Successful startups all happen in different ways. One thing most have in common, though, is a great go-to-market strategy.
A go-to-market strategy is the pre-launch work you do before you start selling your product and trying to acquire customers. A smart, well-thought-out go-to-market strategy can be the difference between success and failure.
Every startup go-to-market strategy will likely be very different, but the process of how you get there will be similar. There are a few things that are common to all startups in all industries that will help create the perfect go-to-market strategy. Here are five go-to-market strategies every startup should follow in 2022.
Every product is not for everyone. If you start your product sales and marketing by trying to be everything for everyone, your startup will be doomed to fail. The best and smartest startups take the time during thego-to-market strategy planning process to get a very clear, detailed picture about who their core consumer is.
When defining a consumer, many startups will work up a buying persona. This is a fictional representation of the real people you will target to buy your product. You can have several buying personas that you want to target but you shouldn’t have too many.
The buying persona should include demographic information as well as more specific detail about the people you are going after. What do they do? What are their challenges? What are they using now to meet those challenges? What will constitute success for these people if a product like yours meets their needs? Answering these questions will go a long way towards the rest of this list and ultimately, success.
If knowing your customer is step one, understanding and honing your value proposition is a closely related step two. A value proposition is a clear statement of what your product provides for the target consumer. This is NOT a list of features, which many startups often get caught up in. This is a statement of benefits. How does your product make the users’ lives easier, simpler, better, or more convenient?
Creating a value proposition is much easier when you know your target audience. When you understand what their challenges are, what drives them, and what makes them feel happy and content, you can much easier present them with the most relevant values that your product gives them.
In 2022, the most important sales and marketing tool that any company, especially a startup, can have is an amazing website. A startup’s website should be clean, functional, user-friendly, and present a professional, competent face for your business. After that, it should show the world everything you want to show about your brand. In 2022, your website is your business card that you pass out around the world.
Creating and launching a great website may sound like a Herculean task but, in 2021, that’s no longer the case. Sites like WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix make it easy and affordable to create a professional-grade website on your own. Just do a little research, follow the instructions, invest a small amount of money, and a decent amount of time and you’ll have a fantastic website before you know it.
If you don’t have the time or the technical know-how to undertake this venture, that’s not a problem either these days. Freelancer sites like Fiverr or Upwork make it easier and more affordable than ever to connect with talented technicians who can get you set up fast and without breaking the bank.
Either way you decide to go, having a website up and running before you go to market will go a long way towards making your early days easier and more fruitful.
A solid go-to-market strategy is all about laying the foundation for your startup’s sales and marketing before you dive into the deep end and start trying to turn a profit. The question is, should you focus more on sales or more on marketing?
The answer is that you need to find the right balance of both. Depending on your product, your market, your target audience, and more, your balance of sales and marketing will be different from the next startup. The important part is that you decide how to best balance the two while not ignoring one of the other.
You want to balance these two poles both in terms of time and capital expenditure. If pavement-pounding salespeople are what you think you need, don’t forget to invest some in that social media marketing campaign to help with brand awareness to make your salespeople’s jobs easier.
On the flip side, if your business is all about marketing to drive traffic to your website to make sales, don’t neglect the backend functionality of the e-commerce features. Spending time and money there will make your marketing efforts pay off that much more.
The dirty secret of all this go-to-market strategy advice is that almost no startups ever get it 100% right out of the gate as detailed in this Harvard Business Review article. Some companies misidentify their most lucrative target market while others may screw up the website or get the sales and marketing mix wrong. That’s all ok, as long as you quickly and efficiently identify your issues and pivot to fix them.
A good way to do this is to test things before you go full steam ahead. Try some marketing around different value propositions aimed at different types of consumers. Try selling face-to-face and online and see which works better. These small-scale tests will help you hone the right go-to-market strategy for your business and not waste a fortune in the process.
The right go-to-market strategy is crucial for any startup. Now that you know some of the underlying concepts behind creating a great go-to-market strategy, you can start plugging in the particulars from your startup and finding the best strategy for you.