By definition, a startup is not a fully-fledged company. It is an idea that must be converted to a successful business model through trials and errors.
As any experienced observer of startup ecosystem will tell you, there are many examples of startups becoming successful without any special funding. You can always find low-budget ways to promote new ideas and products: social networks, content or e-mail marketing, startup platforms, etc.
Stephen Blank in his book “The Four Steps to the Epiphany,” structured the way through which every startup must go on its way to success:
- Learning consumer demand. You need to create a hypothesis that of how your startup can solve a problem for your audience.
- Verifying the audience. This is where you test the hypothesis, communicate with the target audience, build a marketing plan, and make the first sales or pre-orders.
- Attracting new customers. The process of entering the mass market usually needs investment in marketing and promotion.
- Creating the company. When the idea is verified, it needs to be substantiated by revenue generation, positive cash flow or any number of other elements of a full-fledged company with a functioning business model. This is the true goal of every startup.
At every step of this process, communication with your target audience is key. In fact, in order to launch the idea into the mass market, first you must educate the consumers about it. Email marketing can help to solve this problem, more than any other marketing channel.
1. Email marketing for searching for the first customers
Coursmos is an educational platform with online training courses dedicated to different topics, including developing business startups to training in various sports. It is remarkable that anyone who wants to share their experience and knowledge with other people can do so by creating a course platform, and can possibly make money from it.
The startup company sent announcement emails in order to find the first users of the platform. They found subscribers by contacting the most inactive users of previous educational projects. The small number of emails were also sent to subscribers of their partner’s database.
The mailing statistics will perhaps shock the more experienced marketers (the open rate was at a level of 10%, and the click-through rate was about 1%). But keep in mind that the startup was using a “sleeping” base.
Paul Shuteyev was the Chief Executive Officer at Coursmos during the two weeks of this email campaign. He said that they made 1,600 relevant leads.
2. Email marketing for searching for investments
Another example of becoming successful in development and achieving goals with the help of email marketing is Ecois.me.
The company Ecois.me offers a smart system of energy household saving. This system is connected via electrical shield to the cable and measures the energy consumption of all devices. Detailed information of energy consumption is entered in a statistical report in the mobile app, and the system gives instructions for when to best use a particular device.
After launching the website, the project announced a competition with the prize of a smart energy saving system. Anyone could participate, they just needed to fill out the registration form and invite five friends to the project. In this way, the company was able to collect a database of contacts who were interested in this project.
To complete product development the company needed additional investments, and it was decided to use Indiegogo.
During fundraising, the project was communicated to its audience who made pre-orders. The company sent emails about the stage of crowdfunding and appealed for support for the project to the subscribers who were collected during the competition.
As a result, the required amount of money was collected, and the product was successfully developed.
3. Email marketing for making repeat sales
After the first sales have occurred and the startup has received some publicity, email marketing can easily become a useful channel for attracting new customers. It is an easily available, inexpensive resource to attract new customers and retain existing customers.
Use names filed in a register form to make personalized emails, and use the dates of birth to send special congratulations emails. Make your emails interesting and quickly track through designs with memorable images. Make bright buttons for Call-to-Actions in your emails to catch the reader’s eye and make clicks. Don’t forget to make A/B testing to see which ones work best.
The more successful your email campaign, the more new customers you will make, the more repeat sales you will gain, and the project will continue to grow.