In today’s digital world, it is impossible to overestimate a marketing strategy — especially for startups. Still, many startup companies forget that before they start working on a long-term startup marketing campaign, they will need a go-to-market (GTM) strategy to begin with. It is no secret that 90% of all startups eventually fail, with over half of those startups closing after five years of operations.
Still, if you take a look at an average Wikipedia page dedicated to any established entrepreneur, you will see that it is possible to grow all sorts of startup businesses — provided, you approach your startup strategy plan right. Having a thought-through, unique go-to-market strategy is a very important step that can mean the difference between startup failure and success. In this article, we will discuss six essential steps to building a GTM strategy for startups, but first, let’s quickly discuss how startup marketing strategy and go-to-market strategy are different.
Startup Go-to-Market Vs. Marketing Strategy: How Are They Different?
The main difference is already in the name — GTM is a startup strategy for entering a new market. Unlike long-term marketing strategies focused on acquiring new customers and retaining old ones, GTM is about capturing a slice of a non-existent market. In a way, this is ground-zero for any business, a sort of startup strategy framework for beginners. We all know that first impressions matter a lot, and a quality GTM is the first impression your startup makes on people who have never heard of you or your product.
In a nutshell, GTM is about your product, your target audience, and how you connect these two. But, of course, there will be quite a few equally important things to consider in practice, so let’s get started with six vital steps when designing a functional go-to-market strategy for startups.
How to Build an Effective Go-to-Market Strategy for Startups?
If you manage to create a unique, coherent GTM strategy, your risks of going out of business will diminish drastically. Besides, GTM will act as a solid foundation for long-term marketing and startup branding strategy, helping you attract more clients and increase your ROI. But before you get there, you will need to follow these six steps.
#1 Figure Out Your Startup Target Audience
That’s the first step in any startup sales strategy, but when designing a GTM strategy, a proper understanding of your target audience and its needs can mean the difference between startup success and failure. Here, it is not enough to have some general understanding of who you will be marketing to — you need a detailed consumer persona. It usually includes:
- Problems faced
- Factors that could make them buy, etc.
Relying on your intuition is a common mistake when narrowing down a target audience. Instead, you would be well advised to do detailed market research that includes questionnaires, case studies, interviews, and even startup strategy consulting.
#2 Design a Unique Value Proposition
Once you have figured your audience, it is time to develop a Unique Value Proposition (UVP). In a nutshell, a UVP should set you apart from the competition and highlight the main points that could convince your audience to buy your product. That is why it is important to always understand the problems your target buyers face because your UVP can help solve these problems. A solid UVP is a coherent message that:
- Shows customers how this product can help them
- Underlines the value your product or service has (this value also needs to be in line with your customer persona)
- Highlights your product’s advantages over available competition (price, quality, comfort, exclusivity, innovation, etc.)
#3 Choose Top Channels for Communicating Your Message
Now that you know your audience and how you can attract them to buy your product, it is time to consider the top platforms for communicating your message. In a world driven by the creator economy, hundreds of influencers can help you promote your startup brand message at a reasonable cost. But to target the right influencers who would help you with the initial marketing, you need to figure out the right platforms first.
#4 Define Actionable Goals In a Startup Strategy
As we already discussed, the main difference between marketing and GTM strategy is the term. While essentially, both are necessary for attracting customers and increasing brand awareness, the quantity parameters would be very different. When entering the market, different startups pursue different goals — attracting a certain number of followers to make sure the brand message spreads across, making a certain amount of sales to keep the startup afloat, raising enough awareness to attract startup investors, etc. Whatever your initial startup strategy goals are, make sure they are actionable, achievable, and most importantly, have a realistic timeframe.
# 5 Set a Realistic Budget you Startup Can Secure
When you understand your goals and the means to achieve them, it is time to set your startup marketing budget. It’s no secret that most new startups are pressed for money, but a quality startup pricing strategy will eventually solve them. As a rule, most established businesses tend to heavily invest in marketing (and for a good reason). But, when figuring out a startup business strategy for entering the market, it is enough to define how much money you will need to achieve your short-term startup development goals.
#6 Keep Testing Your Approaches & Studying the Competition
Most effective startup marketing strategy ideas result from meticulous testing and keeping an eye on the competition. Even the most thought-through startup strategy will need some adjustment. The more time you spend analyzing your business, the fewer tweaks you will need later. In its turn, keeping an eye on the competition will help you stay on top of the latest business offers.
Following these steps should boost your chances of developing a solid GTM startup strategy that will get you to the market and help you stay there. Even more so if you’re serious about tip #6 because every successful startup marketing relies on trial and effort. So, never stop analyzing the market to stay on top of its trends.
Emily Moore is an English & programming teacher with a passion for space and blogging. She believes that current exploration should be focused on preserving our planet’s resources. With satellites circling the orbit, it is easier to get relevant data on any environmental changes. This, in turn, should help people quickly address any challenges.