The future of lead generation marketing for startups

The way everyone else thinks websites should work is holding you back. Here are my vision and template for a more effective startup website

If you have a technical product and a website – split them in every way. Have no dependencies between your product and your website.

People think splitting front end & back end does this job. This is a trap. The front end & back end split is a ball on a chain that slows you down and makes you make bad decisions because its never becomes bad enough to make you ACTUALLY change what you do for something really effective

If your marketing team EVER have to speak to a designer or developer, you have screwed up.  Get the design and plumbing set up on Day 1 but get everyone else out of the way after that

Realise that your website is not your product. Your website is 1 million marketing pamphlets and books

With a disentangled website mindset, both technically and mentally, your website can become an agile, constantly changing lead generating mess of spaghetti


If you can give up the idea of a website that has many owners and take up the idea that it exists ONLY to get you leads and give it entirely to marketers, you will improve your leads 10x


Nilan Peiris from Transferwise writes about similar ideas in radical divisions and trust his post


Agile and Marketing, an uneasy partnership so far

I don’t believe that agile works with marketing unless you split your website and unique service as mentioned above, and treat your website as a separate product with marketing as Product Owner


Stop solving already solved problems

If you pour development resources into already solved problems you are failing your startup.

You should not be using development resources on solved problems – lead generation, analytics, payment solutions or conversion optimisation. There are good solutions for all of these already. They are just plug and play tools.

And I have only recently come to understand that your website is also a plug and play tool

Your development resources should be spent on solving the unsolved problem with your product, not on building your own website


How do you know you are ready to hire a Startup Marketer?

The traditional and now  wrong way would be to say that you need to be in a position to

  1. pay them
  2. give them money for advertising
  3. give them internal resources to improve the product or website

The important thing is what you get for each of these 3 things. If you pay me, you get my creativity and experience. If you give me money to advertise with, you get scale. If you give me internal resources, you get conversion rate optimisation

However, my future of lead generation methodology is that you need to be in a position to

  1. pay them
  2. give them money for advertising
  3. give them just enough internal resources to split the website onto a platform like Unbounce or Hubspot

This change in 3 means I can optimise much more than I can if I am hampered by designers and developers and product teams and and and and…

This method also has another massive benefit to your startup – those design and developer resources can be fully dedicated to your core USP



Lead Generation Cycle

User goes to Website > Adroll drops retargeting cookie > user gets targeted with interesting content on Twitter, Facebook &  Ad networks > User clicks on content and gets sent to Unbounce page which captures Email address > Email address goes to Sales who start email lead nurturing > email address gets added to Mailchimp list and Mailchimp emails back the content > Keep going till user buys product, hits the checkout Thank You page and gets knocked off the retargeting list




You need Adroll for retargeting, Unbounce for landing page generation, hooked into Mailchimp for automated content delivery


Optimal Products for Marketing

B2B is very expensive to target, has fewer targets and thus requires that you charge high in order to recoup your costs. B2C is very cheap to target, has lots of targets and thus allows you to charge low or monetise in other methods to recoup your costs

Optimal situations for marketing

  • B2C
  • Cheap to target users on social
  • Young users – due to high sharing, low cost and lifetime value
  • The output of using your service would make a great share
  • Free to users, or Freemium
  • Marketplaces are great, the B2B pays for access to the easily acquired B2C
  • The audience creates translated content

Tinder is a great example of this. Social fashion should be a great example, I am not sure why there are few


You must fail. Understand how much you should fail

If your business fails 0% of the time – that  means you are not pushing hard enough. You should be moving fast enough that you fail. Think about what the correct % for you business to fail is

I live by ”Move Fast and Break Things” and ”Shipped is Better than Done”, but many people who say they work by those rules are often too afraid to actually work by those rules

This is one of the most powerful attitudes in business


Thoughts on co-ordinating communications

Size breaks things. As you scale you will need to throw away operational methods and bring in new ones that are better fit to your new size – company wide meetings can only go on so long

Catalogue all your meetings.

  • Regular meetings should be tightly run and have actionable outcomes attached
  • Ad-hoc meetings are a necessary evil. They should also be run standing up
  • Day to day business should be run from Stand Ups

Measure the time in meetings against time at work for the company and make a bar chart.





Other useful learnings

SEO is useless and dangerous to startups. It is very dangerous in fundraising rounds. It stops you from making better decisions that will get you more leads.

If any marketer ever talks to you about “tone” or “voice” you should punch them. Every company’s tone of voice is friendly and helpful, because no committee could ever possibly agree to anything else or maintain any other tone of voice over the long haul. Save yourself the time and distraction of this discussion and punch them and go do some A/B testing


Try have this mindset: everything you do is the tiniest thing. This helps you maintain the correct perspective on what you are doing. Nothing is bad, everything just helps you learn. Everything is just one tiny step in the long marketing journey you are on