“I get the immediate question” says Kevin E. Thompson, CPA; “what does a CPA know about Marketing?” “A great question” says Thompson and replies “I know very, very little and it is still worthwhile to share these small, low-cost opportunities to grow business.”
Facebook, Mint.com and AppSumo.com have collectively reached almost 1.5 billion people due to their remarkable marketing strategies. An insider relates what he’s learned from working with all three companies.
Give your audience something they want as an incentive. – Think about offering targeted promotions, partnerships, special access that’s compelling enough for them to want to have. Mint.com launched their online site with more traffic than their competitors because they incentivized people who opted in early by offering them a badge they could place on their own websites that read, “I want Mint,” or “My money’s on Mint.” Bloggers from all over the Internet who were in personal finance began to promote the site. They wrote positive reviews and created the buzz.
AppSumo became known for their giveaways. One offered 10 free Dropbox pro accounts for life. If they shared the giveaway on social media, they earned more entries. This strategy earned them over 50,000 email opt-ins. Dropbox had a similar audience so it was a match made in heaven.
Tips to incentivize:
- Offer special access or a giveaway that includes entries for sharing.
- Be clear to your readers what they will be receiving and emphasize that there is limited time or the incentive is scarce.
- Work with other businesses to do cross promotions. This allows you to access their audiences. “This is a great and easy” says Thompson. “My wife owns and operates a bridal salon. On Saturday, the busiest day of the week, she has the local bakery bring in cake samples for brides and family. This allows the bakery to get in front of the bride before they make the decision on the cake for the wedding.”
Ask to Sponsor a website - Up and coming sites rather than the most popular ones give you a better chance of developing a strong relationship. You can find sites that resonate with your customers by checking out the website Buzzsumo and enter in your niche topic or your website address.
Contact the creators and influencers sharing your posts about sponsoring their site.
Survey your current readers to find out what other sites they visit in your niche.
Email sites with the subject line “Sponsoring Your site” and see what response you get.
Focus on listening to your audience and create content to educate them. – Add a blog to your site with articles that provide valuable content to gain trust with potential customers. Mint.com, a website that requires its readers to enter their banking and credit card info, was able to gain trust by providing a blog that educated readers about personal finance issues. The blog receives high traffic and interest.
Learn from failures by listening and deciphering your audience’s fears and desires and then tweak your strategy for better results.
Create an email drip campaign using an auto responder system to further educate your audience and build a relationship with them.
Expand Internationally – Facebook reported in 2013 that less than 20% of its audience came from the US and Canada. The company localized language for countries where the social network was available. Use Facebook ads or other affordable options, targeted at various countries to build international presence. “One of our three primary focuses for growth in 2014-2015 is international tax compliance. Look for us to be using FB to assist in that growth” says Thompson. “My Marketing Director, Hillary, with Top Hat Marketing, has been testing our results with FB for several months. We look forward to an emerging campaign that will drive new international customers to our offices.”
Be clear on what your niche is and make sure it is marketable. –
A successful niche must be able to solve other people’s problems. “For years” says Kevin, “my experts would tell me it was all about niche marketing. Although I listened to what they said, I never heard nor acted on the advice. We have always had a niche in the entertainment business but never really marketed to it. With FB and other social sites, we can get in front of potential customers very efficiently.”
Invest in an attractive design for your online presence. This includes your website and landing pages. Consider how your design communicates your brand’s trustworthiness.
Before invest heavily in design, make sure your niche idea is marketable enough and that you can provide a solution for your customers that will make you a profit.
Use your knowledge to create content – Find out what readers are looking for on the Internet that relates to your niche. Facebook, for example, has trending topics. Build content and products based on those trends. Be willing to show how you may have been wrong, how you changed your mind about something or how you came up with your solution.
If something is working, run with it. – Facebook realized that importing address books and emailing those people built their audience significantly. They began to add a variety of address books. They eventually bought a company that imported addresses. Mint.com was very successful in providing infographics. AppSumo found that spending money for ads was making them money. They increased their ad budget.
It’s important to track what is giving you results in your business. “My friend Dave Williams, may he rest in peace, always said you get what you measure. So track where customers come from and do more of that.”
Focus on the actions that bring you results. “In our Action Tax division, little cards attached to tax returns that said WE LIKE REFERRALS gave us new customers every year.”
Survey your customers regularly to find out where they found you and what their experience has been with your company.
Find a way to get your customers to give you permission to talk to them.
The most important business building tool is to collect email addresses from customers who have opted in to receive your content. Install an opt-in box with a compelling incentive to get potential customers to opt-in. It is illegal to communicate with them without permission.
Realize that what works for others in your niche may not work for you. – You may read tons of marketing strategy but that doesn’t mean it will work for your particular business. For example, Facebook never did content marketing. They relied on word of mouth, SEO and address book importing. Mint grew from SEO and by targeting small blogs in the personal finance space. AppSumo didn’t get any bang from using SEO at all. Their subscribers came from product promotion, free incentives and ads.
Each company must create a marketing plan that works for their own individual needs.
Focus on analyzing trends and results to come up with a marketing plan that fits your business.
Take other successful companies strategies and only take away what would actually work for your company. Don’t try to force a strategy that is clearly not a fit. “I call that R & D “ says Thompson “Rob and Duplicate.”
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