So you’ve built a killer web application (lets call it “Killer App A”) and you’re ready to take over the world with it. Now what?
How exactly do you get the rest of this planet excited or even aware of your new whizz-bang Killer App A? How do you get it out there and build an audience for your product with a bootstrapped startup’s budget?
Just like conventional offline marketing, every startup marketer needs to understand the basic marketing tenets of Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning if you’re to succeed. Once you’ve identified your target segment and customer - you’ll need to find the best way to reach these target customers.
Unfortunately, simply knowing who your target customer is - isn’t going to be good enough because you don’t have the budget to hire marketing suits to help you reach these customers. Fortunately for all of us, the Internet today offers a host of options to get Killer App A out to the people who matter - it just takes a little work and a healthy dose of creativity to succeed.
3 Questions to ask about your target Customers?
Once you’ve identified your target customer - you’ll need to know where to find your target customer, or more specifically, where on the Internet your potential customers are spending their time and attention - so you can get “Killer App A” in front of them.
Typically you need to be able to answer the following questions about your target customers:
1) Which websites or blogs does a typical customer visit?
2) Who are the influencers or mover and shakers that your target customers are paying attention to?
3) Are there online Communities, Forums or Social Networks that your customers congregate at?
Answering these basic questions will help you formulate the most cost effective strategy for customer acquisition - allowing you to channel your limited resources towards the most relevant customer sources.
Start Here… Google Alerts
The first thing I’d recommend for anyone trying to reach their customers is to create a set of Google Alerts. Google Alerts are a great way to keep up to date with the latest on any topic on the Internet, and thats exactly what you want to do for the keywords (topics) that matter to you and your customers. You can set it up to recieve daily alerts and once you’ve found a site thats relevant - you’ll want to Engage, Engage, Engage.
Here at Creately.com - we’re interested in customers who draw technical and business diagrams - so we’ve set up Google Alerts which point us to sites, blogs and online conversations where these are being discussed.
Then we engage in the blogs and forums that discuss these topics - initially by offering to help and providing useful information and resources to gain credibility in the community. And finally introducing your product/service where appropriate (Note: Posting about your product without engagement can be counter-productive). This is a great way to reach out! Once you’re known within the community, you can also send out direct emails to bloggers requesting them to review your startup - this sure beats a standardized email from an unknown startup.
Where are your competitors reaching customers?
Another nifty trick is to set up Google Alerts for you competitor’s product or brand. If someone’s talking about your competitor on a website or blog - that probably means there’s a keen interest from the Blog’s author and readers in your particular space or product. As long as your product can add value to the discussion, there is no reason why you shouldn’t engage with this blog/site to put forward Killer App A.
Another great source for potential customers is getting featured on one of the leading Technology blogs like TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb or Mashable. These sites can drive a lot of traffic to your website but simply relying on these tech blogs is not good enough to grow your startup’s web-presence (Read more about the Techcrunch bump here).
Here are some good tips to help you get featured.
Besides these high traffic blogs there are a host of very useful niche blogs that may be relevant to your target customer base. But, how will you find these niche blogs? Marshall Kirkpatrick (from RWW fame) has a good post on finding the right sites on his blog.
Directories (Google Loves them)
Now, just as how review sites are paramount to any startup it is equally important to get listed in Directories. DMOZ is one such prestigious directory, and so is MakeUseOf.com, and KillerStartups.com. Bookmark these URLs and read these posts for useful tips for getting Killer App A listed on them:
Good backlinks from these reputable Tech Blogs and Directories help build your business’s reach and gain credibility in a very competitive startup environment. Besides being a great way of acquiring initial traffic, these listings improve your site’s Google Page Rank by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to your pages.
Content is King
Reviews and listings will drive good traffic, but to convert the traffic into customers there’s a lot more work to be done - we’ll discuss some strategies for conversion in another post. In the meantime, you need to be constantly engaging with the communities that will drive customers your way. Write blog posts that appeal to your target customer, always using appropriate titles to capture the attention of readers. The goals of your blog posts should be to educate, inform and to generate comments.
Social Media is your Friend
You’ve written your posts and published them - now its time to make sure you get the maximum leverage from your effort. Social media plays a key role here, so make sure you have profiles on popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Digg and loads more. Submit your blog posts with a back link to your blog or site. Remember to make your interactions with members on social networks a 2-way dialogue by answering their questions and helping the community where possible.
And Yes, at Cinergix we do a lot of hardwork to create a buzz about Creately! We aim at having as many reviews, listings and social media presence as possible. These tips may not work all the time, but keep at it and I assure you it will pay off.
Here’s a simple diagram featuring Creately’s Reviews from 10 review sites.
We hope you’ve found this post useful for your own Killer App - we’d love to hear of other innovative things you do to get your product out to the world.
@Charan & @Indu