Grow to Market

GTM 101 – Where to start when you know nothing about going to market (Part 1)

If you Google “how to run my first go-to-market experiment” most of the results you get will be trash.

I mean this in a loving way for you, founder. It shouldn’t shock you, but a lot of what’s on the internet is not very reputable.

As a company that has successfully launched over 14 startups to around $2M in annual recurring revenue, we’ve developed a tried and tested system that works.

This is what you’ll be getting in this blog post – a step-by-step guide on how to run your first experiment. We will cover everything from your pre-experiment research, what to look out for, common pitfalls to avoid and why, and everything in between.

Let’s get started.

First things first – Research.

A typical marketing experiment covers several steps –

  • Research,
  • Copywriting
  • Ad design
  • Ad prep
  • Execution, and
  • Result analysis.

As always, the foundation is the most crucial part of any experiment; in this case – Research. You’ll need to get as much information as possible so you’re armed for the experiment ahead.

During the research stage, we are trying to answer these questions:

  • What problem will my idea be solving for my target audience?
  • How much of a problem is it? Will my customers be willing to part with money to solve this problem?
  • Who am I speaking to? You want to have the first workings of a potential audience. Further experiments will hone in on your specific target audience.
  • The focus of your initial messaging. Understanding the problem is one part of the matrix – knowing the kind of messaging to use in your first experiment is another crucial fact. You’re looking for keywords, search terms, and the like.
  • Is there a demand for my product?

Keep an eye out for conversations. What exactly are people saying about this topic or industry? What problems are they looking to solve? Finding relevant conversations will help you get helpful insights; insights that’ll tell if there’s a market for your idea if your product is addressing a big enough problem, and how to tweak your idea to address your customer’s pain points.

Your research should cover three main parts:

  • The market research
  • Customer’s analysis
  • Competitor analysis

Market Research

This is a general overview of the space that your idea lives. Let’s say you’re looking to enter the home storage space. You’re going to be looking for conversations happening in the storage space. What trends can you spot? What are the conditions for businesses and for clients as well? With market research, you get a feel for the market – opportunities, threats, and any relevant information. Get as much information as possible, which is essential for the next stages of prepping your go-to-market strategy.

Customer Analysis

This is the most overlooked part of the research stage. Most marketers tend to focus on the competitors forgetting that the customers are looking to solve a problem.

So this is where you delve deep. At this stage, your customers are desperate for a solution. They’re not searching for ‘Best (brand ) to solve (problem)’; they are searching for ‘how to solve (problem),‘ and this is where you want to meet them. They’ve not committed yet but are still in the solution-hunting stage. You’re looking for pain points – the problems they’re trying to solve, demographics – to understand who they are, common search terms, keywords, and the like.

Take the keywords, for example. The keyword helps you determine how much of a demand there is for the product/service. You can boil it down to 3 or 4 keywords, see how many people are searching for them, the questions around them, how much they cost, and all that good stuff.

Information like this will help you know if you’re targeting the right people, what the demand is like your offer and the focus of your messaging.

Competitor analysis:

This is where most marketers pitch their tents. In this stage, you’ll cover everything from who they are, their strength and weaknesses, and their offerings. This is where tools like Facebook ad library and Google ads come to play. You get a great look at what your competitors say, how they address customers, and their campaigns’ focus. You’ll get a sense of how to address potential customers and what resonates with them.

You’re also looking to understand their strategy. Why? So you know what works, how it works, and get some pointers to guide you when prepping for your research.

While competitor analysis is an essential part of prepping for your first experiment, focusing on your customers’ problems is more important. Your idea should be targeting an existing problem, one that customers are willing to pay for a solution to.

Your potential customers are crucial to everything; the goal is customer satisfaction, not competition.

Speaking of tools…

There are a variety of tools to help you in this stage. Our two top recommendations are SEMrush and SparkToro. They allow you better understand conversations around the topic/industry and your competitors’ activities. SEMRush and SparkToro are just two of many other tools available. Find the one that best works to get all the relevant data that you’ll need.

Other tools that have proved helpful for us (and hopefully for you too) are the Facebook ad library – you can see what campaigns your competitors are running, Google ads, your competitor’s website, blogs, and any other relevant material that can give you better insights.

Why is all this information important anyway?

This data is crucial for the following reasons:

  1. It helps you understand which audience to target when setting up our Facebook ads –
    1. We’ve had instances where founders came to us with a specific target audience in mind. After our initial research, we found out that a totally different audience is better suited to the product/service. This process removes ambiguity.
    2. It helps us with our messaging – Messaging is an integral part of the matrix. Knowing how to tailor your messaging for the most impact, your ads’ tone, and which language will resonate most with potential audiences.
    3. Finally, we’ll know the best channels to reach our potential audience. While Facebook is the most popular channel for paid advertising, your research might uncover other platforms like LinkedIn for your B2B audiences, Pinterest, and TikTok for a more engaged audience. All in all, you’re not guessing – you know what your audience wants to hear, where you can meet them, and what to say to them to get them to take action.

The next step is to prep your messaging and your designs, and then you go on to execute. We will cover the messaging and design part in the next blog; you don’t want to miss that one.

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