11 Pre-launch Startup Marketing Essentials

There are hundreds of resources and guides out there regarding how to best market a startup. In fact, there’s so much material that it can actually be pretty overwhelming to know where to start. Especially when, as a young company, you already have so much to focus on and worry about in terms of launching your business and getting your product off the ground. If you’re like most business owners, you want to get information as easily as possible and ensure that you are focusing on all of the right tasks instead of funneling time and money into efforts that aren’t helping you succeed. That’s where this guide comes in. Check out the basic essentials where your time and money will be focused on the tasks that are most likely to help you move your business forward.

prelaunch startup marketing essentials

Pre-Launch Startup Marketing Planning

Don’t wait until you have already hit the stores to start marketing your business. There are some smart things you can do pre-launch in order to make sure that when your product comes out, you already have a following.

         1.) Pick an awesome name – the name of your startup should be your core concern. It is an investment in your future and you want to make sure it’s something that is memorable and easy to find online.

          2.) Save domain names – make sure you grab all possible and relevant domain names once you have named your business, including .com, .co, .org, .eu, .io, etc. as they apply to you and your audience.

         3.)  Develop personas – make sure you have your target audience and personas well developed.

         4.)  Create social media accounts – this one is huge! Make sure you create profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Yelp, Twitter, etc. in order to start posting regularly and gain a following before you launch.

          5.) Get your website in gear – Even if your product isn’t available yet, you can still have a “Coming Soon” page on your website. This will help attract an audience and you can use your social media to link back to it to start developing more traffic.

         6.)  Invite beta testers – people love to be part of a project that is still in the early phases. It makes them feel special! Create a VIP list of beta testers who get to sample your product for free or get early access to it before everyone else.

         7.)  Start a blog – the sooner you start writing blog posts, the sooner you will gain attention from the audience you want.

         8.) Don’t delay on analytics – get your analytics in gear early on. Google Analytics and other free tools can help you keep tabs on your traffic and success from day one.

        9.)  Put your startup on directories – this is an awesome list of directories you can submit your startup to in order to start gaining attention.

      10.)  Build an outreach list – start building a list of people who might be interested in your product and your point of view. As you start blogging, this list is a good resource to develop your thought leadership in. As your roadmap unfolds, it’s also a place to release updates to for media coverage. 

         11.) Prep for the launch – set a date for your launch, write and share your press releases, send out a newsletter, fill up your social media with info about it and invite all your beta users to the launch party!

BONUS: Download our inbound campaign checklist to make sure your startup is ready when launching an inbound marketing campaign. 

inbound campaign checklist

4 Link-Building Tips Startups Can Implement Without a Computer Science Degree

Launching a company can be tough. Not only do you have to hire a staff to run the company, raise funds from investors, manage logistics and run a team, you also need to market your company and the product or service that you offer so that you can build a reputation and generate revenue. One of most powerful ways to do that is via the internet.

startup linkbuilding tips

Online marketing is an essential piece of the promotional puzzle for any company that wants to succeed today, and it includes many components: digital display advertising, paid search ads, content marketing and blogging, and more. One of the most important types of online marketing for startups is search engine marketing — or SEO. By optimizing your site for search, you can ensure that your website ranks high in search results and comes up close to the top, which means that internet users will be more likely to discover and click on it.

Mastering the art of SEO is complicated. Search engines like Google use a complicated algorithm in order to determine rankings. However, one of the most important parts of achieving a good SEO score is link building.

When other reputable sites link back to your blog, it proves that your content is high-quality and valuable. Thus, Google determines that you’re worthy of a better ranking, and shows you to searchers earlier.

It might feel hard to get links out on the web if you have a brand new company. However, there are some link-building tips that can be very useful for startups, so you can start building a reputation on the web — both via other sites who link to yours and via search engines.

Here are four link building tactics you can roll out without a phd.  

Reach Out to Influencers in Your Niche

One of the most powerful tools for promoting a product or service today is an influencer. Influencers are people with large social media or online followings, so when they share information about your company, it gets seen by many people. Reach out to influencers in your niche and ask them if you can give them money or free products or services in exchange for their promotion. If you’re able to find an influencer to partner with you to promote your product, you can get them to link to your website via their social media pages or website. That will give their followers the chance to check you out while building the number of links you have.

Start a Blog

Beyond your own website, start a blog where you post high-quality content regularly. You can include links to your site and products in the blog, which will help increase the number of links that exist on the web. Blogging itself — if your blogs are posted on your website — also helps boost your SEO score since high-quality written content plays into your ranking, too.

Answer Forum Questions About Your Area of Expertise

answer questions on forums to build links

There are many places online where people post questions, look for answers or have discussions. Find some of these resources, then answer questions that are relevant to your expertise or industry. In your answer, include a link to your site so people can check out more about what you do or know. That way, you prove yourself to be a knowledgeable and valuable thought leader while also increasing the number of links to your site on the web. Some good places to execute this tactic include Reddit, Quora or Craigslist Forums.

Talk to Other Local Businesses in Your Area or Potential Partner Businesses

If you have a brick-and-mortar presence, approach other businesses in your area and see if they would be willing to do a partnership with your company. Then, your companies can post about each other on the web. By partnering with a company to do a cross-promotion, you get to be exposed to their followers and customers while also successfully link building. If you only have an online presence, you can do the same thing with a company that’s compatible with yours; for example, if you offer a product, you may want to approach a company that makes a different product that can be used in tandem with yours. (e.g., a bicycle company could approach a helmet company for a partnership). In order to encourage another company to partner with yours, you may come up with an idea for a joint discount or deal that customers of either or both companies can enjoy.

Running a new business is difficult, and one of the most challenging parts is getting the word out about that business. Luckily, marketing a startup has become easier than ever thanks to the internet and tools like search engines. If you learn to master the art of SEO and understand how to link build, you can ensure you have a great score on engines like Google and Bing, which means that the people searching will discover you, become your customers and hopefully help spread the word about you to other potential customers, too!



5 Fundamental Marketing Automation Tasks To Fuel Startup Growth

Startups are often operating on a shoestring budget, and every last penny must be accounted for. There usually isn’t a lot of money for lavish marketing initiatives — but marketing is vitally important nevertheless. So where does a new and relatively cash-strapped businesses turn?  To marketing automation software, a key function of a modern marketing program.

marketing automation tasks to fuel startup growth

A word of caution, don’t let the technology lead your marketing strategy. Always always always, start with strategy. For more on this, you can read my thoughts and a bunch of other smart marketing automation leader’s opinions on common misconceptions of marketing automation

But back to our tasks, these five tasks, carried out by marketing automation software, can help provide the smarts and scale that is invaluable to your fledgling business.

1. Create a Valuable Database

Every time a customer makes contact or you generate a lead, you get valuable information that could deliver long-term benefits. But this information needs to be harvested, and then it needs to be stored in a way that makes finding what you need a quick and simple process. Fortunately, this is one of the main tasks carried out by marketing automation software.

Customer data is grouped in a number of ways — usually by demographic groups. This allows you to target relevant people with the right kind of marketing message, rather than simply hit every potential customer with the same message.

Tip: as you think about evaluating an automation or enablement tool, consider how likely it is to be used. Will your team provide the right kind of input, will you prospects and customers be synced the way they should be. The whole sales and marketing system works only as well as the data that’s in it’s database – so make sure to pick tools that are easy to use and capture what your business process demands. 

2. Convert Leads Into Sales

convert leads to sales

It’s one thing to inspire interest in your products or services, but getting an interested party to actually part with their cash is another matter entirely. According to Gartner Research, lead management by marketing automation software virtually guarantees a return on investment. This is why more and more marketing automation packages come with built-in CRM capabilities.

The link between marketing and sales teams isn’t always an effective one, but marketing automation puts in place a tried-and-tested process. For example, based on the information in a database, lead management software can suggest discounts or special offers that might work. Other mechanisms include abandoned cart retrieval and automated messaging when customers don’t follow up their initial interest with a purchase.

Tip: Use lead management intelligently and kindly. Golden rule applies here. 

3. A/B Testing

Marketing is never finished, we should always be improving. Better yet, always be testing. Wondering how your landing page could convert better? Test it.  Just a few differences to your website, your social media updates or any of your other digital marketing channels can be the difference between a conversion and a lost opportunity. Some marketing automation software can manage your A/B testing campaigns to see which messages resonate with which consumers.

You can perform marketing experiments, then gauge which strategies deliver results and which just aren’t working for you. As data is gathered, the software can communicate it in a way that gives you the market intelligence you need.

Tip: keep tests simple and focused on so you don’t introduce too many elements at once. 

4. Segmented Email Marketing

Remember number 1, the importance of a good database. Well now we need to communicate with them, but as close to 1:1 as possible. One of the great things about email marketing is the simplicity it promises. Create a marketing message, then fire it off to a group of email addresses in your marketing database. In reality, however, it isn’t always that simple.

Mass email marketing delivers patchy results at best, and can actually alienate the customers who receive inappropriate or irrelevant offers. Instead, marketing automation can manage the email marketing process in a smarter way. Contacts are divided logically, then sent the specific messages that are most likely to appeal to them.

Tip: don’t over complicate this. Even segmenting by lifecycle stage or persona type will give you a great running start. You can evolve as you go. 

5. Social Media Content Management

While human involvement in social media is absolutely crucial, there are elements of the process you can leave to marketing automation systems. For example, while you will remain in charge of creating content, the software can publish it at a future date you specify. Software can also help you with ideas based on keywords, and perform “listening” tasks that keep you updated on developments within your industry.

Tip: Make sure to strike a healthy balance between your brand and cultivating conversation and other sources in your social channels. 

Most startups need all the help they can get with complex and essential tasks such as marketing. While purchasing a marketing automation package involves a significant outlay now, it could save your business a small fortune in the long run.

Strapped for time. Download our checklist for a quick, 10 minute daily social media monitoring ritual

monitor social media ebook

Lake One Becomes a Gold Hubspot Agency Partner

At one point I considered teaching as a career. Naturally curious, I pursued journalism. I ended up in marketing. Life’s a journey.

I bumped into HubSpot in a similar way – let life provide the path, you decide to step on it. A client, at kick off, said – oh by the way we have this technology… can you help us better use it Ryan?

Naturally, curiosity kicked in. I said sure!

In the 2 years since that conversation, we’ve become an agency partner.   Hubspot’s tools and methodology are one of the soundest ways for organizations of all sizes to adopt a modern, measurable marketing program – the DNA of Lake One.

We started this year marking a milestone in our partnership with HubSpot – I’m thrilled to announce another milestone in this journey. Full press release follows.



And if you’re looking for some help with Hubspot. Feel free to REQUEST A CONSULTATION


Minneapolis, Minnesota: Lake One, a digital marketing and business growth firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota,  announced today that it has reached a new milestone in it’s business growth, reaching Gold Hubspot Agency partner status.  HubSpot, a leading CRM, marketing, sales, and customer experience platform, works hand-in-hand with Agency Partners to grow their businesses and their clients businesses with software, services, and support.

Hubspot Gold Certified Agency Partner

Of the announcement, HubSpot Agency Partner Manager Lindsey Roseman said, “We are thrilled to see Lake One Digital achieve another partner milestone this year. Their savvy, sophisticated, and innovative approach to inbound makes them a company that businesses everywhere can learn from. Watching them transform their Agency with inbound has been a rewarding experience!”

Lake One Founder Ryan Ruud said, “To hit another milestone with our friends at HubSpot this year is incredible. It validates that our clients and our partners are responding to our “right-sized” marketing-technology consulting and our scalable-measurable marketing strategy and execution programs.”

Lake One owes its growth to strong client relationships, strategic partnerships throughout the startup and regional business community and a focus on outcomes.

Lake One works with startups, social enterprises and growth driven brands across Minnesota and the U.S.. Lake One counts several regional funded startups among its roster.

In addition to being a HubSpot Partner Lake One also counts Google and Yelp among it’s agency credentials.

About Lake One:

Lake One is a Minneapolis, MN based marketing and business growth firm that believes business can pursue both profit and make an impact in the process. They create momentum for changemakers and risk takers working with startups, social enterprises and growth driven brands and SMBs. Leveraging their proprietary Modern Marketing Manifesto and Modern, Measurable Marketing process, they plan, build and manage programs that drive demand, grow revenue and scale operations.

Learn more: https://lakeonedigital.com/

About HubSpot

HubSpot (NYSE: HUBS) is a leading CRM, marketing, sales, and customer experience platform. Since 2006, HubSpot has been on a mission to make the world more inbound. Today, over 37,000 customers in more than 90 countries use HubSpot’s award-winning software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers. The HubSpot Growth Stack, built on a powerful, free CRM and comprised of the Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and soon to be released Customer Hub, gives companies all the tools they need to manage the entire customer experience from awareness to advocacy.

HubSpot has been named a top place to work by Glassdoor, Fortune, The Boston Globe, and The Boston Business Journal. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, MA with offices in Dublin, Ireland (EMEA HQ); Singapore; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Berlin, Germany; and Portsmouth, NH.

Learn more at www.hubspot.com


Media Contact:

Ryan Ruud
Lake One