What to Do After Your Company Takes Root
Success is always going to be the end-goal of any company. In the past, we here at Aiken House have discussed what it means to be a startup and why it can be difficult. Every company has to start somewhere, but sometimes the future can seem particularly daunting--and especially so when you run a startup. Lenny Rachitsky, however, the person who helped to get Airbnb off the ground when it was still a fledgling company, has some advice for you. We’ve pulled out the highlights.
Understand Your Audience
Anytime you’re looking to grow your business in a specific marketplace, the first thing you should do in any situation is determine who your audience is. For companies like Airbnb who are trying to sell a service, the initial audience would actually be something akin to potential employees. As the people who would be selling your service, you’ll want to take two things into consideration: What do your customers want from you? and, what does your supply (the people working for your company) want from you?
When you’re marketing your service to a group of potential people who might be of service to you in the future, look at their demographics to figure out what it is they’re looking for. Are they looking for specific benefits? You’ll want to address their needs before you can even start addressing your customers’ needs because without the supply, you have no way to sell your services to the customers.
Direct Users Towards Your Pitch
Once you know what your supply is looking for, the next step is to put together a pitch that will draw them in to become a part of your supply. Your pitch will be of no use to you if no one actually sees it, though, so Rachitsky recommends finding a way to direct potential members of your supply towards the pitch. He says that the most effective way is usually to include a link to your pitch in the top navigation and to label it with a call to action. This way, potential supply members can scope out your website to see what you’re about, and if they might be interested, they can then learn how to become a part of your team.
Get Your Name Out There
Your company might be one of the most innovative ideas of the century, but, unfortunately, that isn’t worth much if no one actually knows about it. Especially as a new company, the only way for you to really guarantee your success is to make sure that people remember your name.
Offer Benefits for Referrals
Once you’ve established a Supply, one of the best ways to get your name out there is actually through word of mouth. If you offer incentives to your Supply to receive special benefits from you if they refer you to someone else, you’re bound to get your name out there for more and more people to see.
Reach Out to People Directly
Rachitsky also recommends being pushy as a way to get your name out there. Put together a mailing list and reach out to people via email. Look up people in a phone directory and call them. Go door-to-door if you must.
Put on Events for Good PR
If you want to go a little bigger than just reaching out to people on an individual basis or trying to bring in new people through word of mouth, a really good way is to put on an event hosted by your company. When people come and they like what you’re doing, they’ll talk about you. And if it happens to become a particularly big event, you might even get some good press out of it--which will only boost your standing in the public eye!
Utilize SEO Practices
The most effective way to reach a large number of people without expending nearly as much energy and resources, though, is to utilize SEO practices for anything you might be putting up on your website. SEO best practices ensure that your content appears in a higher ranking within a set of search results. And because a good portion of the world uses the internet in this day and age, this is the best way for you to reach as many people as you possibly can.
Meetups are all about community. When you host a meetup for people who are involved in your company or for people who are thinking about getting involved in your company, you are setting yourself up to build a strong company community. Any meetup should give the attendees a chance to talk to each other, to let their voices be heard, and to inform them a little more about your company. And once you’ve built up a really good morale at your meetup, you can get started on instilling your company’s values in your Supply.
Turn Customers into Supply
Once you’ve established a supply, it’ll probably still be small for awhile, but hopefully it will start drawing in more customers for you. Customers who love the service you provide to them will become repeat customers. And repeat customers are more likely to be interested in the ins and outs of your company--which means you might be able to turn them into part of your Supply as well.
Especially in the early stages of your business, make sure that your customers are getting the best of your service as you can give them. The better they like your service, the more inclined they will be to step into a role of responsibility.
Once you’ve established yourself a little bit as a company, you might actually see yourself starting to earn some money through your company. And once you have money, it might be time to start trying to grow your company to greater heights--which you can do through some well-placed advertising.
Market to People on Platforms You Know They Use
Websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are places where potential customers already exist--and in large quantities. By taking your advertising to one or more of these sites, you’ll be able to meet people where they’re at.
Run TV Broadcast and Out-of-Home Ads
These are things like commercials that might play between TV broadcasts, podcasts, or even brief trailers that play before movies. They’re usually higher budget, so make sure you have the funds to carry this out before you just jump into it, but they give you the opportunity to reach out to audiences that might have never seen your company or service otherwise.
Send Direct Mail
Mailers are a form of advertising that has begun to fall out of style in more recent years, but it might be just what your company needs in terms of advertising. Direct mail allows you to put your company’s product directly into someone’s hands, rather than just having them look at it on a computer screen--and being able to physically touch something puts them in control of the advertising medium.
Re-engagement pushes can be carried out either through email or phone calls, but if you’re ever wondering why someone might have used your service at one point and then you never heard from them again, this is your best chance at finding out. The end goal of any re-engagement push should be to convince them to come back and try your services again, but it can also be an opportunity for you to see where customers might be finding some issues in your company, which you can then address to hopefully make everyone’s experience better.
Re-engagements are usually “personalized,” meaning they’re addressed directly to whoever it is you’re trying to get ahold of, but they’re also generally just a copied and pasted message to encourage your customers to start engaging with you again--whether that be through using your services again or through leaving a review for you.
Conversation is something that you should encourage between the different members of your Supply and yourself, as well as between your customers and yourself. It’s only really through conversation that you’ll be able to figure out what exactly is working in your company and what might need some work still.
Conversation allows your Supply’s voices to be heard--which will make them want to be better representatives both of you and of themselves. Conversation allows your customers to have a say in the services that are being provided to them--which will make them want to engage with those services more often.
Success can be hard to come by when you’re just starting out as a company with fresh, sometimes unheard of ideas. It’s hard to guess how successful something will be when it’s never been done before. These tips from Lenny Rachitsky, however, should give you a good idea of how to move forward into the next phases of promoting your business and making it as successful as it can possibly be.
If you’d like to take a closer look at what Rachitsky did to ensure the success of Airbnb, you can take a look at his 28 ways to grow supply in a marketplace.