This week on the Scale Academy Podcast, Ned Arick and Hilmon Sorey are joined by Andrew Lee Miller, early-stage startup growth expert and author of ‘The Startup Growth Book,’ to talk about how to hack early-stage marketing and scale your business without little to no marketing budget.
Andrew began working with early-stage startups fifteen years ago. He had his own video resume startup in college, but didn’t really have any budget to grow it. However, this startup was profitable within the first six months and became very successful. It was at this point that Andrew realized that he was passionate about figuring out how to get growth without any budget. Any marketer can grow a business with a huge budget, but how do you consistently and successfully do that when you don’t have any budget? Continue listening at 01:00 to learn more.
Social Media Marketing
Andrew teaches that there are two types of social media marketing. On-page social media marketing is the content that you spend your own time creating for your own page. The followers here are very unlikely to convert to paying customers. The other type is off-page social media marketing. This is where you go off your own pages and engage with people on the posts that they make; going into other social media environments and offering your page. If you spend time on social media in the right direction, you can engage with them at the very early stages of your business to find out what value props work for them. Learn more about this, as well as how to automate and disseminate content without spending exorbitant amounts of time on social media at 03:43.
There’s No Such Thing as Targeted Spam
Andrew explains that, as long as you have enough value in your message, your target might be upset when they first see your unsolicited message, but once they see the value in it, the mood changes. You can make your message so targeted that the person doesn’t even realize that it wasn’t personally directed at them. Marketing and dating are very similar, and being intentional and valuable is everything. There are only three things you need to include in every cold message you send in order to be received well- who you are, what your value is, and a call to action. Continue listening at 11:47 to learn more.
Paid Advertising and PR
At 16:12, Andrew says he feels that marketing bleeds into advertising too much; they are not the same thing. In the early stages of your startup, you should not be paying for advertising; there are easily testable and scalable organic channels to figure things out first. After some of these things are figured out, then you should slowly start scaling those channels up with paid advertising. Continue listening to hear a more in-depth explanation of marketing during the early stages of your startup versus paying for advertising and PR, as well as advice on how to hack some paid ads.
Where Does the Journey Begin?
Where your journey begins depends on your target demographic, your price point, your industry, etc. To generalize, you need to decide “...what are the low-hanging fruit channels that you can start with the resources that you do have right now?” For example, is there someone on your team that is an excellent writer, or a great designer? If so, focus on those areas. But all of this really depends on where you’re at- do you have more money than time? Or do you have more time than money? Learn more at 23:24.
Integrating the Message
According to Andrew, if you have enough value in what you are building, people will meet with you even before you have a product. Getting the message out there first about what you are working on can get you the investments you need. If you aren’t talking about it because of the competition, then you care about the wrong thing. Listen at 30:14 to learn more.
The Trajectory of Growth in Growth Marketing
Andrew explains that every project is different. Sometimes when founders have been in the trenches for so long, and then everything starts to work out and they see growth, they decide to sell because they don’t have the long-term to put in anymore. The growth-hacking phase is typically within 6-12 months to figure out the channels that work that will take budget and spend and be able to scale up and then you will have enough traction to prove out your concept and raise money or get to revenue on your own to reinvest and scale up. Continue listening at 38:47 to learn more.
The Best Advice
Distilling it down to one piece of advice, Andrew says it is imperative to remove your ego and let the data tell you what to do. If you do things based on the data, you are going to fail a lot less. Listen to Andrew elaborate on this at 43:22.
Anyone working on a project from idea stage on can reach Andrew at andrewstartups.com or AndrewStartups on social media. You can also buy his book, The Startup Growth Book.
01:00 Early-Stage Marketing
03:43 Social Media Marketing
11:47 There’s No Such Thing as Targeted Spam
16:12 Paid Advertising and PR
23:24 Where Does the Journey Begin?
30:14 Integrating the Message
38:47 The Trajectory of Growth in Growth Marketing
43:22 The Best Advice