Setting up a company and actually making it successful is most often an uphill battle. Data shows that 90% of startups will fail, with most failing between the second and fifth years of operations.
One tech brand that has defied this norm is Visme. Established back in March 2013, Visme is an app that helps with visual design for content marketing materials.
Visme is an online tool for creating engaging visual content, such as infographics and presentations, using various drag-and-drop functions. To date, the company reports more than 10 million users across 120+ countries. The platform is also used by global enterprises like IBM, PayPal, Zurich, Uber Freight, Unilever, AXA, and Accenture.
Speaking with ContentGrip, founder of Visme Payman Taei shares how the company started and what marketing strategies helped his team succeed.
A response to marketing challenges
Payman is a walking testament to how tech entrepreneurs do not necessarily need a coding background to build a startup. In fact, Payman’s academic background is in biology, but he describes himself as an avid technologist with a passion for new trends and the internet.
Before Visme, Payman established HindSite Interactive. The company started in 2001 as a web design agency and Payman’s first business, providing him with firsthand experience working with different companies.
HindSite acted as a training ground for Payman to learn how other entrepreneurs ran their businesses and promoted their products and services. He adds that it also allowed him to identify customer pain points.
For Payman, the company is now an incubator of business ideas, and he continues to be part of the team as director of operations. HindSite also helped him establish two notable SaaS businesses: Visme and link-building tool Respona.
He explains, "Visme was created out of the challenges that I saw at my web agency, which is to create beautiful presentations and other marketing documents without being a designer."
Meanwhile, the entrepreneur says that Respona addressed HindSite's marketing challenges by creating online awareness. Respona is a tool that helps marketers in their search engine optimization (SEO) strategies by providing functions like content discovery, email automation, and an email finder tool.
Payman admits he did not have any kind of framework when he started both Visme and Respona. Instead, he highlights that if there is a clear market gap and no suitable product out there yet, with enough hard work and trial-and-error, an audience can be gathered.
Do not focus on solving one problem
Payman believes that entrepreneurs don't always need to focus on solving just one problem; instead, they should trust their instincts even if it means solving multiple problems simultaneously.
Several years ago, one investor commented that Visme needs to focus only on solving one problem, such as helping people create compelling presentations.
"However, my vision was one tool to empower anyone to create all forms of content, including presentations. I appreciate his perspective, but I had to disagree with it. I decided to go with my gut feeling," says Payman.
At its core, Visme was built to solve two fundamental issues that he felt strongly about.
The first was to have a single user interface that let folks create all content types instead of having to use five different tools – with each have their own learning curve, subscription fee, and so on.
The second was to strike a balance between simplicity and power. He envisioned Visme as a platform to empower non-designers, helping them create “extraordinary and engaging” content without the complexity of more advanced tools.
These two problems required a product that did not focus solely on helping users create presentations. Rather, it called for an app that could generate all types of content.
In contrast to Visme’s design-centric functions, Respona allows businesses to create online relationships with bloggers and journalists via a single platform.
While Visme and Respona are two very different products, they differentiate themselves from industry competitors by being more affordable and improving productivity for their users, says Payman.
He adds that when building Visme, he had to go against the grain many times. He urges marketers and entrepreneurs to trust their gut feelings and hone their instincts, noting that a gut feeling pushed his company to success.
A piece of advice
For B2B SaaS marketers, Payman suggests focusing on doing two to three things very well.
"It is very tough to do that because most experiments fail or do not have ROI. More often, you are doing them wrong, or you did not spend enough time refining, improving, and making them work. Your job is to find the two to three things that work and scale on those," he explains.
In Visme’s case, the team was able to grow primarily via SEO, influencer campaigns, and co-marketing campaigns. Interested marketers can check out the company’s strategies in this ebook.
Payman adds that Visme's journey has not been a straight road, and it's come with many hurdles and challenges. As such, he believes it's important to learn, refine your methods, and continue ahead at every turn. He admits that if he could go back to the beginning, he would have changed his market strategy to raise more product awareness.
"Work really hard and be consistent," he says. That is the simple marketing philosophy Payman aims to impart to every marketer and entrepreneur.
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