Marketing Lessons for Startups

When Ilya Lichtenstein offered free marketing advice to startups (as a way of thanking the Hacker News community) he received over 150 requests and set to work. Certain patterns started to emerge in his advice, and so he decided to produced a three-post ‘startup marketing lessons learnt’ series (parts two and three).

There’s some fantastic advice to be found in the series — for both those interested in marketing generally and those beginners actively involved in the craft. For example in the Articulate a Clear, Specific, Compelling Value Proposition section:

I’m sure you’ve heard the old copywriting mantra of “list benefits, not features”. Take that to the next level. Take the single most important benefit of using your service, and make that your headline. […] If you’re building a B2B app to manage payroll, “Cloud hosted SaaS payroll for your business” is not a good headline. “Spend less time worrying about payroll” is a better one. “Cut payroll management costs by 37% instantly” is even better.

And from Find Your Target Market, and Segment the Hell out of Them:

When asked who their target market was, many people responded “small businesses” or, worse, “anyone”. Alright, fine, you sell your SaaS products to small business in the US. But what kind of small business owner converts the best for you? Which customers are most likely to be profitable customers? Who is most excited about your product? You have been tracking these things, haven’t you? You don’t have the budget to target all small businesses, so start with a specific niche or industry you think your product has particularly strong appeal for. Selling time tracking software? Start positioning as time tracking software for accountants, or dentists, or landscapers. How about targeting a specific task or feature and finding people looking for that feature only? […] Build super niche landing pages or, even better, microsites targeting each specific market segment you want to go after, emphasizing the specific benefits of your product to that group only.