7 strategies for strong startup sales growth

Here are 7 growth strategies for start ups

The start-up space is overflowing with competition. Everyone wants to be the next Kevin Systrom and create a platform like Instagram. And who wouldn’t? Instagram skyrocketed to 80 million plus users in less than 24 months and was purchased by Facebook for $1billion.

All start-ups need and want funding to get their idea off the ground and in motion. But how do you prove that people are going to like what you’re offering? And that it’s going to sell?

Here 7 key start-up sales strategies you can use to garner interest in your product, and prove a solid chance of return to an investor.

Build a pre-launch strategy and leverage

A savvy pre-launch strategy can do many things for your product. It can get people excited, motivated and curious to name a few. The best part is, it’s an easy way to capture leads and sell to them when it’s D-Day.

One tip: Set up a simple landing page with an email field to start capturing potential sales leads. Get even more clever and incentivise your leads to invite their friends (for a freebie of course).

Shaving brand Harry’s did just this and bagged an incredible 100,000 email addresses a week before their ecommerce store was live.  If you have a solid lead base before your launch it’s much easier to turn them into customers.

Harry's had an effective pre-launch campaign

Make real connections

Making real connections with your target audience, thought leaders and influencers can give you a massive leg up.

Press and the media can make a huge difference to your sales growth. Reach out to reporters who have reported on similar products like yours before. Make sure you’re prepared with a great image, a basic press release and an easy way for the reporter to get a hold of you.

Call them, email them or tweet them. If you hear nothing back, try again. The key here is to target specific journalists who would be interested in your story. Eg. Don’t pitch to a beauty editor if your product is a tech gadget.

Once featured in the media, thank the journalist. Then pop the link to the story and news outlets’ logo on your website's ‘In the media’ section to boost your credibility.

Take control of the things that can’t be automated

Of course mass emailing with personalisation exists, and if your marketing software is top of the range you will be able to segment your list and in turn produce a more personalised marketing approach.

But automation doesn’t cover everything. Gleam, a successful business growth platform and start-up, outlines this well. Gleam’s co-founder McKeown says founders have to put their heads down and do the hard work when it comes to things that can’t be scaled. This is what has lead his company to 100k users and a base of 3000 customers.

Get to business and:

  • Hand pick people to beta test your product 
  • Have as many meetings as possible with investors and potential partners
  • Spend time hiring the best team
  • Develop relationships people who can promote your product to their list


Product based business? Crowdfunding sites, such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter, give you an incredible opportunity to bring your product to market. You may not even need a single investor if you can pull off a campaign like Flowhive.

The small start-up has raised more than $12 million USD and counting. Not bad for a father and son based in Northern New South Wales, Australia, who had a goal of $70k. They raised $70k in 8 minutes and had $2.6 million locked away after just the first day.

After years in the beekeeping industry the innovative duo developed and prototyped a better way of beekeeping. Once the product was good to go they got to their marketing plan and created a relatable video explaining the product in detail. It went on Indiegogo and within a few days everybody wanted to be a beekeeper.

Pulling together a campaign to rival Flowhive isn’t a walk in the park — it takes strategic planning. But their success on Indigogo proved there was a demand in the market for their unique and niche product.

Get a credibility boost with a referral program

Word of mouth is the best marketing hands down. There’s no doubt personal recommendations of your product will boost sales.

The online version of ‘word of mouth’ is referrals. Referrals can work in various ways such as resellers or affiliates.

For example, a social media influencer could tweet out a link with a unique code about how much they love your product. A portion of the sales made from that unique code is then passed on to the influencer.

Brands doing this well are Dropbox, Audible, Uber and Airbnb.

Airbnb’s launch strategy was aggressive but effective. You’d have to be blind if you didn’t see the ads on social media circa 2012. If you referred your friend to Airbnb you could score yourself approximately $140AUD for every referral. Which means you could travel for free if enough of your friends signed up and used the service. And honestly, who doesn’t want free accommodation when they travel?

Dropbox uses a similar approach as their primary growth strategy. If you refer someone and they sign up, Dropbox gifts you with extra storage. It’s a win-win. The consumer gets more space and Dropbox gets another lead through a personal recommendation.

Integrate with the best

If you're a software start-up partner and integrate with the best and do it early. Integration saves everyone’s time and makes your product more appealing.

You also get the added bonus of exposure to your integration partner’s customers too. If your partner trusts you, their customers will too.

For example, if your product can partner and integrate with CRM Salesforce you would have a potential audience exposure of 100k+. That’s a big win.

Be clever about your integration though - will the partner share the news on social media? What about an email to their clients? Will your logo be featured on their site? Be sure to work all of the details out. 

Understand your analytics

Got Google Analytics set up? Great! But there’s no point if you don’t use it.

If you do not have the capital to invest in marketing gurus or an analytics expert, educate yourself. Watch every single youtube video, read every guide and start using it hands on. Data is key. It lets you understand how your customer is thinking, what’s working and what’s not.

Understanding exactly what content you’re producing that leads to a sale is the golden apple for any lean start-up wanting to grow.

Final thoughts

Start-up success takes hard work and determination. But it also takes a think-outside-of-the-box approach. It’s 2016. You are not bound by traditional methods anymore and you have the world literally at your fingertips.

Research and play around with your strategy, measure and track and see what happens.  

CeBIT Australia How to launch a start-up