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Marketing and Growth Hacks for Startups One of the most oft-asked questions that I encounter by early-stage startups is "Do I really need to spend time on marketing? Why not focus on just building the product and let it lead the path of marketing? And if I have to start, from where do I start?"

By Vinay Shivashankar

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In today's scenario, where new startups are cropping up every week, the role of marketing has become ever so important. While most startups focus on making an awesome & perfect product, they end up missing on how to make it stand out in the sea of competition and reach out to the customer in the right place at the right time. However, at the same time, it is equally important to focus on building a good viable product - Like they say, "Good marketing can kill a bad product faster".

If you ask "when should a startup focus on marketing', it would be right from day one. No - Marketing doesn't always imply spending money, but it is about how to differentiate your offering compared to the ones in the market. It is important to convey the value add of your product to your customers so that they see value in investing their hard earned money. This is a very critical and key task that will help you on your path to success. One of the ways to arrive at this is to answer two questions: "Why should the customer buy from me?" & "What will the customer lose out on by not buying from me". Differentiation will also help you narrow down on the personality traits of your brand and the tone of voice you use in your communication. At the same time, identify your core audience - Most startups make the mistake of trying to reach out to the mass, however, the fastest way to drive adoption/purchase is to target the early adopters. Focus on them and spend enough time to understand the answers to the two questions above.

All startups are juggling with multiple tasks and have limited time, which needs to be invested in the right place to reap maximum benefits in the long run. Similarly in marketing, while there are multiple avenues, one proven tactic hailed as one of the easiest and most effective ways is content marketing. Today most startups are building up their presence online through good content. There are multiple benefits that you can achieve if you can get your content marketing play right:

  • Content can have a significant influence on your other online strategies. If you're looking to start driving visits, collect leads, building your SEO or social media strategy, content is the key and basis of all these

  • Content is a great medium to develop an authoritative voice and establish your brand in the minds of your audience

  • Customer trusts information and advice from blogs. They are more likely to buy from companies who deliver custom content

  • Good content lasts forever. If you write on topics that aren't just trends, then you will reap the benefits of this in the longer term

Content today has grown from being just written articles on blogs - Video is leading the content consumption today, with a 5X jump in the past year. With videos, brands have now evolved into storytellers, thereby drawing an instant connect with the buyers. Recently, we started a series called MojoMakers, to bring forth some of our merchants who have made a mark in their field. This has helped us build content that is evergreen and at the same time, establish a relationship with our customers.

For any startup to succeed with content marketing, the entrepreneurs should have an idea of the message they want the brand to convey. If this is clear, then people will connect with the brand and build a long-term relationship. At the same time, it is important to be consistent in the messaging over time, as this will help the startups to establish a clear identity and tone of voice over the years.

Vinay Shivashankar

VP-Marketing, Instamojo

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