Launching a start-up? Avoid these 3 digital marketing pitfalls

Almost daily we hear from entrepreneurs who are in the process of launching their start-up and want to know what they should do for digital marketing.  Sadly, these entrepreneurs almost always make the same three mistakes…

Get Your Analytics Set Up Before You Start Spending on Marketing

Entrepreneurs are impatient people – that is why they succeed.  Unfortunately, in digital marketing, that can cause them to skip over a key step.  You shouldn’t spend a dime or put any effort into marketing until you have some basic funnel analytics in place.  You need to know where your visitors are coming from, which of those visitors are converting, and ideally, what is happening in-between.

You should have a chart similar to the one below from Google Analytics (or a similar tool) that shows which sources are driving traffic to your site and which sources are resulting in conversions (i.e., transactions in this chart).  Don’t have this set up yet?  Stop and get it running before you do anything else in the marketing realm.

If you try 100 marketing tactics, 3 will likely be wildly successful, 20 may be so-so, and the rest will be failures.  The problem is that you won’t know which ones were wildly successful and which were dogs.  As a result, the results will be really muddled.  With the right analytics, you can double down on the things that are working, cut the dogs, and tweak the things that are in the middle.

Create Your Funnel Goals

When we ask entrepreneurs how many transactions / trials they need to be successful or how many visitors they need, we generally get blank stares.  Figure out how much revenue you need and work backwards.  If you need $x to cover your burn, how many orders or trials does that equate to?  How many visitors do you need to get to that many orders or trials?  If you don’t have the information, take a stab and update as you go.  Make sure that your analytics can track these steps so you know how you are doing.  Remember the old saying that you cannot improve what you don’t measure.

At the end of the day, you should have a funnel that looks roughly like this.  Your steps may be different, but you should have something that tracks people from the very top of the funnel to the bottom.

 

Stop Copying Everyone Else

Just because your friend had great luck on Instagram doesn’t mean you will be successful there, especially if your audience isn’t big into Instagram.  The company in the next suite over may be doing great on search, but search may not do much for you if customers aren’t searching for your type of product in search engines.

The first step is to think about where your potential customers are likely to be.  Are there certain sites where they spend a lot of time?  Do they watch certain channels on YouTube?  Are there social media platforms that they use heavily?  You get the idea.

Next, go look at those platforms to see what paid and organic (i.e., free) options exist for you to get your word out.  Remember that targeting is key.  If your buyer is someone in their twenties, don’t spend a dime on people in their fifties.  Pay attention to age, gender, location, and other factors that can ensure you are going after exactly the right people.  Since you are just launching, you won’t have a lot of time or money, so you need to make sure you hit just the right people