7 steps to include in your go-to-market strategy

A product launch is a big milestone for any startup. Read on for how to gain more traffic, increase conversions, and ensure predictable revenue.

  1. Building your product. This entails sleepless nights, endless debugging, and copious cups of coffee.
  2. Taking your app to market.

Founders often go all-in on the first one and neglect the second one.

A common mistake we see here at FMP is founders waiting until the last minute to plan their GTM or go-to-market strategy.

Your GTM strategy should be considered even before you begin building your app.

Why is that?

Because at the end of the day, you’re building an app for people to solve a particular problem.

And when you deeply understand your target audience and their pain point(s), it makes it easier for you to build something that people will actually pay for when you launch.

How to create an effective GTM strategy

A GTM strategy involves a series of activities that you as a founder or founding team should carry out sequentially — or even at the same time — to help you nail your product launch.

This article will explain the 7 stages of an effective GTM strategy, with examples peppered in to help you understand how it all comes together.

  1. Know who your customer is and what their pain points are
  2. Work out your product positioning and messaging
  3. Work out your pricing strategy
  4. Create marketing content
  5. Create sales enablement content
  6. Launch and promote your product or app
  7. Measure and improve based on feedback

Let’s dive in.

#1 Know who your customer is and what their pain points are

“If you build it, they will come.”

That mantra has led many founders to spend hours coding (or ‘no-coding’) an app thinking it would magically attract users.

Any founder who has successfully launched a product knows that you have to work incredibly hard to get people to care about your product.

This means being aware of 3 things:

  1. Your buyer persona(s)
  2. Their core pain points; and
  3. The Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) and potential use cases.

Let’s use an example to illustrate this further.

Calm down

Calm has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past 9 years. We can break down their success using the same 3-step model above:

  1. User personas: Their target market consists of burnt-out workers, students, and parents who need balance and tranquility in their lives.
  2. Pain points: Their major pain points are anxiety, frustration, insomnia, and depression.
  3. The Job To Be Done: “When I’m stressed and anxious, I want to recenter myself and calm down so I can feel less anxious about my life.”

By introducing meditation products and sleep aids to help its users accomplish their JTBD, Calm became a leading player in its category. They even partnered with American Airlines to give passengers new ways to relax on their flight.

Take note of what people want

Another key aspect of product marketing is noting frequently requested features from your paying customers. You can collect this in a number of ways, such as:

  1. Facebook Groups. For example, Frase has a highly active Facebook Group where members chat about the product, their use-cases and pain points, and request new features.
  2. Tweets and Twitter polls. Twitter lets you run polls to collect votes from other Twitter users.
  3. Slack polls. Slack groups for developers and founders are great places to request feedback on your product. Remember that you can join the FMP Slack Group as part of your playbook access.
  4. Product Hunt highlights and AppSumo deals. These platforms attract many users who try, buy, and reply with useful feedback to help you improve your product.
  5. Roadmap software. Roadmap software like Productific lets you connect to your users and find out which features they want to have the most. For example, Publer, a social media management platform, hosts a public roadmap on their website that allows you to leave a comment and request new features.
  6. Customer conversations. You can have these discussions either live or over video.

With such feedback in hand, you can then pore over the data, identify common requests, prioritize them according to available resources, and get to work implementing them quickly.

#2 Work out your product positioning and messaging

It’s very rare that you’re the only one building a specific type of app at any given time. Unless your app solves world hunger, you’re most likely entering a market with other competitors who are working on their own GTM strategy — and who will be competing with you for market share.

To maintain your competitive advantage, take some time to work out your own product positioning and messaging by asking yourself a few simple questions:

  1. What’s the standard way of solving this problem, and what’s the main flaw with that approach?
  2. What key features must be built into our app to ensure we can compete?
  3. What story can this product, and only this product, tell?

Beyond that, it helps to ask questions about your competitors as well. A few questions to kick off your research include:

  1. What are our competitors building that we absolutely can’t afford to leave out?
  2. How fast are they growing, and what’s the key to their viral growth?
  3. What are their strengths? What weaknesses can we exploit?
  4. What are their current customers saying about their product?

You can find out information about competitor apps and their features on sites like Capterra and G2, or by simply reading their app store listings and reviews.

If they’re a public company, their annual reports should provide info on their growth rates. If not, their founders usually announce updates on social media or their company blog which you can use to infer their growth rate.

Industry bloggers and analysts are also a great source of information when it comes to the strengths and weaknesses of SaaS apps.

The difference between product positioning and product messaging

It’s easy to mix these two up, but product positioning and product messaging are actually different things. The time, care, and effort you allocate to each of them will determine how well the rest of your marketing works.

Let’s quickly define what each phrase means.

Your product positioning refers to the place that a brand occupies in the hearts and minds of its customers and how it distinguishes itself from competitors.

This is usually encapsulated in an internal document called a “positioning statement.”

When you talk about your product’s positioning, you focus on what makes it different from your competitors — your unique selling points and value proposition.

Remember: your value proposition is a simple statement that summarizes why a customer would choose your product or service. It communicates the clearest benefit that customers receive by giving you their business.

Your positioning statement might include things like your key features, your pricing, and how your external marketing messages should be crafted.

Meanwhile, your product messaging is written with an external audience in mind. Messaging is crafted to establish and reinforce your product positioning and can be targeted to different buyer personas.

Let’s look at an example to see how positioning and messaging work together:

Product positioning example:

“SaaS App helps sales professionals close deals up to 50% faster and re-engage lost leads using a data-driven strategy, all from one dashboard.”

Product messaging example:

“Close twice as many sales each quarter with SaaS App and get ready to:

  • Turbocharge your sales process and close deals faster;
  • Re-engage lost leads and bring them into your sales funnel;
  • Keep track of all your leads from one dashboard; and
  • Track all the vital metrics to improve your sales process even more.”

Positioning and messaging work together to communicate the value and differentiation of your app. We recommend spending some time working on both of them to ensure an effective launch.

Use our free guide to get started quickly.

#3 Work out your pricing strategy

Revenue is critical to your business. Even if you raised money and are building a big bet, you probably want steady cash flow coming in sooner rather than later — and your product’s pricing plays a big role in that.

Depending on what you’re selling and who you’re targeting, your pricing may be offered at different levels to capture different segments of the market.

Some questions you can use to work out your pricing include:

  1. Who is our customer?
  2. What value does our product bring into their lives?
  3. What’s their value metric — the key factor that influences their decision to buy?
  4. Who is our competition, and what are their rates?
  5. Where is the market heading in terms of pricing models for products like these?
  6. What is our unit cost per month/quarter/year?
  7. What are our revenue targets?

With these questions as part of your planning, you’ll be able to work out the optimal price for each customer segment you are targeting.

For example, if you’re targeting higher-end users, your pricing may be slightly higher than the average price other industry players charge.

And if you’re going after enterprise users, you may need to spring for seat-based pricing that scales with the organization’s headcount.

Decisions like these can be adjusted as you receive more information about usage, customer feature requests, and product roadmap developments.

#4 Create marketing content

Content marketing involves providing useful, relevant content to your audience to help them answer their questions, learn more about your product or service, and buy.

Content marketing forms part of your inbound marketing strategy — effectively getting people to come to you instead of you seeking them out.

It also boosts your conversions by as much as 3 times — while costing you 62% less than traditional marketing. This means that a well-planned content marketing strategy can help you get early traffic and land your first paid users.

Your content works on your behalf to attract, inform, and convince new prospects about the benefits of your product — 24/7. Consistent content helps you build a relationship with your prospects over time, leading to a much stronger inclination to buy your product.

When working out your content market strategy, there are 4 main questions to answer:

  1. What’s our overall business goal for this week, month, or year?
  2. What channel buckets do we want to focus on? Is it owned, earned, shared, or paid media?
  3. What capacity and resources can we allocate to each marketing channel within those buckets?
  4. What content formats would yield us the highest ROI?

Content can take many forms, such as:

  • Webinars
  • Blog posts
  • Case studies
  • Landing pages
  • Email sequences
  • Social media posts
  • Monthly newsletters

In the beginning, it helps to try out as many different marketing and distribution channels to figure out what works, and to keep iterating because algorithms change and what works today might not work tomorrow.

As you launch your content marketing campaigns, track them using analytics tools such as Google Analytics, your Facebook Insights Dashboard, your Twitter Analytics dashboard, etc. to figure out what people are most searching for, engaging with, and sharing.

#5 Create sales enablement content

When you think about “content,” you likely approach it from the perspective of expanding your reach and generating leads, not closing deals.

However, content can be created and adapted specifically for each function, depending on your needs.

When it comes to sales, this is where “sales enablement content” comes in.

Sales enablement content is any piece of content that sellers and reps can use throughout the sales process to help convince a potential customer to buy.

  1. White papers. White papers are in-depth reports on topics your company is an authority on. As a matter of fact, 71% of B2B buyers have recently used a white paper to research a purchase decision. When used right, white papers can make for excellent sales enablement content. For example: If you sell social media management services, you could write a white paper exploring the state of social media analytics in advertising agencies. This boosts your credibility, makes for shareable content, and helps decision-makers within your target audience to convince their stakeholders of the need for your product.
  2. Case studies. Nothing sells your product like the glowing success and review of a previous client. Case studies and testimonials influence 71% of B2B buyers in the awareness stage and 77% in the evaluation stage — numbers too big to ignore. A well-written case study reassures prospects that they’re not alone in their problem and that there is a solution — one that other customers have enjoyed success with. It helps them visualize exactly how your product will improve their business. The best case studies are specific to a problem, packed with facts, and celebrate the success of your solution with other customers.
  3. Informational blog posts. While blog posts can be versatile and address different objectives (such as thought leadership and brand-building), sales enablement blog content is specifically designed to explain the benefits of your products and services to prospects. When written properly, these blog posts can be shared with leads who are about to buy to help tilt their decision in your favor.

While it often takes a ton of time and resources to create sales enablement content, the benefits outweigh the costs. You can expect higher closing rates, shorter sales cycles, and increased monthly revenue.

#6 Launch and promote your product

You’ve done your homework and laid the groundwork — now it’s time to launch your product!

There are many ways to announce your big launch, and the approach you take will depend on your market, product, and initial launch goals.

Here’s what you’ll need to launch with a big bang:

  • A website: You’ll need an online home for your product — one where you can talk about its features and benefits, introduce the team, link to your prepared content, and drive conversions.
  • Social media accounts: 75% of B2B buyers use social media to support their purchase decision. It’s thus important to have a solid social media strategy in place to acquire traffic, raise your visibility, and drive action.
  • Public relations: PR forms part of your earned media bucket and can be a powerful way of garnering early visibility. You can achieve this by reaching out to journalists and influential bloggers in your field, responding to HARO requests, and hiring an agency to help you with PR. You can also engage in some guerilla marketing by launching on Product Hunt, posting in online communities that you’re part of, and asking your network to promote your product far and wide.
  • Search ads and SEO: Working off of active user intent, search ads and search results can drive substantial traffic to your website based on targeted keywords. Check out this guide for a quick primer on Google Ads and SEO.
  • Influencer/celebrity endorsements: People trust other people, and influencer endorsements can help bring your product into the spotlight. To leverage this, reach out to influential personalities in your space and offer them a free demo of your product in exchange for an honest review. Don’t forget to use social media listening tools to track and reshare relevant brand mentions.

After you’ve launched, ensure a smooth onboarding process to increase retention, minimize churn, and maintain stellar reviews.

#7 Measure and improve based on feedback

Going to market is only the beginning. The rest involves keeping track of early feedback and incorporating it into your product roadmap going forward.

This shows your customers that you are a responsive, empathetic startup with their best interests in mind.

Frase is a good example of this. After their recent AppSumo lifetime deal listing, they released a detailed case study into what led to their success.

Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Form a hypothesis before listing your new product on platforms like AppSumo or ProductHunt. Frase’s hypothesis was that the listing would bring them double their current traffic and more new users. It resulted in 5 times the traffic and 5,500 new weekly active users.
  2. Adapt your offer to feedback from early users to drive further conversions. After the initial listing, AppSumo buyers (known as Sumo-lings) weren’t happy with the terms of the lifetime deal. After the Frase team amended the offer to address some of their concerns, sales skyrocketed.
  3. Stay responsive to queries on all channels to keep user satisfaction high and ensure a positive customer experience. You can also automate part of your customer support with a chatbot.
  4. Track analytics across your website, social media channels, customer support dashboard, app, and sales. It’s important to know your numbers and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Wrap up

A product launch is a big milestone for any startup. Getting things right ensures high traffic, sustained visibility, consistent conversions, and predictable revenue.

You can nail this process by understanding your customer, researching your competitors, working out your positioning, figuring out your pricing, creating marketing and sales enablement content, and tracking statistics across all channels.

This can be a complex process for most SaaS teams — especially solo founders. To speed up this process, check out The Founder’s Marketing Playbook for a detailed guide on how to take your product to market.

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Mo Shehu

I work with fast-growing fintech, B2B SaaS, recruitment, and social impact startups to create content that drives action.