When your business is just starting up, one of your key goals in marketing to the public will be finding startup investors. While gaining customers is important, the reality of the world we live in is that very few companies can survive on just good business. Without that extra cash influx early on from startup investors or an offer to buy from a larger entity, you might very well be in a position to shut down before you can even get started.
Figuring out how to do this is easier said than done, however. Investors don’t just grow on trees and are typically selective about what they throw their money at. In the spirit of giving you a fighting chance in the competitive world of fledgling companies.
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Here are six ways to market your startup investors;
1. Know Where to Work
Knowing where to advertise is half the battle. While dropping an ad in the paper might work to get local customers coming in, you’re going to have to be more targeted when it comes to hooking startup investors. Research your industry and the types of people who regularly invest in it, then take out ads in locations where those types of people are likely to see it.
For example, ads on forums related to your industry or targeted towards the investors you’d wish to court are a good option to start with. Additionally, if you have a specific startup investor in mind (say, a well-known venture capitalist or the like) who is known to work with businesses like yours, try to target ads in areas this person’s reputation would lead you to believe they might frequent.
2. Maximum Exposure
Targeted ads are a good way to court investors on a micro-level, but you can’t forget about the macro. For this, you’ll want as much exposure as possible for your business. This means getting your ads out there as far and wide as you possibly can, ensuring that as many people as possible see them and as much word of mouth as possible is generated.
Social media can be a good way to help with this, as viral ads or posts both raise the profile of your company and can act as an incentive to startup investors or buyers all on their own. Be cautious, however, in overtaxing your marketing budget or advertising in truly irrelevant places just for the sake of more exposure, as this can quickly put you in the red without you even realizing it.
3. Startup Investors Network
One of the easiest ways to find investors is to simply know the right people. After all, a friend vouching for you can open quite a few doors.
However, not all of us are so lucky as to be one or two people away from someone with plenty of money, so you may need to work at networking to build up your connections and get yourself known in the circles you’re hoping will have investors.
Even if networking doesn’t directly introduce you to someone willing to hand you some cash, getting your presence known as an exciting new startup opportunity looking for outside financial support can eventually come back to you in some helpful and lucrative ways.
4. Take Things to the Source
If advertising in more general spaces has not worked out for you, there’s always the option to advertise on places specifically for startup investors to find companies.
Various websites like Funded.com or the Angel Investment Network are set up for companies to advertise themselves directly to those looking to invest. This can be a great way to find both angel investors and seed investors that are right for your company so long as you can make your case strongly enough.
5. Court Customers
While startup investor marketing is different from your traditional B2C marketing, that doesn’t mean there is no overlap. This includes things like strategies but can also be more literal, in that some businesses can manage to turn normal customers into investors.
Barring a millionaire walking through your doors one day, though, this is typically not as easy as just impressing people with your products so that they’ll offer to hand over some money. Rather, this applies primarily to businesses that sell or are preparing to sell stock in the company. It’s been found that regular customers are at least slightly more likely to invest in a business they like compared to others they’ve never frequented.
If you’re considering going public with your startup, advertising this in your store or on your website could be a good way to gain a little extra recognition and another few shareholders. The same could apply for something like a crowdfunding campaign, as loyal customers might feel like pitching in if they enjoy what you offer and want to see more of it.
6. Cold Calls
If all else fails, sometimes the most direct approach can be the most effective. In the same way that walking in and asking for a job does sometimes work out, contacting a potential investor or company buyer and asking if they’d be interested in your company might see you go away with exactly what you’ve been looking for.
This is a good way to make use of all of the research you’ve done on potential investors and groups from before when targeting ads, as contacting some of the names you found then saves you some time on doing all of this for an entirely new set of people.
There’s also the potential for subtle synergy here, as someone who’s already seen your ads might be more likely to have faith in your brand when asked for an investment. Be sure to properly research the reputations of these investors, however, as there is a risk that contacting the wrong kind of person and souring that relationship could harm your business’ reputation with others who might have been willing to invest.
Starting a business can be a real challenge without capital, so netting some investors or getting bought by a larger entity is necessary for many to make it work. Experiment with these six means of marketing yourself to potential startup investors to get the cash to make your dreams a reality.