A foray into growth marketing

6 months of startups

I’ve build a website; now what?

Over the past 6 months I’ve built 4 “startups”. Yes, they’re more products than companies at this point but we’ll come back to it. There are a lot of checklists out there for how to get this, but I want to throw my opinion into the ring.

4 Weeks to Launch is exhausting. I don’t recommend it to others, but hopefully through my repetition and experimentation you can skip to success right away. Wouldn’t that be nice. Let’s just say the “Lean Startup” feels slow compared to how I’ve been approaching it. All that being said, it’s difficult to keep going. It’s hard to keep focused and keep working towards a goal when it feels so far away. More on this in future posts.

So what does the process look like after doing it 4 times over? What trends are there? While I keep iterating on the process, it’s pretty straightforward from a high level:

  • Pick an idea. It doesn’t have to be good.
  • Pick tools. How are you going to build it really quickly?
  • Build it. This is most people either go slowly or just plan forever and never take action.
  • Deploy. Get it out in the world as quickly as possible.

This can be done with no technical skills. The part that’s missing? Users.

The product for Guitar String Box, which is an ecommerce store, is finished. The strings are shipping from China in the next few weeks and I’m going to start focusing on marketing now. Check out guitarstringbox.com and let me know what you think. More importantly if you know anyone who plays guitar, sent it to them and shoot me an email to get 20% off.

User acquisition and strategy

User acquisition is something that I know about but haven’t ever focused on but is obviously essential for any business. You need customers. I talked with a friend of mine who has built a few different passive income businesses before and got her take on marketing. She’s monetized Instagram accounts and hacked her way to the front page of reddit before.

Her advice was simple, but actionable:

  • Define your users and user segments
  • Brainstorm as many different acquisition channels as possible
  • Prioritize your list based on how likely it is to work. (Will work, maybe work, might work)
  • Prioritize list based on how expensive it is to test
  • Test a few channels per week
  • Once you find 3 that work, reinvest in those channels

Now that the ecommerce store is finished (more or less) this is what I’ve started to do. I’m tempted to spend more time on the website making it look prettier, but I don’t want to distract from getting users. Everything I’m going to focus on now is going to be getting users.

The best place to start is with friends–can you get any of your friends to buy what you’re selling? If you can’t get them to buy it, why not? Ask them to give you negative feedback. People typically try to be nice to their friends, but if you ask for them to critique your product you’re more likely to figure out why they wouldn’t buy.

How do you keep yourself motivated? Let me know by email, reply/comment, or phone.

One response to “A foray into growth marketing”

  1. Hey Elijah, I like the user acquisition bullet points. I’m working on rebuilding a customer base and it’s definitely not my strongest skill. I’m creative and a maker 1st, seller second or third or…

    Those bullets are going on my wall.

    It’s easy to be motivated when you are doing something that stokes you up. So for me, that’s my motivational strategy moving forward.

    But inevitably you gotta suck it up and do some things that are not your favorite so off I go to find more members. Thanks for the list Elijah.