About advertising for startups from personal experience

Being a novice entrepreneur for the past five years, I have many times changed my opinion and attitude towards advertising as an engine of goods.

Initially, I, like many other entrepreneurs, believed that the more money you invest in a particular advertising channel, the more users you will attract to your project. The more subscribers you have on social networks, the faster your business will grow. And this is undoubtedly true if you have a couple of millions in your account that you are willing to spend on the project to get the first users. One problem, I didn’t have them. Yes, and who will have big budgets at the beginning of the entrepreneurial journey?

Visiting various events for startups, studying advertising campaigns of “young” and “old” organizations, I identified several types of advertising for myself, which I would like to talk about later.

First of all, what comes to mind is the advertisement of new goods or services.

This is a traditional form of advertising, which is used by most companies both in Russia and abroad. An obvious difference between this type of advertising is that the advertiser company has been working on the market for quite a long time, has recognition and reputation among users. She knows that her goods or services are being successfully implemented, there is trust in them and it is time to move on, releasing new goods. It turns out something like: “You already know our product A and product B, now it's time for product C! Even better, better and more stunning. Try now"! Here, the budget is spent precisely for the user to buy and talk about a new product. Is this suitable for a startup company? I doubt it. Nothing is known about such a company, and it will be difficult for the user to be interested in, which will greatly inflate the advertising budget.

Secondly, advertising is a reminder.

This is another type of advertising when a company wants to remind itself to current users and attract new ones. It is also used mainly by developed companies. They do promotions, offer discounts and client programs. An advertising message often looks like: “Hey, have you forgotten about us? We have this and that, and we’ll give a discount! ” Depending on the focus of the campaign, it can be targeted both at its own customer base (newsletter, social network), and the entire Internet as a whole. My personal opinion is that at the startup stage, spending this type of advertising is not quite advisable. It is better to work with already received customers, creating loyal users from them.

Thirdly, advertising is promotion.

The main goal here is not to keep the audience, but to maximize the attraction of new users. This type is more often used by developing companies. They already have their first loyal users, a stable working service and, most importantly, income from activities or investments! By correctly distributing the budget, they can test a variety of advertising channels and achieve the effectiveness of each of them. At this stage, periodicals, both print and online, are often attracted or noticed. Articles are written about them, they are discussed in forums and, ultimately, they have a “face”.

Fourth, advertising is a startup.

Yes, right now, we got to the type of advertising that a user needs for young companies without clients and recognition. This is not advertising - chanting, not advertising - promotion and not advertising - a reminder. This stage helps to understand whether people need your startup at all. If this stage is failed, then bloated advertising campaigns are unlikely to help later.
At the very beginning, you need to show how your product can help people in this or that area: simplify the routine, speed up the process, control something, etc. We can say that at this stage you tell that there is one or another problem, and you offer the best solution.

Based on personal experience, I would recommend not to push for paid advertising, but to use all possible free solutions: articles on various resources, posts and reposts in social networks, requests from friends to do the same, blogging, registration in catalogs and projects, which helps to promote startups. All this will allow you to get the first mention of yourself on the Internet, to determine how appropriate your product is and whether it can attract users. Try all the free types of advertising, wait for the effect of them for three - four months, improve the product and, in the end, you will be able to evaluate your efforts and understand what to do next with advertising.

In my opinion, these are the stages of startup advertising that an entrepreneur needs to understand, and gradually move from one to another, for the successful implementation of the planned project. Otherwise, if you rush about them, you will have neither the resources nor the patience to implement it.

I will be glad to hear your comments and stories about my own experience in advertising projects at an early stage.

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