5 Marketing Hacks For Rapid Launch and Start-Up Growth

5 Marketing Hacks For Rapid Launch and Start-Up Growth

Three weeks into starting LatestDeals, the deal sharing community, it had 5,000 pre-launch users and 4,500 Facebook fans. We had hosted 60 of the UK’s top money bloggers in our office and we had got national press coverage. This was before the site was even up.

Here are 5 marketing lessons for a rapid launch and growth

1. If you can’t be first, be second
When I said this, “If you can’t be first, be second”, in a speech at The Rainmaking Loft (a co-working space), people laughed. It sounded obvious. And yet, few understood it. Most start-ups make the mistake of assuming if someone has already done it, you’re too late. This is not true. As Al Reis and Jack Trout made clear in The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing there is enough room on the ladder for more than one company in each market. What matters is positioning. If you can, occupy the first position in the ladder. If you can’t, occupy the second. But if there’s more than two or three brands already on the ladder, then you have to create a new position.

With LatestDeals, there was really only one competitor. The ladder was not full. Our entire business plan is not to create something new, but to occupy the second rung in the ladder.


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2. Create an against position
Following on from Point 1, if you are second then create an against position. How are you different from your competitor? How are you better? Who are they for and who are you for? Our competitor has a male-dominated audience. It has lots of technology products and video games. It has many trolls and is difficult to use. It’s not very friendly and people are not constructive and positive towards each other. How do you know this? Because I just told you. You may not even know the competitor I’m referring to, but already you’ve positioned them in a certain way in your mind.

LatestDeals will be more female-orientated. We’ve focused on creating a positive community where people are supportive and constructive. Clean, easy-to-use design is our core feature. We’re brand-friendly and have built the business together with leaders of the money saving community.

Do you see how me telling you these things, that we’re “female-orientated” automatically creates an against position for our competitor? It infers they are male-orientated. If you’re not first to market, then be second. And if you’re second, create an against position.

3. Create your business with your influencers
Before LatestDeals I worked as a suit tailor. It’s still my love and one of the best things I’ve done. However, LatestDeals did not begin until I had spoken with over 30 of the most influential people in the deal sharing and money saving communities. Bloggers, journalists and brands. I picked up the phone and asked for advice. I wanted to know what problems they saw in the industry and if I were to build a site for them, their perfect website, what would it do?

Influencers were involved from the very beginning. Why build a business on your own when you can create a community that benefits many? Create partnerships, strike deals, do whatever is needed – build your business based on the needs of people who have been in the market a lot longer than you have. This is standard market research but more importantly, it stops you from making big mistakes from the beginning.

One fantastic example came from speaking with Di Coke of SuperLucky.Me. Di is the UK’s #1 expert in competitions. She introduced me to the world of ‘Compers’. People who enter 200-300 competitions per day, everyday. It blew me away. She gave the advice of making a competition friendly site for mobile, which didn’t exist yet. If it wasn’t for Di, there’d be no competition section on LatestDeals and the comping community would still be using difficult sites.

4. Screw Twitter, use the phone
This might shock you as it goes against all the online social media advice out there. Screw Twitter, use the phone. Conventional “wisdom” says you should build relationships by ‘liking’ and ‘re-tweeting’. Picking up the phone is better and faster. Hearing someone’s voice cuts through the crap and develops a relationship 100X faster than any Tweet can. Wherever possible I turn a Tweet into an email, an email into a phone call, a phone call into a coffee. I use Capsule CRM to keep track (something I learnt at the suit tailors).

5. Long-term relationships
Focus on long-term relationships than quick wins. It’s much easier to chase the fast buck – for example, I could have immediately started spamming our 5,000 pre-launch users with money-making deals of sub par quality, but this would have killed LatestDeals before it began. Similarly, I could have called the journalists and bloggers and tried to get a quick PR win like a mention or a Tweet, but where’d be the good in that? Instead, focus on what you can give them. How perhaps you could create a business together and so everyone wins. Focus on developing a long-term relationship so that 3-5 years down the line, the very same people are standing with you and you’ve created something awesome together.

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