If you manage to raise capital, investors will have jumped in the passenger seat with you, ready to be taken on a journey.
It’s likely to be a long journey, with the average time to a liquidity event being about five to seven years. This road will be longer due to later IPOs. During this long journey, investors want to generate returns much more than at the end of the journey.
Investors want to profit themselves and their own personal and professional networks throughout the journey. They long for a halo effect.
When they bring people together for a deal, they want the deal to make money. When they recommend a product, they want the product to be great. Investors typically understand the value of relationships deeply, so they want to create positivity for themselves and others along the way.
Design your shareholder relations and communications around the extensive personal networks of investors. Investors like to be your advocates and serve as an essential extension of your growth marketing team.
Here’s how you can help investors market your business.
Create shareable moments
First-time founders usually rush to send shareholder updates when times are good and are full of fear when times are tough. Shareholder updates are supposed to inform about traction, gains, losses, concerns and risks, but their main function is: engagement. Remember that 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 the advantage of investors’ personal networks, they will be happy to become your advocates.
Before sending your next monthly email, find ways to include shareable moments in your update. Let’s say you create software for a new kind of smart home gym. Will your investors share that you have reached 500 users? It’s excellent for you, but not very interesting or beneficial to anyone else.
But maybe you have data showing that only 20% of adults can do one pull-up – that’s a fun fact that people can 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. Add a shareable fact or exclusive offer and you’ll see them spread the word.
Give them an experiment
Good growth marketers often experiment and tailor their content and even products to demand. Experiments are typically segmented by channel; for example, you can 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 everyone to buy your new product.