​How to effectively get Angels, VCs and the media to notice your new Startup

by | Jul 12, 2016

The ideas I want to share with you can help you get the attention of the President of the United States of America even if it is just to tell him what you ate for breakfast. It is that powerful…..I am not kidding. However, I know you will have a better use for it than that. So, for example, you can use this in a creative way to “manipulate” the attention of Angel Investors, VCs and media to take note of your startup.

You see, as a startup, sometimes, what you need is the first attention or a second look from key decision makers which can mean everything from securing contracts, getting funded, enjoying product validation and market share. To put this in perspective, you should read Jason Njoku’s personal testimony of what meeting Sarah Lacy and having her do a feature story on his startup meant to his credibility globally and the eventual success story of iROKOtv.

That is why you want this kind of attention from media people (for example, you too might be interested in getting the attention of Techpoint to do a feature story on your startup, or you might be chasing Channels Tech Trends to do a coverage on your startup.

For investment-seeking founders, yours could be to initiate an angel investment chat with Tomi Davies or to secure a VC pitch with someone like Eghosa Omoigui  of EchoVC partners. The good news is that these are all what you can use this strategy to achieve. Obviously, you should consider this as a follow up to 2 amazing guidelines I wrote; the first on getting TV and newspaper coverage and the second on how to tell newsworthy story about your startup.

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Suggested Read: How Nigerian Startups can effectively use TV and Newspaper Ads to grow fast


Let me share more ideas of where you can use this formula to your advantage:

  • Going for a conference and wanting influential people you are likely to meet know about you ahead.
  • In a competition where you want to have the advantage of your startup being in the radar of the judges.
  • You just wrote a piece that you want a mainstream reporter or blog to carry. And so on…

Did I tell you that this strategy will get done in 2 steps? I just did.

Identify the major influencer you want to target

For you, this could mean anyone whose attention you want to get. Compile a shortlist of people that can impact your startup the most. Go ahead to research thoroughly about each of them. You can do this by scrubbing through Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, AngelList or any of their public profiles to get as much information about them. On a minimum, you will need to get their emails, twitter handle or Facebook user ID. Getting people’s email is a complex nut to crack, but between this guide and this post you will find 10 different formulas to nail down the email of your target in 5 minutes. If the person is on Facebook, you will easily find that person’s Facebook UID using any of these Quora answers.

Before you launch this plan, ensure you have a clear message you want to communicate to your target. It could be an article you want them to read about you, or maybe your pitch deck or your startup projections so their decisions can be tilted favourably towards you.

Turn your research to work

What you are about to do next is almost “creepy” as you will be creating an intensive passive awareness about yourself to the target . The credit for this formula is from a weird experiment conducted by a marketing geek. You are to use it with caution to avoid it backfiring on you: you are warned.

You will need a budget to launch this “creepy”, attention-seeking, near manipulative strategy.  You can choose Google ads, Facebook ads and Twitter ads with a budget of less than $10. The goal is to make your target the only person(s) who will see your messages. Hence, to make the best use of the strategy, you want to ensure that your message appears natural to the target so that he “feels” that he is just one of the people seeing the message and not the only one

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Google Ads

Google Ads have various options which can work with this format. Stick with Gmail Ads and other Google Networks. You will use customer match to define your custom audience: according to their support page, this is how it works.

Since your target is just one person (I am assuming), you can deliberately input wrong addresses for the rest of the emails you will upload so that when Google matches your uploaded entries, only the desired contacts will be verified. You can then proceed to use any of the Google Adwords options.

Facebook Ads

The interest targeting capabilities of Facebook as well as its custom audience features make it the most powerful tool to exploit. The original experiment covers this.

Twitter Ads

Twitter offers a similar targeting functionality like Facebook, albeit with less impact. Larry Kim of Wordstream detailed how he targeted twitter influencers comprising media/journalists to get his story on leading blogs. At the moment, LinkedIn and other platforms don’t seem to be offering such level of precise targeting, so you can skip them.

This strategy might turn you into an Asshole: You are warned

If you think you deserve the continuous attention of your target (let’s say, you got them to visit a landing page and you want to trigger a series of follow up actions from them), you can do an overkill by pixelling them for remarketing either on Google or Facebook so that they keep participating by taking desired actions like this Facebook experiment conducted by Jon Loomer.

I am done. You now have in your hand, a couple of “manipulative” ideas that can get your story out in front of your key influencers. Go and have fun doing this by designing creative adverts that motivate your targets to click your ads and engage with you so that it looks like they are the ones that discovered you instead of it looking like you manipulated them to see your ads. But watch out, you probably don’t want to be an asshole.

By the way, do you see this as an effective strategy for your startup or you think it’s a pure asshole-ploy? Let me know what you think. Seriously, you can comment below.

Photo Credit: France in New England / Stefan Muth via Compfight cc

Oluwole Ogunlade
Oluwole Ogunlade

Wole Ogunlade is a business growth strategist for early-stage startups and consultants in Nigeria. As co-founder of Probityfarms.com, he is passionate about agTech platforms in Nigeria. You can download his free ebook + email course, “11 Secrets of Startup Growth” for free on his personal blog, Hackgrowth.ng


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