Is Your Startup Making These Acquisition Marketing Mistakes?

By: Carli Evilsizer | March 4, 2018

Getting customers is key to keeping your startup alive but many startups struggle with creating successful acquisition marketing campaigns. Acquisition marketing means campaigns with the sole goal of ACQUIRING customers. These campaigns can span many different types of marketing channels but digital ads are the best place to start because they will offer detailed tracking and it is easier to update and optimize often. So what are the most common mistakes startups are making with their paid ads?


1) Not Targeting Specific Audiences

Futurety Logo.jpg



“The #1 marketing mistake we see with our startup clients is targeting their audience too broadly. As a startup, you have an extremely limited budget, and spray and pray rarely works. We see much better results when a startup adopts a rapid test-and-learn approach, targeting a certain audience for a few days, weeks or months (depending on business cycle) and if that doesn't work, pivoting quickly to a different audience.”

-Sam Underwood, VP of Business Strategy at Futurety


2) Play With The Spelling of a Latin Word

Traekam logo.png



“The number one mistake startups indirectly make is not testing multiple traction channels. Many startups dive in with two to four traction channels rather than testing multiple forms of online and offline marketing, then missing out on the early opportunity to utilize the Bullseye Strategy, thus adding fuel to the fire. Spreading the company to thin is just as damaging to wasted marketing funds as it is placing marketing funds into the same tractions and receiving the same if not a little to no improved results.”

-Levi Wilcox, CEO of Traekam, LLC

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 2.27.38 PM.png

3. Not Tracking or Optimizing

C3 Metrics logo.jpg

C3 Metrics


“# 1 mistake made with most startup marketing strategies is that they spend most of their time on media spend, and completely space on conversion rate. If 500k is spend on media with a 1% conversion rate, but no effort is spent fine tuning that conversion rate continually to make that conversion rate a 3% conversion rate through copy testing, image testing, button testing… you also forget that your $500k would turn into $1.5 million. But conversion rates have to be normalized… subtracting out significant fraud and bots.”

-Mark Hughes, Co-Founder & CEO of C3 Metrics


“Make sure you go into your paid campaigns with extremely clear metrics for tracking. Many startups get stuck throwing money at strategies that they don't know how to measure. This creates huge potential for waste.”

-Quinn Cox, Head of Biz Dev at TINT

TINT image.png

4. Putting Too Much Money Into One Channel

klipfolio logo small



“Paid strategies need to match your audience. I'm an expert in Facebook Advertising, and even I wouldn't recommend diving too deeply into any single platform. Instead, I see paid channels as a way to test your audience profiling and your value proposition. Are you effective at reaching a target market and converting those people into paying customers? Paid channels can act as quick validation for marketing assumptions. The key is to be diligent in reporting on your performance and be willing to either pull back spend or optimize spend on a weekly basis.”

-Jonathan Taylor, Senior Manager of Marketing at Klipfolio


Are you making any of these common growth marketing mistakes at your startups? Here's what you SHOULD be doing instead! 

  • Invest in multiple paid channels 
  • Test and optimize on a weekly basis! 
  • Set clear metrics to track performance 
  • Always A/B to improve your conversation rate 
  • Get detailed while targeting an audiences