spend a lot of time on sales and marketing. Numbers seem so small at first. The mistake is to underestimate the power of compound growth.
  6. 6. 6 DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE In Airbnb's case, these consisted of going door to door in New York, recruiting new users and helping existing ones improve their listings. 📷 The moment Airbnb started scaling was when they started taking great pictures for their listings.
  7. 7. 7 Test DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE How do you find users to recruit manually? If you build something to solve your own problems, then you only have to find your peers. 2 Otherwise, the usual way to do that is to get some initial set of users by doing a comparatively untargeted launch, and then to observe which kind seem most enthusiastic, and seek out more like them.
  8. 8. 8 DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE Play with some marketing: try different target demographics, different ad sets and monitor performance. 💰 Understand the data, then invest where the best results are # $ % & ' ( ) * + , - . / 0 1
  9. 9. 9 Delight DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE You should take extraordinary measures not just to acquire users, but also to make them happy. 3 Your first users should feel that signing up with you was one of the best choices they ever made.
  10. 10. 10 DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE Wufoo sent each new user a hand-written thank you note. 📃
  11. 11. 11 Experience DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE Your attention to users should be extreme. As Steve Jobs would say, it has to be insanely great. 4 It's not the product that should be insanely great, but the experience of being your user. The product is just one component of that.
  12. 12. 12 DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE Be attentive. Over-engaging with early users is not just a permissible technique for getting growth rolling. For most successful startups it's a necessary part of the feedback loop that makes the product good. 🔧
  13. 13. 13 Niche vs. Big DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE Sometimes the right unscalable trick is to focus on a deliberately narrow market. 5 It's not the product that should be insanely great, but the experience of being your user. The product is just one component of that.
  14. 14. 14 DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE Harvard —> More Colleges —> More Schools —> Everyone Zuckerberg said that while it was a lot of work creating course lists for each school, doing that made students feel the site was their natural home.
  15. 15. 15 Use it yourself DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE Put yourself in the users shoes. Engage with them and you learn things you'd never have known otherwise. 6
  16. 16. 16 DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE When it’s about hardware, you not only have to be a user but also a builder! The Pebbles assembled the first several hundred watches themselves. If they hadn't gone through that phase, they probably wouldn't have sold $10 million worth of watches when they did go on Kickstarter.
  17. 17. 17 Manual vs. Automation DO THINGS THAT DON’T SCALE There's a more extreme variant where you don't just use your software, but are your software. 7 When you only have a small number of users, you can sometimes get away with doing by hand things that you plan to automate later. This lets you launch faster, and when you do finally automate yourself out of the loop, you'll know exactly what to build because you'll have muscle memory from doing it yourself.
  18. 18. 18 AND NOW, KEEP GROWING!
  19. 19. 19 GROWTH PHASES The growth of a successful startup usually has three phases: 1. There’s an initial period of slow or no growth while the startup tries to figure out what it's doing. 2. As the startup figures out how to make something lots of people want and how to reach those people, there's a period of rapid growth. 3. Eventually a successful startup will grow into a big company. Growth will slow, partly due to internal limits and partly because the company is starting to bump up against the limits of the markets it serves.
  20. 20. 20 Growth Phase 1 - + S - CURVE Growth rate Phase 2 Phase 3 Time
  21. 21. 21 GROWTH RATE If there's one number every founder should always know, it's the company's growth rate. That's the measure of a startup. If you don't know that number, you don't even know if you're doing well or badly.
  22. 22. 22 GROWTH RATE Growth rate is not an absolute number, it’s indeed a rate. What matters is not the absolute number of new customers, but the ratio of new customers to existing ones. If you're really getting a constant number of new customers every month, you're in trouble, because that means your growth rate is decreasing. GREAT STARTUPS HAVE 5-7% WEEKLY GROWTH RATE IN THE GROWTH PHASE
  23. 23. 23 THINK COMPOUNDING It’s necessary to understand if you’re growing and at what rate A company that grows at 1% a week will grow 1.7x a year, whereas a company that grows at 5% a week will grow 12.6x. A company making $1000 a month and growing at 1% a week will 4 years later be making $7900 a month, which means: stop it asap. A startup that grows at 5% a week will in 4 years be making $25 million a month.
  25. 25. 25 1. MARKETING
  26. 26. 26 MARKETING List of 19 simple ways to market your company:
  27. 27. 27 2. TRICKS
  28. 28. 28 The first and best rule of growth is: don’t loose existing clients/users GROWTH TECHNIQUES 1
  29. 29. 29 Adding layers to the cake GROWTH TECHNIQUES Work on innovating the product, add features 2 Much of the natural effort in the organization is spent on chasing optimization of the core business. This makes sense, as small improvements in a big business can have a meaningful impact. But there is huge potential leverage to adding layers of new, complementary businesses on top of the core (aka “cake”).
  30. 30. 30 ADDING LAYERS TO THE CAKE In Ebay’s case, buy-it-now, stores, features, checkout and PayPal integration were all new initiatives that layered on top of the core business but added something new to it.
  31. 31. 31 The New User Experience GROWTH TECHNIQUES Brand new customers have different needs that your regular customers. So you have to give new customers a unique user experience that helps them start using your product. 3 Go ahead and give them a step-by-step process to get started, call out critical features they should be aware of, and help them navigate everything.
  32. 32. 32 THE NEW USER EXPERIENCE When you create a new account on Airbnb first you get a welcome box that offers a quick tour. As soon as you click on the “take a tour of this page” button, you get a popup explaining one of the features of the page
  33. 33. 33 Adding Social Proof GROWTH TECHNIQUES Would you go to a full restaurant or to an empty one? 4 We use the actions of others to guide us through decisions in our daily lives. Whenever we’re uncertain about which action we should take, we automatically look to those around us for guidance.
  34. 34. 34 ADDING SOCIAL PROOF So your marketing message is always much more powerful if someone else says it. You can overcome that skepticism by getting quotes from past customers. TESTIMONIALS LOGOS OF CLIENTS OR MEDIA CUSTOMERS STATS But let’s say that you don’t have any big name clients. In fact, you don’t have ANY clients. And the media hasn’t mentioned you at all. Is there a way to still use authoritative logos? Absolutely. Use logos of products and services that you or your product work with. For someone on the fence that’s trying to decide whether or not to finish filling out the form, this social proof gives great reassurance that other people are also doing the exact same process right now.
  35. 35. 35 Product Integration GROWTH TECHNIQUES Instead of trying to build a customer base from scratch, why not piggy back off what other businesses have already done? 5 Leverage on existing communities to push your product.
  36. 36. 36 PRODUCT INTEGRATION This is exactly what Spotify did when they launched in the US. Instead of building their user base from scratch, they were one of the first companies to integrate their product into the Facebook News Feed. Some other examples: - Paypal and Ebay - Zynga and Facebook - Spotify and Facebook - Airbnb and Craigslist
  37. 37. 37 Viral Loops GROWTH TECHNIQUES A viral loop means that if you start with 10 customers, they’ll bring more than 10 other customers to you. Each batch of new customers gets larger and larger as you go viral. 6 That’s when you have a viral coefficient of more than 1. If the viral coefficient is below 1, that means your growth will stall sooner or later without an injection of new customers from marketing.
  38. 38. 38 VIRAL LOOPS It’s better with Friends. Skype has an amazing viral loop that’s built into the fabric of its product. Once you’ve started to use the product, you’ll encourage friends and family to join you so everyone can easily keep in touch. As they start Skyping with you, they’ll encourage people in their network to also use it.
  39. 39. 39 Referral programs GROWTH TECHNIQUES Set up a system where users benefit by recommending other users to use your product. 7 Incentive is Key!
  40. 40. 40 REFERRAL PROGRAMS 100,000 to 4,000,000 users in 15 months. According to founder/CEO Drew Houston, referrals increased signups by SIXTY percent, PERMANENTLY. That’s a 40x increase, or a doubling of users every 3 months. Just in April 2010, Dropbox users sent 2.8 million direct referral invites
  41. 41. 41 Pre-Launch Buzz GROWTH TECHNIQUES Create expectation before your product comes out. Make people desire it and talk about it. 8 1. Benefits 2. Urgency 3. Bandwagon effect 4. Influential team 5. Great story + customer validation HOW IT WORKS
  42. 42. 42 PRE-LAUNCH BUZZ One-minute long video, which showcases the Benefits of Mailbox Mailbox created Urgency by setting up a reservation line. You don't want to wait any longer before getting the app hence you want to subscribe. The Reservation line is an incredibly clever marketing move as it make use of the Bandwagon effect An influential team always helps a lot to get the word out: involve advisors A page that sums up the story with comments and feedbacks from customers gives validation 1 2 3 4 5