In the startup world.

You either market or die.

Having a killer product just isn’t enough anymore. How you position and market can be the ultimate factor in deciding your success.

Which begs the question? Is there a framework that startups can follow to make sure that they start off on the right foot?

Below you’ll find our ideal startup marketing framework. Keep in mind this template will need to be customized based on your product and industry.

Startup Marketing Framework

You’ve built a killer product, now what?

That’s what we’re here for.

Define your product, target user, and positioning.

Start by doing this exercise.

What does your product do?

what problem does it solve?
and who is it for?

If you can answer those three questions, then you’re on the right path. If not, then you have a little soul searching to do.

After you’ve answered the above questions, then it’s time to determine who your target user base will be and how you position the product to them.

Once you’ve determined who your target user is, then it’s time to see if there are any other potential users. These will be the folks that you build target personas around.

Building Target Customer Personas

Buyer personas are an important part of the startup marketing framework because it puts you in the shoes of the people you want to sell to. These personas will lead you to learning how you position the product, how you market to your target customers, what messaging and content you create, how you price, even how you build your product roadmap.

Here is all of the information that you need (at minimum) for a viable customer persona.

Name of the Persona – Joe, Mary, Larry the Cable Guy… it doesn’t matter. Just choose something that you think reflects the person you’re trying to sell to.

Demographics

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Salary / Household income
  • Location
  • Family

Goals and Challenges

  • Primary Goal
  • Secondary Goal
  • How you help achieve these goals

Biggest Challenge

  • Next Biggest Challenge
  • How you help solve these problems

Values / Fears

  • Top 5 values
  • Common objections you expect to hear when selling to them

Additional Info

  • Hobbies and Interests

Let’s fast forward and pretend you’ve filled this information out already. Now it’s time to use that info and create a name for your product and positioning.

Naming and Positioning Your Product

What’s in a name? A helluva lot. Some people choose to name their product something random, others use SEO as a means to name it, and some people choose something in a different language.

I like to advise looking at your customer persona as well as your answer to what your product does.

Is your product Wood Chopping Robot? Name it ChopBot or something similar if you’re able.

I tend to advise to never name your product something in a foreign language. If there’s a possibility that someone will mispronounce it, then go back to the drawing board.

You’ll notice that several tech companies come up with absolutely random names. In the tech industry you have a little more freedom.

Now for creating your positioning statement.

Look at your buyer persona and let’s fill in some gaps.

[brand name] helps [target customer/persona] achieve their [goals] by overcoming [challenges].  [how you solve the problem].

The above will be your starting point in building your product positioning. You’ll want to refine it and clean up the language.

Next, you’re going to want to validate your idea/product in the market.

How to Validate Your Product in the Market

If you’ve already built your product chances are you had some friends or colleagues that would benefit from it. You’ve hopefully tested the product and idea with them before dedicating the man hours to actually building it. If not, then reach out to some folks who would be your target user, and test your positioning statement and concept with them. It’s worth it.

If you’ve validated your product and built it, then you’re going to want to establish a web presence.

Building Your Startup Website

Start with simple. Use actual product photos or screenshots.

Take your value proposition and condense it into a one-liner. That will be your websites opening statement. Make sure to define what your product is and what it does.

Next, you’ll want to address the 3 main benefits your product brings to your target user. Also, make sure to define your user in the messaging and include a final statement that addresses their pain points and your product/service being the solution with a call to action.

At a minimum, this is what you need to build your startup website. Try not to overcomplicate it and save that for V2 and V3 of your site. There is always a V2 and  V3.

Now we’re going to dive into two strategies that are essential for building out the right framework for your startup. Keep in mind, this is a bare bones approach that just sets your business up for success in the future. There will always be new opportunities to try your hand at some growth hacking tactics or spend on paid acquisition campaigns. I thoroughly believe you start with this framework, then build out as you scale.

SEO for Startups

We’ve gone into building SEO plans in previous posts. I don’t believe it will be the end-all, be-all solution for your business. And it certainly doesn’t drive results overnight. However, I thoroughly believe that it is still an essential part of growing a business. Part of building out an SEO strategy for your initial startup framework is that you analyze your competition and the terms that your target customers are searching for.

Start by analyzing your competitors (if there are any) or any products that could be seen as a competition or replacements for your solution.

Take notes on what they name their products, the keywords they use in their titles and headings, and throughout their content. If they have resources and blogs, then go through those as well. Keep track of all of the titles.

You’ll notice that these titles will all be around a specific topic which you can then use for your own research.

You can speed this process up by using a tool like SEMrush.

SEMrush allows you to analyze competitor domains for keywords and export that list into a CSV.

Once you’ve pulled all of these keywords, you should have an idea of what customers are searching and the search volume. Start inserting iterations of the keywords into your content.

This research list will also be available for use if you decide to start building content/articles.

Next, you’ll want to start prospecting and building a target customer list to kickoff email acquisition campaigns.

Email Marketing Campaigns for Startups

Let’s start with a tool. I recommend Autopilot but you can always start with Mailchimp or send these messages out manually.

Now, we’re going to tie in your value proposition and the SEO research you did.

Are there any searchable terms that relate directly to your product? I like to start with pain points or interesting stats/trends or templates.  These topics tend to be very popular with target prospects and allows you to contact them in a less direct sales way to establish trust.

Email them with some info on improving their business processes, or info that will improve their lives, or even a template to better manage X. It’s all gravy.<

Within the content, you can subtly reference your product if you can.

This content will make up your first email.

Again, I think the simpler the better for your initial framework.

An email, with a direct subject line never goes wrong.

In the email, state who you are, that you’re happy to connect, and offer the reason for your connection.

That’s email 1. The point of this email is to establish a relationship.

Next, you’ll want to followup in a way that ties your content to your product or service.

Your goal is to write at least 4-5 emails in a series that hits on their pain points and discusses your value proposition. Keep it short and to the point.

**** We have a bunch of email templates that you can use. Simply email me at ronny@digital-astronauts.com requesting these templates and industry sector. That way I know which ones we should pull out for you 😃 ****

After you’ve written our your email series, you’ll need to build a list of folks to email.

I recommend finding a public database that has company names. If you’re in B2B, then something like Crunchbase can be a great tool. Pull all of the company names and start building out a list of the ideal contacts that meet your target customer profile, and start searching for emails.

If you can’t find the email, then there’s only so many combinations it could be. firstname@, firstletter+lastname@, first name.lastname@, etc.

Then it’s time to start emailing and generating your first actual paying customers!

As a starting point, this startup marketing framework is a great way to win your first customers and setup your company for future success.

If you’d like to learn more or would like some of the templates we have laying around, then don’t forget to email me at ronny@digital-astronauts.com.