What is the biggest lesson you've learned marketing for a startup?

Richard Fang
81 replies
This could be your own or working under someone else's startup 😊 Mine is probably working on SEO early on when you're first working on your startup. SEO takes time to get going, and if your website is completely new, you can't expect results straight away. Also, you don't need 'paid' tools to get going. I did my initial research with a free trial with SEMrush and then subsidized my results over time with Ubersuggest.


Hi, the SEO thing is super difficult for me. How are you doing it? Are you writing blog articles? Or do you follow a different approach?
Richard Fang
@timz_flowers I did a lot of keyword research and then tailored my blogs around it. I am not going to lie, I spent a month doing this when I first launched Yought's website and haven't really touched it since. However some of my articles are on the first / second page of Google for certain keywords and regularly brings traffic to my website even though I've ventured into other things. Just from a month's work (doing key word research + creating the blogs), I get around 1 to 2k views a month just from the blogs alone. The goal is to find long-tail keywords (let's say 3+ keywords) with a low / medium competition. Also the traffic should have at least a minimum per a month (like 1k +). Obviously you can't go for really competitive + keywords that have millions of views so you have to go from the low-end first and make your way up. I definitely should do more SEO but with so many other things to do now, it's harder to spend time to work on this but this is how I initially built it up. Definitely a lot of time to do it when you first launch so I'd defnitely set up a foundation initiailly but you can always start whenever. Results take a while so you're playing a long game
Nik Hazell
@timz_flowers @richardfliu Hey Richard! Where do you share your blogs? Do you think the location/host makes a big difference, or is it really just the content that's important?
Richard Fang
@timz_flowers @nik_hazell Just on my startup's website - i think it's mainly the content since our website's DA is pretty low still.
@timz_flowers @richardfliu Plz tell me some high DA Website where i share my blog
Fully funded scholarships
@timz_flowers you have to do keyword research and write a unique content, keep an eye on your competitors.
My biggest lesson was marketing is not a stand alone. For good marketing, I need good SEO, for SEO, I need long form content. For long form content, I need good copy writing. For good copy skills, I need excellent english skills. I must just go back to school for english lessons lol.
Wael Khattar
@gogloballakshmi you could always use Grammarly, I use it on a daily basis to cross check my grammar.
@wael_khattar1 Thanks Wael, I'm thinking of getting the paid version soon.
Gilli Sigurdsson
@wael_khattar1 @gogloballakshmi I recommend it, I think it mainly helps me write faster since I can just type away and it complains when something doesn't make sense. It's not perfect though, but it helps.
Raj Vasani
@wael_khattar1 @gogloballakshmi @gillisig Yes absolutely, I have been using grammarly for over 2 years now. The best part is that it sums up all the mistakes together so you can just go through them at once when you are done writing. But as Gilli mentioned we have to be vigilant while implementing those suggestions.
Eugene Hauptmann
All the marketing tools are surely important, but the biggest lesson I learned is to talk to people that have a need and could use your product to solve their problems. Being empathetic and going above and beyond when you do user research. There's a story behind every person you talk to, and as you build out your product, this kind of research will help you narrow down whom do you want to market to.
Rick Turoczy
@eugenehp I was going to comment separately, but I'm choosing to thread it here since my response was in the same vein… Using language about what your customer wants/needs to do with your product as opposed to the language that describes what you built the product to do.
Eugene Hauptmann
@turoczy 💯 and another great pros is that you get to do story telling after all, and that will just click with your target audience 👌
Leah Lemm-Serruya
Using the many free tools available out there like Buzzsumo for looking into competitor content and seeing how well it performs as part of SEO strategy. Also worth considering bringing in outside expertise for areas you want to improve on!
Sofia Polonska
Draw portraits of your future clients and be very honest!
Tanya Desai
There's often so much noise, that we often feel compelled to adopt certain methods, styles and voices of communication. Instead, we need to build a strategy ground up; starting with what your brand is, what it tries to evoke and then going micro about the nitty gritties of the platforms, communications pegs.
Andrea Brice
@tanya_desai Actually, to your point right here, my creative leads are making sure I "rein" myself in until she's finished working with the 3 profiles of our users. It's so hard to wait. I want to just jump in there, throw some key words out, go! Go! GO! I've taken up still live photography to try to keep myself in check. I'm also focusing on creating "how to" .gifs & videos since I've learned my usability testers aren't reading instructions. So, 100% what you said.
Tanya Desai
@andrea_brice honestly sounds like the right way to go about it! patience gets difficult - i completely get it. on another note, i'd really like to learn about what approach you are taking to creating "how to" gifs and videos. it's something i think i need to do for my product too!
Dagobert Renouf
Biggest lesson is: you can probably start small and organic, no need to find a crazy viral strategy right away. Wether it's by being active in communities or growing a social audience, it's enough to get some regular sales. Great thing to have before trying more scalable channel.
Richard Fang
@dagorenouf I think this is a good point - no need to find a super growth hack. Just build it slowly over-time
Nik Hazell
@dagorenouf Product Hunt is a really nice community to be part of - but other than PH, I've not had much luck with communities! A lot of them seem quite selfish, with lots of people just pushing their own stuff. Where have you found that's been rewarding?
Dagobert Renouf
@nik_hazell Indiehackers and r/saas are really good.
Andrea Brice
@dagorenouf We're going small too (after we hone our user personas) because we want to make sure we understand and have solutions built to reduce customer friction before we have a "Big Launch" . We're burning on a very tight budget, so have a lot of economic restraints to be able to respond to things which pop up in this early, early stage. So, yeah, we want content to help our users understand so they don't just abandon.
Dagobert Renouf
@andrea_brice That sounds very reasonable Andrea. Good luck on your journey
Żaneta Kaczmarczyk
I've recently joined the marketing team of a sales tech startup, and the biggest lesson I've learned so far is that you really need to do everything! Post valuable blog content, research new marketplaces to get listed, connect with the right people on LinkedIn, answer questions online, find places to ask for feedback... And it needs to go on all the time, for months on end, before you get your results.
Richard Fang
@zaneta_kaczmarczyk Sounds like an exciting opportunity and you're definitely right! You can't just go all in into one marketing tactic
Renzo Brus 💻⚡
The biggest lesson about marketing i learned is the Omnichannel 🕸 If you want to communicate the Value of your company, you have to do it synergistically in every channel! 🌀⭐
Cica-Laure Mbappé
I totally agree with you about SEO. SaaS market is a specific one, keywords search takes a lot of time because you have to put yourself in the user's head, how will they find your product? My biggest lesson is that the way I used to do marketing for NGOs and associations completely differs from SaaS marketing. I had to learn a whole new marketing! So flexibility is key.
Nik Hazell
@cica_laure_mbappe 100% - it's ridiculous how much your approach needs to change based on the specific use-case, I'm not surprised that NGOs and SaaS are very different! (Also, "Plant lover" is a great bio 😊🌴🌳)
Richard Fang
@cica_laure_mbappe Oh that's interesting! So what elements were different marketing a NGO if you don't mind me asking 😊
Cica-Laure Mbappé
@richardfliu Building an audience. I think the way to reach people is totally different. Biggest fear for the NGOs beneficiaries was the anxiety of being alone. For SaaS users, it's data security. So I was more "human" in my strategies, whereas now I'm more data-centered.
Alexey Shashkov
Hey Richard, the biggest lesson I've learned marketing for startups is that one launch won't usually cut it. It's becoming increasingly common for startups to launch and relaunch their products multiple times. Startups have to relaunch like a pro: again and again.
Richard Fang
@shashcoffe I think this is really true - which is why i think big features should always be launched like as if it's their own main product
Alexander Moen
@shashcoffe is that because it's a marketing tactic, or because you get to know the customer more and build something again that better suits that? My company that just launched on PH today deals with the latter. I'd be curious about any feedback you might have there.
Alexey Shashkov
@alexander_moen Of course, it's because I get to know the customer more and build something again that better suits that. And I think you're doing well.
Anupama Panchal
Stay away from vanity metrics and focus on the meaningful ones. ✌️
Rolf Mulder
Here's a few. Manage expectations. SEO isn't "free traffic". Choose your channels based on (1) your sales process: self service or handover to sales team (2) ARPU (3) Are you building in a new category with low active intent. Branding is more important than you think (look at Fast). Your plan should include what you WON'T do this coming quarter/year and why. Make sure you know your numbers. If your company is venture funded, connect with investors to manage their expectations. Stay away from lengthy product onboarding exercises, hardly any impact. Marketing automation in early stage b2b has poor ROI: expensive software, large impact on content creation, you need at least a dedicated marketing ops person. TALK TO CUSTOMERS. In B2B early stages: Google analytics won't help you: Build a state machine to direct your decision making. Most of the time, start by working backwards from the transaction to the top of funnel. #1 position on SERP only has 20% CTR. A/B testing is mostly useless in early stages, only do it top funnel: variations of ads.
Wasim Ullah
That your marketing should also scale up equally as the product does.
Vadim Kravcenko
I think the main insight that I've learned is - consistency is better than being a hit. You can get Reddit frontpage and it will drive X sales, but that's not repeatable, better build up your sales capital over time with community building, engaging, helping etc.
Đồng Phục Hải Triều
Do what others are doing in your area, better. Keep it simple, keep it local. Build systems that scale, and grow from there! - johnwilliamsxyz
Yuliia Mamonova
I learned that personal brand can go a long way. Build up readership, create a community of single-minded people that share your values - and nurture them into becoming your customers and best advocates! This worked for us on twitter :)
Deepak Yadav
If you are a product company. The best marketing strategy would be to build product around your customer. If you are into service sector get letter of intent (interest) from early believers - mostly big players. It will help on quick traction. Build fast, involve all, share result and fail early. Your customers will be integral part of your product strategy and will be supportive throught initial push and ups and downs. As a result you won't end up with a product your customer don't give a shit. All other marketing and sales efforts will follow early traction and will help build successful business on top of it.