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The Key To Build A Successful Startup From Scratch

[Image: 3066574-poster-p-1-how-i-built-a-success...owhere.jpg]

Location, location, location. It’s an old mantra of traditional marketers and a reason why so many startups all cluster in the same place. For many of those in the San Francisco Bay Area or New York City, location really is everything. The connections and access to the right people might seem limitless in these areas, and without them, your company might never have had a future.
Digital marketing may play an even bigger role in your company's fate than ever.
But more and more lately, you don’t have to be based in a major urban hub in order to run a successful company. I should know. In a little over three years, I’ve built a million-dollar company while living in a city most enterprise clients wouldn’t consider searching in for a digital marketing firm: Utica, New York.
I know what you're thinking: Utica is hardly a global hotbed of fast-paced business innovation. But that doesn't mean innovation isn't happening here—or in dozens of other places you may never have thought to look. By using some low-cost strategies to build a sales funnel and some creative techniques to nurture relationships—both right outside my doorstep and further afield—I've been able to launch and grow a successful digital business.
Three factors have so far proved critical to my company's growth:

1. Using lead-focused online marketing to reach people in other areas
2. Making connections locally that have connections elsewhere
3. Developing key relationships in the areas I want to grow

Here's a look at each of them.

When you're in the middle of nowhere (relatively speaking), digital marketing may play an even bigger role in your company's fate than ever. It helped me generate leads from companies that were already interested in my specific services, which helped me keep my marketing efforts relatively cheap and better targeted.
You don't need to build your regional or national network all by yourself. It's all about referrals.
First and foremost, that meant getting my business listed where potential clients were searching for my services. Since I run an SEO startup, I started by submitting my website to directories and optimizing my own site for search engines. That's where my expertise in the same market I wanted to serve came in handy, but some of those steps are no-brainers. For example, I created a $16/month listing in MediaBistro that led to a crucial client relationship yielding over $200,000 in the last two years.
If that helped me secure my footing locally, the next step was to start building connections in the big cities closest to me. I compiled a list of more than 100 agencies I wanted to work with and emailed specific people at each one. Keeping it personal was key. I made sure to comment individually about the types of clients they worked with. As a result, I've received over $80,000 in revenue from one agency alone, plus potential projects with major brands.
Who should you contact? Here, too, a little basic market research comes in handy. Hunt down relevant local directories that list similar services to yours. So for example, if you want to build networks in Boston or New York, try submitting to VentureApp, a website connecting startups with the services they need.

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