Everything you need to know
An 8-Step Guide to the best performance marketing resources to grow your startup
Let’s say your startup wants to grab your audience’s attention, generate some buzz, and better yet, start building long-term relationships with prospective buyers.
You’ll need to bring your product in front of prospective customers, entice them to learn more, and push them over the finish line with a purchase. If all goes well, they’ll make use of your product regularly, and share it with their network, driving even more business your way.
Performance marketing is your way to making it happen. But if you know nothing about it, you can easily get lost in the noise.
The internet is brimming with marketing do’s and don’ts, how-to’s, and best practices, and we’ll be the first to admit, it can be overwhelming – especially when you’re trying to get your business off the ground. You have no time to waste and need valuable results now.
That’s why our resident marketing experts at Harvest Builders put together an easy reference guide to all things Performance Marketing for startups.
We’ve scoured the web and tapped into the brilliant minds of thought leaders, startup founders, and performance marketing whizzes to bring you a collection of all the best resources in one place.
We break things down in a logical order, beginning with defining performance marketing and what you need to set up a proper marketing funnel so you can measure performance. Then we get into the mechanics of how to prevent your funnel from leaking, and of course, how to grow your audience and sales leads once a solid foundation is in place.
Add in the KPIs investors will pay attention to most, and some forward-looking trends, and you’ve got yourself all the ingredients to launch your product and tap into those network effects.
By the time you’re through, you’ll have a good head on your shoulders, know just how performance marketing can advance your startup, and be in tip-top shape to compete with the best of them in your market.
Let’s dive in!
1. The basics
- What is performance marketing? BigCommerce cuts right to the chase.
- How performance marketing differs from brand marketing. Former Netflix executive Barry W. Enderwick settles it once and for all.
- A quick list of perks and why performance marketing should be part of your strategy
2. Building a marketing funnel
- What is a funnel? Tim Rettig from The Startup breaks down all the layers.
- How to fill your sales funnel with strong leads. Neil Patel describes how to build a funnel that can triple your profits.
- Shopify’s playbook on how to find and plug the leaks in your conversion funnels
- The smartest way to convert better is by getting inside your buyer’s head
- Why it’s time to replace your funnel with a flywheel from Hubspot, naturally
- Attract. Engage. Delight. More on the flywheel and how it impacts marketing, sales, and customer service
3. Analytics and insights
- How to tell if your marketing is working through data. Hubspot’s guide to navigating the choppy waters of digital marketing.
- Key performance indicators (KPIs) every startup should track, vetted by 58 marketers.
- Why mobile analytics matter and a data checklist for startups
- Analytics mistakes and how to avoid them cautioned by Neil Patel
- What’s the big deal with business intelligence (BI)? And when should you take the BI plunge?
- The art of data visualization: combining numbers with great storytelling from Tableau
- How to weed out useful info using dashboards like Google Analytics and Data Studio
4. Platform optimization (improving what exists)
- 9 ways to create strong product engagement and dial down churn
- What is stickiness? A simple definition from Big Commerce.
- How to be sticky from the start. Product Plan unscrambles the right kind of stickiness for early-stage companies and how to build better products.
- How to retain your product users
- 15 proven examples to keep people coming back for more, including Starbucks’ mobile order feature.
- The Complete History of Google Algorithm Updates and History (by Search Engine Journal)
- The secret to a fast-loading, snappy website. Kinsta shares its DIY tricks to improve load times.
- How the page speed ranking factor will change in 2021
- The SEO web pages that answer your customer’s burning questions
- Don’t go off a “feeling.” Squash the guessing game with A/B testing.
- Qualitative vs. quantitative research: figuring what your users are all about. HotJar uncovers the answers you will and won’t get from each.
- Custom-made experiences and the powerful personalization tools that bring them to life
5. What you need to know about lead nurturing
- What is lead nurturing? Marketo spells it out, including the problems it can solve.
- The must-try campaigns to add to your pipeline
- A lead nurture strategy that takes you from zero to hero
- Acquire’s startup cheat sheet for mapping out your customer journey from scratch
- Email isn’t dead. When to use it, how to do it, and why add it to your marketing mix? Kait Westbrook from Campaign Monitor shares 5 email marketing lessons to live by.
- The best email marketing tools for startups
- An infographic of the mobile takeover
- How to run your marketing on autopilot
6. The lowdown on lead generation
- An e-book on pay-per-click (PPC) or top-of-search bidding. Search Engine Journal compiles a complete guide to get the most valuable real estate in search engine results.
- Creating social media ads that stick, and what you can learn from Slack and Shopify.
- How to sell more with copywriting, even on a shoestring budget
- The right ads at the right time through programmatic advertising
- When you should and shouldn’t deal with affiliate marketing
- Remember how Casper made sleeping cool? Sprout Social explains influencer marketing, and 11 campaigns to inspire your startup’s content, conversions, and awareness.
- Why a lead gen landing page is a must-have for your MVP. Max Babych from SPD Load explains in 50 words.
- How to write a high-converting landing page. The leaders at Unbounce share their formula.
- How to convince your customers to do anything using irresistible call to actions (CTAs), and 20 examples you can’t help but click.
- Everything you need to know about forms on your landing page
- How to build up hype with a waitlist before launching your product
- A landing page barometer to gauge your leads. Databox sheds light on the 8 most important landing page metrics and how to track them.
- 110 landing page examples that you can’t afford to miss and why they work
Search engine optimization (SEO)
- How SEO actually works, brought to you from the pros at Moz.
- Ranking well on Google and a rundown on capturing leads
- A webinar on the only high-powered content strategy you need by Andy Crestodina at MozCon
- Why virtual events are hugely beneficial for early-stage companies. The Startup Magazine covers three main perks that make up this $77 billion industry.
- How B2B startups can capitalize on virtual events
- How to design a powerful virtual event experience
7. Investor KPIs
- What you should care about through the eyes of an investor
- The big picture metrics that investors are obsessed with and should be looped in on
- The KPIs you must know before pitching investors. Phil Nadel from TechCrunch discloses the critical information that could help founders win or flop.
8. Trends to keep on your radar
- Automation: B2B marketing automation to delight your customers and increase demand generation.
- Hyper-personalization: world-class customer experiences with product personalization and the 9 companies that do it brilliantly.
- Artificial intelligence: why companies are using AI. How Mastercard’s AI-powered chatbot uses language processing to automate handling payments.
- AR & VR: the future of advertising or just temporary hype?
- Social media: the future of social and how it relies on social listening, live streaming, and more.
- Video marketing: the most popular way customers want to learn about new products and why you should be part of the livestream boom.
- Visual search: a picture is worth a thousand words. Pinterest’s Lens app turns your phone’s camera into a search bar.
- SEO: how voice search and conversational AI can optimize your site.
- Influencer marketing: boosting ROI and your bottom line with modern word-of-mouth marketing.