Every startup needs a marketing strategy template to get things going. Without a written plan it is going to be virtually impossible to stay on track, keep the team focused and really enable your business to achieve its potential.
Things change fast as a startup. The techniques and individual campaigns you use will evolve over time. You can grab my marketing campaign template for your various channels and make sure you are executing well.
While it may also shift over time, your marketing strategy is your umbrella guide to what to do next, and how to bring it all together and grow your startup into a venture which attracts the best investors and most funding, and is best positioned for a grand exit.
Here’s what to include in your marketing strategy template. It will be used as a daily reference for you and your team, as well as for potential investors.
Insert a quick summary of what this marketing strategy template is meant to do for you and what’s inside. For example, to provide a guide to market position, identify the ideal channels and your go-to-market strategy, and what is needed to execute and obtain your business goals.
Goals & Objectives
What are your key business and marketing goals and objectives? Is it a certain amount of revenues and profits to make this a viable and sustainable business? Is it proving metrics that can help obtain funding for your startup? Is it a certain level of impact? Put some stats here as well that will give your team something to shoot for. Even more powerful if you show them where you are and where you want to get to.
What is your company and product position in the marketplace? This is vital as part of the marketing strategy template. It will give you clarity and keep your team and all of your messaging on target. How do you fit in on affordable to luxury, level of users, etc.
What is the larger strategy for your product and service? What are your plans for developing it and adding on new models and features?
What is your company’s pricing strategy? What different tiers will you offer? Will it be subscription-based, upfront, with payment options, with a free trial? What upgrades will there be? How does this relate to your brand and product positioning?
Who do you expect your buyers to be? You may have at least several buyer groups. There may be more than one type of retail consumer. Which will you focus on first, and where? A true startup will also have an enterprise customer plan.
Who are your B2B customers? You’ll also have partner buyers. Those you may partner with to distribute your product through and bundle with. These will also probably be your target acquirers for your future exit.
Be as detailed as possible. The more you know about them and your whole team knows about them, the more effective everything you do will be.
Marketing Communication Strategy
How will you get your marketing messaging out there?
You cannot bet everything on just one marketing channel and something to keep in mind as part of the marketing strategy template. If you are fundraising, you will need to keep your experienced investors in mind and their experiences. They may not think certain strategies and channels are sustainable by themselves.
There are two main parts to this, sales and branding. Both are extremely important. Branding alone may not directly bring in the sales and revenues you need in the most efficient and profitable way. Without strong branding efforts your startup will be missing out on some of the best value add opportunities and what could be millions in funding, and billions in valuation later.
Branding incorporates your brand identity and PR efforts. It may also include online and offline advertising which is focused on branding over a lead generation. That includes billboards, signs, and display advertising on the web.
Sales and lead generation is another bucket. Here you will include your initial marketing mix. Content marketing, phone work, SMS, email marketing, PPC and live events and test drives.
Keep it simple in this document. You will expand as you dig into each campaign. Though you may wish to expand on your sales process here in a few steps. How will you go from the first contact through to new customer acquisition?
Customer Retention Plans
Gaining customers isn’t enough. Especially as a startup that is always in fundraising mode. Retention is going to be a huge part of your success. How will you minimize the churn rate and boost true marketing profitability and lifetime customer value?
Offers & Promotions Ideas
As you are thinking about the marketing strategy template you need to ask yourself what are some of the initial offers and promotions you might lead with to kick things off and get traction quickly?
Market Research & Competitor Analysis
Nothing will kill your startup aspirations faster than failing to do some real research on your industry and competitors. What’s out there? How are you different? Why have others failed?
Growth & Expansion Plans
Simplicity and focus are of the utmost importance as an early-stage startup. Keep your initial marketing strategy limited to 3 to 5 things. Then use this section to add several more which you will expand and grow into as your success builds. New marketing channels and geographic areas and niches.
Who will you need to recruit or dedicate to this fundamental part of your business?
What marketing budget can you devote to this for the next 3 to 6 months to really give your tests a chance to pay off? What are your first 12 months of marketing budget going to look like? How much will you be reinvesting from your profits to grow your marketing budget each month? Don’t forget to include basics like CRMs, project management tools, etc.
What are the next 3 to 5 most important action steps that you can take to put this all into play and start getting results?
Remember that storytelling plays a key role in fundraising. This is being able to capture the essence of the business in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
ACCESS THE PITCH DECK TEMPLATE
Still not after going through the pros and cons of different sources of startup funding? Check out this fundraising training where we help founders from A to Z with fundraising.