As a startup, I’m afraid you can’t decide to pick only one of the three – you need to fire on all cylinders and the three are very closely intertwined. Too many startups suffer because they focus only on building the product and not on marketing and sales early on. Let’s unpack this further so you know what I mean.
Without doubt, you need to build a technologically robust product – without that, all advertising and PR is worthless. Having said that, you need to be aware of the ‘feature trap’. It is quite common to keep thinking that success is around the corner after the next feature. You need to get a good, viable product out to users and then keep modifying your product roadmap, based on their feedback.
How are you going to get more users? For an ecommerce startup in India, the best channel is still Facebook so you do need to get your FB up and running, at the very least. Organic reach, sadly, is dead so you will have to spend some money here. Before you start any communication, make sure you have sorted out what your brands stands for and what your message is.
PR reaches a different audience – it is mostly for investors and influencers, and not end-users. Don’t spend money on hiring an agency but you definitely need to spend energy on PR. Tweet and comment actively. Write on LinkedIn. Identify journalists and publications that cover startups and reach out to them with press releases.
All the very best and I wish you much success