What do most founders get wrong about marketing?

Retention drives growth, not acquisition. The more users return to your product, the more opportunities for: • Monetization, referrals, and virality. Plus, you can reinvest increased revenue into more acquisition.

I’ve helped 100+ startups with marketing. Here’s what most founders get wrong:
Retention drives growth, not acquisition. The more users return to your product, the more opportunities for: • Monetization, referrals, and virality. Plus, you can reinvest increased revenue into more acquisition.
You don’t need to scale through multiple channels. Why? It’s impossible to build a product that fits every channel’s algorithm. What works for Twitter isn’t the same for Google SEO, or email campaigns. The best marketers find 1-2 channels and run with them.
It’s never too early to invest in content marketing. If you aren’t making content for acquisition, make it for your customers. Create guides and learning resources that are repurposed for SEO. You’ll make your customers happy AND learn what resonates with your target audience.
Sell the benefit, not the features. Users want to solve a specific pain point, not find an ‘all-in-one’ super app. The more you dilute your marketing by explaining excess features, the more users forget your core value. Keep the narrative on what matters to the customer.
Viral growth doesn’t happen overnight. Dropbox, PayPal, and many viral startups didn’t simply get lucky. They invested in referral loops, content engines, and owned channels that grew slowly, yet exponentially. Invest in marketing that compounds.
Not all customers are made the same. You shouldn’t be allocating the same budget for high and low-value leads. Identify your top leads and give them a more premium experience. Scaling your marketing takes segmenting your funnel.
A large budget is not a competitive advantage. If you can’t acquire customers for cheaper than their lifetime value, your budget will eventually go to $0. Build your moats instead by increasing the lifetime value of each customer. Let your budget scale with your marketing.
There’s an easier way to find new customers: referrals. If every customer refers one more paid user, you just cut your CAC in half. That’s more money to reinvest into your marketing to acquire new users. Build referral loops into the product experience.
There’s no such thing as ‘growth hacks’. Why? Every startup’s growth strategy is different. Applying cookie-cutter “hacks” requires making non-validated hypothesizes. Instead, use frameworks to guide your experiments and learning process.
Thanks for reading! Follow me @maiale for more tweets on marketing and communities 🙂
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