Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers - Deepstash
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Traction Channels

Traction Channels

  • Targeting blogs
  • Publicity
  • Unconventional PR
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Social and Display ads
  • SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Engineering as marketing.
  • Viral marketing.
  • Business development.
  • Sales. 
  • Affiliate programs
  • Existing platforms. 
  • Trade Shows. 
  • Offline Events.
  • Speaking engagements. 
  • Community building. 


1.67K reads

Traction Thinking

Traction and product development should get 50-50 of your time

Define your traction goal

  • Phase I – Making something that people want
  • Phase II – Marketing something people want
  • Phase III – Scaling the business


1.6K reads



  • Brainstorm every single traction channel to see which one works for you
  • Compile your brainstorming ideas for each traction channel in a spreadsheet with educated guesses
  • Run cheap traction tests in the channels that seem most promising
  • Find the most dominant channel in terms of customer acquisition
  • Have an explicit traction goal that you are working towards


Start small. Focus on small sites especially if you want large media outlets to find your story.


994 reads

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing

  • Use search engine ads to test the right product positioning and messaging
  • Don’t expect early profit
  • Measure conversion so you can test SEM variables against profitability
  • Longer keywords are better than short ones
  • Monitor ad quality scores to get better placement

Offline Advertising

TV ads, billboards, direct mail, radio


908 reads

Search Engine Optimization

  • There are two high-level strategies to choose from: fat-head and long-tail
  • Fat-head strategies involve trying to rank for search ranks that directly describe the company.
  • Long-tail strategies involve ranking for more specific terms with lower search volumes
  • SEO comes down to two things: content and links


791 reads

Email Lists

Email Lists

Create short free courses that are geared towards educating potential customers about the product, or your problem space.

A popular approach is to create a sequence of emails that slowly exposes your new customers to the key features in your product.

For example, you could email them five days after they've signed up and say, "Hey, did you know we have this feature?"


624 reads

Viral Marketing Strategy

Viral Marketing Strategy

A viral loop is a three-step process in its most basic form:

A customer is exposed to a product or service

The customer shares the message with someone else

Some portion of the people exposed become your customers as well

Engineering As Marketing

Building useful tools and resources in a way that attracts customers


656 reads

Business Development

Business Development

Business development involves exchanging value through partnerships.

  • Standard partnerships. Two companies work together to work on one or both their products
  • Joint ventures. In joint ventures, two companies work together to create a new product
  • Licensing. Happens when companies charge a fee to anyone using their brand
  • Distribution deals. Distribution deals work when one company provides a distribution channel to another company
  • Supply chain partnerships.  Connections help secure key inputs that are essential for certain products.


519 reads

Sales Strategy(SPIN)

Sales Strategy(SPIN)

Ask Situation questions. These questions will help you understand the prospect’s buying situation. An example of a situation question is how is your organization structured?

Problem questions.  These kinds of questions clarify the buyer’s pain points

Implication questions. These kinds of questions are meant to make the prospect aware of why they need to solve the problem they are facing ASAP.

Need-payoff questions. These kinds of questions get the buyers thinking of the benefits of solving their problem


569 reads



Media buyer


Traction shares secrets of what makes some startups experience massive growth while others die out. They identify 19 traction channels that can lift any startup to stardom.

Curious about different takes? Check out our Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.


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