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Startups: Why Giving Stuff Away For Free Is The Best Marketing Tool

Startups – giving stuff away for free is the best marketing tool. This story demonstrates why. Austin has been named the best American city for startups, according to a report by the Kauffman Foundation and the surprising second is Miami. The data is part of an info graphic exploring Factors that Influence Startup Success. It reveals interesting facts and statistics relating to age, professional background and sectors as influences on the success or failure of a startup.

New Delhi-based graphic design marketplace, Designhill produced the infographic as part of their digital media strategy, which is more soft diplomacy than hard sell. Rahul Aggarwal founded Designhill with his brothers. Aggarwal says as a startup themselves, they understand the need for interactive guides, mini quizzes and other content, so they research interesting topics, like famous logos and their hidden meanings, and use it as a calling card. The most interesting bits of the infographic are just a bit further down in this story. But first, Designhill has a pretty interesting story of their own about the invaluable return on giving away products and services for free.

“Marketing through conventional methods is too hard. This is what works for us, which is why we created a white paper to help other businesses learn what we did. Our traffic doubled just because of one infographic we created. So we produce these micro quizzes and infographics for others just to get our brand out there.“

The Aggarwal brothers’ company connects clients and designers from around the world. Designhill’s platform offers a unique value proposition. A client with a graphic design need – be it a website, a logo, a landing page, etc. enters their criteria and launches a contest. A talent pool of 25,000 designers in 50 different countries can compete for the job. Aggarwal says usually 100-200 designers respond, providing the client with designs to choose from in just one week.

“In terms of value for money, I don’t think there’s anything like this anywhere. A traditional design agency will give you 5-7 designs in 3-4 weeks and charge you much, much more.”

It takes 2-3 weeks for Aggarwal’s team to make an infographic like the one highlighted below, but he says this very story proves it’s worth it.

“It takes time, but I wouldn’t have gotten your attention without it. I wouldn’t have gotten your attention if I just wrote you an email telling you about my company.”

He’s right. So here are some of the most compelling stats. For more, check out the original infographic: Factors that Influence Startup Success.

(Credit: Designhill)

Miami’s diverse population is one driver, including Cubans, Colombians, and immigrants from Argentina. They all come from a culture of entrepreneurship. Access to incubators, free co-work space and programs for minority and women-owned businesses also make the city attractive for founders.

(Credit: Designhill)

The figures indicate experience is highly valued, but another contributing factor is America’s aging population. The recession and forced early retirement has led to the biggest jump: an increase in the number of older entrepreneurs, aged 55-64, from nearly 15% in 1996, to almost 26% last year.

Source: The Kauffman Index

(Credit: Designhill)

39% of founders were formerly CEOs/Founders which supports the idea that VCs back experience. Sales, Marketing, and Product Management and Development are common previous roles.

Source: Venture Capital Report, CB Insights

(Credit: Designhill)

More than 58% of angel investment money went to consumer products and services startups followed by electronics.




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