Miles Jennings is the founder and COO of Recruiter.com, a recruiting solutions platform helping startups hire talent.
If you’re successful at raising capital, investors have jumped into the passenger seat with you, ready to be taken on a journey.
It’s likely a long trip, with the average time to a liquidity event being about five to seven years. Due to later IPOs, this road is getting longer. During this long trip, investors want much more than to generate a return at the end of the journey.
Investors want to benefit themselves and their own personal and professional networks along the entire journey. They desire a halo effect.
When they bring people together on a deal, they want the deal to make money. When they recommend a product, they want the product to be fantastic. Investors typically deeply understand the value of relationships, so they want to create positivity for themselves and others throughout the long journey.
Design your shareholder relationships and communications around benefiting investors’ extended personal networks. Investors will gladly be your advocates and serve as an essential extension of your growth marketing team.
Here’s how to help investors market your company.
First-time founders typically rush to send shareholder updates when times are good and are filled with dread when times are tough. Shareholder updates should inform about traction, wins, losses, worries and risks, but their most important function is engagement. Remember, investors want to be part of the journey and tell others about it. A great shareholder update gives people something to talk about.
If you design your relationships and communications around benefiting investors’ personal networks, they will gladly become your advocates.
Before sending your next monthly email, look for ways to insert shareable moments into your update. Let’s say you make software for a new kind of smart home gym. Will your investors share that you hit 500 users? It’s excellent for you, but not very interesting or beneficial to anyone else.
But maybe you have data that shows that only 20% of adults can do one pull-up – that’s a fun fact that people might share with their networks. Maybe you have a unique discount code or gift that they can give to a family member or colleague — that’s even better. Include a shareable fact or exclusive offer and you’ll see them spread the story.
Give them an experiment
Good growth marketers often experiment, tweaking their content and even products according to demand. Experiments are typically segmented by channel; for example, you might change the pace of social media updates to determine the optimal frequency and time. Good experiments can also be done with an intentionally small but representative sample size – consider walking up to the 15 people you share a WeWork space with and asking each one if they would buy your new product.