• Thu. Feb 25th, 2021

today we're gonna talk about startup or small business growth this is part two of our small business growth video the first part you can find in the description the reason I know any of this is because I'm the CEO of a company called slight bean and for the first few years in our company I handle most of our initial marketing experiments so in the previous video we talked about the 19 growth channels available in the world so in this episode I'm going to talk about the ones that we've tried the ones that failed and the ones that worked so this is how to grow a small business part 2 alright so big disclaimer these tactics apply to our particular case to our particular business we are a SAS company with a presentation design product that saves a tremendous amount of time so these might or might not apply to you but hopefully they can give you some ideas another important detail here is that we measure these tactics by their success in terms of ROI time which means money spends in a campaign and then the revenue obtained here are the channels that we tried and failed public relations in the early days we focused a lot of time and effort on being featured by the press there's this thing there's this thing about being featured on TechCrunch this validation of you know being hosted in the the startup site our first TechCrunch publication gave us around 10,000 signups that's when we first launched the product but after that most of our PR has had very low impact in terms of signups and then revenue we've been in TechCrunch a couple more times after that we've been in The Next Web and some others but the impact in terms of revenue has never been clear well there's certainly a brand awareness benefit it's actually very intangible which brings me to an important side topic which is the concept of brand awareness versus direct response I think there are two broad categories of marketing efforts to position a product or service direct response refers to all the campaigns that have a measurable impact on revenue or at least in leads you can very clearly calculate the cost of the campaign versus the revenue received or the number of leads obtained brand awareness campaigns are intangible you can measure the impact of impressions or top-of-mind but there's really no way to know how much revenue is generated many social media efforts billboards are inside that brand awareness category now don't get me wrong brand awareness can go a long way they empower your brand which translates into measurable kpi's such as your conversion rate however it's a long-term bet and we startups often times need quicker results so I believe that a tech startup should spend around three-quarters of their time and money on direct response and the remaining quarter of their time on brand awareness that's the way we do it at least so press has been a good brand awareness campaign for us for the most part but that quarter of our marketing efforts it's currently going to other campaigns that have much more impact email marketing the same way people become ad blind I think that we are much better at detecting promotional emails and Gmail is too so we've never seen too much success with chemic email blasts we have around 1 million emails from people that signed up for a product or that signed up for our newsletters at some point but it's really tough to provide value to such a massive email base also when we send so many emails we have to be very careful about being flagged even though we followed all the guidelines of the spam Act whatever are the unsubscribe button Gmail gets pretty sensitive if we send a lot of emails in a short period of time and then start sending them to the spam folder this happens of course because of low open rates and then some users clicking on that nasty mark as spam but there's also the cost of a mailing system that can hold 1 million emails it's in the thousands of dollars a month we prefer instead to focus emails on the audience of active users who really want to hear from us and email does work great to stay in touch with them but again we mustn't abuse it business development business development is of course a must and we do it we take her time to do business but it's not a channel that we believe is gonna scale our product too much even though most of our customers are small businesses our customer acquisition cycle is really a b2c sale the only way to win in our case is to get thousands of customers through a funnel and that is more easily achieved with channels that will cover in a minute affiliate programs we do have an affiliate program you can make around 30 bucks for every customer that you bring to sly bean both so far only a handful of users have come from these affiliates not really something that we rely on to scale offline events we've done a few mediums and we love doing them but they don't translate into sales more of our brand awareness sort of thing some of that quarter of the time budget will continue to go to these speaking engagements so I do public speaking events all the time and I'm always thrilled to be invited but it's really hard to get people to take action are listening to you on stage once again it's more of a brand awareness sort of thing so enough with the fails let's talk about the channels that worked search engine marketing I think this is one of the most critical growth channels out there and let me explain why the core difference between Google search ads and display ads is a concept called moment of intent Facebook is really good at targeting people based on their behavior we know very well how bad that can be however when you see an ad for a presentation platform on Facebook or for any product for that matter it's disrupting to your experience you're on Facebook or Instagram to do something else and these ads are in the way you're not ready to buy you are not even planning to buy the moment of intent is far away search ads on the other hand are very well targeted at the perfect moment of intent if you're in your cell phone looking for a car towing service you are very likely in need of a car towing service right now if you're looking for a platform to make a pitch stick you know you need a pitch stick you're just looking for the service that you're gonna use to make it so the decision is made it's the right moment of intent this is why search ads are generally more expensive certainly more expensive than display ads but at the same time they're one of the most direct ways to convert customers we spent over $100,000 a year on search ads and we make at least $300,000 in revenue from them SEO if you can crack the code on sem search engine marketing then the next obvious step is SEO we made a video about this on our very early youtube channel where a drunk me and younger me tries to explain this while drinking Jagermeister shots they are not our best YouTube times but the idea here is that only about 10% of youTube searches end up clicking an app the other 90 percent goes for organic results the problem is appearing in those organic results takes a lot of work it's really years of optimization hundreds of articles and thousands of dollars you only want to do that you only want to go through that effort when you know for a fact that the audience is there and that it's going to convert that's where SEM is vital so the basic steps first identify keywords that your customers are looking for pay for some ads and test if the customer acquisition economics work you make more money than what it costs you to acquire a customer if the economics don't work then you have to adjust your conversion funnel or even your pricing until you get to work when it does and you know that you can make the money back with the customer conversions then scale the budget you know that you're gonna get the money back so it doesn't matter and then finally once you have these keywords you can start working on ranking organically for them which is of course a ton of work that's gonna take a lot of time engineering as marketing our engineering as marketing product was burned really as a new startup idea but it ended up becoming a fantastic lead generator and brand awareness and rank strengthening mechanism it's called founder hub it's basically a checklist for starting a company with some excellent documentation on how to solve the legal bits the business strategy and the launch stuff it's free but by the time you get to the fundraising part we hope you consider using our product content marketing you're watching our content marketing efforts right now and they work to give you an idea this channel now gets around 250,000 views per month and it's still growing you have any idea how much those would cost on YouTube sponsorships it's usually a five digit number for a channel this large and we get the same exposure for free we also ask every one of our customers when they convert where they originally heard about us in September 2019 at least $20,000 in revenue came directly from people that said that they heard about us on YouTube by the way it took us years to figure these out a bunch of failed YouTube series and we still spend around $5,000 a month in making these videos we have a video about that but it's all worth it before YouTube our content marketing focused on the blog and it also worked it was an essential part of our SEO strategy but who reads blogs anymore we also come up with actionable items for our videos like telling you that if you want your presentations to look like this you can sign up for one free month on any of our plans by using the link in the description see last but not least social and display ads so we mostly use these to close the conversion loop maybe you watch this video and then you start seeing our ad everywhere well that's a lot better and cheaper than just pushing those ads to strangers who have never seen our brand or logo or my face we also have these display ads as part of our onboarding so different users in different parts of our sales cycle see ads to help them you know back into the funnel or to show a feature that they might be missing and that is how we use the channels of growth we'd love to hear whether your company is doing and if you want me to dig deeper into any of these let us know in the comments see you next week [Music]

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