MARA Startup Story
Every step about building our marketing startup. From day zero to present.
What you should expect here:
- We will be open about our goals, displayed below.
- We will share our marketing efforts, what works and what doesn’t. Expect it after a while, to be sure about the results.
- We will share our technology/product side efforts and why we will took some decisions.
Please use comments form at the bottom to ask questions, suggest us marketing ideas, give feedback and anything else.
Goal 1: Reach 100 customers
Goal 2: Reach $10k MRR
Startup activity timeline
Marketing has priority in 2018
While we do have big development plans for 2018, marketing is also very important. We started working on SEO, created Adwords and Facebook campaigns.
Public Surveys and improvements
Added survey campaigns with public URL’s and lots of account notifications
Changed logo and site colors because it looked too silly.
Invested lots of money and research into tablet and beacons standers that can be rented by offline shops. Those are integrated with the rest of the services and can track behaviour and run apps: new subscribers, surveys, registration forms, contests or catalogues.
System updates and new features
Added new features regarding PUSH notifications (with product recommendations) and Facebook Share that also uses product recommendations. All can be setup and will automatically deliver dynamic and personalized messages.
Wasted money on Facebook Boosted Posts
We’ve boosted 12 posts on Facebook in the last 4 months, with an average budget of $10. It’s wasted money, only a few clicks (2-3 page likes in total) and always less people reached than initially said.
Rebuild integration modules
Our partner agency started working on rebuilding integration modules with most common ecommerce platforms: wordpress, woocommerce, prestashop, magento, opencart, shopify.
Launched new website for getmara.com
A completely redesigned website was launched. Made entirely on HTML, ready for translations and custom pages. Got rid of WordPress, one of the best decisions.
Launched another self-service locally
We launched in May another self-service solution with the same product in Romania. The idea is to use it as a test market for find bugs, testing pricing options, build a team around a SaaS solution.
We also did A/B tests on the platform and presentation website. We lost some time because of this, but afterwards is considered a good idea.
First Client Registered for self-service
First account was made using registration form. Their website is not a real online store, not even a realwebsite (just a blank page). But let’s celebrate anyway
Created social media profiles
Created new accounts for MARA: Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. Zero promotion, which is definitely not good: You need to get Facebook likes, twitter followers and Youtube subscribers.
Changed development cycles
The founder is very technical so the product was built over years internally. Being hard to find very good engineers we decided to outsource some of the development and to implement monthly dev cycles.
Later edit: This was a good move, as we move faster now and have a better overview of the product
We created a wordpress website using Divi theme. Was pretty easy to create it, but if you want something custom very hard to modify. I won’t recommend for good quality design.
First version of self-service
We had designed a first version of registration form. Too ugly to have anyone signup.
2016 was a good year at the agency
While doing our daily tasks at the agency, MARA was put on hold. However we were planning how the self-service will work, because the system didn’t allow for self-registration and related stuff.
Partnership for building integration modules
Our solution is technical, so we need some integration with our clients websites. Rather then building ourselves, we’ve decided to have them built by a company we are very close to, devant.ro. Devant was the initial agency one our founder started in 2005 as a digital marketing agency.
Bought domain name getmara.com
After a short brainstorming on “marketing automation” related names we decided that MARA is the best to go with. The only free domain we liked was getMARA.com, so we bought it.
A new startup idea
The startup is based on a techonology we’ve built under another name. The reasons we decided to start from zero with another brand:
- The name was hard to pronounce
- The company itself was promoting itself as an agency, with higher pricing and services included
- We wanted to have something new, a Marketing Automation SaaS, used as self-service.