Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers - Deepstash

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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.

Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

by Gabriel Weinberg, Justin Mares


660 reads

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. 

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


  • 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 i...

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 placem...

  • 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 ...

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 ...

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


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 c...

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


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