Pain Points: A Guide to Finding & Solving Your Customers’ Problems
You should have a defined process for brainstorming and selecting ideas, but also understand that not every idea will work. Do not expect your early SEM ad tests to be profitable. If you can run an ad campaign that gets close to breakeven after a few weeks, then SEM could be the traction channel for you to focus on. A test ad campaign can be as little as four ads that you use to experiment. Areas you should be testing including keywords, ad copy, demographic targeting, landing pages, and CPC bids.
Cost per acquisition CPA is how much it costs you to acquire a customer, and that is ultimately what you need to be testing against. Known as long-tail keywords, they are often less competitive because they have lower search volumes. As such, they are cheaper and so can be more profitable — you just may have to aggregate a lot of them to get the volume you need to move the needle. High quality scores get you better placement on the page and better pric- ing on your ads. The biggest factor in quality scores is CTR.
Ask them to run your ads for a small fee. This is an underutilized strategy in display ads, especially in phase I. The goal with social ads should be to build an audience, engage with that audience over time, and eventually move them to convert to customers. This indirect response strategy usually leads to more conversions than a direct response strategy that tries to get people to convert immediately. The best way to build a presence and engage your audience on social sites is to concentrate on creating less content, but making it highly shareable.
It is hard to predict what will work, so it is often useful to run several small offline ads tests in parallel. Each offline ad medium is testable locally. Then you can scale up to regional or national campaigns if warranted. You can use remnant ads for both initial tests and scaling this channel. The downside is less targeting ability, both in terms of demographics and timing.
Make sure before you set up tests or campaigns that you can trace conversions back to specific offline ads. If you identify some terms that could work, you can further qualify them by running search ads against them to test whether they actually convert customers. Or, if your product can naturally produce good long-tail content, use it to create the landing pages yourself.
Whether you pursue a fat-head or long-tail strategy, SEO comes down to two things: content and links. Link building is often the more challenging of the two. Creating amazing content is one way to quickly build links. These banned tactics will eventually come back to bite you. A company blog can take a significant amount of time to start taking off. Reaching out to influential industry leaders on Twitter, etc. You need to create quality content to succeed in this traction channel.
There is no silver bullet, but a decent approach is to write about problems your target customers have. Another approach not mutually exclusive is to run experiments or use data from your company that leads to a surprising con- clusion. Email marketing is a personal traction channel. Messages come into your inbox along with email from your friends and family. You can utilize email marketing at any step of your relationship with a customer, including customer acquisition, activation, retention, and revenue generation.
Often called life cycle or drip sequences, this technique works best when the series of emails adapts to how people have interacted with your product. There are several types of viral loops including word of mouth, inherent, collaborative, communicative, incentives, embedded, and social. Startups can combine and change types over time, but generally these loops need to be built into the product to work successfully.
The shorter this time, the more loops will occur and the faster you will grow. You might already be viral in a subgroup of your customers. Find that subgroup and focus on it. Successful viral strategy involves constant testing, measurement, and trying new things. It is a numbers and creativity game. No test is too small, as small changes can have big effects over time. Viral loops that work well often have extremely simple components forms, copy, email, etc.
Make sure it naturally leads to your main offering.
The case for spending engineering resources on marketing becomes much stronger when you think about these marketing tools as long-term assets that bring in new leads indefinitely after only a small amount of up-front investment. Perhaps you have already started creating something for yourself that could also be used by potential customers? Another approach is to turn a popular blog post into a microsite.
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Single-purpose tools that solve obvious pain points are best. Put them on their own Web sites and make them easy to find, particularly through search engines. In a standard partnership, two companies work together to make one or both of their products better by leveraging the unique capabilities of the other. Other major types of BD deals include partnerships focused on joint ventures, licensing, distribution, and inventory.
You need to understand why a potential partner might want to work with you. However, it is important you know that online advertising will work best for your business if you have a website for your business. Flyers remain a simple but very effective way to publicise and advertise your business. They usually work best for small businesses that target customers within a particular area such as university campuses, residential estates, offices and industrial areas. In fact, you can design a simple one for yourself using any of the free templates in PowerPoint on your computer.
You can distribute these fliers by yourself or hire some help to work with you. Putting the flyers on parked cars and house entry doors usually work well. You may also encounter some interested people who may want to know more about your business and ask questions. That would be a great time to apply some word-of-mouth advertising to the mix. Flyers worked well for Colin Thornton , one of the inspiring entrepreneurs we profiled here on Smallstarter. You can read his success story here to inspire yourself!
Doing volunteer work is often an overlooked opportunity to enjoy free publicity. Get involved in volunteer work in your community, church or mosque. Sponsor an event or offer your services for free. For some reason, customers love to support businesses that give something back to the society in some way. Most times, all that is required may be your time, effort and encouragement.
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If you plan to use this method of advertising, remember to make sure that all donations, sponsorships and support are done in the name of your business and not yours. We have discussed quite a couple of simple, cheap, interesting and creative ways to spread the word about your small business. While some methods may not work for every business, you will not lose anything by trying them out to see which ones work best for you. Like we mentioned before, the best marketing and advertising strategy is to combine several of these methods to increase the number of customers you can attract to your business.
More customers mean more sales. More sales mean more profits. And profits are always good news for any small business! Have you been having any difficulties with advertising and marketing your products and services? No matter the outcome, good or bad, I would love to hear from you and share your experience. You never know, it may help somebody out there.
Customer relationship management
If you found this article useful, we would appreciate that you share it with your friends using the Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus buttons below. You never know, you could inspire somebody today. Click the course banner below or click here to get started with the course. About the Author: John-Paul Iwuoha.