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If you're founding your own startup, your first thoughts will probably be toward fundraising and then toward product development. That's what many founders do. On the other hand, only a few focus on the third very important pillar, which is product marketing. In this article, I'll tell you why it's worth investing in it from the very beginning, as soon as the product vision is created, and how to run it effectively.
What is product marketing?
Product marketing deals with raising awareness among potential customers and others before the product is even released. It includes market research, developing a product vision, discovering who your future customers are (creating a persona), deciding how the product will be distributed, and communicating and understanding the product (including among marketing and sales people).
Why is it important to start marketing activities right from the beginning?
Think of it like a good movie teaser. After watching it, you don't know the plot yet, but you're already looking forward to the premiere. That's your job when you do product marketing.
Win your first users
You must know that only one out of ten startups succeed while the others drop out of the game. According to CB Insights, the most common reason for failure (as high as 42%) is no market need. Therefore, when you have a business idea, promote it from the very beginning, so you can gain a base of people who are potentially interested in it.
However, don't just treat them as future customers, but rather as early users. They will be the people to whom you will share your product MVP (Minimum Viable Product) version, give them an opportunity to test it and get valuable feedback from them.
Thanks to this you will know if your idea appeals to users and if it has a chance to be accepted on the market. You will also get valuable information on which direction to develop your product, which features it lacks and which are less useful. All this will give you an answer to the most important question: does your idea solve the problems of your target group and is it valuable for them?
Product marketing also works to your advantage during fundraising, which is certainly the most complicated and time-consuming process when building a startup. It's a very good idea to show investors what you've already done.
If you can show off your marketing at this early stage, it will indicate that you are serious about your product. If you can also present that you have already managed to gather a base of people who are interested in it, it will be an additional signal that your idea is worth attention.
How to promote a product before launch?
Even if there is not even a single line of code of your application or website yet, it is not an impediment to start promotional activities. After all, marketing is about selling the vision or idea behind the product. It’s also about offering benefits and solutions that will make the lives of people in your target audience easier. If you have an idea for a product, you need to promote it. Read below on what steps you should start with.
Create a landing page and start building a database
You don’t have to immediately make an extensive website about the product. A single landing page is quite enough. It’s main goal should be to collect a database of people interested in the emerging product. For this reason inform website visitors about the solution you’re developing and the benefits it’s going to provide.
Don’t forget about the obligatory element of your landing page - the contact form. It has to persuade visitors to leave their email addresses in order to be notified when your product is ready.
I know multiple examples where a well-crafted landing page brought thousands of email addresses of people interested in a new product. Before achieving this score, gain and increase traffic on your page. For this, you can use:
- Google Ads;
- Social media ads (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube);
- Press articles;
- Posts on Facebook and LinkedIn groups;
- Posts on forums;
- Video content on YouTube, Vimeo etc.
And much more!
Engage your audience and get your first users
The process of developing a product and raising funds sometimes lasts for months, which means that people who left you their address via a landing page may even forget about it. So it's a good idea to remind them from time to time and send them an email with information about the stage of your project or simply with interesting news from the industry. For example, at FreshMail we have a Pay As You Go plan where you choose a package of messages and can have them all year long, regardless of the size of your base. It seems ideal for the needs of such mailings.
When your product is ready, let your audience know first. Send them a message with a link to download the first version of the app and tell them that they will soon receive another email asking for feedback. Then, when the time is up, schedule another mailing that will include, for example, a link to a survey or other feedback tool.
For quite some time webinars have been popular in both B2B and B2C types of companies. Use them to reach a wider audience with information about your product and to interest even more people who have already subscribed to your database. You can, of course, inform the latter group about the webinar via email.
When you build a startup, you want to provide a product that solves problems for a certain group of people or offers them some benefit. So organize a webinar that will be of value to those very people, discuss the problems you want to fight, give tips on how to deal with those problems, and in the process let them know that you are developing a product that will solve them in the future. You don't have to personally host the webinar, you can bring in an expert in your field to do it. There are many people who are building their personal brand and want to showcase themselves to a wider audience.
I hope I managed to convince you that when building a startup, it's a good idea to start marketing your product right away. At FreshMail, we have some tools for you that are perfect for this. Contact us and we'll be happy to advise you on how to get started: firstname.lastname@example.org.