Entrepreneurs that come through his office have passion and are thoughtful about product, design and team, but not marketing. In this day and age, when the online marketing channels are so crowded – reaching the customers is the primary challenge (at least as if not more important than the engineering).
Lifetime Value > Cost Per Acquisition
When the lifetime value starts to really exceed the cost per acquisition you have a real business. For more Andy recommends you check out http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/(from David Skok at Matrix Partners)
Create a Culture of Experimentation
Treat your marketing like an MVP. Do the minimal amount necessary to test the ROI for a new channel. Ghetto testing is a big piece to this – just make a landing page for a product idea – and see if you can get pre-registration. This will give you a feel for the product need before it’s even launched.
Ways to market
- Paid Search/Banner Ads. Pretty easy to try, but hard to compete because you’re bidding directly against experts (or at least you should assume they are). Just like playing poker at a casino – be ware.
- Inbound Marketing/SEO. Make content that people will find on Google. Use Google analytics/webmaster tools to manage and boost your rankings in the organic search results. First result for “startup equity” on Google is Andy’s Blog
- Viral Marketing. Hard to plan for, but worth a shot. Make great content (video/picture/post) that hits that human nature that is simple and sharable. Then, make sure it connects back to your business (tricky!). You can also create a project that is inherently viral (dropbox).
- Email Marketing. Soothes out acquisition process. If you can get them to buy, great. If not, what can we do that maintains contact? You start with a opt in (small customer commitment) and enables you to message to lead up to a sale (big customer commitment). Opt-in is critical. If you get market as a spammer by too many people email providers (gmail/yahoo/hotmail) will start to ban you.
All in all the advice boils down to – work smart (use hard data/analysis) and work hard (leverage every personal contact you have and send out a lot of personalized emails to get traction).