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Can we stop for a moment and talk about how startups grow?

I’ll give you a hint: it doesn’t happen through branding or blog writing. I won’t argue that these things don’t have a place in marketing because everything has its place. (Branding is something I’ve personally — and unnecessarily — agonized over in my own business.) because everything has its place. However, a startups’ primary focus needs to be on lead generation, because that’s the only way they prove their concept, cover their burn, get funding, and become profitable.

A personal lesson in lead gen

Back in the day, I worked in the web department…

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Marketing is a broad term. Like really broad. It covers messaging, branding, PR, lead acquisition, lead nurturing, sales, and retention — just to name a few. And to do all of those things, you could write copy, post on social media, do hashtag research, jump into paid advertising, build landing pages, develop funnels, email influencers, pin stuff, make videos, do SEO and then do it again tomorrow, send out press releases, work on your lead magnets, create a sales calendar, make Stories, Tik Tok your lunch….

You get my point, right? That’s a lot of shit for a small team…

It’s shocking to me how many times a week I’ll meet a startup founder that hasn’t set goals for their business. (I’m not even talking S.M.A.R.T. goals, just goals.) It’s like saying that you want to go on a trip but haven’t decided on a destination. How do you expect your Google maps to find you a route to drive if you haven’t given it a destination?

This is essentially what founders are doing when they don’t set clear growth goals and back those goals up with the appropriate resources.

Get started by taking out the map

The first step is deciding what you want and choosing…

Let’s get straight to it and address the elephant in the room: $1,000 per month is a really small marketing budget-but it’s probably on the high end of what most CPG brands starting out have to invest into their growth. So how do you make it work for your company?

The simple answer: you get scrappy. And getting scrappy means understanding consumer behaviors, focusing on revenue-generating activities, and being active (instead of passive) in your marketing efforts.

Why you should focus on D2C

The world is changing. (You already knew that.) But amidst the political, social, and economic upheavals, what you may not have considered is…

Ok, so this may shock you…. Unless you read the article title before clicking on it, then you already know what I’m going to say. (But it’s still a little shocking!) I am a service-based business that doesn’t require my clients to sign any kind of contracts. We work month to month, and if they decide they’re done, we part ways as friends.

Does that sound strange to you?

Well, there are 3 big reasons I’ve structured my business this way, and they all boil down to the same thing: no contracts = better client relationships.

Past experiences create a negative perspective

Bad past experiences definitely…

If you know anything about funnels, the first step is to get some eyes on your brand. Once you’ve captured their attention, you also must capture a lead’s contact information so you can nurture them and help them along the path to purchase. The easiest way to do this is to create a lead magnet that converts. There are tons and tons of options for lead magnets out there, but the truth is that not all are created equal. …

#1: Focusing on features instead of benefits

Messaging is a key component of any marketing strategy. What will you say to people? How will you say it? We want our messaging to be strong and vibrant and unique — but it can be really easy to miss the mark. Without the proper insight or community feedback, brand messaging often falls flat. Here are the mistakes you never knew you were making with your marketing messaging.

Focusing on features instead of benefits

Shouting to the rooftops about all your amazing features isn’t a hard thing to do. (Afterall, you’ve got an amazing product, right?!) …

All businesses have one primary function: to sell something. In order to make sales, your potential customers need to know your business exists and what value it brings. (That’s why we marketers have jobs!) And marketing is so much easier when you already have warm leads to sell to, which is why email marketing is so important.

But there are roughly a zillion options out there for softwares you can use to manage your email automations. So which one do you choose? MailChimp is my suggestion, and it’s not just because they sent me new socks. (True story.)

You need something affordable

When you…

Social media marketing is a method of marketing services or products on social media websites. Marketing via social media involves using various techniques on multiple platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, SnapChat, and even Pinterest. The beautiful thing about social media marketing is that anyone can do it — and for free too! Just because you don’t need to pay to be on social media doesn’t mean that social media marketing is an easy strategy to employ.

Each platform requires unique strategies, and you must customize your efforts for each one. With billions of people on social media sites, there are…

As a startup, it’s important to spend money wisely, maybe even more so than for traditional businesses. Every financial decision you make requires confidence because once the funding runs out, it’s gone. More importantly, you want to know there is some kind of return on the money you spend. Unfortunately, this is very tricky where marketing is involved.

If you don’t do the necessary research and work through the right channels, you aren’t going to get the results you’re hoping for. The good news is that digital marketing can lead to brand authority and ultimately, profit, for startups. …

Shauna Armitage

Fractional CMO for early-stage startups. Achieving scalable growth one custom strategy at a time.

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