8 Crucial Steps For Technical Startup Founders To Master The "Dark Art" of Marketing

The Dark Art of Marketing. Just the phrase is enough to strike fear into the hearts of many startup founders!

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That's because many startups are founded by a couple of friends or acquaintances who have an idea, the skills to build the initial product, and some time on their hands. It's the classic "two guys in a garage" dream--which is still relevant today, decades after Hewlett and Packard proved that it's possible to build a world-changing company from humble beginnings. 

But building a solid business today is about a lot more than just building a great MVP or even a solid market-ready product. Marketing is infused in every step of a successful startup's journey, from pre-launch preparation, to establishing product market fit, and finally to scalable monetization and growth. The problem comes in when founders (who are nearly always software developers) realize that they're struggling with marketing. This is often due to lack of time, lack of experience in messaging and marketing, or sometimes, lack of enthusiasm for the necessary activities to market your business. 

So what's a coder-founder to do? 

Well, first and foremost, take a deep breath and realize that...

marketing is not truly a dark art

At its core, marketing is simply telling a story about what you've built, to the people whose problems it's meant to solve. Next is understanding that there's actually a clear, logical way to build a strong early marketing path for your startup. Finally, it's key to know when your time is better spent focusing on your core skill set, bringing in help so that you can focus on doing the things that only the founders can do (vision, fundraising, building a team). 

Here are the basic steps for creating a marketing path, from the idea stage all the way to the growth/scale stage: 

1) Creating Your Brand

2) Pre Launch Prep

3) Defining Your Customer

4) Writing Your Story

5) Your First Dollar

6) Reaching Product Market Fit

7) Scaling Monetization

8) Growth

Each one of these 8 steps is imperative to understand in detail, so we will be creating a 9-part series of posts exploring each of the steps. Subscribe here to get notified as soon as each post drops! 

If you can't wait, drop us a line and we'll be happy to schedule a free consultation, no obligation, to give you some tips on the house. 

Contact CYNSCH Marketing Today for your startup marketing needs

How To Grow Your Business 50% in 2017 With Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing Is The Key To Growing Your Startup's Revenue By 50% This Year

Did you know that Inbound Marketing produces 50% MORE leads than traditional outbound marketing? 

But Inbound Marketing is more than just blogging, or social media. There's an art and a science to great Inbound Marketing. We've put together a step by step guide that will help you create an awesome Content Marketing strategy and execution. Think of it as our New Year's gift to you. 

Download our FREE Inbound Marketing Guide here and learn how to create a KILLER Inbound Marketing Strategy for your business in 2017 and beyond.
 

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Never Sell To Strangers! Why Your Startup Needs Buyer Personas

marketing buyer personas

Buyer Personas.

What are they? Why would my startup need them? How do I get started?

In this post we'll talk a bit about Buyer Personas, what they are, why they are super important for any entrepreneur to understand and utilize, and how to start creating them.

What is a Buyer Persona?

Buyer Personas are profiles that you create, using a little imagination and hopefully a LOT of insight. They are intended to represent the specific types of individual customers you're targeting with your startup's product or service. The trick is to create an image of a person that is full-featured, and reflects his or her likes, dislikes, motivations, fears and wishes. 

By "getting to know" each of these individuals, you'll be able to create messaging and offers that will resonate with them more fully.

Here's an example of a Buyer Persona: 

Becky, from Los Angeles, is a 36 year old independent graphic designer. She works in Illustrator and Photoshop most days, and she has a Mac with two monitors, a drawing pad, and various pen tools and cameras for her work. She likes and is familiar with technology. Her favorite social media channels are Facebook and Pinterest, for their engaging content, pretty pictures, inspiration for her work, and of course: cat pictures. Becky has 4 tattoos, 3 cats, a long time boyfriend, and she loves Mexican food (the authentic kind). She likes vintage inspired clothing, and has a bit of a rockabilly vibe to her wardrobe and personal style. She wears red lipstick and winged eyeliner every day. She reads a variety of magazines in both print and digital form, and is a strong progressive, politically. 

Now, you may be asking yourself, why in the world do I care if this woman likes poodle skirts and Hillary Clinton? How is that going to help me sell my startup's SaaS accounting software to her?

 Great question. 

To demonstrate, here are two different ads for the same fictional SaaS accounting software product. See if it's obvious to you which one would appeal more to someone like Becky. 

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brand persona marketing

If you guessed the second one, congrats! You picked up on the subtle cues that would make Becky, a vintage-lover, respond to a classic car more favorably than she would a more recent model. Even though the first ad is technically slightly better-composed, understanding the power of imagery and its subliminal effects on prospective customers, can make a huge difference in the conversion rate of your marketing efforts.

Test & Measure

Just as with any other marketing, it's always a good idea to test whenever you can, measure the results, and adjust accordingly. In this case, what we at CYNSCH would do would be to run both ads on Facebook, and let the FB algorithm choose the more effective one. If we consistently see ads working that seem to contradict our buyer personas, then we'd go back to the drawing board on the Personas themselves, probably by conducting brief interviews of actual customers to understand more about them and see what commonalities we can draw out of the interviews. Your buyer personas will likely evolve over time, as you begin to understand what really makes your customers tick. Don't be afraid to experiment! Just remember: marketing is both an art and a science. In an early stage startup, your product will continue to evolve, and so will your audience. 

How many Personas do I need?

Most startups settle on about 3 core customer types they're trying to reach. For this reason, we recommend creating 3 Buyer Personas. They might all have certain things in common (for example, maybe they're all small business owners, or maybe they're all software developers) but there will be key differences that emerge as you create your Personas. These differences may be subtle, but uncovering them will help you better understand each segment's unique motivations for purchasing your product or service, and therefore help you create more effective and targeted landing page copy, marketing messages, ad copy and more.

How do I create Buyer Personas for my business? 

We've created a Buyer Persona Creation Guide that will help you work through all the questions you need to answer to identify Buyer Personas for your specific customer segments. If you'd like to receive a FREE copy of our Buyer Persona Creation Guide, request it here:

Or, if you're pressed for time, and you don't want to do it yourself, get in touch! We'll be happy to put together a Strategy and Execution plan uniquely customized for your startup's needs, at budget-friendly prices you can afford.