We learn a lot over here, and perhaps one of the most important things we learn about is how to grow a user base. This is something that is important for all software companies, and especially B2C companies like us. A workshop we had over at 500-startups with Sean Percival was especially insightful around this topic. Here 9 of the best tips we have received, freely retold from memory.
1. Never say ”We did this with no marketing”
One of the most important things you do at an early stage is to know what kind of marketing works and what doesn’t. To successfully scale, you will have to use marketing, and if you say “we did this with no marketing” it means at best that you’ve actually done some marketing, but you have no clue what actually worked and didn’t. At worst, saying this means that reaching the stage you are currently at is pure luck, and will not in any way mean that you can anticipate the same luck going forward.
2. Don’t hire a CMO too early
The right CMO for a company that is dependent on traction is often a person that is triggered by performance-based incentives. If you hire this person as a CMO directly there will be no way to climb the career ladder in your company.
3. Focus on the numbers
One of most important numbers for any startup is CAC – Customer Acquisition Cost. It is important to try at least 5 different paid campaigns, so you know which is the most efficient and at the same time figure out your lowest CAC. But you can’t stop there. Only using CAC can be dangerous. For example: If you have figured out an extremely low CAC of $0.1 but all the costumers you acquire with this method use your product once and never return, the number is of no value to you unless you are creating a something like a $1 app that gives you a one-time-only valid lottery ticket. The point is, CAC has to be seen together with the lifetime-value of that same costumer.
4. Get a jr. analyst early on
A person focusing solely on metrics, especially regarding what works when it comes to marketing could actually be a make it or break it feature for many B2C companies.
5. Don’t partner with other startups (when it comes to marketing)
This might seem counterintuitive and depends on the type of startup, but as a general rule, other startups have exactly the same challenges as you do with marketing. The things a partnership with another startup can help you with is most likely not the things you need help with the most and will take up a lot of time you instead should use on some of the other points in this blog post J.
6. Get BFF with the most jr. writers in publications
The jr writers are often easy to find and easy to make friends with. They are still so new that they do not get hundreds of pitches in their inbox every day, and some of them will most definitely reach an influential position before you know it.
7. Send out emails regularly
All the large companies do it, why shouldn’t you? Don’t be afraid of spamming your users. You might get old users back to your service, and increased activity. Worst thing that can happen is that a user unsubscribes from your email list. Chances are that they wouldn’t have been interested in reading that “one extremely important email” you were saving yourself for anyway.
8. Re-target your customers
Software companies should have a focus on re-targeting through tracking. For e-commerce, retargeting has been an important part of business for a long time. Think about it after the next time you’ve entered a web-shop. Do you find sponsored stories in your Facebook-feed from that very same web-shop? Facebook is one of the most sophisticated re-targeting platforms around, and you are actually traced on every single move you make on a lot of web-shops. Here is a list of all the triggers on web-shops that can be used for retargeting:
This might seem a little on the edge privacy-wise, however, isn’t it more interesting to see an ad for a cool new second-hand app you just checked out and can relate to, than for some random diaper brand? – you don’t even have a kid yet!
9. Create a blog post about some informative stuff
In this way, the readers will actually feel like they have gotten something out of reading the post themselves, and might even re-share your post which again can lead to increased PR! So, thanks for reading, and please re-share if you found this interesting! ;)