If You Build it, Will They Come? A Real-World Reminder for Web Entrepreneurs

Grand Opening

During the sales process at Atomic, we actively discuss the business model and marketing strategy of our entrepreneurial clients. Marketing is a major risk points for many young web startups. Last week I listened to my colleague Bruce Watson share a powerful analogy with a first-time web entrepreneur.

Bruce likened building a custom web product to opening a new store. If an entrepreneur decided to open a physical store, she would start by selecting a location. During the location hunt, she would talk to nearby residents to gauge the overall demand. When she is satisfied with the available demand, the location would be finalized, but she would continue to talk to residents to gather information about product offerings and potential store hours.

While the store is physically being created, she would run a marketing campaign to raise awareness. The campaign might include print ads, sponsorships, or direct mailings. When the store opens its doors for the first time, she would promote and host a grand opening event. In the subsequent months after the grand opening, she would continue to market the store to keep momentum.

The moral of the story is that the web (and mobile) is not very different from the physical world. In order to have a chance, an entrepreneur needs to understand the demand for the product they are creating and make sure the market knows it exists. Luckily, if you have a solid development team, it’s possible to market a web (or mobile) application before, during, and after product completion.