Archive for March, 2010
Smash is all about acquiring customers in a way that is smarter, faster, and cheaper than your competitors can do it. Here’s a list of 5 tips that I keep in my mind.
1. Set a Cost Per Acquisition goal and stick to it. This will force you to be discipline on how you spend your acquisition dollars – and drive further creativity in your campaigns. Plus, you will be a superstar in the eyes of the CEO/Board.
2. Look at channels where others could not make the numbers work. Often you can achieve 3 or 4X conversion rate improvements by using better design, better analytics, better contractors, better targeting. Don’t let the failure of others discourage your best instincts.
3. SEO – SEO is still the most cost effective method of acquiring customers for most startups. For larger brands it is almost always a win as well. Hire one person who really knows their game and supplement them with contractors as needed. As you grow your campaign they will need additional contractor help in analytics, link building-blogger outreach, and writing content.
4. Contractors – Don’t staff up internally in the beginning. Especially for a startup leveraging contractors is a low risk way to test your strategies. Develop a pay-for-performance model for them to earn as they produce results.
5. Use your assets. You may be sitting on a wealth of data, or email addresses, discount codes, etc. Take a core asset of your business and give it to partner sites. Let a publisher run an exclusive story with your data, let a partner send an advertisement to your email list, give a group of bloggers early access to your beta. In return ask for exposure in the form of links, stories, press releases.
What are tips you can give others? Leave some in the comments if you like.
In case you hadn’t noticed: most online marketing SUCKS.
Of course, that’s not surprising since most ALL marketing is pretty much crap too… simply a special case of the “90% of everything is crap” school of thought (words to live by).
But in particular ONLINE marketing — email, search, social, mobile, etc — has made huge advances over the past 5-10 years. There are now a wide variety of relatively inexpensive search & social media tools, techniques & platforms which can be used to connect with people and customers. Some methods have been around a decade or more (email, widgets, Google & Yahoo search), while others are relatively new (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, iPhone). Yet while these channels can easily reach hundreds of millions & are usually rather inexpensive, most marketing dorks have no friggin’ clue what they’re doing with anything more complex than a digital watch.
Simply put: we are cavemen armed with the online equivalent of nuclear weapons. We have enough internet marketing firepower to blow up the Inbox of billions of unwitting victims, but we can’t figure out where to press our grubby little fingers on the damn firing button. Not a very pretty picture, folks.
In addition, most online marketing is MEASURABLE… which historically has hardly ever been true for offline marketing. We have tons of analytics tools and info on how online marketing works, converts, and turns into profitable customers… (or doesn’t, as the case may be). However while all this data seems within reach of our fingertips, with most of it we DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. No split tests, no 1% samples, no demographic analysis. We let marketing metrics slip through our hands worse than Wile E. Coyote losing the RoadRunner.
Lastly, companies big and small have little access to good online marketing talent. Currently most “experienced” marketing folks have limited technical knowledge beyond email campaigns, minimal experience in search, and only marginal understanding of social networks, platforms, and apps. The ones that do have substantial experience with online marketing are likely full-time employed, expensive and difficult to recruit. So how do you ever find a good online marketing person, short of kidnapping them? (Yeah, we know who you are — and you won’t get away with it. Put down the gun & back away… slowly).
Then again, if you’ve got the cash you can always buy the talent you need. But not all of us are loaded, and finding great online marketing folks will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future. Still, perhaps there is a way you can meet talented people and learn about tools and technologies you need to be successful at the same time…
Isn’t it about time you SMASH your Marketing, & make it BETTER?