I'm the sole founder of a b2c startup for 2 months now. I have about 20 paying customers and few hundred free sign ups. Unfortunately, things are going too slow because I'm not getting any traffic.
I realize I need to bring-in some external marketing help like a consultant or even a good practical book. Granted, I have a business (marketing) degree but I'm more of a tech guy.
To make this question easier to answer, let's make 3 assumptions about my business:
Is there any practical and advanced book that deal with web marketing? Secondly, is there any reputable consultant who can help me to devise an actionable marketing plan? What kind of fees am I looking at?
Congrats on 20 paying customers after 2 months, that's more than many web startups can say. If you're converting fine but are lacking in traffic, you have two options:
Paid traffic is easy, though you'll quickly find it worth it to improve your conversion rate. "Acceptable" is not when you're paying for the traffic. Google AdWords and advertising on carefully-chosen sites that have a large number of your target audience will bring traffic that can convert directly to customers.
Earned traffic is where real "marketing" comes in. Content creation and SEO are the two main areas you want to develop skill in. The main thing to keep in mind with content creation is that you are not talking about your product. Instead, you are:
That kind of content will earn you links / attention from other sites and traffic from search engines.
If you want to bring in someone to help you with marketing, your own network on LinkedIn is an ideal place to start. And a post on Craigslist will get you dozens of responses. If you're in a metropolitan area, attending marketing meetups is a good way to meet potential employees / partners.
Are you creating a lot of content? Do you own a blog? Content is the key driver to increasing website traffic. The more keywords and content your site has, the more chances people will find you. This includes both product content but mostly thought-leadership materials.
Also, what's your level of involvement with social media?
For research and reading, I would highly recommend HubSpot's marketing eBooks and webinars. There's a lot of helpful content on improving the top of your funnel, which is mostly traffic and leads.
SEO ebook: http://www.hubspot.com/search-engine-optimization-kit/ Lead gen: http://www.hubspot.com/lead-generation-using-inbound-marketing-kit/ Hope that helps!