We asked the founders and marketing teams of ten successful start-ups what had really helped them grow. Here’s what they said:
Adam Thornhill, Medicspot
“Undoubtedly, the best decision made to date was to film an explainer video. This wasn’t just an explainer video for explainer video’s sake. Countless other benefits derived from this, including a renewed focus on our most important value proposition; the ability to repurpose stills for in-store materials; team building (filming and acting can be fun); and a deeper connection with patients.”
Felicia Meyerowitz Singh, Akoni
“Hiring the right team! By doing so, I was able to share my vision of Akoni with like-minded, smart people to create an accurate reflection of how Akoni operates and its unique innovations.”
Peter Caputa IV, Databox
“Over the last two years, almost 4k individuals have contributed to our blog. Every week, we come up with new article ideas and then we reach out to experts on each topic. We ask them to answer a few questions and then we weave their quotes into a comprehensive article. When we started doing this, it was very time consuming. We previously struggled to publish one of these articles every week with a full-time marketer focused on it. I also struggled to convince the team that it would ultimately help us grow our traffic and signup volume. But, over time, as we developed a list and a reputation for doing these roundup posts well, it became easier to get great contributions and we started to really grow our organic search traffic. Now, we publish 3 per week with 3 freelance writers who cost us about the same as a full-time marketer. Plus, we routinely get 100+ contributors to our new articles, whereas getting 25 was often a struggle in the beginning. More importantly, over the 2.5 years we’ve been doing this as our main content marketing approach, we are now at 100k sessions, ~4,000 new signups for our free product and 100+ new paying customers every month.”
Uri Meirovich, QUADSAW®
“Producing a great product video that went viral on the day of the launch. It was a big expense at a very early stage of our business but worth every penny.”
Frederick Vallaeys, Optmyzr
“Our best marketing decision was to focus on our brand reputation first. We already had a strong brand in the search marketing industry through my 10 years of work at Google as Google’s only Ads Evangelist at the time. After starting Optmyzr, we maintained a thought leadership position by writing for industry blogs, speaking at industry conferences, and being a guest on podcasts. And not only did we stay top-of-mind in the PPC world, we even strengthened our reputation by producing some great content.
“Here’s why our brand and reputation is so crucial… when a potential customer realizes they need help with PPC management and automation, they will search on Google where they will see us and our competitors. When you have a respected brand, your ad immediately gets additional consideration, even if it’s not the highest ranked one on the search results page. And when the prospect reaches out and talks to us, they already know what we stand for because they’ve heard us speak or read our blogs.
“We took our thought leadership one step further this year and wrote a book, Digital Marketing in an AI World. It’s about the future of the PPC industry and only briefly mentions Optmyzr. But people read it and reach out to us. It’s allowed us to connect with prospects who were previously outside of our circle of influence and grow our business.”
Adam Keal, Xero
“When there was a fair amount of scare-mongering in the media about new tax rules for business, we decided to take a positive, encouraging approach to SMEs.
“Making Tax Digital is HMRC’s new drive to get small firms filing VAT returns using accounting platforms like ours.
“The ensuing race to sign up new subscribers gave the industry a choice between a carrot and stick, but we decided to take a positive, encouraging tone with businesses and distance ourselves from the fear and panic!
“This strategy paid off and our customers were really pleased with our approach to getting them ready. We also created our loveable Xero character Dexter the Digital Tax Advisor to lift the load further in a fun, engaging way.”
Richard Leader, Touch Financial
“My best marketing decision was addressing personal emotion when rebranding a B2B business. Typically, B2B branding is focused on the product or some nebulous core value of the organisation – value, quality or efficiency, or something equally bland.
“When faced with a number of apparently me-too competitors, I decided the new brand would address not the core values of our business but the emotional requirement of the customer.
“Afterall, business owners are human too… It was a brave step but one that I’m so glad I took. My word of advice to anyone in marketing is: be bold.”
Will Pickering, Funding Options
“Some of our best marketing decisions have been about making a decision in the first place. Although it’s tempting to spend lots of time reading and getting to grips with the theory of something before you act, I’ve found that learning by doing is often the fastest route to delivering value. There’s a Kurt Vonnegut quote that sums it up well: “we have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.””
Simon Daggett, Access Self Storage
“The best marketing decision I’ve made is investing in sales enablement programs. For each marketing campaign that I’ve built, I design and develop a sales enablement program that provided sales teams with the content, training, and knowledge to actively progress and close deals in the sales pipeline. Through this process I’ve gained a higher return on investment as each marketing qualified lead generated is acted upon by a knowledgeable and confident sales person.”
Simon Misiewicz, Optimise Accountants
“The best marketing decision we made was to focus on a ‘Knowledge base’ containing comprehensive blogs – evergreen pieces of content that we maintain and update based on the latest tax legislation. We’re property accountants by trade and our blogs on Capital Gains Tax and inheritance tax have driven tens of thousands of prospects to our website over the years. We break the blogs down into sections with indexes at the beginning of each post, so users can quickly and easily find what they need. We also supplement the content with audio and video so it can be digested quickly and easily.”
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