I had the chance to sit down with Adarsh Pallian, the CEO and Co-Founder of Geotoko, a Vancouver-based startup that measures location based deals, to ask him how startups should begin marketing their new products. Pallin did not hold back, and left me with some fantastic tips to kick start the marketing engine.
Start with a simple landing page that provides exciting information to grab visitors’ attention. Your landing page must quickly answer this very important question: “What’s in it for me and what do you want me to do?”
Your landing page must focus on a single call to action, whether it be an e-mail signup, sharing function, or something else, it must be clear. [Find more information on calls to action here.]
This will never get old. Reach out to your rolodex of friends and acquaintances to spread the word and get product feedback.
“I was fortunate enough to have contacts at a lot of agencies, so I sent out e-mails giving them a small demo of what we were building. Their feedback has greatly shaped the current version of Geotoko.”
Getting mentioned on blogs with high traffic can be the key to initial feedback and buzz. Think as big as Mashable and TechCrunch. Pallin explains that Geotoko was on Mashable last August, way before they even had a proper working prototype. They mentioned they were giving away 500 beta invites and received 2,500 responses from that post alone.
They quickly started allotting the signups to various groups based on how big or small the company was. They then sent out e-mails with screenshots of what their platform was capable of. When they finally launched their beta in November 2010, they got their first paying customer in less than two weeks.
Influencers (A.K.A, Awesome People with a Big Following)
Find those early adopters who you know will like your product. Identify people who will tweet, blog, or share news about your product and offer them early access. Exclusivity, especially for early adopters, works well.
Create a spreadsheet of 40-50 people in your network and note their social profile information, including: Twitter handle, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, e-mail address, blog link, etc. Follow them closely on each platform. Eventually, if you engage with them regularly, they will show more interest in you and what you are working on.
Rank in Google
SEO is still alive! And yes, ranking high on search engines is still important. Pallin says if you’re a consumer-focused startup, you should try to get as much press as possible. If you can’t get on TechCrunch or Mashable, look for high-profile bloggers with good rankings and Alexa ratings.
Ask those bloggers to blog about you and what you are doing. Some may ask for a small fee ($50 or so) per blog post, but it will be well worth it since most reviews are well written and glorious. The best part is that the reviews will reach a large following. These blog posts will generate backlinks to your website, which will help your site rank better on Google. Be sure they use keywords you want to rank for, as opposed to just the name of your startup.
All these methods are fairly easy to do, but can take time. Make sure you write a relatively simple marketing plan and share it with your entire team. Everyone on your team, especially at a startup, is your marketing department.
For further help, you are most welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Spark Boutik is a global digital marketing company with offices in Toronto and San Francisco. We help brands gain attention in the digital space working alongside lifestyle brands, personalities and tech startups.