The Most Common Reasons Startups Fail at Digital Marketing



"The most impressive people I know spent their time with their head down getting shit done for a long, long time." ~ Sam AltmanThe commitment of time and resources that is necessary at the outset can leave many business owners frustrated or exhausted.

Startups may foster great ideas powered by creative teams, but without digital marketing users won’t know about the next great product or service that can change the world. Learn from other startups by avoiding these common mistakes. You require and deserve the best tools available to achieve your goals and find success for your business.

At Viral Solutions, we work with and have the opportunity to examine 100's of startups, entrepreneurs and even seasoned small business marketing plans. Sadly, this topic is what truly separates the successful from those who struggle. We all have great ideas and some even have a plan to launch or accelerate an offer to the public. The key is in execution and a well thought out detailed strategic plan. Passion is no longer enough. Digital widgets and gadgets will not overcome the lack of a strategic plan and the ability to execute.

"I don't look at business as a zero-sum game. I don't! I've never seen it play out that way in our industry, and I think you innovate and you add value, deliver value back to customers, and you get value back from the world." ~ Marc BenioffToo much emphasis on “digital,” not “marketing”
A digital marketing strategy requires a marketing expert to be successful. The tech team may know the most about creating and implementing digital tools, but marketing professionals know content and strategy. Don’t mistake “digital” with IT, and assign digital marketing to that department. Consider it part of marketing or communications. Additionally, when you find the tools to use, make sure you didn't choose them based upon how hot they are per the latest webinar or conference. This is critical – The tool needs to fit your business model and integrate with your systems and procedures.

Ignore a marketing plan
As with any other project, digital marketing needs a well-articulated plan with clear steps and goals. Which digital platforms will you engage? Which audiences are you trying to reach? Make sure you have defined, rigidly and systematically, your perfect prospective customer. This definition must include the obvious demographics but more importantly the psycho-graphics. What kinds of content will you create for each platform? Before investing more time and money on digital marketing, create a strategy.

No marketing budget
It’s true that social media platforms are free, and SEO can make your website more easily discoverable. Other companies are learning how to take advantage of these avenues, and it’s harder to stand out. A marketing budget should include salary for professionals, whether in-house or outsourced, plus promoted social media campaigns, website ads and graphic design. Otherwise, how will you draw attention to your offer? If you build it they will come? Not!

"People don't buy what you do: they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe." ~ Simon SinekOutsourcing content with no collaboration
The only true expert on your company is you. Contracting with a digital marketing professional is a great way to add expertise to your marketing strategy, but content won’t resonate without input from the company. Don’t expect to hire a professional and never have to worry about digital marketing again. Instead, encourage a collaborative process to encourage relevant content. It’s so important to understand your why of what you do. It’s so important to understand what drives your passion. It’s so important to understand what your goals and objectives are. It’s so important to understand the depth and complexities of what makes you unique. Outsourcing your weaknesses is the sign of great leadership.

Neglecting content quality
Collaboration with the digital marketing team provides the content that helps make stories resonate. Customer testimonies, upcoming events or releases and news from the company can all personalize the content. Combining marketing information with helpful content your audience would appreciate helps you to advertise without it feeling like a sales pitch, making readers more engaged.

Not tracking analytics
A digital marketing strategy probably won’t be an overnight success – if it’s a success at all. Give your strategy time to work, and track metrics to see if your reach has increased and if sales, downloads or other metrics have subsequently increased. No success after a few months? That’s helpful too. Adjust your strategy to try new techniques, or do more of what works. With good analytics,  you will learn to ask questions such as: What is your perfect customer? Where in your life-cycle do you gain or lose customers? These questions and others will help you to gain more insight into your business and how you can continue to grow.

While building our business, we used many tools available from the software industry. Tools such as SalesForce, ACT!, Jeffrey Gitomer’s Ace of Sales, Excel spreadsheets and enough other items I could name – that right now are making me ill thinking about. We are business minds first. We found Infusionsoft as our solution to our problem. We have become Infusionsoft experts, by building our business with this amazing tool, our certifications only reinforce it.

"It's not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen" ~ Scott BelskyAvoid making these mistakes at all costs! Work with Viral Solutions to achieve marketing success early on with your company.

Copyright 2015 Viral Solutions LLC

by Thomas von Ahn | Chief Elephant Slayer

We help overwhelmed small business owners duplicate themselves – so business can be fun again.
Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner, an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant, a Google Partner – Certified in AdWords and a Mobit Certified Partner.


At Viral Solutions we are committed to seeing YOU succeed. It is our goal to grow your business with proven digital marketing strategies that will help your business for the long haul.

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