What To Do When Your Startup Stalls

One of the great things about starting a business is there's nowhere to go but up … at least for a while. But even very successful startups eventually reach a plateau, when it becomes harder and harder to increase sales and new client production. If your business has started to stall, here are two marketing-related issues to consider.

1. More Aggressive Competition

When you're starting, it's easy to fly under the radar of established businesses. If you have a new product or service, even better — you may not even have competitors.

All that will change once the competition catches on. Once your established competitors notice you, they'll respond by bumping up their spend on Internet marketing campaigns to keep you from advancing in SEO and whatever else you may be doing. And, if customers see value in your new product or service, you can bet big competitors will somehow copy it and dive in with big marketing budgets and aggressive campaigns.

You have many possible marketing responses to an onslaught of competition. For example, you can re-strategize your marketing campaigns, either narrowing them to focus on the best proven audience or broadening them to develop new niches. You can add credibility messages to your marketing communication, taking advantage of the fact you've landed recognizable customers, reached impressive thresholds of revenue or customer acquisition, or some other meaningful metric that makes prospects sit up and take notice of you (while ignoring your copycat competitors).

2. Unsustainable Online Marketing Budget

Startups frequently dabble in various Internet marketing activities when they come out of the gate — a little SEO here, a little email marketing there, a little social media here, there and everywhere, etc.

Dabbling is OK in the early stages, when you really don't know what's going to work, and when a few hundred dollars a month is all you may need to move the dial in terms of lead generation or online revenue production.

At some point in your growth, however, dabbling won't do it. As you reach a certain level of success, you'll find that to sustain growth in lead or revenue generation, you're going to need to spend thousands of dollars a month on various marketing campaigns to keep advancing. Often, this is money a startup doesn't have.

The key to solving this problem is focus. Instead of engaging in several modes of online marketing, cut back to the one, two or maybe three campaigns that show the best promise. This way, you can set sustainable marketing budgets and maximize your marketing ROI.

It may take professional review and analysis to help you determine which online campaigns make the most sense. There are many things to consider, including your past results, what competitors are doing, and how much investment will be needed to produce results that meet your objectives.

If you're not sure how to keep your startup moving forward, contact us now. We work day in and day out with startups, and we're eager to learn more about your situation and see if we can assist.

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