Digital marketing for startups

Digital Marketing for Startups

Congratulations, you’ve studied the market, worked on your product, managed to push forward a minimum viable product, in turn, caught the eyes of an investor, and finally launched your startup. As a founder you know that all of these steps are just the beginning but every single one of them is as crucial as the next to have a solid foundation.

But as a startup founder, you’re operating under constant stress, and with a limited budget, should you focus on logistics, data, product development, partnerships, growing your team, or marketing? The list is endless and so from our experience we’re gonna tell you that how your product functions and how your customers react to it and how your marketing team is able to analyze and capture this data is arguably the most important step of them all.

When most people think of marketing they think of tv commercials, just get the hottest couple, or the funniest influencer, make him the face of your campaign and voila, it’s a recipe that seldom fails but as a start-up, you’ve put in your life’s savings, got angel fund from your family and friends and spent nights thinking about giving the perfect pitch, let’s face it, you don’t have the resources to fail ( as Eminem would put it this opportunity comes once in a lifetime) and when you go back a decade earlier you’ll notice that some of today’s biggest tech giants emerged during the recession of 2008 such as Uber and Slack and for those very specific reason startups adopted the concept of growth hacking in the first place so they could survive without a budget but that’s a whole other story, you can read about it here.

Not saying this to brag, but there’s to marketing more than a rhyming headline so here are our recommendations for startups in Egypt if you choose to have your marketing in-house:

1. Know your market:

This one is easy, you’ve probably done the work already. Begin by a competitive analysis to figure out the dos and the don’ts and the design look and then figure out the target audience because your tone of voice depends on it as well as your technical ads targeting. Then move on to how you’re going to offer your value proposition because unless you’re selling flying hoverboards, you probably already have 2 competitors in your local market and so you need to outshine them.

2. Define your KPIs:

So this part varies depending on the nature of your business, for example in a recent interview that we conducted with one of Egypt’s biggest ride-hailing companies, they mentioned that their main KPI evolved from app downloads to first rides over time because it didn’t make sense if they got users to download the app but didn’t actually use it, they even called it a vanity metric, we don’t think it is so we’ll just call it a micro-conversion.

You see, if you want an easy list that has all the KPIs you can track, then here is a list for it, it’s 100% not wrong but what we mean is, there will always be a specific KPI to your startup that depends on the service you offer and that KPIs can be based on custom or standard events if you’re using Facebook ads for example. But what’s more important here is your ability to track and analyze this data between your marketing team and tech team and use it to refine your product and build on it.

3. Choosing the right channel:

We’re just gonna get this out of the way, but if you’re reading this in Egypt then you know there’s no way around it, Facebook is probably your first, most important or only channel.

But we’ll look at the bigger picture as intellectuals of the 21st century. Not because your competitors are doing it, you should too, whether locally or abroad. Defining a content strategy goes a long way and it doesn’t make sense to post the same post across all channels just for the sake of it.

For example Facebook is best if you’re trying to get app downloads and link clicks to your website (a trial and error process and may not be the case for your business). Twitter is best if you’re sharing news and sucks if you’re selling something. Youtube is great if you have a really big budget for production but useless if you’re going to run an ad on a 5 sec GIF. We recently wrote about marketing in Egypt and why it needs changing, we encourage you to check it out.

This is a summary of how startups should choose their marketing channels:

  • Decide on a platform after careful research, settle on it for at least 2 months with a good budget.
  • Make sure every step of the way is trackable.
  • If you believe you’re doing it wrong, get help, if not move on to the next channel.
  • Try Google search ads, email marketing (it’s relatively cheap and sometimes even for free depending on the package you choose) and blogging.
  • You scale as you go not the other way around.

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