Part 3: Generating Media Buzz and Building Your Community
Define and Become Visible with Influencers
In regards to your launch, which 10 people do you think would be most impactful if they wrote about your product? You don’t just want to define a Top 10 list of publications like VentureBeat and TechCrunch, but want to pick out the specific writers who cover launches, cool products, crowdfunds, or entrepreneurial stories like yours. This list of influencers can also be comprised of independents surrounding your niche.
Next, follow these key players, and engage with the content they produce regularly via commenting forums, social media, at networking events etc. Eventually, some of the key players on your “hit list” will begin to take notice. This will allow for much warmer introductions when you’re pitching your launch to the media. It will be near impossible to host an explosive crowdfunding campaign without some media coverage, so it’s worth trying to make media “friends”, uncovering a narrative that’s interesting and uniquely yours, and perfecting your pitch.
Keeping Up Pre-Crowdfund
- Build Media Lists--Use services like Google Alerts, BuzzSumo, and JustReachOut to find media contacts based on the latest media hits for topics within your domain. Also, stay on top of your Top 10 influencers by categorizing them into these lists. Engage with these contacts to get them warmed up for eventual pitches come launch-time.
- Track Your Media Mentions--Implementing a service like Mention is super valuable for keeping track of, and responding to any media shout out you may get. Mention acts in real-time, trolling the internet to report if anyone--large and small--is talking about you.
- Talk to Your Followers and Subscribers--One of the best ways to attract new followers and future customers is through existing promoters. Your current followers and subscribers have the power to be brand ambassadors within their networks. Share fun updates, have a personality on social, and keep your peeps excited for your launch via email newsletters, exclusive content and so forth. If you make things exciting enough, followers won’t resist sharing you with their friends.
STEP 4: Solve the Paid Ad Riddle
It’s been estimated that the traffic from crowdfunding marketplaces like Kickstarter and Indiegogo will only boost your sales by 5-10% (yes, even if you’re a staff pick!). Therefore, no matter how you crowdfund, it’s up to you to generate all the hype and traffic. A pivotal part of this is solving the paid marketing equation by balancing out the cost of acquiring a new customer.
Fortunately, today more than ever, it’s easier to hack and hustle your own paid marketing efforts to the top. In fact, anyone can access dozens of incredibly powerful--and often free--marketing tools, alongside countless social and content distribution platforms that can connect you to hundreds of millions of potential customers and partners instantly.
As we mentioned in Step 1 of this Marketing chapter, tracking and analysis is the foundation of any great marketing. "CPC" (cost-per-click) or PPC (pay-per-click) marketing efforts can only be employed successfully when customer data is at the core. In order to crack the code, you need to use analytics from your website to understand your customers, and properly test your way to the top.
To recap, in order to gather the proper data required to test paid advertising, you’ll need to:
Fun Fact: Several marketers familiar with all the latest and best practices in paid channels were recently asked what they'd do with just $10 a day. The answer: Spend it on Facebook.
Tips to Get Started with Paid Ads and Acquisition
- Start with Facebook--It’s easy, straight forward, and according to experts when asked how they’d spend $10 a day on marketing, is the number one chosen outlet to drive visitors and leads. Test Facebook ads, boosting original content from your blog, and starting a “Like” campaign.
- Try Adwords--Start a campaign with the keyword phrases that are relevant to your brand. Keep a lookout for “long tail keywords”. “These keywords are the longer, more specific keywords that, when added together, make up the majority of search-driven traffic.” Work with these phrases, and test the traffic coming through Google. Adwords is more complicated and time-consuming to manage, but depending on how “cluttered” your space is, could work well.
- Test Other Platforms--There are several platforms that you can test paid ads on--it doesn’t have to be all about Facebook and Google. Each platforms comes with a unique set of pros and cons, so see which is right for your budget, audience, and upcoming crowdfund.
- Iterate on Ad Copy--If your ads aren’t performing like you’d expect, or you want to turn a good thing into something great, play with your ad copy. Generate and test headlines that’ll rise above the clutter, but can also mirror the messaging on your landing pages. Use a service like Optimizely to get real-time data on which headlines and messages perform better.
- Contract a Paid Acquisition Expert-- This might just be for a small project, or for the short-term, but true CPC experts will be able to help you define best keywords, optimize campaigns, and lay the groundwork for you to takeover and continue efforts. Why do we suggest contracting a guru instead of hiring? Simple: If they’re any good, you won’t be able to afford them unless they’re part of a team that handles numerous clients. The best CPC teams will quickly uncover high-converting alternative channels for you to run with.
Once you’ve starting with paid ads, you should update and build your landing pages to:
- Match the ad campaigns. The wording, headline, or promise that enticed visitors to come check you out, should be replicated on the landing page. Consistency equals legitimacy.
- Be the destination for your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Your landing pages should be where these ads take visitors. Ensure headlines, copy, and design are consistent. Read more in this article on High Performance PPC by Unbounce.
- Be Designed with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in Mind. Build your landing pages strategically around the search terms that will fetch customers, and improve page rank. This means the right title tag, meta description, headline etc.
- Be segmented by traffic source/customer groupings. Send email, social media, banner traffic etc., to different landing pages to better message and measure audience segments. Landing pages are not one-size-fits-all. Find out which channels perform best, what messages resonate, and which customer types are sticking.
Today's consumers are more selective than ever. They don't respond to flashy ads, but prefer relevant, intriguing, or useful information offered at the right time, in the right way. On one hand, this makes your job tricky, but on another, you’ve got endless expertise and resources available to get you thinking like your customers.
Like SEO, paid advertising and marketing can be challenging to grasp. To build on some of the basics we’ve covered, check out these great resources:
- 5 Things You Must Do Before Jumping Into Paid Internet Advertising
- $9 Marketing Stack for Bootstrappers
- How 6 Pro Marketers Would Spend $10/day Buying Website Traffic
- Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers
- 100 Days of Growth
When it comes to marketing for your launch, a lot of foundational work needs to be done. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, the sky's the limit when it comes to building up campaign buzz. If you market, and market well, the return on your efforts will become tenfold, turning your sweat and dollars into a low-maintenance, well-oiled machine.
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