Digital Marketing Tools For Startup Investments: Does SEMrush Make A Good Fit?
Investments are often the cornerstone of any startup’s growth and development.
We bring to you a series of articles on tools, which we think will not only help you to gain traction in your own startups, but also help you stand up as a successful business. In this article we will take a look at how to pitch and get funding for your startup using the suite of SEMrush’s digital marketing tools.
Let us begin.
What do you need, as an entrepreneur, to make you truly believe that your initially crazy idea of a startup has justified itself and is actually worth the efforts and resources you’ve put in it? Investments are the answer. It is one thing to have faith in your own business and a completely different matter to convince others that your idea is worthy of something.
Thus, investments are often the cornerstone of any startup’s growth and development.
But What Do The Odds Tell Us About Startup Investments?
80 percent of all venture-funded startups fail – half of them simply close the doors and the other half do not return any decent profit to their investors. And, according to a recent study from the Bath University, only 1 in 10 startups manage to produce some significant returns to the investors.
So you get it. Pitching your startup for some investors’ money is a challenging task.
Thus, to really grasp what investors are looking for in your startup’s investment pitch is the first thing you should be concerned with.
I’ve analysed plenty of feedback from investors who talk about successful or in vain pitches they are faced with on a daily basis. One thing is clear – what investors are looking for does not have that much to do with your product or service, what investors really want is to be convinced of is that you have the means to navigate through the rough waters and have the strategy in place to help you handle the grind. What you also have to present is that your company is not merely a vague idea, but has already won over some traction – either via existing customers, Social Media buzz, great mentions from opinion leaders, but on that later.
Let’s take a look at what sections should be included in your Investor Pitch Deck.
Standard Investor Pitch Deck
Basically, an investor pitch deck is a presentation, with roughly 15-20 PowerPoint slides, that showcases your startup in an appealing way to potential investors. According to Forbes, a typical presentation should include:
- Company Overview
- Mission/Vision of the Company
- The Team
- The Product
- The Problem
- The Solution
- The Market Opportunity
- The Customers
- The Competition
- Business Model
- Marketing Plan
So as you can see, the first sections have to do with introductions – the company, the team, and the product. However, the real challenge comes in with the further slides.
Things like HR, Financials, Revenue models are pretty straightforward. Every startup needs it and already has it. But, as a startup, you can hardly afford to invest in market research with focus groups, hire an agency that will conduct a thorough competition analysis, or boost your publicity and showcase it. So this time I’d like to show you how SEMrush can solve some of the challenges you’ll face in fetching up a perfect Investor Pitch Deck.
SEMrush & Your Investor Pitch Deck
Tools, even all-encompassing ones like SEMrush, won’t directly give you all the trump cards for getting investments. But they can really make a big chunk of your pitching job easier.
So I’ll show you which areas a tool like SEMrush can get covered and how exactly you can leverage the suite’s functionality, because what investors are looking for are solutions and facts, backed with data, and data intelligence is what SEMrush is all about.
The first and foremost thing you should show to your potential investors is that there is, indeed, some marketplace for your product/service.
You can have the best features and prices, but if you don’t have potential customers to purchase your product/service, well, there’s no much point in doing business, is there?
There are many ways in which you can measure your market opportunity. But what does it entail?
You should define the market size and decide what chunk of that market your company can address. And SEO and digital marketing tools can tell you a lot about your market. Most likely, your startup cannot yet invest in a comprehensive market research, that would include in-depth reports and focus groups, but what you can do is look at your market in terms of digital usage.
Keyword Analysis can tell you a lot about your potential market size: SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool and Organic Traffic Insights can show you the search volume for any keyword that your startup can potentially target, and, considering most people are using the web now to find out about companies and products, search volume can definitely indicate the number of your potential customers. By looking at how many people are Googling your product, you can certainly tell that these people can hypothetically become your prime audience.
Moreover, knowing the cost per click per each keyword you can target can also help you measure how much you should roughly spend to gain a certain market share.
According to Neil Patel, competitor analysis can also allow you to measure your market size and how much you can expect to gain in terms of market share.
Competitor research does not only help you define your market opportunities. Investors expect you to know about your field from inside-out. And competitors are a big part of that analysis.
By looking at your competitors and showcasing your ideas about their strengths and weaknesses, you will find it easier to communicate your own value proposition.
Ideally, you should create a table where you will divide each feature present across your competitors and see where you are winning or losing, and what areas need more investment in terms of both money and resources. And, by all means, clearly state your competitive advantage.
Here is what you can do with SEMrush when it comes to competitor analysis:
- Define your startup’s competitors;
- Identify your startup’s competitive advantage;
- “Show off” your wins over your competitors.
First of all, any business model should start with a thorough competitor research. But when it comes to investors pitch, that competitor research should work in your startup’s favour and help you build some credibility. This may be the only opportunity you have to “blow your horn”.
“Impress the investors with what you and your team have accomplished to date“
Your competitors are always an issue to your potential investors, thus, it is your job to convince them that they have nothing to worry about – you have it all covered.
- The Organic Research Report can help you define your competitors in organic search by measuring traffic and organic keywords for each domain and assigning a level of significance to each website
- Position Tracking will allow you to localize your competitor research, and this is particularly important if your startup is local in its nature or is intended for various local audiences
- And probably the most important SEMrush feature for competitor monitoring – Brand Monitoring – will allow you to learn from your competitors by discovering their performance and spying on their expenditures.
By doing your homework, you will be able to prove (given you learn from your competition) that your performance vs. costs are more successful and reasonable than those of your competitors, and any win of yours will play into the hands of your startup.
Impressing investors is really what you should aim for when pitching your company for investments. And by outplaying your competition even in minor areas like ranking for the same keyword higher than two of your major competitors at a less price will already look good on your behalf. But what can bring in even more credibility is the fact that your startup has already gained some visibility, publicity and traction from the market you’ve thoroughly researched.
82% of investors are considering your brand strength when making their investment decision. Your early traction should ideally result in some solid evidence like traffic, customer acquisition, early deals, but even a big social buzz will make the cut. And SEMrush does not only help you measure and show that traction, but can also help you build it:
- Great PR efforts start with reaching out to the right and the most profitable media/sites. The Link Building Tool can help you track your competitor’s backlinks to see what referral traffic sources you should target (see which backlinks worked best for your competitors in terms of traffic, buzz etc.) and which media/sites don’t deserve your attention. Thus, profiling backlinks can potentially help you reach out to relevant media, focus on the most appropriate influencers and make sure that you aren’t missing any opportunities that come with the digital age.
- There is a little chance you’ll get some impressive visibility and publicity without paid advertising. Hence, a tool like Advertising Research can help you reveal your competitors’ ad strategies and costs, look at precise ad copies and keywords they target and help you build ad campaigns.
- And, of course, there is no good traction without Social Media. Whether you love it or hate it, no brand can live without a presence in Social Media: SM is your visibility, customer support, PR, you name it all. And the Social Media Tracker can help you develop a winning SM strategy by analysing your competitors and which SM channels bring in more benefits to their business, what kind of content resonated best with your audience and will also help you track and analyze the results of your SM efforts.
The Key Areas: Customer Acquisition & Marketing Strategy
Everything we discussed above should ideally help you get to the most important part of your Investor Pitch Deck – your marketing plan which will eventually lead to an impressive customer acquisition strategy.
And, according to Entrepreneur, most VCs do recognize the importance of digital marketing and won’t consider investing in a company that does not have a tactical plan for online marketing. That plan is your step by step explanation of how you intend to get people to purchase your product/service.
And all of the SEMrush tools mentioned above and solutions they provide will help you answer these most important questions that investors expect to be answered:
- What key marketing channels you intend to employ – Paid Advertising, Social Media, Email Marketing, and so on?
- What early wins have you already had and what channels work best for your startup?
- What are some of the preliminary customer acquisition costs?
- What PR tactics will you be using?
- What early media/social buzz have you attracted?
Disclaimer: This article has been published in partnership with SEMrush