Social Media: What You’re Doing Wrong

Social Media: What You’re Doing Wrong

For startups and their growth, a well executed social media marketing strategy can be a key to success. Like many strategies, there is, in fact, a right and wrong way of utilizing social media to grow your startup’s brand.

Constantly Avoiding Conversations

Many brands make the mistake of avoiding interactions with customers — many times the negative feedback. Negative feedback is inevitable and even important. There are three options you have when it comes to negative feedback: ignore it, fight it, or make it a positive.

Ignoring or outright deleting negative feedback will never, ever help you and will come back to haunt you — the same goes for fighting the negative. The solution here is to work towards making a negative a positive in a consistent manner through all interactions with customers and critics. Further keep in mind that you’re in business to help your customers (hopefully), not to ignore them.

Not Keeping Consistency

While unique content is important, startups need to ensure that their social voice is equal and consistent to their brand and general content. Stay consistent with the type of content and usefulness of content you are sharing along with how often you share.

Keep your brand media consistent, like your profile picture, logos, and your cover photo.

Utilizing an Overabundance of Sites

This is often seen with many beginners in social media marketing. They end up spreading themselves all over the place, in countless social media sites and attempt to keep all of their social profiles relevant.

Always resort to only the minimal amount of social media profiles that will actually be useful to your brand, that you and your team can handle to keep relevant and growing.

Paying Your Way Through

Buying your way through social media marketing is a huge mistake. What you are doing is buying followers and likes that will leave you with an un-engaged and useless audience that really may not at all care about your brand, product, or even industry. Also having a high amount of followers with zero engagement on your social media content will radiate the idea that your brand is stagnant and uninteresting.

However, this does not apply to promoting your content, like tweets and content, to a specific and targeted audience relevant to your industry.

Abandoning Your Profiles

Quite possibly the biggest mistake of all — completely abandoning your social media profile. Making it look like to your audience:

1( You are no longer in business. 

2( Your startup is lazy enough to forget about social media altogether.

3( Your startup is not relevant or capable of succeeding in today’s world. 

Avoid abandoning your social media profiles at all cost, keep relevant content flowing, social media tools like Buffer, ManageFlitter,HootSuite, and other social media tools are extremely helpful in staying relevant and active in your social media.

In summary, you should constantly be vigilant in being relevant and consistent with your social media marketing efforts. Keeping a list of guidelines and strategy will help keep your social media efforts in line with your brand image.

Guidelines for Sustainable Growth

Sustainable growth is necessary for a successful startup. Founders shouldn’t expect to grow very quickly without losing some sustainability, which is why it is important to grow at the right speed for your startup, with the goal of maintaining a good sustainability.

 

Guidelines for Sustainable Growth

How to use growth hacking to crush your PR strategy

I have a love-hate relationship with the term “growth hacking.” It feels like just another hype marketing tactic, but really, it’s the ultimate goal. Create buzz without breaking too much of a sweat.

So what is growth hacking?

Growth hacking is about seizing opportunities to boost growth and using metrics as the most important indicator of performance. And it really comes down to two elements: marketing and public relations.

Marketing is all about multiplying—doubling your page views, tripling your email list, quadrupling your conversions—whereas public relations is all about building credibility while boosting your reach.

Combine the two, and you’ll be the ultimate growth hacker in no time. Here are 5 strategies to start using growth hacking to crush your PR strategy.

1. Let your offer bake.

Before you can sell a product or service, you have to develop one, and develop one thoroughly. Don’t try to promote a half-baked offer—you can multiply zero by any number and it’s still zero. Make sure you have something to grow from.

2. See it from their perspective.

You know your product, but do you know how—and why—your clients are using it? What features do they love? Why do they keep coming back? Play the word association game to come up with terms that describe your product, especially emotions and reactions it stirs up. These words and phrases form your brand’s personality, a key piece of your marketing strategy.

3. Perfect your pitch.

I know. The term “elevator pitch” makes me cringe, too. But if you can’t concisely explain who you are and how you benefit your clients, how are they supposed to know?

Use your now-established brand personality to decide which elements of your product to emphasize to potential clients, then organize them into a creative, enticing pitch. The best pitches are snappy and clearly show off what you’re offering, no elevator required.

Not sure how to master your pitch? This article will help you do it.

4. Build your first impression.

Now that you’ve established who you are and how to explain that to customers, use your pitch as a guideline for building landing pages that will maximize clickthroughs and conversion rates. Optimize your page to focus on your offer and compel visitors to take action. A/B testing can ensure your copywriting and design choices create the strongest possible first impression for your ideal user.

If you need more ideas on how to see your offer the way your customers are seeing it, you’ll find lots of tips here.

5. Get social.

Social media is one of the best ways to simultaneously build publicity and credibility. Keep your pitch consistent across all networks, but don’t just use it to spread your image broadly. To truly become a growth hacker, you need depth.

But how do you connect deeply on social media? Aren’t all those relationships superficial?

The key to friendship is selflessness. Bury your growth hacker side and engage authentically with people who share a common interest with your brand. Make the relationship about them. Reply to their tweets, comment on their blog posts, and eventually send a brief email to introduce yourself and how you can help them. Don’t make the common mistakes other marketers do.

Cold pitching is called cold for a reason.

It’s missing the warm, fuzzy feeling that a friendship does. Asking for support without connecting with someone is the easiest way to get ignored or rejected. Connecting before you ask, though, builds the trust and credibility that makes your network spread your message to their networks and beyond, like a vector. Soon enough, you’ve multiplied beyond your goals.

That’s the power of growth hacking.

What is the smartest move you can make to get seen?

Not long ago, I was doing some research on a company who I was considering doing some work for. They were an early stage startup with a SaaS offering, and it was clear they were still doing a lot of bootstrapping. (Don’t get me wrong here. There is nothing wrong with bootstrapping, and frankly, in most cases, it’s much smarter than getting a bunch of funding you have no idea how to manage anyway.)

The product itself was excellent. They had clearly invested in making sure they had a smart, elegant solution to a real problem. The issue came up when you Googled them.

Sure enough, they came up when they were listed – but what was showing up was disappointing. There was no consistency. If you cruised their social media profiles, every bio was different which made it difficult for someone new to them to get a firm grasp on what it is they did (plus it’s bad for SEO). Their coverage in the news was almost nonexistent. There wasn’t much in the way of content on review sites, one of the major ways businesses vet SaaS companies and their products.

If I didn’t work in the tech scene, there is no way I would have trusted these guys for two main reasons:

  1. Inconsistency made them appear unprofessional
  2. A lack of media attention made them appear too inexperienced to be serious

You might think that the above reasons shouldn’t matter if a product is good, but you’d be wrong. Why? Because these reasons are based in a deeply-seated psychological principle that subconsciously get tapped into every time someone interacts with your company.

Luckily for you, because this principles are so fundamental to marketing, there is a massive body of evidence to support how you can make sure you’re sending the right message to a potential customer every single time someone runs a search for you and what your company does.

The Only Psychological Principle You Need To Look Pro

The most powerful marketing strategy you have at your disposal is no secret at all. These are some of the most used ways that advertising companies get into the minds and – if they are truly excellent at what they do – the hearts of the people they are selling to for good reason. And you can use it to your advantage, too. The best part is that this method is one of the most simple and cost-effective marketing tactics in your arsenal.

We’re going to discuss the principle, and then I’ll lead you through the research supporting them so you get quick, actionable tips to start implementing in your marketing right now.

So what is the principle?

Repetition.

You might get irritated by seeing an ad for what feels like the 100th time, but the fact is big companies use this method because it works (and they have the budget to be seen by all people in all places). It’s common sense.

But it’s not just common sense. Good marketers are much sneakier than that, and I’ll show you why.

Why Repetition Works

Are you familiar with The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon? No? Well, you might recognize it more readily as the frequency illusion. If you have ever felt like you just keep seeing the same ads for the same product everywhere, that’s the frequency illusion. After seeing an ad a certain number of times, the subconscious takes over, repeating the messages internally.

In case that isn’t enough evidence for you to start employing consistency in your branding, consider the mere exposure theory. It states that the more familiar we are with something, the more likely we are to see it as a preferred option.

Hopefully, this makes it clear why showing up everywhere with the same message matters. Additionally, it reiterates why you need to show up everywhere, including across tech, news, and review outlets. Since humans want consistency, and you’re trying to sell to humans, keeping everything clear across multiple channels just makes sense.

There’s just one problem.

How do you make your brand repetitive without making it boring?

If you’re running a startup, being boring is a major fear and for good reason. Regardless of what your product is or does, your company can still be interesting. But this fear is the main reason so many companies end up with such inconsistent branding. They forget other people aren’t living and breathing their product the way they are, and this leads to poor decision-making around their marketing efforts. So what can you do to stand out?

Using the same language and links across all of your social media platforms should be an obvious move here, but so many companies don’t do this, it makes it a bigger deal when you do. (And if you change one, change them all.) But there is one thing that can completely shift how your company is seen.

Find the human interest story inherent in your product and your pitch.

You want your brand everywhere, and that means your company must be interesting, newsworthy. And if your product is in some way relevant to a current event, you can absolutely capitalize on it.

Today’s top startups are solving problems worth talking about, from helping parents decide what video games are appropriate for their kids to making it easier on teachers to report on exams. These are startups worth talking about. (And if you want to make sure people are talking about yours, you need Startuplister.)

You can talk about your company in a consistent way that continually adds value to both you and the people you want using your product. Remember, repetition is key to your success. Besides, wouldn’t it be great to have psychological impulses on your side?

Guide to Crafting the Perfect Pitch

We’ve recently introduced a new press pitching feature to our campaigns. Pitching to blogs, magazines, journalists, and startup news related websites can be a huge opportunity for exposure and attention. Unfortunately, many startups pitch the completely wrong way, the members of the media that they pitched to will throw away their pitch without even looking at their product and the startup will lose its reputation in the media and won’t get a story on them. Use these tips and points as a guideline and base as you write your pitch.

Keep it short. Keep It Simple.

Many pitches are over-written, long, and drawn out. At a certain point, the media won’t want to even read it or think you are just pushing the limits into writing your own company’s story for them. You want to make sure you are pitching them, not sending them a half written post about your startup. While writing your pitch be sure to remember to keep it simple and concise.

Avoid High-Interest Keywords

When pitching to gain media attention, startups, especially founders, tend to over embellish their product’s pitch to gain proper attention and interest in the product. This needs to be avoided at all costs.  

Here’s an example of using high-interest keywords: “MeowCats is a unique and quickly growing startup that is focusing on providing a new kind of social service to felines. MeowCats introduces new social features such as improved profile pictures which are great for cat lovers and photographers alike. Meowcats is a great investment for cat lovers and opens up the world to a bright and cute social phenomenon.”

The founder of MeowCats is clearly biased and over-embellishing in his startup’s offering. Writers already know your startup is most likely new and knows that your product is probably not hugely unique to all the others out there, so stop using all these buzzwords to explain your startup. The founder of MeowCats is using so many keywords to describe the greatness of his product, but he is not truly explaining why and what makes the product so great.

Don’t Over-Explain Your Target Customers

Pitches will occasionally begin in the opposite direction in terms of a good target customer explanation. While avoiding high-interest keywords, explaining your customers in a simple and non-intrusive manner is key here. While you explain your product in a clear and concise manner the journalist will get the idea of who the target customer is, no need to over-explain and ruin your entire pitch because of it.

Give A Catchy Headline

Creating a catchy headline that provides a quick summary of your product to the point of interest can get the writer wanting to open your pitch and read the rest of it. While having a catchy and alluring headline is important, it is even more important to keep your headline truthful and relevant to your product.

Avoiding common phrases and words in headlines will also create favor for your pitch. Much like avoiding high-interest keywords in your pitch, you need to avoid these types of words in your header, especially since it is the first part of your pitch the journalist will see.

Don’t Offer A Bribe

Many startups will use incentives for writing about their startup, for example: ” Upon your interest in a story on us, we will publish an advertisement free of charge on our about page and add you to our press page.”

Adding in bribe centered sentences in your pitch can wreak havoc on your reputation, both yours professionally and your startups. Never offer a bribe. You may not be overly intentional in offering a bribe, however it is crucial to keep all incentive based elements out of your pitch. If your product is good enough for a story, they will benefit from it by having a quality story their readers will love. Offering a bribe will not make them want to write about your startup more, especially if the product is not of quality, it will only lower your professionalism.

Provide A Pass

If you are pitching a product that you actively sell, meaning you actively charge money for access to it, chances are the media won’t want to pay just to try out your product and possibly have a decent story from it. If this is the case, offer a free pass link or code. This will allow them to gain access without them having to pay or having to take the time to ask you for a free pass.

Present Relevant “About” Information

Journalists want to know from whom they are getting a pitch. Creating an appropriate and enticing signature in your pitch will do just this. Include in your signature: your first and last name, position title, phone number, business email (never use personal emails), and if possible, add a small photo of yourself. Like I previously noted, journalists love to know who they are getting a pitch from, and it will make your pitch stand out and personal from all the countless other pitches they receive every day. Though some people would take this advice loosely and upload their informal profile picture from Facebook with someone else half cropped out. Don’t do this.

I would recommend using Wisestamp to create a simple yet enticing email signature for both your pitches and everyday emailing. However, keep in mind to never include more social profile information than your Twitter, adding your Instagram, Facebook, Vine, and Pinterest accounts can be a bit overkill.

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Use Caution When Linking to Previous Coverage

The majority of journalists don’t want to see a bunch of links to past stories and coverage of your startup. Particularly in the case of it being very recent or a long time ago. Showcasing coverage recently may discourage the journalist into writing about you because it’s “fresh” news and it’s already currently being featured at other publications’ homepage.

Never Use Generalized Introductions

Using generalized greetings and introductions will make your email look like a mass-produced email and completely non-personal. It’s this reason when pitching to avoid the terms, “Dear press,” “Hello Bloggers,” or “To Journalists,”.

Proofread, Proofread, and Proofread More

You can never go wrong with proofreading your pitches to the media. We all make mistakes from time to time, but often or not, you will want to proofread this pitch to the maximum. Grammar use, spelling, wording, overused words, all want to be proofread over and filtered. The last thing you want to do is misword something making it sound like you are spamming them into writing for you, accidentally insulting the journalist (Yes, this happens surprisingly often), or maybe you even mistakenly misspell your startup’s name. 

Keep it simple.

In conclusion, you don’t want to sound like a commercial. Don’t overpitch your startup. The ideal perfect pitch is to be simple and clear, and tell what your product does simply (without sales pitch talk). To put it bluntly, your startup story is not unique. Journalists and bloggers are pitched day in and day out, and they don’t want to hear how unique your startup and story is.

4 Vital Lessons For Customer Service Teams

Customer service is a major part of a startup’s ecosystem. Quality customer service should be a top priority within your team, and can define customer’s happiness and the growth of your startup. Let’s look at some lessons we’ve compiled to inspire and improve your startup’s customer service and ultimately growth.

#1: Know The Product

Learn the products you are supporting inside and out as best you can. You are the first and many times the only line of assistance for your customers and you define the customer’s experience and overall happiness of your product. You cannot take knowledge of the product lighty. If you don’t know the product, how will you help customers that don’t know how to do something? 

Along with knowing the product, it is equally important to learn the ins and outs of your set of customer support tools, from your email programs, plugins, analytics, chat, to your ticketing system.

#2: Prioritize

Customer service can be very time consuming and stressful work. Which is the reason why you need to have some top-notch skills in prioritizing your workload. There is no doubt in your customer service work you will say “How will I get all of this done within a reasonable time?” 

At this moment, it’s up to you to prioritize, what are the most urgent tasks to finish, after you prioritize, take one task at a time and focus your attention on those and just those that are in need of your urgent attention. This will make or break your productivity and prevent you from stress overload.

#3: Be Resourceful

This is a must in customer service. No one will ever be completely knowledgeable enough of their product or customer system to answer every question, which is where being resourceful comes in. When you run into a problem you’re not sure how to solve, quickly go throug the steps from the customer perspective.

If you’re not able to solve the problem through those steps, take advantage of the members of your team around you. Most specifically, take advantage of the available developers on your team that can teach you how to solve customer’s problems and bugs in your product.

#4: Use Team Guidelines

Following a set of guidelines to keep in mind while working customer service at startups can be extremely beneficial. Here at Startuplister, we use a specific set of guidelines to motivate, encourage, streamline, and improve our customer service team and in turn keep happy, satisfied customers. Go ahead and take some inspiration from our guidelines or just steal them for your own startup team:

1. Always Be Kind and Caring for Customers

2. Don’t Avoid Asking Questions to Customers or Team Members

3. Never Stop Learning the Product 

4. Respect Others.

5. Respect Yourself.

In Conclusion: Never Stop Improving and Use The Right Tools

Keeping your product education strong and to never stop improving yourself is key in quality customer service. In addition to knowledge and education, it’s vital that you are taking advantage of the right tools that work effectively for you, your team, and customers,

15 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Startup

Starting, building, and growing a startup is lots of hard work and can take much time to become actually successful. That’s why knowing whether building a startup is right for you before taking the plunge is extremely important. Let’s ask ourselves 15 questions before starting a startup for ourselves.

Why do I want to build a startup?

The reason behind your motivation of starting and building your own startup is one of the first questions you should be asking yourself. If your only motivation behind it is wanting “easy money” or fast fame and publicity, maybe you should rethink it. Building a startup is hard work and can take a long time for it to pay off.

Am I self-motivated?

Building a startup requires discipline and self-motivation to keep on going and not quit when things get slow or tough. Being your own boss, means there is nobody there to kick you back into place when you get discouraged, tired, or unmotivated.

Am I ready for the long road ahead?

If you are not ready to spend the time, money, and dedication for the long and bumpy road ahead, stop while you are ahead. The plus side, is whatever experience and skills you gain will positively affect any future job you have with an employer, no matter whether your startup was a failure or success.

What products will I provide?

This being one of the most important questions of all, if you don’t have any quality products you will get nowhere, as there will be no product for people to buy and no product to make you money.

Do I have the skills I need to build a startup?

Depending on the type of startup you want to build, you need some specialized skills to do so. There is a high chance that you are building a technology related startup, therefore, it is wise to have some technical skillsets and tools at your disposal to begin building your Minimum Viable Product.  If you don’t have these skill sets, take the time to learn the ins and outs of programming and any technical skill sets you need, in additional to business knowledge. It is in most cases unwise to pay a bunch of money for other people outside of your founder circle to build the first versions of your product. You know what’s best for your product, you know what you want, and, you can’t spend any money where it is unnecessary.

If you don’t have these skill sets, take the time to learn the ins and outs of programming and any technical skill sets you need, in additional to business knowledge. It is in most cases unwise to pay a bunch of money for other people outside of your founder circle to build the first versions of your product. You know what’s best for your product, you know what you want, and, you can’t spend any money where it is unnecessary.

Am I researching competition?

In the beginning, it is very important to research your idea and any competition your startup may have. Look at the current success of your competition and what they did wrong. Learn from them to be sure you don’t make the same mistakes they made when they first started out. Researching competition will also bring you to pricing compared to your startup.

What does success mean to me?

By asking yourself what success means to you, you will reveal to yourself what your real intentions and motivations are behind starting, building, and growing a startup. Among startup founders, it is also vital that the intentions and visions of each founder is transparent and similar among founders.

Is what I’m doing now the best use of my time?

And no, I don’t mean that by reading this guide. When building a startup, you need to utilize your time to keep your productivity maximized and efficient. Start by asking yourself if what you are doing now is the best use of your small amount of startup time, and if not, push aside what you were doing for a better time and begin doing something productive and forward for the time being.

How soon will my products be ready?

Long before making money, you will need your product. That’s why estimating how long your product will take to prototype, build, and revision can be a useful question. If it is a long while away, how will you pay your expenses and your product’s expenses? Take the time to write out your expenses and your schedule and plan of how you will manage and keep up with them.

Do I really care about your target customers?

Truly caring about your mission and customers can define the line between success and failure. To make money and succeed you absolutely need to truly have a passion for what you are doing and who you are helping.

Are you able to disappoint some people?

Your investors, employees, family, friends. Those are people who may believe and trust in you with what they have and love, their support,money, love, and trust. Building a startup is risky, and whoever is in the game is risking it. The founder needs to be ready to let down the people that puts their trust and support into his venture.

Am I rushing into a relationship with a cofounder?

Take the crucial time to get to know your potential cofounders. Work and collaborate with them before you make the decision to go officially into business with them for years to come, and see how it feels. Building a trust and relationship before giving away that cofounder status is crucial.

Do I know what the entrepreneur life is like?

If you are unsure what the entrepreneur lifestyle is like – go out and talk to some entrepreneurs for at least an hour. Learn what the lifestyle consists of, any tips they may have, and what the daily grind is like.

Can you handle setbacks?

In the world of entrepreneurship, setbacks are inevitable. It is likely to happen much of the time. You should be ready to handle it and be patient with them without burning out and giving up.

Will you be ready to sit back?

Sometimes ventures will outgrow the founder. In which case, you cannot lead something in which you are not capable of leading. Sometimes, entrepreneurs need to know when to hand the reigns onto someone else more capable of leading and growing their own business.

 

Conclusion

You have questions you asked yourself from the key elements of a startup:

  • Team
  • Market
  • Product
  • Technology
  • Money

After asking yourself those questions from those five startup categories, and your inspiration is appropriate to the world of startups, continue on your path of building and growing your own startup and continue the checklist below, everyday, to advance your entrepreneurial wisdom and grow your business:

  • Network with new people.
  • Adventure.
  • Read.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Do.
  • Repeat.

I’ve used some great inspirational and educational resources to write this guide, in which I highly recommend you read them as they are extremely useful to read. 

25 Marketing Mistakes That Hurt Startups

Marketing is extremely important for any company, startup or not. Did you know that some marketing techniques can hurt your startup more than help? Let’s look at 25 marketing mistakes that may be slowly killing your startup’s marketing plans.

1. Not Engaging With and Listening to Customers

As a growing, early-stage startup, your ultimate goal should be to build a product that people will love and cannot go without. What is one crucial element in building that product? Critical feedback from real-world product focused customers. Some startups focus on building the product without getting that crucial feedback and listening to customers what they need and want.

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However, it is important to take this feedback lightly, in the case of the customer giving the feedback being totally wrong. In many cases, customers want more and more, but in the end, it is genuinely not what they really needed.

2. Avoiding Multiple Marketing Channels

Focusing on only one aspect of marketing will ultimately hurt your startup. For example, writing an amazing and viral-worthy post and hitting the publish button will not magically bring readers and fans to that post. You need to write it, market the post on social media, repurpose it, and spread it across all of your marketing channels. Not just one.

3. Not Tracking and Measuring Data

Whether it be general website traffic, conversions, social media, blog traffic, shares, or happy customers. Track and keep record of everything that is measurable, this will never hurt you, and is generally not time-consuming. Everything needs to be tracked and measured for success.

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4. Not Modifying and Re-testing

Never believe your product is perfect or totally finished which can’t be improved upon. No product is perfect. Constantly look for innovative improvements and advancements for your product, while talking and listening to your loyal customer base for critical feedback.

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5. Not Creating Goals

Creating simple, clear, and concise goals will help you keep your eye on a consistent goal throughout any marketing or startup events. This will keep everything you do consistent and moving forward towards a rewarding finish line, further avoiding any marketing mistakes.

6. Not Leveraging Social Networks

As a basic rule, go where your customers are. If you are only using Twitter, what if all of your potential customers are on Facebook? Take the time to determine where you customers are talking and living their online life, and get your company there also.

7. Not Blogging

Companies that blog get 55% more internet traffic and over 70% more customer leads than companies that don’t actively blog. Blogging helps gain customers by providing them with quality educational and informative content while also drastically aiding your search engine ratings. If you’re not blogging, you’d better start!

8. Not Using Social Sharing Buttons

Utilizing social sharing tools on your website, blog, and in your product encourages your users to share what you are offering. It also makes it easier and faster for them to hit a button and click publish within 30 seconds vs. copying your website’s link and pasting it into their social network update form. Which way would you choose?

9. Not Offering Subscription Options

Also within the social realm, offering a way to subscribe to updates and news to your company easily and quickly with a click of a button is an important marketing element. Include a link to your social network profiles on your website and blog, along with a way to subscribe to an email newsletter from your company. If you don’t have either of these, get them, quickly!

10. Not Taking Advantage of Landing Pages

Having dedicated landing pages for your startup’s products is a way to actively pursue personalized prospects. Especially useful while advertising, you can create landing pages with discounts and special deals for customers that are directed to that particular page. You can also use landing pages for growing your newsletter and social subscription numbers, distributing ebooks, infographics, and many,many other uses you can think of!

Read our blog post on a list of best practices when designing landing pages

11. Not Optimizing Your Website For Mobile

Approximately nine in ten smartphone owners (87%) use their smartphones to connect and browse the internet. 78% of these smartphone users say they go on their smartphones to use the internet on average, everyday. What this means for you is, you need your website to work well on mobile devices.

12. Starting Too Big

Many new startups make the terrible mistake of thinking the bigger their marketing plans and activities are, the better the results and profit they will see. Though starting big may look great, focusing on many marketing channels on the same level for each, is how your marketing plan will work.

13. Keeping a Constant Eye on Competition

Checking in on your competition can prove wise. However, keeping a constant eye on your competition and watching their every move may actually hurt you. Startups need to stay innovative, energetic, and constantly working to improve their product. But constant worry about what your competitors are doing, can essentially block your ability to do just that.

Instead of focusing on competition, look back at mistake #1 and watch your customers with a close and constant eye.

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14. Focusing on the Short-Term

Instead of staying short-term minded and focusing your startup to the short term, revert your mind and startup goals to be long-term centered. When making decisions, big or small, always look at the long term.

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15. Not Identifying Your Target Audience

Clearly knowing in your marketing plan what type of user base you are targeting will make your marketing and your overall startup venture, much easier. Plan out what type of person you are targeting, industry, location, and any other demographics that may be crucial to getting customers.

16. Not Setting A Budget

Ideally, what does building and running a startup come down to? Money. Money may not be everything to a startup, but it makes up a big percentage. If you do not budget your marketing plan correctly, you may be investing all of your money into an advertisement that isn’t working. Test everything, and do as much as you can without spending much money on traditional advertising. Sometimes in the beginning, having the mindset that you do not have any money to spend on marketing can drastically increase your chances for success.

17. Not Having A Press Kit

A press kit serves as a bundled kit of information about your company to help journalists and bloggers learn and write about your venture, making it an easier and faster process for everyone.
Why do I need a press kit for my startup?

  • It gives bloggers and press a complete bundle of all the information they need, and all the information you want them to have and know.
  • Gives the bloggers quality media like photos and product images you completely approve of, and if used, will further to enhance the publicity for the public and for you.
  • Having a press kit available on your website allows any visitor to gain access to it instead of having to contact your startup.
  • It acts as an aid for your marketing efforts and ideally works day after day without further work from you or your marketing team. *

18. Not Utilizing Great Customer Reviews as Testimonials

Testimonials can drastically increase sign-ups and sales for your project. Why? First off, they build trust. Your testimonials are your current customers personally telling your potential customers what is so great about your product or service, in a non-sales pitch way, unlike the rest of your website’s content. Testimonials can have the power to change the minds of even the most skeptic of website visitors.

Read our “Guide to Testimonials and How to Use Them Wisely”

19. Hiring A PR Team

Having publicity and people talking about you is great, PR is great. However, an early-stage startup does not need a fully-fledged PR team, at least not in the beginning stages. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, this is a big waste of money that unfortunately, many startups get misled into. PR plans at an early-stage startup should be pursued within your team and be spread across your marketing channels.

20. Ignoring SEO

Search engine optimization may not be as hyped as much as it used to, but it is still very important. It helps in general raise your website’s credibility, allows customers to find you more easily and quickly, and some more benefits to it. I wouldn’t advise to dedicating your whole marketing time to it, but never ignore it and keep the best practices active for effective results.

21. Neglecting Social Media

There is not right way to use social media, but there is no doubt a wrong way! Neglecting your social media accounts by not maintaining, updating, or it posting quality and original content are all ways you should not be using your social media profiles. Just like your blog, your social media profiles need to create value and insight for your customers.

22. Cold Emailing Potential Customers

First came cold calls, then came cold emailing, and, in the past this marketing strategy was an effective one. However, nowadays, this startup marketing technique should at most be avoided. Cold emailing may turn up a few sales, but only after creating a poor and spammy reputation for you for numerous other prospects you emailed. Take the time to look at each marketing technique to decide whether it’s right or not for you company.

23. Website Surveys to New Visitors

No-one really genuinely likes surveys, especially those that are new to your website and have absolutely no idea what your site looks like, and what it’s about. You would be surprised by the number of companies popup surveys to visitors that are just new to the site. This is one of the most effective ways to turn away a new prospect on your website.

24. Not Telling A Story

To be great at marketing, you need to tell great stories. Throughout all of your marketing work: social media, blogging, outreach, and advertising needs to be centered on telling the story of how your product is the best available option.

25. Doing Everything Yourself

There is a good reasoning behind why many companies have large marketing teams – marketing is not mean’t for just one. Marketing is a huge task and takes up a lot of time, all while having all kinds of other business related work piling up. It may be smart to hire an extra hand for marketing or to assign marketing tasks to other employees who can also focus on marketing related work. Assigning to other team members will decentralize the tasks from you unto other minds, further decreasing the probability of marketing mistakes.

Building an Effective Press Kit for Your Startup

Getting the right media resources to the press is important for the growth of your startup. Press kits do this by letting members of the press gain everything they need to get you published and talked about, getting you free advertising and opportunity for growth.

Why do you need a press kit for your startup?

  • It gives bloggers and press a complete bundle of all the information they need, and all the information you want them to have and know.
  • Gives the bloggers quality media like photos and product images you completely approve of, and if used, will further to enhance the publicity for the public and for you.
  • Having a press kit available on your website allows any visitor to gain access to it instead of having to contact your startup.
  • It acts as an aid for your marketing efforts and ideally works day after day without further work from you or your marketing team.

What to mention in your press kit:

  •  When the company was founded.
  • Names and locations of the founders and headquarters.
  • The number of employees your startup currently has.
  • Funding information and statistics.
  • Include any investors, key contributors and clients.
  • Social media links for the company, founders, contributors, and key employees.
  • If relevant, include revenue information and growth statistics.
  • Products with any relevant information along with them.
  • Industry content that pertains to your startup.

Elements of a press kit

Company information 

Include some paragraphs telling about your startup in a summary, what it does, who the product is for, when it was founded, and any other information that you may want journalists to know and include in any articles they produce.

Publicity and articles 

You should include any worthy articles and write-ups your startup has received in the past from other media outlets. It is beneficial to include past articles to show that you may already have some exposure and interest from other publications and consumers along with some more possible in-depth explanation and stories about your startup that other journalists can link or quote in their own article.

Also including some popular and noteworthy posts that your own startup has published on it’s own blog, or even by guest posting.

Press releases 

Including press releases in your press kit is important; press releases for any products or major events that your startup has launched or hosted. Great press releases tell stories, draw in the reader, publish on news, and can be the best way to announce and launch a startup, product, or other event to the public or even a private audience.

Press releases can also yield great SEO results and including them in your press kit will give journalists everything they need to showcase the activities and products your startup has held.

Read this guide on how to write a killer press release for your startup by Conrad Egusa on Startup Marketing blog by Sean Ellis.

Images and media 

Images including that of your mascots, logos, and other graphics that is important for your brand image need to be in your press kit including your brand colors and product or promo photos.

Founder Bios and Articles 

Consumers like having some kind of a personal connection to startups, and that all starts with getting to know the founder or founders of a startup. If that means including some bios in your press kit or some articles written up on them, add it to your press kit. Don’t forget to include some clear and professional photos of your founders.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Answering some frequently asked questions for the both general public’s consumers and journalist press should be rounded and written neatly in your press kit.

Contact Information

You’d be surprised by how many companies leave out clear and simple contact information in their press releases. Neatly and clearly lay out your contact information; emails, phone numbers, names, and different departments or teams, if necessary.   If your product is in beta, paid, or otherwise not available to the general public be sure to include a way for journalists to get easy access to your product without having to hunt you down.

Easy access for the press 

If your product is in beta, paid, or otherwise not available to the general public be sure to include a way for journalists to get easy access to your product without having to hunt you down.

Of course, these are all just the base for contents in a press release. You should be sure to include all relevant information you want the press to have easy access to like events, miscellaneous media, awards that your startup has won, and content like your mission statement and your company’s values.###

Find ways to be unique 

Journalists get pitched startup and products countless times each day, and read numerous press releases and press kits. Take the time to find a way to stand out in that very large crowd. Personalise any pitches and press kits you may send to journalists, take the time to learn something about them and tailor the press kit for them.

 

Conclusion

The key in crafting the most informative, relevant press kit is to learn what journalists need from companies and to make it an easy and more enjoyable process for them. Instead of your number one goal for creating a press kit is getting your startup talked about, work on crafting quality relationships with journalists and bloggers.

10 Startup Books You Should Read

Building, running, and growing a startup is time-consuming and requires lots of hard work. While books are one of the best sources of gaining knowledge, reading books can also be time-consuming. That’s why finding the right books that will benefit you and your startup is key. Here are 10 of the best books for growing, building, and managing startups.

1.Traction: A Startup Gide to Getting Customers

by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

Traction brings startup founders and entrepreneur through a five-step process to getting customers and growing, called the “Bullseye Framework”. The book also shows you stories of successful founders of big companies Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Alexis Ohanian (Reddit), Paul English (Kayak.com) and Alex Pachikov (Evernote)

“Most startups end in failure. Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have is traction — real customer growth.”

2.Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

By Seth Godin

This book is about you, your choices, your future, and making an impactful difference in whatever you may do, or wherever you may be. Linchpins are the people and teams that figure out what to do without established paths, delighting customers, challenging peers, while loving their work and pouring themselves into what they do each day.

“The only way to get what you’re worth is to stand out, to exert emotional labor, to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about.”

3.Startup Growth Engine

By Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown

Startup Growth Engine brings you informative and in-depth case studies of today’s fastest growing startups that use a new approach to marketing, termed growth hacking.

“Each case study shows you the specific strategies (we call them “growth engines”) that these companies used to grow, both in the early stages and later in their development. From the growth hacks they used, to the unique growth playbooks they employed, you won’t find a more detailed look at how startups achieve growth than through these case studies.”

4.The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

 by Stephen R. Covey

This book aims to improve the business’, lives, and careers ofit’s readers while also teaching about living with integrity, service, dignity, and success.

“This is one of the rare books that has influenced presidents, CEOs, educators, and individuals all over the world not only to improve their businesses and careers but to live with integrity, service, dignity, and success in all areas of life. It has had an undeniable impact for the past 25 years–and will no doubt continue to be influential for many more.”

5.Scaling Up

By Verne Harnish

This book is a major revision of the previously published successful, “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” by Verne Harnish. It tackles the weight and complex events that come with building and growing a company. The book includes many additional resources like checklists, plans, and more. 

6.Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age

By Paul Graham 

This book challenges living with our traditional ways: how we think, how we work, how we develop technology, and how we live. It covers many topics of startups, creating a wealth, open source movements, speech, software, digital design, and more. It is an effective resource for startup founders and budding entrepreneurs.

“The computer world is like an intellectual Wild West, in which you can shoot anyone you wish with your ideas, if you’re willing to risk the consequences.”

7.Lean Marketing for Startups

By Sean Ellis

Lean Marketing for Startups is about the process of marketing startups with awareness of the vast amount of risks involved. With looking at the risks involved, the book does not wander far from the amount of benefits and awards that are possible.

“I always begin a new startup marketing assignment by looking for any untapped existing demand. Demand harvesting is much easier than demand creation – and it has a faster sales cycle. You don’t have to convince someone they need your category of product, you just need to be easier to find/buy and have a better value proposition than the other guys. “

8.Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

By Nir Eyal with Ryan Hoover

Hooked is written for product managers, designers, marketers, start-up founders, and anyone who seeks to understand how products influence our behavior.

“Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain products out of sheer habit? Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us?” The book answers these questions in an informative and efficient manner with real-world examples and strategies.

9.The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

By Malcolm Gladwell

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate.

“This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.”

10.The Lean Startup

By Eric Ries

Inspired by lessons learned from lean manufacturing, the book takes on practices that improve and shorten product development cycles and learning to grow your plans, an inch at a time, minute by minute.

“Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable.  The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.”

Conclusion

What books do you recommend for startups and entrepreneurs? Share with us in the comments or on Twitter, @Startuplister!