Are you giving enough thought to your marketing?
Most startups operate on a “build it and they will come mentality”, waiting until they’ve perfected their first product before spending even a dime on marketing.
This shouldn’t be the case.
Even at the early stages of product development, you should already be thinking about how people are going to find you. Startups need marketing immediately. According to Derek Singleton of Software Advice, you need marketing to position your product, define your target market, help build your brand, get you noticed by the press, and generate leads—all before launch.
That’s a lot for a founding team to take on, especially if you’re still working out the kinks on the tech side. You need professionals to focus on the marketing, and to do it right—but how? Startups and growing companies are coming into a tight, expensive hiring scene these days. The war for talent has made it difficult to find great employees especially for in-demand roles in marketing.
Finding the right people requires you to be as creative with recruitment as you are with building your product.
Outgrow Freelancers as Soon as Possible
Freelancers are many a startups’ go-to solution to get stuff done. Don’t have time to write your own blogs? Find a freelance writer. Don’t know how to code but you need a company site? Get a freelance web developer. When it comes to marketing, however, you need people who are truly invested in your company.
These are not freelancers.
Freelancers and startups have very different goals. For Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne, a startup’s goal is to “reach product/market fit and make something that can get traction” which is vastly different from a freelancer’s objectives.
The freelancer’s goal is to finish a task, make money, and find other clients. They depend upon specific job briefs and tend not to deliver more than necessary. “Every time the entrepreneur wants to change something, it comes at the direct expense of the freelancer.” says tech entrepreneur Jeffrey Yuwono. You can negotiate for more work, but the freelancer won’t have the necessary investment to grow a marketing campaign.
Companies like RevBoss recognize that freelancing is a good interim solution instead of a permanent part of the business process. If you must hire freelancers for marketers at the beginning, think of it as a solution for the mean time while you’re building your marketing team. Focus on maturing your staff and finding marketers that are truly engaged and invested in the work that you do.
Think Multi-Channel when Finding Talent
Where do you look for marketers? Do you simply post on job boards and hope the right candidate submits a resume? Great marketing teams aren’t built by a singular approach to hiring. You find the right people by casting a wide net, maximizing all available channels and developing a healthy recruitment pipeline.
Find out how great marketers end up in companies where they and the startup have thrived. For RezScore and Sand Hill Exchange CEO, Gerrit Hall, most employees don’t find work where they’re a good fit through job boards but instead, “the best hires would come from personal networks or career fairs” so take that into consideration when choosing recruitment channels to focus on.
Tap into your own network or other marketers’ networks. Seriously explore employee referrals. “In a candidate-driven market, your top employees are the most effective finding, relationship-building, and selling tool that you have.” says HR thought-leader Dr. John Sullivan, and it makes sense. Who can sell your company as a great place to work if not your own staff?
Maximize use of local recruitment agencies, and brand and market yourself to attract the right people. Post on niche job boards specifically for startups and marketing professionals. Be part of the process. Do the interview yourself and only hire marketers whose values are aligned with yours. After all, marketing hinges greatly on authenticity and transparency.
Software recommendation company Software Advice suggests you can streamline your multi-channel approach by using technology. Virool requires candidates to submit videos, according to CEO and co-founder Alex Debelov. In these videos, hopeful hires describe “why they would be a good fit for the company and the role.” In addition, it allows him to “get a sense of the applicant’s personality and passion when their work experience is lacking.” It saves you and candidates time, allowing you to review more applicants in the process.
Expand Your Search through Remote Staffing
What is an ideal startup marketer? For Jordan Lepper of Verge, it’s someone who is able to “demonstrate having successfully developed a marketing strategy from the ground up, including having identified a competitive mental angle, drawn a coherent marketing direction, and led a team”. This might be a tall order, especially if you’re limited by geography—so take location out of the equation.
Each marketing role is essential and you can’t afford bad hires. Take a page out of Automattic’s (parent company of WordPress) playbook and use remote hiring strategically. By adopting a remote team model, they were able to find great people beyond the competitive tech hubs, allowing them to stay nimble and profitable.
This is also the case for marketing solutions firm, Fire Engine Red. According to communications director Chuck Vadun, “The fact that we can hire the most talented people, no matter where they’re located, has contributed dramatically to our success.”
According to GateGuru CEO Dan Gellert, startup recruits should be “able to work without mentorship, be proactive, speak up when something needs to get done, and then go do it”—and these are exactly the markings of remote marketers. They share your company’s values while being self-motivated to work on campaigns, no matter where they are in the world.
Finding great marketers is about knowing when it’s time to let go of solutions that won’t contribute to your long-term marketing goals. Widening the search also allows you to find people who are not just skilled, but also a great fit for your company’s culture. Culture is a great indicator of employee tenure, and when you’re building a marketing team, you need your employees to stick around.
Where do you find great people to join your company?
Ready to explore hiring options that will keep your startup nimble, competitive, and profitable? We can help. Email us at info@BoltonRemote.com.
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