How to Get Initial Traction as a B2B-Startup: 4 Tactical Ways

Initial traction for a B2B-startup basically defines its existence and has to be delivered straight away. The problem is that there’s a huge chuck of founders who rely on nothing but B2C-marketing and eventually fail to tank up their startups with money.

So here we are: a B2C-startup doing content for others. Let’s take a look back and see how we got initial customers without pouring cash into self-promotion.

Blog about your expertise (even as a newbie)

Both of our co-founders stepped into marketing around 2010. RoR-development and SMM for local startups is a good way to learn and build up your portfolio but what really gave us a jumpstart to where we are today is blogging the heck out of what we were working on.

Looking back at it, it’s hard not to make fun of how childish and miserable our personal blogs were but this is exactly what brought us our first client — one of the major local UX-shops. Freelancing for around a couple of month (job boards is a good option for getting initial leads) brought us to thinking about doing it as a business and we were lucky to have our offers accepted and implemented as a content-marketing project.

The project was focused on delivering usability insights to potential customers and employees via client’s blogs and social media profiles. It resulted in 1.5m views leading to actual sales and hires by our client thus giving us a case to approach more tech companies.

Approach niche sites and journals

Blogging is good but it’s not enough. One of the most important sources of potential clients is located outside of your comfort zone and it’s niche sites and journals on tech, startups, media (or whatever) journals.

Reaching out to editors helps you formulate your offer and think about your business from the standpoint of an average reader. Publications or comments on the right topic may drive tens of instant leads that are hooked by your expertise and thus are easier to closing a deal.

We’re happy to have good relationships with tons of folks who blog about tech and startups locally and worldwide but it’s really cool to discover new spots and publish there.

Approach your ex-colleagues

Sometimes we fail to follow one single career path as we move from one university to another or switch subjects and it’s actually not as bag as it looks. Actual working experience and even internships let you connect with industry experts and prove yourself as a responsible employee. It’s extremely important to keep it up and stay in touch with your network even on switching jobs.

One of our founders managed to approach his ex-colleagues and this is how we got our second client — one of the major local brokers. They’ve trusted us with their content and it’s been a great journey for about 2 years.

The point is that we didn’t approach them with just an idea — we had already gained outstanding results with the UX-shop client and prepared thought through solutions on how to invigorate their content. This one have got over 3m views and thousands of potential clients pouring into their system.

The ex-colleagues model is hard to scale but you can look at it as a continuous networking and building on top of that. Let’s talk about that in detail.

Get recommendations from your clients

It seems like an obvious move but applied to the initial traction stage it only depends on how lucky you are. There are really low chances that you will have your first client go out and recommend you but you might want to take it into the account when hustling on your initial projects.

Scaling this requires you to be able to provide discounts and additional services to those who recommend and often those who become your next clients. It’s really hard to balance out your «recommendation» offer and you should really tailor it individually.

One of the main points here is to be aware of your client’s needs and be there to provide necessary help. One of our founders hosts weekly shows (podcasts) and interviews local startups, tech and media companies — this helps us in expanding our network and promoting our services in person.

Entrepreneur, marketer, journalist. www.SmileBright.media co-founder

Entrepreneur, marketer, journalist. www.SmileBright.media co-founder