Wanted to share a few things I've learned regarding marketing as a bootstrapped entrepreneur.
Before you rush to buy ads and acquire traffic -Try to use as many free tools as possible to create your web presence and run your BI, to list some of them: Canva, Hotjar, MOZ, MarvelApp, Google Trends, Medium, Groups, Forums, Google Analytics, Similarweb
Now that you're all set to start your paid marketing campaign remember the most important thing -Be patient and optimize based on data, not hunchs. Running an ad campaign is like stock trading, don't put all your eggs in one basket, try various ad creative, content, LP's, messages, audiences etc.. Not every channel works for everyone, so try to understand where your users are most likely to engage, put your self in their shoes.
Now regarding the campaign itself :
Set Business Objectives : (Increase brand awareness, Increase sales, Increase customer retention, Reduce cost per lead, Reduce cost per acquisition, etc...)
After you set the business objective – define your goals: for example: if your business objective is to increase sales than think of the goals you need to achieve like: Increase the conversion rate on my website, Reduce cart abandonment, Increase average order size, Explore new market etc...
Setting Key Performance Indicators (KPI) - you want them to be measurable so you'll know if the campaign achieved its purpose. Let's take reduce cart abandonment as an example: determine your current cart abandonment say it's 80% ( average is 74% I think) then Set KPI’s ( I want to reduce my cart abandonment from 80% to 75%), beforehand make sure that you find the leaky spots - and fix them - Make navigation from shop to cart convenient, add reassuring trust elements (SSL, Q&A, Return policy, Trustpilot etc..)
Ask yourself who want what I have to offer (yes I know that everyone will want what you have to offer as it so amazing, but try to divide them to those who are actively looking for your product/service, they need it so bad that all you need to do is present it to them, those who are looking for similar stuff, they need it but they have alternative and those whom you'll need to convince that they'll need it.
Once you'll do that it will be easier for you to decide on which channel to promote your offer and what is the message. for the first kind of people explore where they're talking about it (mostly search ads are the best way to go) for the second type, ask yourself what is the most unique about my offer (USP), why someone would buy from me and not from the other guy, price, convenience, trust, customer service, shipping, easy to use, etc...
these people need some more time to decide, so be patient and convince them - find out where they are exploring their alternative: competitor BI.
Now for the boring/functional part:
When you run ads online you have two main options: Programmatic and Direct Ad Buying - Direct buying occurs when you buy impressions in bulk. Programmatic buying occurs when a DSP automatically and instantaneously place ads on publishers’ sites after evaluating the quality of individual impressions from the best bidder.... :)
Which means: It’s about serving relevant advertising to the right person at the right time.
So when working on programmatic media buy (FB, Google, and a lot of other display DSP's ) you need to identify the right audience, which means building user persona: depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas, or as many as 10 or 20. so how'll you find the right user persona: think who involved in the decision making process regarding your product or service than start to:
Talk With Your Customers
Sample Multiple Data Streams
Facebook Audience Insights
Clearly Define Each Persona's Pain Points
Craft A Psychographic Profile
Focus On The Most Important Persona
After you've built your ideal user persona: ask yourself what is the value I'll bring them - explains how your product solves customers’ problems or improves their situation - your customers are usually interested in your company product/service because they have a problem that needs solving
Delivers specific benefits - how do you make your customers feel?
Tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not from the competition.
Remember your ad is not a billboard: narrowly target your audience and write to them. To be effective in advertising in the online ecosystem, you must write as you’re writing to one person—and one person alone.
This person, your target, is the one you need to convey. Just as though you were an in-person salesperson, you need to focus all your attention on this person and their needs. Everything in your ad needs to lead to a clear action - stay focused with one call-to-action
Use simple language that’s easy to understand
What you’re offering
How it benefits them
What to do next
Be upfront about the prices- if you’re selling a physical product, people want to know how much it costs
KISS- Keep It Simple Stupid
Choosing a channel :
Advertising is an art, not a science
What works for one product or service may not work for you or the next one
There are many different variables that can affect the results of an advertising campaign—from ad copy to the weather
Test the effectiveness of your message in each media to find the best vehicle for promoting your product - do so by :
Audience research - In which channel can I reach my target audience at a moment when they will pay attention and care about my story?
Where is my competitor's advertising?
Always be testing - The only way is to test things yourself. Run low-cost experiments to test how your customers engage on a new media platform
Neglected channels -Sending letters could generate a much higher return on marketing investment than doing email marketing.
Use images carefully- humans are social, and we’re wired to look where other humans are looking. so if you'll put an image of a person looking at the audience the audience will look back at him and not at your message and call to action.
Track every step of the way and optimize based on data
Hope you find it useful, also created a spreadsheet with some of the tools and platforms that helped me start and scale
This is some great advice! Two of my favorite resources:
Thanks for sharing your valuable lessons. When I opened the excel, I could see at least 5 users viewing it. :)
The excel is really helpful since it provides an end-to-end view on what are different tools which one can implement to run a successful SaaS business. Would you consider predicting churning customers using tools like Datoin be helpful?
Useful article, thanks for it. I've been using email marketing for years, but now I want to try another strategy. My co-worker advised me to try SMS marketing and even recommended service. Has anyone know about testelium functions?
Interesting food for thought! A few notes though:
I hope I've added a bit without taking away from the solid work you put in. Great job adding value to the community here!