It is usually useful to try to see the whole picture. In the field of Internet startups thinking about development without planning market fit, might not be a great idea.
Let's put it this way: you have an amazing idea and gathered enough capital to make it work; sure, go lean and start to build it step by step. Either if you start developing with your own team or do staff augmentation, it is important to envision and start executing a marketing plan as soon as possible. Why? Because product is 50% & market is the other half (simple way to reduce the business canvas).
In this post, I will share some ideas and resources that any one or two-man startup might find useful for user acquisition from the inbound world.
To keep in mind: not all of the tools described next will apply to your startup. It is extremely useful to understand as much as you can of your target market - best case scenario you're part of it - and from this definition decide which strategies correlate best.
This strategy is one of the trendiest ones in the Internet marketing field and probably you've heard a lot about it. Briefly, it consists in sharing different types of content with the intention to attract a defined audience (learn more about content marketing here). In my opinion, the reason behind the success of this strategy is as simple as you receive what you give. However, in this world, probably you have to give quite a lot before you start receiving as much as you gave. The good one is that later it can grow exponentially, so please let's not hesitate!
Create content about what you do, the industry you're in, upcoming features or cool related ideas in different formats: written posts, infographics, videos, podcasts. Try to always keep in mind these three concepts:
An alternative is to start working on targeted Internet ads. A mental barrier to break in ads is that since you'll have to invest economic resources, which could be perfectly used for product development, it might not make much sense initially. Although I agree up to a certain extent, I can say that there is good value especially in search and retargeting ads.
From our experience, referral traffic is the best investment in order to validate your product / service and probably the most difficult to achieve if you’re not a media person. Considering you might not be able to hire a PR agency, try all your efforts to get noticed by related_to_your_product forums. Send emails to publishers, share your product on Facebook / LinkedIn groups & post your product on CrunchBase & Angel + promote it in Product Hunt, BetaList or even Reddit (r/startups). Of Course, if you’re able to get noticed by TechCrunch, VentureBeat or NYT go for it 😉
Another alternative to get good referral is from guest blog posts. Try to reach different startups or blogs offering some good quality content in exchange for a link to your web page. This will offer you a new set of readers that you would probably not be able to reach from your own blog. Even better, it also helps you build your SEO (+1).
Ultimately, a very interesting way of obtaining good referral traffic is by answering questions on Quora. Let’s say you find questions which clearly address to the solution you’re creating; this is a great opportunity for you to validate your knowledge. Post a clear answer and at last bring your URL (in a delicate way) for them to read more about the solution you are be providing. Same as in Reddit, be extremely careful in not to only focus on promoting your solution. Bring interesting insights and then offer the link to your content for people who want to read more about it.
You’ll not be reinventing the wheel in this field: build a community around your product / service by sharing attractive content. Digging deeper, dealing with social media (SM) in a serious way might be (or not) a source of good leads, but surely it will validate your startup by sending a message of steadiness and focus.
Important: the image of a company which only sends one tweet or has not a clear message to share is totally self-defeating; be sure to have a clear communication policy.
However, how do you get likes / followers? How can you transform likes into leads? What’s the best way to start? Here you have some tools to answer these questions:
All in all, these are some cool resources and ideas in order to start building a product and measuring its market fit. Market fit will not only be your potential revenue stream but also a great source for product development (improvements, new features and even pivoting) in the first months.
This post aims for you to start thinking about market along with product development in order to be one step closer to be successful in a competitive landscape. Nothing is guaranteed but probably having a clear picture about both and define the resources to devote on them, is a good path to follow.
Bonus 2 – stay tuned with new trends and learn about marketing or growth hacking concepts in GrowthHackers.com.