On the first day of Wild Digital SEA 2020’s virtual conference, we had the pleasure of learning about what it takes to scale your startup today.
It was moderated by Meekco’s co-founder and chief marketing officer, Kathey Tan who virtually sat down with:
- Shahid Nizami, Managing Director, APAC
- Patrick Steinbrenner, Managing Director, APAC, Insider
- Yuki Isobel, Member of the Board & SVP International, Geniee
Together, they discussed some interesting things they’ve seen in startups navigating this pandemic.
Throughout the 30-minute discussion, they shared their insights mainly on how startups can scale through customer acquisition and retention.
1. Have A Drink Together, Virtually
Founders need to build trust with each other.
Finding and setting aside the time to actually do it is the most important aspect.
Patrick shared his personal experience on how Insider was able to raise US$32 million in a Series C funding for their startup amidst the pandemic.
That of course, was not easy when everything had to be done virtually.
He explained that more than ever, it’s important for businesses to reach out and reduce the distance between clients and potential investors.
It can even be done casually.
“Just yesterday I was catching up with a good friend from our tech partners and we had virtual beer and chatted together. It wasn’t even about business or anything, it was just to catch up,” he said.
2. Seriously, Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Social Media
There’s no running away for businesses to have a presence online.
Yuki emphasised that using social networks like LinkedIn or Facebook will help founders engage with their customers by simply posting statuses about the business’ processes.
This in turn, will generate an interest and favourability from investors.
“It’s similar to a marketing funnel. You start from the awareness of your company then you can deep dive into the intention to the actual interest of your potential investors,” he said.
3. Sharing The Right Topics With The Right People Matters
Using social media as a tool to engage with customers has been one that many companies are already doing over the MCO.
Livestreams and webinars can reach a wide audience.
Shahid stressed that to retain their attention, it’s crucial to find the right topic.
“You must understand what your target market wants to know, where would they see value in coming to this webinar?” he said.
Defining the intention of the webinar was also vital.
“Is it for the top or bottom of the funnel? You cannot get both all the time,” Shahid said.
For example, most would either get 500 people to build awareness—making up the top of the funnel— or 20 very interested prospects who are ready to move fast on the sale cycle.
A post-mortem should also take place on the things that did and didn’t go well throughout the webinar for better results the next time.
4. Give That Killer Follow-Up Shamelessly
Patrick pointed out that the next thing to do is provide a killer follow up right after the stream.
Hosts need to follow up with the right people with relevant content, continuing the conversations with questions they asked and points they found interesting throughout the meeting.
“Follow up right away, that’s where you actually get the ROI from your events. If you don’t do it, don’t expect that people will start coming back to you or follow up next week.”
This is because most participants would have already forgotten about the talk after attending a few others.
5. Do Your Primary Research On Investors
Founders can measure how big or small their chances are with these investors by looking at their business models and the customers they’ve acquired.
“These tools can show information to identify which potential investor would be interested in your startup or your mission,” he said.
To sum up, the panelists each gave an example of a tech company that’s used innovative ways to capture and retain their customers.
In addition to ride hailing which was restricted at the time, they’ve positioned themselves as an essential service by delivering both food and medical supplies around the world.
Netflix, though not a new company, is one that Shahid admired for helping subscribers who have been inactive on their platform for a few months cancel their accounts automatically.
This enabled customers to manage their cash flow if they’d been running short.
“It was a really awesome move to not only win over customers in the long term but also build their brand because of it,” he said.
Showing that you know how to handle your existing customers and cater to new ones is one way to raise investor confidence.
After all, at the end of the day, VCs need to continue doing their business too.
Hence, founders still need to find that connection and set aside time for a conversation to build connections.
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