How did Revolut get their first users? How can you make a big impact with zero budget? Does ‘paid social’ really work? Do you optimise for engagement or acquisition?
These questions (and more!) were answered in our second expert session as part of Week2Work, our one week, hyper focused Seed Sprint with SeedLegals.
Firstly, make sure you have Product-Market-Fit. Before you start thinking about marketing, think about what problem you’re solving and who you’re solving it for. If you’ve nailed PMF, identifying who your target market is, and how to communicate to them will be much simpler.
Nailed PMF? Now think about your go-to-market marketing strategy. In a crowded market, you need to know exactly what you’re USP is. What do you do that nobody else does? Which demographic will value that USP the most? In the early days at Revolut, their USP was exchanging currencies instantly in the app with a better exchange rate, so their first port of call was to ‘hoover up the travel market’
How do you reach your first target segment with no/low budget? No budget doesn’t mean no marketing. Try communities your target user might be a part of, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups or open WhatsApp groups where you can easily post and spread the word. Try direct messages on LinkedIn, or Instagram. Ask current users for referrals, and consider how you can creatively encourage users to refer without offering cash.
What messaging do you use when you’re preparing outreach to first users? When you’re thinking about messaging, stay focused on communicating the USP and keep the language simple. For Revolut, their messaging to the travel market was ‘Travel overseas with no fees.’
Think about your tone of voice, but remember you can’t please everyone. As a new brand, create a distinct voice for your brand that cuts through the noise. Focus on the type of voice that connects with your initial target market, as they’re the people you want to engage early. You can’t please everyone, but if punchy works for your target audience, go punchy.
Brand building and growing through advocacy. Your early customers are your biggest assets. To build brand advocacy, consider Community Marketing to bring your users / customers as close to the brand as possible. Revolut used events, community meetups and a crowdfunding campaign to do this - and even posted their product roadmap on their website. You should aim to help customers feel like they are part of the brand.
Listen to your users, but don’t only listen to your users. When you’re working on your Community Marketing strategy, it’s great to listen to and build advocacy with users but you don’t want customers completely dictating your roadmap as they don’t always know what they want / need. Stick to your vision, but stay open to feedback.
Think about geography. You might be starting on home turf, but when looking for critical mass of users, where’s the next place to go? In the industry you’re in, there might be common markets you and your competitors would typically think to grow into (the USA, parts of Europe, etc.). But if you want the first mover advantage, consider where there are no disruptors in the market and whether you can get mass adoption strategically, rather than going where you’re expected to go.
Engagement trumps acquisition. Acquiring lots of customers who drop off will make investors question your product-market-fit, or your funnel. So rather than focus on ‘vanity metrics’, show investors that your users/customers will stick around and love your product. If you focus on increasing engagement, the acquisition will come.
When you are looking to acquire / engage new users, are paid ads worth it? Using ads on Facebook / LinkedIn / Twitter etc (a.k.a paid social) might seem like a low budget way to reach a large audience, but generally it has a high cost per acquisition for low quality users. You’ll have to do a lot of experimentation to get the messaging, visuals and call-to-action right, and this can be time and capital intensive. For an early stage B2C startup, consider Community Marketing, and you’re more likely to achieve the engagement you’re looking for to win over investors (and customers!).