We are small bootup startup.
We recently launched a MVP website. Marketing is generally, 'not our bag' and we would like to seek the help of someone/an entity that specializes in this field, to help the site gain traction etc. The technical aspects of the website have been sorted out (i.e. SEO etc), so the help needed goes beyond mere SEO.
The key areas we will need help with (in order of decreasing urgency) are:
My (slight) reservation (from past experience) is that marketing/sales types tend to be quite 'wooly i.e. 'touchy/feely' and can charge 'bizarre numbers' for something that cannot be quantified (or maybe I am just talking about 'designer type').
Being a bootup startup, we have very little resources (especially, since the MVP turned out to be over 1 year behind schedule). We have managed to last this long because our costs are pretty negligible, as we have done pretty much everything by ourselves. We are very careful about costs as our business model is a variant of the freemium, and only generates revenue beyond a certain 'critical mass' point of traffic/registered members/subscribers.
Mindful of all of the above, if we are to work with a company, costs is definitely a factor in selecting them (though not the only factor obviously). However costs is an important factor during this 'lean period', and therefore we would like to work with a company on a kind of 'commission only' basis or maybe even giving up a little bit of equity. It is imperative that the company only gets paid when they have delivered results as I am not at all interested in 'lining up' someone else's pockets for the sake of it.
Having said all that, are there companies/individuals out there that can help with the three things I mentioned above?. If yes, can anyone recommend it/them?
You are looking for a lot of help for very little money, but the good news is that I have a few resources that may help you...
Good Luck, I am more than willing to chat if you have other questions as well.
I can sympathize completely with your guys' situation as the startup I've been working on had an outsourced firm that didnt do much at all. The key is having aligned interests (commisison, equity, whatever), as you've mentioned.
Obviously a lot depends on the product, but, here are a few suggestions: for online advertising, Adwords is great but be sure to look into some of the other networks. Facebook advertising can be very high ROI if done right, and some of the social sharing sites (Digg, Buzzfeed) can help your content get the viral ball rolling. Depending on your product, affiliate networks are terrific as well. If you can set up an in-house one and spend time finding publishers, than thats the way to go, but there are some very good third party networks that you should look into.
Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to chat about what you should look for and I'd be happy to offer some more suggestions.
A general startup rule, get money by doing services on your own product. We are into beta with conversion rate optimizing. Guess what we use now to pay the bills? Right we advice on how to get more conversion and ehh use our own tool to get it done.
The second 80% is harder than the first 80%. I'm a developer and even I know you shouldn't outsource marketing. If you lose touch there then you will really struggle to stay in business. And all that outsourcing will cost $$$. If you want to pay only for success be prepared to spend lots of time looking for people and then proving to them that you can be successful before anyone will take the risk. Or you could invest that time & effort into learning and doing it yourself.