Congratulations, you’ve had your brilliant idea. You’ve got your start-up off the ground and even got your first few customers. But there’s a problem. If you want to grow your business, you are going to need marketing.
Marketing is frustrating
For many technologists and entrepreneurs, marketing is a frustrating mix of off-the-wall creativity and strange faith in something that’s hard to believe in. Won’t people buy once they understand the logic of how your service or product helps? We know enough from behavioral economics (the science of why people buy) that information and logic are not enough to drive sales. But if you love data and statistics, there is good news.
Marketing based on data
The great news about modern marketing is that it can now be data-driven. When John Wanamaker uttered his infamous phrase “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half,” he was not living in a digital age. Because you are, marketing is now a new science with six critical steps.
Big data is big business ($100 billion and counting). It is growing at 10% per annum, which is twice as fast as the software business in general.
Get your business found online
If you want to sell beyond your local area then you need your business to get found online. To do this:
1. Create a website that is attractive for humans to read and friendly for search engines like Google and Bing to index. You don’t need the world’s most amazing webdesign, you just need a functional website that you can control and update regularly. If you can’t get your website updated within say 24 hours of having a new idea, the process is too slow and you need to think again.
2. Publish regular remarkable content that entices humans and search engines to come back often. Monthly updates to a blog won’t attract enough new followers for anything other than a hobby site. If you are running a serious business you need to update web pages and provide new remarkable content multiple times per month as a minimum.
In June 2012, 1.47 billion searchers conducted 173 billion searches making for 117 searches for every searcher on the planet.
3. Add in social media
Now you need to add as a minimum two social media tools. If your audience is consumers then Facebook should be your starting point. If you are selling to other businesses then LinkedIn would be an ideal place to start. In either case adding Twitter to the mix should get you going, but there are hundreds of social media outlets and over time you should indeed add others that fit with your market. You want to be seen where your target audience ‘hangs out.’
Prepare for Data-Driven Marketing
4. Track your performance
Now you have the foundations for data-driven marketing, but one vital aspect is missing: measurement. While John Wanamaker didn’t have the tools to measure his spend on marketing, you do, and some are even free. Install tracking software on your website like Google Analytics (free), or for more advanced metrics take a look at KissMetrics, Marketo, or Hubspot (all paid) to get really comprehensive metrics and analysis of your users’ behaviour.
The average cost of acquiring a lead using data-driven marketing is 61% lower than from outdated marketing methods Hubspot
4. Now you need to give away much of your product or service information for free!
Moneyis usually the toughest problem for start-ups and new entrepreneurs so when I tell people they need to give away content for free, there are often a lot of anxious individuals in the room. You don’t have to give away your core business but you do have to give away information and guidance that does two things.
Why should I give away free information?
You are reading this article for free right? And if you find it helpful you’d be willing to come back and read anotherto find out more about how to use data-driven marketing to promote your business? You give of your expertise and in return, you get interested potential customers who have put their handup and said “I am interested in your company, and what you do,” making it easier for you to retain customers and make sales.
5. Gather permissions
If you are giving away free information, people will be willing to provide you with two vital responses. First their email address (to receive whatever resource you are giving them) and most importantly their permission to contact them in the future with relevant offers. This is a fantastic way for you to build your contact base.
6. Look after your leads
Once a website visitor has downloaded some of your content they then become a lead. A lead has already shown some interest in your product or service so now you need to help them make the buying decision. You do this by sending regular information and education resources to show how your product helps them do something they see as important, and why your business is best placed to help them do this.
If you are developing your own data-driven marketing plan, or bringing in an agency to help follow these six steps to data-driven marketing for entrepreneurs and start-ups, remember that website visitors are a good and important indicator of your growing success, but the only measure that really matters is sales. Keep focussed on sales and profits and don’t be fooled by just getting more website visitors.
About the author:
Chris Markham is owner and founder at Bizfix Data-Driven Marketing Agency. With a background in communications for some of the world’s biggest companies including Vodafone, BT and British Airways, he’s using new data-analytics technology and findings from behavioral economics (the science of why people buy) to help clients get found online and to convert leads into customers. He would love to connect with you on LinkedIn