No matter if your company is a newly bootstrapped startup or a Fortune 500 behemoth, access to capital is key to growing a strong foundation for your business. This can be a bit of a mystery to newer businesses. Often they haven’t yet established their business network or the trust and attention that venture capitalists look for when they are going to invest in an organization.
There’s a lot to learn (quickly) while you’re pursuing funding but this doesn’t mean you have to move forward blindfolded. In fact, it might be a smart idea to take the VC approach to marketing while you get your organization established in your space.
The best venture capital marketing expertly places both firm and partner in a position of strength. This isn’t just focused on what they do, but why they do it. This approach has clear implications for any B2B organization, especially those seeking funding.
If there is one clear takeaway to absorb from the average VC marketing strategy, it’s to know more about your space than anyone else…and to prove it over and over again.
Since the early 2000s, the way venture capitalists handle their marketing has consistently placed them in a position of strength. One only needs to watch the power or influence of someone like Mary Meeker or Fred Wilson to really grasp how truly special this is. These folks know more about the space they occupy more than anyone else and their communities trust them because they are constantly proving it to these communities.
High site engagement, massive email lists, and marketing funnels provide a sense of security to any business. They feel good because they’re tangible and because they scale. But Mary Meeker will never put you into an email lead nurturing campaign. She doesn’t have to because her people trust her- something more valuable than any email list, no matter the size.
That being said, being an expert in your space means nothing if you don’t have a microphone for amplification to cultivate that trust and garner the attention VC firms look for when investing. Here’s how to get started:
1. Have a Solid Customer Acquisition Strategy
Marketing your business to your target customers should be a core part of every start up’s business plan from day one. Simply telling potential investors that you intend to do ‘digital marketing’ isn’t enough. Get specific. Be sure you have the answer to the following questions:
-What’s your content marketing strategy?
-What’s your paid advertising strategy?
-How are you going to address the ‘big five’?
D. Welcome Program
E. Optimization Program
-What’s your target cost per lead/conversion?
-What’s your customer acquisition cost?
-What’s your customer lifetime value (LTV)?
If you don’t know the answer to these questions, start here. These are crucial acquisition questions and strategies that must be answered before you ever step into a pitch room to talk to potential investors. If you don’t know how much it costs to acquire customers, you’re not quite ready for VC funds. Make sure you lock down your marketing and acquisition strategies before you even try to speak to VC experts.
2. Start A Blog
Perhaps the easiest way to amplify your message to your target market and potential investors is the classic mainstay of digital marketing, your company blog. Blogging can be a powerful strategy to help generate the exposure your fledgling business needs to acquire capital. It’s not uncommon to read success stories where businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than their competitors that do not keep a blog. A blog will allow you to position your startup as the thought leader and expert in your space that you need to acquire venture capital (while providing you a solid source of organic search traffic).
Write for your audience and optimize for search engines as you go. Stay true to the brand and deliver content that your target audience is interested in reading and you’ll be rewarded with a steady source of leads and attention.
3. Keep a Social Presence
This looks different for every business, but the most crucial part is that you pick channels where your target market hangs out and then you must keep the profiles consistently active. Most social channels now allow business owners to pay for exposure and engagement, so there are easy ways to drive value and awareness to your brand in a consistent fashion.
It’s not simply good enough to post on social channels. It takes more than just a profile to successfully market your brand on social media. You must pay attention to what your target market is interested in and then regularly post engaging, relevant content that gives your tribe a reason to engage with your brand.
The key focus as you progress through your entrepreneurial journey is to be prepared. Have a plan for every arm of your business and lock down the ways that you will approach, engage with, and ultimately acquire customers. This is how you will gain the trust of your target market, but not only that, you’ll show yourself as a thought leader and expert in your space which will set your business ahead once you try to acquire funding.
Kristen Bowie is a content engagement expert at Qwilr who has been heavily involved in digital marketing since 2009. When she isn’t busy driving value to brands, she spends her free time painting with watercolors, attending live shows, and hanging out with her urban dwarf goats.