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Boosting sales for your start-up is difficult - so is building your brand - why not combine them?
Lucas HamonApr 9, 2015 4:00:00 AM5 min read

How to Boost Sales with Closed Loop Marketing for Your Start-up

There are two big issues entrepreneurs contend with every day: Prototyping and marketing. Basically, we're constantly reinventing ourselves.

When you're bootstrappin' or even if you have some budget to play with, making mistakes early on can be fatal when there is no rebound and recovery mechanism in place. And what I have found is that if you integrate an organic marketing campaign at the prototyping stage, you can actually accelerate your results, and pivot your way into the right business model.

So, what exactly is that anyway? Simply put, it's a digital marketing strategy that utilizes analytical tools to provide honest, objective, real-time feedback.

But market intelligence is only part of the equation, because you need to develop a brand and make money in the process. Closed loop marketing the inbound way will help you achieve both... provide useful analytics so you can pivot and develop your voice and brand all at the same time.

Here's HOW:

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Before you start diving into the reporting tools, let's first look at your processes to make sure you have fluidity between marketing channels and identify areas for improvement. Sales begins with marketing, because even if you have a great product or service offering, it won't move off the shelves if it isn't packaged properly. 

Step 1: Assess Your Assets

What do you have under the hood? Closed loop implies that you leave nothing open, so let me highlight the digital marketing tools your start-up needs to keep your analytics honest and your outreach effective:

Every one of these components should have analytics tools as basic protocol. If not, find a different tool. If you can afford it, consolidated tool-sets work best.

Step 2: Set benchmarks

Even if your system isn't up to scratch, benchmark what you can. At bare minimum, install your Google Analytics tracking codes, so you can at least understand how much traffic you're getting as you build out the other components. But don't forget to filter out your IP address.

Traffic is a great starting point, but we're going to close the loop so we can pin-point valleys of death with your delivery and service model while drawing a line between your marketing investment and paying customers. Track what you can as early as you can, but be ready for it to be painfully inefficient and ineffective... at least to start.

Step 3: Consolidate

For me, there has been no better feeling as the owner of my own start-up than the day I transitioned Orange Pegs Media from a social media consultantcy to a full-suite inbound marketing agency. Why? Because I found the solution to my marketing woes by dropping the specialty deliverable and expanding into a dozen other arenas, and somehow managed to simplify the process.

After an exhaustive search, I found software programs that consolidated the splintered components of inbound marketing into one, robust package. Now I have one login to manage the entire process, and because of that, all of my reporting tools feed into one another, and I don't have to spend hours cross-referencing reports to determine the lifecycle of my leads.

Instead, I get it live. (check out What an Inbound Lead Looks Like to see it for yourself) 

Let me pause and talk about the significance to this particular piece of the equation. As a start-up, resources are precious; I get it. Investing in serious inbound marketing tools like Hubspot or Marketo means letting go of the notion that you're going to wait for income to arrive first. And that's not easy to do, but at some point, if you're going to make it work, you need to go all-in. This means putting your money where your mouth is.

Step 4: Experiment

The nice thing about closed loop marketing is that you're gathering intel everywhere possible, so you'll be able to identify flaws. Not getting the open-rates on your emails that you were hoping for? Experiment with subject lines. Are you unsure of which industries to focus on? Tailor keywords and blog posts around different target groups and see who responds.

Watch the conversion points, make adjustments, watch, adjust, wadjust...

Step 5: Analyze & React

Okay, so you've been watching and adjusting for a few months. By now you should know what isn't working, and be able to fine-tune what is. Remove those industry niches that aren't getting any traction, and focus your energies on those that are. Remember, this is about how to boost sales AND how to enter the market, so use this data to pivot and attract customers simultaneously.

This is the most honest feedback you're ever going to get, so use it to your advantage. It's working if you're:

  • Generating organic website traffic (search AND social media)
  • Converting traffic into leads
  • Closing leads into customers

Step 6: Rinse & Repeat - then Escalate

Don't stop when you get comfortable, because tomorrow is a different day, and you want to be able to react to the market early on when shifts occur - and not have to wait through multiple seasons to identify trends and make adjustments. You're more nimble than that. It's one of the greatest attributes you have as a start-up, so don't forsake it because you get in a groove.

Keep your foot on the gas, or pass the torch to somebody else to do it for you so you can focus on other areas that need you.

Boosting sales and fine-tuning your prototype are your top concerns as a start-up, and it's stressful when you don't have objective feedback to help guide you.

Closed loop marketing will bring you closer to your company and your vision as an entrepreneur. It's an investment, but probably the most important step you'll take for your early to mid-stage start-up. Whether boot-strappin' or funded, it's all the same - you need honest feedback and you need it as quickly as possible, so you can fine-tune everything.

Want to learn more about how to achieve closed-loop marketing using the inbound methodology to boost sales and hone your vision for your start-up? Schedule an inbound marketing assessment today!

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Lucas Hamon

Over 10 years of B2B sales experience in staffing, software, consulting, & tax advisory. Today, as CEO, Lucas obsesses over inbound, helping businesses grow! Husband. Father. Beachgoer. Wearer of plunging v-necks.