You built it and they came. Now what?
Most founders I meet deal with this question when it’s too late and they miss out on a big opportunity they had with harnessing the first chunk of visitors.
It’s usually the case of them calling me up saying they just raised some funds and want to spend some of it on marketing, asking for my advice.
Starting the marketing when having no database to work with is obviously much harder and takes longer to grow and optimise.
So the real question is what can startups with no marketing budget do today that will help their future marketer?
Here are the 3 must have items you need to tick off your checklist before you open your site to visitors:
You are probably asking yourself “Retargeting? But that’s a paid advertising thing”, and you are right (in a way).
Just a short recap for those of you who are not familiar with Retargeting (aka Remarketing): It’s a way to present your ads to people who visited your website, as they browse elsewhere around the internet.
The idea is that you target people who already showed interest in your content/service/product but didn’t complete an action. You can get very sophisticated and personalise your ads to the different segments of your visitors etc.
In Facebook for an example, you can even create “lookalike” audience based on your site audience and expand your reach while keeping the same target audience profile.
However, in order for retargeting platforms to work they need to have a database of website visitors in place, and they are collecting it from a pixel you place on your website.
If you start now, they will start collecting the data now, taking the time to be big enough to push any ads. If you have started 5 months ago, you already have 5 months worth of data collected…
Hence, while using the data for advertising cost money, implementing the pixel is free of charge!
Which retargeting pixel should you implement?
You can get a facebook pixel or a Google one straight from your advertising accounts. It’s probably smart to have them both on board in case you end up using/testing the two channels.
Or, you can use pixels from retargeting service providers that will aggregate the data for you under one pixel (and you can use it on various ad-networks and not just on facebook or Google), but that means you would have to use them to manage your retargeting ads later on. Perfect Audience and AdRoll are just 2 examples that are getting very popular lately.
With both Perfect Audience and AdRoll, it won’t cost you anything to set up an account and get the pixel up and running, but if you choose to work with someone else later on or go back to working with facebook pixel directly, you will obviously lose your data. Make sure you make a strategic decision or cover all options 🙂
Why wait with gathering insights to when you’re ready to take on the world? The better you’ll be prepared for launch day, the better your chances for success.
You don’t need to have something very sophisticated in place. It can even just be something like A/B testing the background image, the call to action message on the buttons, the language and slogans you are using etc.
Even a “coming soon” page with email registration can use some A/B testing, so your website is never too big or small for this.
Your developer should be able to set something simple up for you but if you want to take full control and get proper analytics, I suggest you use services like Optimizely or VWO.
These tools help you easily tweak your website from their dashboard without chasing your developer around.
All you need to do is insert a one-time code snippet to your website and start testing.
Trust me, if you are doing email marketing the right way, you would never say “email marketing is dead”. It’s an art and it takes time to nail it, but when you do get it right, it’s like magic! On top of it, a good email list can be translated into a facebook “lookalike” audience to target with ads.
In one of the companies I’m working with, newsletters and email communications accounts for 15% of traffic and over 20% of sales!
And just like in the other 2 items before, it’s all a question of the learning and data collecting curve – why lose valuable chance to build your email list? Why wait with nurturing and educating your potential customers (even if you don’t have marketing budgets)?
Now that we established how important it is to build a list, how do you collect emails?
By doing 2 things: being pro-active and offering users a reason for doing so (what we call a “Lead Magnet”):
Being pro-active with your list building means you don’t just put a “register to my newsletter” link at the website’s footer or on your top menu. It means popping a registration form with the right offer at the right time.
If they try to leave your website, use an exit-intent pop up offering something to try and keep them interested. If they read something and scroll further down, it probably means they like what they read or show interest and that means you can try and capture them on that occasion as well. You can also just pop it up after a certain time they spend on your website. You can even do all or some of those at the same time! One of these pop-ups might catch your user’s attention…
What should you offer?
Discounts, freebees, guides, reports, cheat sheets, handouts, toolkits, resources, psychological reasons (be the first to know when we X, Don’t miss out on Y) – Anything you can give and that the user wants (Make them an offer they can’t refuse).
How to offer?
Below are some nice examples of eye (and heart) grabbing lead magnets. My favorite method is the micro commitment one, where you ask the visitor if she wants X and offer her a YES/NO buttons. Once she clicked on Yes (made a micro commitment), it’s easier to ask for her email address (the bigger commitment):
There are some other things you need to do before launching your product or website (I actually have a whole theory about how to make your pre-launch campaign work and build good relationship with your customers) but I think these 3 represent the things you would usually only start thinking of later down the road when in fact you can outsmart it by starting today.
As usual, if I’m missing anything or you want to have your opinion heard, comment below or tweet me @yifi.