Armed with an understanding of your target audience, learn how you can develop a website, engage social media, and learn from your early customers to execute and refine your marketing strategies.
So you've developed your positioning statement, you defined your objectives, your content marketing plan, you have a budget and now it's time to execute. The great news is that you have literally hundreds of marketing tactics at your disposal. The bad news is you literally have hundreds of marketing tactics to choose from. There are so many things to do; social media, blogs, trade shows, crowdsourcing. The list goes on and on and on. And the challenge is figuring out which marketing tactics do you choose, how do you manage it all, how much do you spend, and most importantly how do you know if anything is being effective. The whole process can be really overwhelming. But if you stop and go back to the customer development work that Steve Blank talks about in his "Lean Approach" that will really help you structure your thinking. Specifically what he talks about is going back and learning about your target segment. Where do they hang out? Where do they go to learn about your product? Start with your customer target and they will lead you to the right marketing tactics to follow.
A company I worked with was selling a product specific to moms. And they really wanted to be on Twitter. Twitter is a great tactic. But when they really did that customer development work what they realized is moms really learn from other moms. And the mommy blogger network was a much better approach. So for very little money they found a list of mommy bloggers, sent them their product and their service, and they got over 100 people talking about their product. That product was actually picked up by Real Simple and they were off to the races.
Now while there are one or two tactics that you're going to focus on that are related to your specific customer segment, there are a few marketing tactics that are mandatory. They are tablestakes. The first is your website. You probably have a website, but if you're just starting the process I recommend you start with a copy. Write down what you want to say and do it from the point of view of the customer. Speak to them as if you're talking to them in a coffee shop. Once you've written that copy, the second key thing is design. Less is more. Look at sites like Dropbox or Nest or Google. Fewer things on the page draw consumers' attention and is much more likely to be effective.
The third key area with the website is keyword development. And this is really important in terms of optimizing for SEO. And what I mean by that is you want to make sure when a customer is searching for a product on Google or Bing or Yahoo, that your name pops up on the front page. So you can optimize your page by keyword delivery. And in our resource guide we've got some really good tips to help you with that.
Another really important thing about your website is to make sure you have really relevant content. The key is to get users, prospects, customers to keep coming back to your website so you always have your product top of mind. The next key thing is make sure it's responsive. What I mean by that is your customer is going to be looking at your website not just from behind a desk on a PC but they're going to be on the go. So make sure your site looks really good on a tablet or a smart phone.
Number six, make sure your website looks good for media. This is one thing that I see entrepreneurs missing more often than not. Journalists are incredibly busy. They don't have a lot of time to do diligence on your brand. So do the work and heavy lifting for them. I often recommend you have a section on the website specifically for media.
So we've talked about the website. Another key mandatory is obviously social media. So let me just give you a few ideas that might be helpful. First is to claim your name everywhere. Make sure you have good customer profiles on every major social network. Do not forget about Google Plus. It is so important for SEO. And then pick one or two social networks that you think are very relevant to your target. I recommend that you join, you listen, you learn. And then you post in that order. I recommend a ratio of four‑to‑one. Four posts that are really useful for that customer or that prospect and one post that you sell.
As you begin to execute your marketing plan I want to underscore something that is really important. And that is your first customers are the most valuable. Your job is to convert these fans into raving, rabid lunatics. You want them to love your brand, recommend you, and give you invaluable feedback that will help you so much as you develop your product further. It's not a high tech thing. It's really about high touch. So if you're selling a product on Amazon, when they, when someone buys a product, write them a thank you letter. And then if they like the product, they will recommend you on Amazon which is gold. If someone tweets about your product, respond. If you have a Kickstarter campaign, make sure you continue to talk to your backers well after the campaign is over. And I think Hiten Shah of Kiss Metrics said it best when he said, "Your first 1,000 customers are an extension of your customer development." The key is to focus on learning and to make sure that you're continuing for that product market fit.
There are so many amazing customer tactics and tools and people out there willing to help you make sure that your product wins in the marketplace, is relevant for your customer and ultimately helps you do what you want, which is to grow your revenue and make your venture successful.
Dharmesh Shah. Blog Post. Startup Websites That Work.
Renée Warren. Kissmetrics Blog. “Ultimate Guide to Start Up Marketing – Marketing Mix Management”.
McClure, Dave. Slideshare. “Startup Metrics for Pirates”.
Shanelle Mullin. Kissmetrics Blog. “The Beginners Guide to Startup Analytics”.
Questions for You
Have I developed a clear sense of my target customer and where I can reach them?
Do I have a website? Are my objectives clear?
How well am I engaging in social media where my customers are?
How well am I doing in balancing listening and talking?
Questions for Your Team
How can we contribute our knowledge to determining the best way to engage customers?
Tools and Exercises
Identify a person who represents your target and ask them to review your presence - website, social media, presentations, etc. Do they find these relevant to them? Does it explain to the person what the product does? Do they motivate the intended target to use your product or service?