Industry data suggests more than 700 pre-seed, seed or Series A funding rounds have completed in Europe this year. That means hundreds of companies competing for the same funds, customer budgets and voice in the market as you. You need to find a way to stand out and move forwards. Marketing and PR are a key items in your funding toolbox in order to develop and grow that momentum. Here’s how you can make the most of them, when marketing a funding round and beyond.
Capitalising on market interest in your funding round
Successful fundraising is about telling the story of what you’ve built and where you want to go. Completing a funding round is a significant step for any business. Marketing a funding round correctly is the cherry on top. You’ve persuaded a part of the market that your business and idea is viable. There are opportunities ahead. That you’re building value for customers. Your first move should be to shout about it.
Getting media coverage of your funding round increases your presence in the market conversation. It helps builds awareness and trust with bigger clients. Importantly it gets you on the radar of other potential investors later down the line.
You want to present a united front across your team and investors. Leverage each element for a combined marketing push. Co-ordinating across media, social channels, customer or partner marketing and updating your database profile builds momentum.
Of course, once you’ve reach that milestone your attention immediately turns to the next stage of growth. Most importantly, all businesses in these early stage have one thing in common. They need to maintain momentum in order to survive. Without it, you can’t capitalise on funding, and move on to the next stage of growth.
Adapt your message for your next stage of growth
Like your MVP is the first iteration, you must adapt your messaging as you move between marketing funding rounds. The messages that the industry – investors, customers and team need to hear changes. You should be adapting your marketing strategy for the next round the moment the deal is signed.
If you’re aiming for your first official equity funding stage, your priority is establishing the validity of your idea. The gap to overcome is the lack of customers and data to verify your idea. Your marketing and communications activity will need to focus on your story and the story behind the brand. Demonstrate why it is a viable and necessary product and timely for the market.
As you build a track record and user base, your focus will be securing Series A funding. That’s the moment you can from idea to business. That’ll help you capture market opportunities. The challenge is to communicate not only a great idea, but a sound and viable business model. Reinforce the opportunity for long-term growth and returns. You need to find your lead investor and capitalise on their belief in your business.
When you’re breaking out of early growth stages with Series B funding, it’s about growth. You’ll be positioning yourself for rapid expansion and market share. Your marketing and communications will be fast paced and wide ranging. It can support business development, team growth and hiring, market entry, market demand and scalable opportunities. It all demonstrates that with the right capital you will be able to grow the company to meet market demand.
Creating a drumbeat of activity and momentum
Once the rush of closing a funding round has passed you may be left with a question. What now? It’s critical that you and your marketing activity gets back to business. It makes sense to build investor relationships long before you need them. The same is true of your marketing programme.
One common mistake is to stop media outreach after the funding announcement. Start-ups then put that media activity on hold until the next funding announcement. We’ve written in more detail about why letting marketing slip off your to do list is a bad idea. The main takeaway is that building a presence in the market takes times and consistency. It can’t be turned on and off when you need it.
Your marketing must work in tandem with your broader fundraising strategy. You need both a steady drumbeat and peaks of activity. Continually communicate and develop your product market fit and show that your start-up is experiencing actual growth. Keeping the media updated on new customers, products and opinions also makes them more receptive to your next announcement. Then consider the runway you’re working to. Co-ordinate peaks of activity with your investor pipeline, pitch meetings and marketing a funding round announcement after it closes.