Neil Patel gave us some tips on how to blow up your online presence without spending too much.
Neil Patel is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and digital marketing specialist. He co-founded Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, and he has spoken at over 100 web marketing conferences. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 online marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world. He was recognized as one among the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations. Neil has also been awarded Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives. Excerpts:
What comes first – inbound or outbound marketing?
Neil Patel (NP) – Focus on inbound. There is much more volume that you can receive from inbound market than outbound. And the digital and mobile age actually demands it. Inbound marketing is also an effective recession-buster, as it lets you reach more promising customers with a lower cost and less effort than more traditional methods. Particularly for startup companies, using traditional advertising and marketing methods can get expensive, especially if you’re up against an established company with more money than you. Inbound marketing, on other hand, will help you capture attention, generate leads, convert customers and keep those customers, all at a lower cost to you, than your competition.
For an online service or product, how does one organically attract the first 1000 users? Are there any specific strategies around how to approach them and where to acquire the user databases from?
NP – All of the first customers are going to be from your own network, from the people that you know. You just need to continually go out there and try to convince people to sign up. You shouldn’t worry about your first few sign ups coming from a specific channel. Rather you should try to do whatever it takes to get them there, whether it is sending email manually or prints. You also have to find a way out to reach the celebrity bloggers and get them to endorse your blog. Alternatively, you can try and find out a way to convince them to allow you to guest post on their blog. Be smart about your social media channels. Use prominent share buttons, ask people to share your content through social media channels and use call to actions to elicit people to do an action. For e.g., on Twitter, just adding Please Retweet to your tweets gets four times the retweets as opposed to the one without it.
How does a company decide between the most useful metric: DAU/WAU/MAU? Also when an outsider looks at a company, what is valued most in terms of customer engagement among the mentioned parameters?
NP – The most valuable metrics that works for any business actually varies from one business to another. For mobile apps it will be different because they have daily activities, for e commerce it will be different, because they have monthly or quarterly sales. So there is no one metric that works for all businesses. You have to figure out what’s more important for your business and what outsiders are looking at to validate, then focus on those metrics.
As an investor, what are the metrics I should be tracking to know whether my startup is on the right track?
NP – With the company, you should see what’s important to you and start from there. If you are investing in software or service companies that works on B2B, revenue and turnover are the metrics. Get monthly reports and check if the numbers are looking good. If you are a consumer-based business and you are attracting all the early stages as investor, use of growth is probably a very important metric. So, you’ve got to determine with your companies what’s valuable and track those metrics and make sure they are going in the right direction. There are nine metrics you need to be most concerned about; Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Customer Retention, Lifetime Value of the Product, and more.
How does one engage and retain users?
NP – If you can find out what your users like and if you give it to them, they are going be happy and will keep coming back to use your applications. Its all about understanding your customer. You can do this a lot by analyzing metrics, conduct surveys to know how you can improve the business. Don’t be afraid to ask them for feedback if they decide to exit your circle. Use the engagement to try and woo them back. Similarly, roll out the red carpet for your most engaged customers, give them freebies, treat them like a valued set of advisors and keep them happy and engaged. Add or subtract features according to customer feedback, use push notifications and alerts as a way to keep engaging with them, and be aware of what it is exactly that will retain them. For example, Twitter learned that once a new user followed a certain number of people, it would assure retention. They used this finding to suggest people to follow as soon as a user signed up.
For a new product or feature launch, how should one do rapid testing to accelerate the discovery of product-market fit?
NP – There is a tool called ‘qualaroo.com’ and it actually provides you the surveys you need to determine that you have proper product market fit. I would use them to figure out if you have it or not.
How can one get lapsed users back?
NP – Email is a much easier way to get people back to your website, application, etc. If its mobile-based you can use things like push notifications. Email marketing is changing and if you use it right, you can not only bring your customers back, you can use it to retain, engage and keep them updated with offers, content and news. For example, planning an effective drip campaign can prepare your consumer to receive communication and done right, they may even look forward to it. Just as long as you stick by rules of email etiquette.
What are the various distribution models for SaaS products? How to select the right one?
NP – Distribution models can vary; it depends on what’s right for your business. Distribution can be through partnerships, it could be through things like paper clips, whatever works for you. You can also use techniques like integration with other platforms like shopify etc., getting work email addresses, embeds and so on. Just follow best practices and use them right.