The marketing funnel

marketing funnel

The marketing funnel describes the process through which an entity goes from being totally unaware of your company's existence through to being a customer and potentially out the other end.

Basic Models

As with most models in the commercial world, there are lots of different versions offering different perspectives depending on what the creator wants to describe ( or sell).

Marketing led models like AIDA tend to describe the action that you want to drive in the customer at that point beginning with raising awareness of the proposition or just the issue it addresses, promoting interest, creating desire and prompting action. As these came out of the Advertising industry, they are much more focused on the consumer market than B2B. They are also difficult to apply to processes, being a bit more esoteric.

Content Marketing models tend to focus on actionable and performance-based models. Hubspot, Pardot and Marketo would be examples, although Hubspot has moved to a flywheel that recognises that communications post-purchase is important, and this may not be right for all businesses.

Sales models tend to be driven by the data structures of CRM’s and focus on categorising the stage a customer is at for example a prospect becomes a lead, which is qualified to create an opportunity which is converted to a sale. If you are heavily engaged with a specific CRM, this will dictate your methodology, and Salesforce offers a good model for how the process is supposed to work

Which model works for you will be very dependent on what you are trying to achieve, but they all have a few things in common.

Funnel

The shape is relevant as it demonstrates that there are more entities at the top than there are at the bottom. This has two implications. Firstly that you will be communicating to a significantly broader audience at the top than at the bottom, and secondly that you will lose people as you move through the process

marketing funnel

Stratification

There are distinct groups and layers in your marketing funnel that can be classified and measured. Each of these layers has specific needs and requires specific actions, needs to be differentiated and potentially owned by different groups.

Process

The funnel is not a bucket, it is a process that has direction and layers. Maximising the number of people that you get out of the bottom needs two things

  1. As many people as possible going into the top
  2. Efficient migration of entities as possible from layer to layer.

Both marketing and Sales have traditionally considered their roles to be art, not science and one will always blame the other if they aren’t hitting the target. Moreover, they are competing objectives. Marketing’s view is to get as many leads in as possible, whereas Sales just wants the best leads.

This is where operational management comes in and builds structures that allow mutually agreeable objectives and clear measurement

Relationship and content marketing are the real game-changers for real estate.

content written

With the rising cost of leads and reduced conversions rates, lead generation is becoming more expensive and less sustainable than ever. But with long sales cycles and limited opportunity for repeat business, is content marketing the alternative?

Real estate is, by its very nature, transactional.

We buy homes so rarely, that we don’t get to know our agents and have little need to remain in contact with them from sale-to-sale.

From the agent’s perspective, therefore, the focus is two-fold. Firstly, getting leads and winning listings and secondly getting as many people into view a property to guarantee that sufficient numbers are willing to bid to get the house. 

The rate-determining steps are therefore lead generation and conversion rates. Mosts leads are still sourced from lead lists either purchased or created through outbound email or coldcalling.

Some agencies such as Castles in Dublin have been very successful with personalised leaflet drops and flyers, leveraging their strength in their target markets and brand awareness in discrete territories.

However, both of these routes are time-consuming and expensive.

Are search and social the answer?

Search and social media advertising is less common, accounting for about 22% of all lead creation, However, targeting at a local level is difficult and produces variable results. General keywords are competitive and expensive. CPC rates around €5 and conversion rates below 2% mean each lead’s costing over €100. 

Either way, each of your leads is going to cost between €50 and €100, and if you factor it conversion rates of less than 5%, that’s giving a cost per sale between €1-2000, which, in the face of declining prices and commissions is not sustainable, especially in Ireland for example, where commissions are down to 1.5%. 

No wonder then that many agents are looking in different directions for their business, but what are the options?

Relationship marketing for estate agents

relationships

Many successful agents are taking a leaf out of the corporate sales book, realising that the two key advantages of the referral are trust and expertise.

The fact that someone we know to be independent has had a positive experience pushes up the trust learning curve with a referral allowing us to reach the point at which we are willing to work with a company much faster than if we approached them cold. 

It also means that we know that the referred contact has expertise which is relevant to us through the discussions with our trusted third party.

Content marketing

Agencies are starting to recognise that content marketing and marketing automation allows them to get over the hurdles caused by long gaps between sales by creating relationship opportunities which will ultimately lead into listings or sales in a more cost-effective manner. 

This means the creation of online communities of individuals who opt in to receiving your communications and are prepared to engage with the content you create.

This is important because recognising that the content needs to be what the audience wants to hear, not what the writer wants to say is a key concept for effective content marketing. No-one wants to be bombarded just with new listing messages!

The platform is important too.

Social media offers a great opportunity to broaden the audience base, but it’s very low engagement, whereas email subscriber bases will be smaller and more difficult to build but will be substantially more engaged.

Stepping into content

Depending on how committed you are to content management and your ROI timeline, you can create deeper and deeper levels of relationships.

That’s the key to success, realising that you’re not selling houses in your marketing, you’re selling relationships. Your audience needs to buy into you before they will buy what you are selling.

The Marketing Funnel

For the company shifting from a transactional to a relational selling model this is the simplest step, as it allows you to start to build a content marketing funnel without losing sight of the importance of a call to action leading to a specific endpoint. 

This approach centres on providing content which is relevant and interesting to the audience, but retains some focus on the sales process. The rule of thumb is that 80% of the content should be pure content and 20% sales focussed. 

This can mean retaining a call to action on all mails or focussing some mails or posts on the process or competitive advantages of the product. The key is the mix. More obvious calls to action or a sales approach will push some people down the funnel faster but are likely to disengage a lot of people. 

Content marketing

Companies coming from a softer, marketing-led background or who have found their funnel approach plateauing, tone down the overt sales pitch in favour of a greater focus on content which builds authority and trust with the potential for messages to be shared. 

This is the more traditional social media approach and leads to greater engagement and lower dropouts, forming a strong and growing audience.

video Content marketing

Sales messages are downplayed considerably so it takes a bit of a leap of faith coupled with strong marketing skills to create what is essentially going to become a strong source of high-quality leads, akin to those generated from referrals. 

One example of this is the 33 touch campaign run by Keller Williams companies.

In Ireland, this involves a 2 strand approach, developing the agent’s reputation for both professional and local knowledge, tapping into the audience need for estate agents that they can trust both to know the area intimately and be both professionally competent and successful.

Audiences are split by region of interest and receive two communications per month, one focussing on the area ( best restaurants, relevant news stories etc) and the other a market report detailing new listings, price movements and general commentary. 

Selling and listing call to actions are conspicuously absent.

The upshot of this is open rates in the late 20’s and virtually no unsubscribers, leading to a growing audience. Listing enquiries naturally fall out of the process, but there is no push.

From an agent’s perspective, Keller Williams automated marketing tools are linked to the CRM, making lists and campaign management simple minimising the need for marketing support and letting the agent’s personality shine through. Social media posts can also be scheduled automatically from within the platform. 

Monetising your base

Like Google and Facebook before it, Keller Williams has realised that once it has a loyal audience, it has the potential to offer them a range of products and services outside of the core offering.

The products and services it offers need to be relevant and aligned and obviously provided either internally or via aligned, well-vetted but non-competitive providers.

Keller Williams is able to leverage its global reach and size to negotiate good deals on traditional real estate products like mortgages, home improvement loans and insurance, but also recognises that the transition from one home to the next is only relevant for a small portion of its audience, whereas the others are settled homeowners.

growth business analytics

Plumbing, gardening, home warranty and cheaper utilities are much more relevant to the majority of its base and providing compelling offerings is a great way to both provide stickiness and an ongoing revenue stream. 

This isn’t without its pitfalls, however, as the affinity benefit means that whilst a good experience will act as a halo around the brand, any bad experiences with third parties will also negatively impact, so picking the right partners is essential.

It’s also important to limit the offering and ensure offerings are aligned with the core proposition otherwise you risk diluting the brand.

The revenues from cross-sells are rarely high compared with the core proposition, so it doesn’t make sense to lose sight of your core business.

Servicing your base through data mining.

As it transitions to a technology company, Keller Williams is already planning the next-generation technology utilising AI and hyperlocal content to provide an invaluable real estate tool for consumers and agents alike.

On the consumer side, content is localised to a specific address, giving access to a range of services specific to your home, acting as your home’s personal assistant effectively. 

Want to know what your house is worth now or projected into the future? How about what it would be worth rented on Airbnb or Long term rental? The app gives consumers to create their own landing page, with details on their home, its current value, services in the local area and anything else that the homeowner might need.

content

Partnerships with companies like Nextdoor allow additional features like combining the best features of a Facebook, WhatsApp or Justeat in a local, curated group or provide highly localised and differentiated services.

From the corporate side, datamining and AI allow agents to predict when a consumer is likely to be considering a change, prompting a reach out, for example. 

Content remains at the heart of the offering, as effective adopting requires access to service and content which continues to be relevant and useful to consumers.

The benefits, however, are game-changing.

As the go-to app for all of your homeownership and needs, Keller Williams stands to own the consumer’s interaction with their home, and who do you think will be the first person they think of when it comes to selling their home?

The future is relational, not transactional.

Building strong, long-lasting relationships with potential consumers is the future for real estate and this takes courage, patience and a long term approach.

You need to focus on what you can offer your consumer not what they can deliver for you, it really is a buyers market! However, the rewards are potentially huge.

Not only can first movers capture a large share of voice which can be translated into a cost-effective lead flow, but they have the potential to broaden the revenue base for the company and potentially lead to diversification and derisked revenues long into the future.

How to create a video course and publish online

Video content is an exceptionally effective tool to engage, educate and influence customers, whether it's a course or a demo or a simple introduction.

Technology has made this simpler to record at an acceptable quality, with Hi resolution cameras and microphones available on most phones, but that hasn’t removed the personal barriers. Getting comfortable in front of a camera takes practice, confidence and planning, so Follow these simple steps to record your first video. 

What you do with it is up to you, the most important thing is just doing it

Plan out your video content

Who is the course aimed at

If the course is part of a content marketing strategy you probably have a very clear idea of who the viewer is, what they are interested in, their educational background and needs. If not, you should think about the audience before you start writing. 

  • Is this their first language? 
  • How well educated are they, 
  • what are they looking for from the video 
  • what are their issues. 

 

This will affect how you write and what you see to present if you want your audience to be engaged and influenced.

What are your objectives for the course and what are the outcomes you are hoping for.

A video should seek to influence its viewers in some way, whether that is to gain knowledge, give them confidence to try something new, or to change the way they think, and how you approach your course will have to reflect that. A video explaining how black holes work will be very different to one explaining how to install windows or how to recruit a software developer.

How long is the course going to be?

Research shows that the optimum length of a video is in the 3-5 minute region, but this is very dependent on your audience. longer-form content suits education and detailed explanation, but viewers will drop off. youtube’s research suggests that you are likely to have lost 40-50% of your viewers after 5minutes, down from 75% after 2 minutes. However, an engaged audience is likely to stay longer, so it depends on your objectives.

How does this fit into my business?

Your product/marketing strategy, customer journey and pricing strategy will also affect how you approach the content if you are doing this to create revenue or leads.

Where are you going to use the videos?

Your choice of distribution platform will impact on some of the choices you make later, especially with video formats and sizes. If the video is going to be used on Youtube or an e-learning platform, they will want video uploaded in a specific format, and it is much easier to record video in the right format than to try and convert it at a later date.

How am I going to promote the video?

Your video needs to be seen and you can’t really rely on people stumbling on to it, so it needs to be promoted. this may have implications for your content as well. Guest collaborators, quotes and content are a highly effective tool for promotion and can bring real-world context to your videos. at the very least you can rely on two people promoting your video rather than just one!

What's the Story?

storyboard

In order for content to be effective it needs to be relevant and memorable. Traditional storytelling tools are very effective at achieving this, having been shaped by thousands of years of oral tradition. Our minds are already well attuned to this, we have been learning from stories since we were kids and continue to engage with storytelling in the media we consumers, whether its books, films or well-written journalism. It’s also why case studies are such an effective tool in education and marketing

Storytelling uses a character’s journey to illustrate how we can overcome difficulties or deal with situations.

Character

Having a clear definition of the character in the story helps the viewer or reader engage with the content because there is a personal connection. we can see ourselves in the character and empathise. This is why its is essential to understand who your audience is and and what they are trying to achieve.

Conflict

The conflict is the problem that the character is seeking to resolve. It defines their circumstances and helps illustrate how the concept you are teaching is relevant to your audience.

Resolution

This is the approach to take to solve the problem. Here you describe what the solution is and illustrate how the solution can be implemented.

Payoff

This is the outcome and demonstrates the successful conclusion. this section illustrates how the character’s situation has been improved by implementing the solution, and demonstrates that the outcome outweighs the cost and time spent implementing the solution

The depth to which you go with the solution will depend on your preferred outcome.

Choose your format

Your choice of format will depend on your audience’s media preferences, the resources you have to hand, and your own personal preferences. 

The most important step is to start. You can learn and develop as you go, refining your format based on feedback and adding resources as you go, so the best place to start is a format that you are comfortable with. 

So what are your options?

Content only or content with music.

This option is the easiest. All you need to do is create a slidedeck with detailed content, and add page transitions every 30 seconds or so ( depending on the average reading time of the page). This is simple, suits people who are not comfortable speaking into a microphone or camera, or where you feel your accent may impact how the information is received. But it’s not very engaging.

Content with voice over

In this case your slide deck would be sparser as your voiceover will carry much of the content to the listener. 

Content, in this case, could be a slide deck, a screen share if you are demonstrating how to do something on a computer, background video or images.

It can also include animations that help illustrate your story. This takes a little more planning and time as you will need to rehearse your voice over and timings in advance, especially if you are speaking over a video or animation. You may also need to edit the video or re-record sections that you are not comfortable with. 

 

I’d suggest getting a third party to check over any parts that you don’t like. we all have a tendency to be self-critical, and what you might consider a major issue might not even be noticed by 99% of the people viewing the video, especially if you are speaking to a global audience.

In screen video.

As you get more confident, you may decide that your audience will engage more if they can see the presenter. Most programmes like Loom will give you the option to have a video stream overlay on the screen share, which works well with presentations and screen shares, but just be conscious that your onscreen content needs to be organised to ensure that your picture isn’t covering essential parts of your content.

Full screen video

Where you are the story or skills are physical rather than intellectual, full-screen video works well. This ensures that the viewer is focussed on you alone rather than the content, but requires more equipment and processing as you have more aspects to align and edit. You also need to be more mindful of your surroundings, lighting, background ambient noise etc.

 

None of these approaches are right or wrong, they are all equally valid for specific objectives, budgets, audiences and presenter preferences. The right choice for your first video is the choice that gets you started. You can experiment with different approaches as you get more confident or experienced, but no-one can learn from you unless you create a course, so pick the one you feel comfortable doing first, and see where your creativity takes you later.

Getting Started with Loom

If this is your first video, or you just want to create a prototype to understand the process, online tools like  Loom are very effective and cheap options. 

There are a number of similar products but Loom is well set up, easy to use and free, so makes a great starting point for beginners. Loom also offers good training videos to help new users create and share their videos, so you get set up faster. 

If you prefer a more DIY approach for full video you will need a good camera, stands, lighting, microphone, video editing equipment, or access to someone who has these facilities, requiring a significant financial and time commitment on your part.

Which Camera?

Your choice of format, delivery platform and budget will have a significant impact on the technology, if any, you need to record video. For small businesses getting started in eLearning, the focus is likely to be on content with voice over, possibly with a video feed overlay as you become more confident. 

Just as an aside, youtube does not accept audio formats, so if you just wanted to create audio it still needs a visual component and be recorded in a video format like MP4 or MOV.

If you are using a screen share tool like loom to create your video, then chances are you don’t need anything else. Even if you want to add in a video overlay, your laptop’s webcam will probably be more than sufficient. Apple users can also record on Loom via their ipads and iphones if you want, but a stand would be recommended.

In reality, the way you use the video will have the greatest impact on which camera you need. Loom can record in 4k, and youtube will let you upload 2k files, but they will be huge. for the vast majority of applications, especially where you are using text or images, 720 is perfectly acceptable and will make your videos easy to work with.

Youtube videos set the standard, and most companies that offer video hosting and distribution will follow Youtube’s standard. That means recording in 720P with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and saving the files in MP4 or MOV ideally.

If your webcam doesn’t support 720 and allow recording in 16:9 as a minimum it’s worth updating it. 

Getting the sound right

Regardless of the approach you take, the quality of the sound you record will have a major role on the audience’s enjoyment and engagement. there is nothing more off putting and distracting than an indistinct voiceover, with background noise pops, crackles and bangs, so it makes sense investing in a microphone.

There are two main choices. Studio mikes are large, stand mounted microphones, often protected by foam covers or shields to protect from pops and harsh noises. they are ideal for groups or interviews and are very sensitive, offering very high quality sound. they are expensive and need a quiet environment to work in as they are sensitive to background noise, and you need a bit of space on your desk for the mic.

 

The other option is a lavalier mike, the clip on mikes you see reporters use. As these are on the speaker, it’s easier to move around without affecting the sound and they tend to be more resistant to background noise and are cheaper. 

The other thing you need to consider is what you are using to record the sound. assuming you are using a tool like zoom, you will need to get a microphone that is compatible with your laptop, has it got a mic socket or will you need a UBS compatible mic for example. This is especially true with phones, now that Apple has removed the mic socket.

Write and rehearse your content

Prior preparation will greatly increase your enjoyment of the recording process so it’s well worth while putting in the prework. Approach the recording process like its a dress rehearsal. You want it to be perfect, but there is no audience, so if you do make a mistake, you can go back and correct it.

Try to avoid being a perfectionist though, the vast majority of your audience won’t notice or care about small mistakes, everyone makes them. it’s more important to get content out than making it perfect. 

You probably have your own process for creating content, but this is mine.

Firstly, I outline the main subjects I want to cover in the presentation and the order in which I want to cover them. 

Secondly, I write the content out as though I am writing a speech. If you are going to be doing a voice over, you want the audience to focus on what you are saying, not what’s on the screen, and this will therefore be where the majority of the content will come from. It will also make it easier to record if you know exactly what you want to say.

Next I consider what’s going to be on the screen when I talk and prepare slides or diagrams accordingly, this way the visuals support the audio rather than guiding it, keeping you as the centre of attention.

Once you know what you want to say and what’s going on in the video, run through it several times. Does it make sense? does it flow? if not, make changes now before you record. 

Practice your speech several times before you record it, so you are comfortable with timings, phraseology and the logic of what you are saying.

If you are new to recording videos, feel free to record one or two slides just to get a feel for the way that it works.

Recording your videos

This is the important part, actually recording the videos!! 

Find a quiet place where you are comfortable and can speak freely without being interrupted. Ideally you should be standing up. Sitting down compresses your diaphragm restricting your airflow and makes you feel more constricted, but if it’s the most practical choice, then it’s acceptable.

Don’t try to record a 60 minute video in one go. Ideally your video should be short, but if you prefer longer content, it doesn’t have to be recorded that way. Recording small sections makes it easier to re-record sections you aren’t happy with. Stitching together lots of small sections is much easier than trying to snip out bits of audio and video content. 

Similarly, if you can identify natural breaks, for example slide transitions, and build a 2-3 second gap between the two, it makes it much easier to trim and replace sections if you do want to re-edit later. 

Ultimately the same rules apply. Don’t be too critical and if you are concerned about something, get an independent view. A 90% perfect video online is MUCH better than a 100% perfect video sitting on your computer.

A video should seek to influence its viewers in some way, whether that is to gain knowledge, give them confidence to try something new, or to change the way they think, and how you approach your course will have to reflect that. A video explaining how black holes work will be very different to one explaining how to install windows or how to recruit a software developer.

Need help getting started? Pre-seed finance for startups.

Looking for funding before you start your business? there are a range of options if you've put the work in

No matter what phase your business is at, you’re probably going to need external funding to help you manage your working capital and investment for growth and there are now many options for seed and series funding aimed at helping your business grow. 

If you’re not already involved in the start-up world, there are three key funding phases.

  1. Seed funding. At this stage, investors are looking at a business which a product or idea which is ready to launch, so has a minimum viable product, clearly defined marketing and sales channels and a properly structured operations plan. Funding can come from angel investors, small VC’s or crowdfunding.
  2. Series funding. This is the growth phase of the business, it’s set up with a strong team in place and is looking to scale it’s market and product portfolio. There may be several funding rounds as the company grows with money coming from VC’s or accelerators in return for equity.
  3. Exit round. Traditionally this was the IPO round, where capital is released from the business through listing on the stock exchange, but this could be an acquisition. 

But what about before you start? 

What is pre-seed funding?

A business takes money and resources to get started before an investor will even look at your business seriously, so where does the money come from to fund this?

Pre-seed funding has traditionally been entrepreneur lead, and 80% of businesses are still set up with funding from their owners, who typically put in around $10k to “bootstrap” their businesses. However, there are other options.

The Pre-seed stage.

As any entrepreneur or small business owner will tell you, the hard work starts long before the business is set up. This is the R+D stage during which you’ll be checking out your idea, researching the market and developing your business model and product prior to the initial launch.

You’ll need to be able to define your market, demonstrate your solution’s unique fit with the markets pain points, identify how you will monetise your business and show a proof-of-concept or minimum viable product.

Where can pre-seed funding come from?

Bootstrapping is still the most common source of finance for new businesses, where the owners use their own capital to provide funding and resources for the growth through its initial stages. 

In many cases, the initial work will be done by the owner in their spare time whilst still in full-time employment, but there are limits and this is high risk, especially if you’re working in a similar field, or for a company that has specific IP or anti-competition clauses in its employment contracts. 

In any event, there will still be a capital requirement if you need to buy stock, secure premises or involve third parties in developing your product.

Friends and family Pre-seed funding

Many owners secure funding from their sphere of influence, utilising friends and families as sources of cash or resources, and this makes a lot of sense, especially if you have contacts with specialist skills or free cash.

However, business and pleasure don’t mix well, so it’s worth treating your circle like external investors. Give them a proper pitch and make sure you have an agreement in place which clearly defines the terms of the arrangement and what both parties expect.

The government

Many local and national governments promote private enterprise and will provide access to grants, loans and support for relevant businesses throughout their development. 

As an example, Ireland is one of the best countries to do business in and is very startup-friendly offering a wide range of supports for potential exporters and employers.

Ireland is a small island nation with a small population and therefore limited domestic demands it needs to build export markets in order to grow economically. 

Start-up support begins at a local level with each council providing resources, training and grants to promote small business creation and growth. Local enterprise offices provide access to micro business loans, feasibility and business expansion grants aimed at creating jobs and economic prosperity in the local area.

For larger businesses, especially those with export potential, Enterprise Ireland provides seed funding and venture capital finance programmes helping business to grow as well as feasibility and collaboration grants and funds, incubator and accelerator support, plus access to a wide range of in-country offices to promote local networking development. 

Once you are set up, support is also available to minimise the cashflow impact of taxation, with relief available for entrepreneurs investing their own capital into a start-up and relief on corporation tax for new start ups.

MicroVC's, Incubators and competitions

growth business analytics

The current low investment environment has shifted investors away from low-risk vehicles like bonds and into higher risk opportunities, but in order to secure higher returns they need to diversify their portfolios away from a reliance on high-value stocks into venture capital.

This influx of funds has created a range of pre-seed options for new businesses more suited to the embryonic stage of a new business. Unlike traditional VC or Banking approaches, application and acceptance can be much easier, but this comes at the expense of either higher equity, lower investment or higher interest rates, reflecting the greater risk to the investor.

Cloudfunding websites like Kickstarter, WeFunder and Fundable let small businesses attract investments from potential fans and customers, delivering both finance and consumer interest.

Pitch competitions give entrepreneurs the chance to fine-tune their pitch before they go into the market, often with capital or a place in an accelerator or incubator as the ultimate prize.

Obviously some VC’s and Angel investor networks also carry pre-seed funds, but these can be difficult to reach and may require an introduction and follow a more rigorous application process.

How to attract funding

No matter what the source or external funding, you can expect the process to be rigorous and competitive. At the very least you will need to have a good pitch and a strong core team and a proof of concept for your product will usually help. 

Most pre-seed investors are not expecting a fully realised business though, so don’t feel you need to boil the ocean, the concept should be enough to attract investors if it’s obvious how it will heal the pain points.

Your business plan needs to focus not on how big you think you will be, but how you will deliver in the short and long term. In product terms that means two things

  1. Be aligned with the customer’s pain points. Pain points are areas crying out for a solution and therefore in high demand from consumers and offering a real competitive advantage. The more benefit you can delver the more the customer will value your product, safeguarding revenue and helping you attract switchers from traditional products
  2. Ease of access. No matter how good your product is, if the customer can’t access it easily, they won’t buy it. Simple marketing, product design and delivery are the hallmarks of the fastest-growing companies from Airbnb to Uber

The longest journey starts with a single step

Most pre-seed funding is designed to get you to the next level, not to IPO, so your business plan needs to focus on what you want to achieve in the next 6-12 months. 

More to the point, business changes so rapidly that what you expect to do in a year’s time may be totally different to what you have to do once you get there. You will develop too and your experience, outlook and skills may well take you off on a different route to get to the ultimate goal. 

Many investors are looking for evidence that you can actually deliver on the expectation, not just sell a great idea, so have a clear roadmap of activity to get you from A to B, let alone Z.

Your vision may be to be the next Stripe, but what do you need to do today, tomorrow and next month in order to get there? Consider each phase carefully, outlining why it’s on your roadmap, how you are going to achieve it, and where you’ll go from there.

Develop authority and awareness

Authority is a key concept in online and offline marketing. It’s a realisation that what you say is credible, reliable and trusted and can have a significant impact on whether your message is received and accepted. 

In digital marketing, Domain authority is the currency of SEO and dictates whether your page is top of the pile or hidden below the fold. In content marketing, it defines whether your articles and blog posts are shared or ignored. 

As you set up your business and look for funding, widespread awareness of the problem you are solving allows you to position a solution much easier. This lets you create hype and interest in the domain before you bring your product to the market, and if done correctly, means you will have created an audience primed for your commercial message in advance of the launch. 

Ideas don’t make money, delivery makes money. Investors are looking for a business leader that can see, build and deliver solutions which meet the needs of a large addressable market. They don’t just want to see that you can come up with ideas, they want to know that you can create and implement a coherent and effective plan.

Be the expert

Ideas don’t make money, delivery makes money. Investors are looking for a business leader that can see, build and deliver solutions which meet the needs of a large addressable market. They don’t just want to see that you can come up with ideas, they want to know that you can create and implement a coherent and effective plan.