We love working with early-stage startups because it often means our clients are highly motivated, excited, passionate, and mission-oriented. But it also means that most of our clients are operating on a shoestring budget. And honestly, we get it. As a founder you’re focused on product development, sales strategy, customer discovery, raising money, and then of course marketing and branding. This often means you don’t have the resources to invest heavily into a full brand strategy through an agency so we want to give you our top 4 things that you should be investing in today.
When we say branding is everything, this is what we’re talking about. The goal of your mission/vision/values is to understand why your business exists and for who. By having a clear mission/vision/values you will able to more easily attract your target early users, build out your core team, and start establishing how your business operates.
This is something that you can and should do in-house to start but as you grow it can be something an outside agency can help you hone the messaging on.
Simple Brand Sheet
When we say brand sheet we mean choose 2 fonts (a header font and body/text font) and 2-3 colors that you are going to use for your website, social media, and marketing material. This is simply to start building consistency across your channels. We recommend putting some thought behind your colors and fonts and this can be as simple as seeing what others in your space are doing.
At this stage, your first main goal is to start connecting with your customers to understand why they are choosing and what you can be doing better. The second is to not confuse potential customers. This is where the consistency comes to play. Having a brand sheet will help ensure everyone on your team is using the same colors and fonts across the board.
Simple, Clean Marketing Website
To start, you need to have a simple website that explains who you are and what you do. We call this a marketing website because the main goal is to help you market your product and services and to collect the email addresses of potential customers. This means it should have the following pages:
Ideally, this website is easily manageable and requires little to no coding to launch. As we’ve talked about before, your website should be evolving, so don’t worry about this website having everything you need. Your product and service will be changing as you learn more about your customer and with that, so will your website. Our favorite website builder is Wix as it’s affordable, highly customizable, and requires zero coding.
Newsletter / Email Waitlist
Of every tip that we recommend to clients, for some reason the idea of offering a newsletter is always the one that comes with the most pushback. But I’m here to say ignore that gut feeling because as a startup, there is a very real chance you will start marketing or talking to folks before they can download your app or purchase your service.
By having a newsletter or waitlist, you can capture people’s contact information when they’re interested in your business and then send them updates as you build. Then you don’t have to worry about them remembering you 2,3,6 months later. Embed a signup into your website footer and be sure to promote it across any of the channels you’re using. Additionally, if you’re thinking about raising funds or entering an accelerator, having a growing waitlist is a great sign of early traction.
Our go-to recommendation for building and designing your newsletter is Beehiiv as there is a robust free option, it’s super user-friendly to use, and you automatically get a built-in landing page for your newsletter..
Expanding your brand in a way that resonates will be much easier down the line if you invest in understanding your customers today.