Customer Acquisition · Adwords

Adwords for user acquisition?

Latasa Roland Founder and Technical Lead at Wedding Tasker LLC

August 31st, 2015

I'm co-owner of a new software company. I'm a techie by nature but have been wearing different hats as of lately. Online Marketing and User Acquisition is a gap that I'm trying to fulfill as my time is now limited due to our software needs. 

Our web app launch went okay but one of my main concerns is user growth. It won't matter how great my idea is if there is no traction. With the many online strategies to growyour business, it's often only a few tactics that will really skyrocket your growth.


I'm interested whether anyone has increased their conversion rates with online traffic via Google Adwords. If it has been very useful for them in terms of user acquisition??


Peter Johnston Businesses are composed of pixels, bytes & atoms. All 3 change constantly. I make that change +ve.

September 2nd, 2015

There is a fundamental problem here. And you won't fix it with adwords.

It comes from the 20th century methodology of focusing on the product first. In the industrial age, product was the hard thing to do, especially at scale. Customers were easy.

In the digital world, product is easy, customers are hard.

But there is a spiral. If something fulfils a real need and is well presented, attractively priced and with obvious value, then it gains traction.

This traction becomes a buzz - people tell others, journalists write about it (and beat a path to your door for stories), stores want to stock it (if it is that type of product). The buzz escalates - as more people hear, they tell more people, who tell more people etc. Done well you become the byword for the niche you serve - people talk about their Slack account as almost generic for collaboration, for example, dropbox for their storage etc.

You can help this along the way. Good design, which attracts and presents key hooks in a compelling way. A hype programme which influences the influencers, feeds the journalists and positions you as the default, the growing, the must-have. And an availability programme which makes it easy to sign up, to get onboard, to build it into your daily routines and to share.

But we are afflicted by a sixties sales mindset. Then the key to more sales was to knock on more doors, with the same pitch. Or to advertise, undifferentiatedly to everybody - "hell who cares how many wrong people we waste the time of, as long as we get somebody buying the product".

This push mentality means that rather than fix what is wrong with our product market fit, we'd rather spend fortunes annoying people on Google, sending email after email, or writing content and more content.

But this has a downward spiral. Our cost of sale rockets. And gently people tune out - you are just noise to them. Eventually it all grinds to a messy halt and a forced pivot.

So don't follow the downward spiral - follow the upward one. Build something so compelling people want to talk about it. And by something, I don';t mean a product, but an offering - something people want to use, to subscribe to, to own and will tell their friends about.

There is a key to that.
Get rid of the fixed product and customer mindset.

Stop thinking of people as users - just numbers to validate your product.
Think of yourselves as enablers, helping them to solve a problem, find an opportunity, move their lives forward. Once you see things through their eyes, you'll see why they want it, how many do and how they spread the word. 

Edward M. Yang

August 31st, 2015

Google AdWords can be horrendously expensive. Test carefully, making sure all your code is in place to monitor clickthroughs, conversions etc at every step of the sales process.

Here are 2 articles I came across that you might find immensely helpful:

http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/saas-metrics-2/

http://thenextweb.com/entrepreneur/2015/06/13/43-lessons-growing-from-0-to-1-million-in-revenue-twice/

Rodrigo Vaca Product & Marketing

August 31st, 2015

Not sure what kind of company you are. You say "software" (i.e. SaaS or packaged) but your website suggests you are more of a dev shop.

How you go about acquiring customers will depend on a number of things... if you're a SaaS company you will acquire companies one way and if you're a custom software shop you'll go a different way. And withing those, if you target customers, SMBs, mid-size or enterprise companies you'll go a different way. Mainstream or niche. Short-sales cycle or long-one. Whether there are established competitors or this is an entirely new category.

There are lots of questions you need to answer before you can set on a course.

The economics of each scenario are also very different. Before you start spending money on user acquisition, make sure you have some sort of idea about the economics of your business, your CLTV so you can work back to a reasonable CAC from there.

Here's a primer you an refer to: http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/saas-metrics-2/

Adwords can work, if done right. But it's not a magic wand, and it is not a strategy either.

best of luck,

Rodrigo




Shahab Riazi Sr. Manager, Enterprise Services, SAP

August 31st, 2015

I would suggest looking into well defined Facebook ads instead of google adwords or in addition to it, if you can afford to do that. Facebook ads seem to have worked better for startups that I worked with.  

Anonymous

September 3rd, 2015

Marketing is more than Advertising. Don't think of the 2 as the same. I'd go as far as to say don't spend anything on advertising unless you have a strong competitor with a similar online value proposition.

Embed virality i.e. "word of mouth" marketing within the product itself. With marketplaces its relatively easy to do. A good example is how FD does it - forcing you to bring in references for you to have access to their cofounder network. This automatically gives them a lot of potential cofounder profiles to harvest. Think of what virality you can embed in your product and how the mechanism can work seamlessly and that's the best marketing you can do. If you have to go the advertising way, in my opinion, it may be more rewarding to "sponsor" a local celebrity wedding and get free media coverage for it to establish a beachhead in a particular location and grow with word of mouth from there.

David Still Founder of Start-ups, Entrepreneur, Financier and Advisor

September 2nd, 2015

The co-founders are the heads of sales - personally. With no track record, the product/service is always a bet for the buyer. The buyer needs to trust you. 

Latasa Roland Founder and Technical Lead at Wedding Tasker LLC

August 31st, 2015

Rodrigo,

We have developed an online marketplace specifically geared towards the wedding industry. Thus, we target wedding couples and businesses who have wedding related businesses.

 I hope that helps!

Glenn Donovan Vice President of Sales (fractional)

September 2nd, 2015

Peter is spot on about this. Creating 'pull' is how you build a genuine solution/value proposition. And in order to do this you have to be passionate about the people you are serving and what you are going to do for them. 

The digital world allows you "influence the influencers" and create WOM momentum which will eclipse the entire click-through/eyeball based model. 

I do have one concrete suggestion. You have a "b2b2c" value proposition, so I would carefully consider what both your audiences look like and care about. The messaging and value proposition to wedding services providers will be quite different from what people getting married care about. I also think "buying" eyeballs of those getting married via adwords will be quite expensive, so the comments on modeling CLTV and thinking about acquisition costs is also spot on and central. 

Good luck!

Anonymous

August 31st, 2015

Agree with Edward. Google AdWords could easily get out of hands. My experience is mainly B2B, but considering your LOB I would spend money @ niche magazines -wedding- as well as the ones published in more or less every mid size city in America (200,000+ hab). I just did some quick research, looks like there are tons of events related to your industry... probably the best place to acquire customers. Think about International too... 2nd phase.



Dan Lawrence Head Of Marketing @ MicroMetrics, Director Of Marketing @Signority (Previously)

September 1st, 2015

Latasa,

Your best bet would be to run a small prototype version of the App, find product- market fit and then focus on growth. Finding product-market fit will ensure retention and referrals to further your growth.