Tag Archives: marketing

Don’t Sell the Problem – Sell the Solution

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One of the most important stages in the process of building a product is choosing your marketing strategy – including your target and goals (especially if you are on the marketing team).

Frankly, when you’re a marketer (or least not a developer), the initial product development period gives you time to think, plan, and act towards your marketing strategy and decide how to approach bloggers, customers, users, etc.

Your marketing strategy should involve many aspects such as social media, public relations, and SEO, in order to broaden your reach as much as possible. To keep it simple, Kissmetrics covered these points in an amazing guide called “The Ultimate Guide to Startup Marketing

Getting to know and choose your market (the first point in Kissmetric’s guide) is not only about defining demographics and market size, but about the message you are going to deliver to each one of these potential users.The first thing to understand is that you are not selling your users the problem, you are selling the solution.

 

We want to help people who have a problem sharing content

Earlier this month, we released the private beta of our new product, Swayy, a tool that brings you content to share with your community. As founders of a startup, we worked hard keep our social media accounts active on a daily basis. This in large part involved finding engaging content for our followers to consume, and thus grow our community and position us as thought-leaders in the industry. That was OUR PROBLEM. No one had to explain me why I should be active on my social media outlets, what my goals should be, how time-consuming it is, and how painful they are to maintain. When you are familiar with the problem, you understand the solution.

Once we had our first version of Swayy ready for beta testing, we decided to devote the first few weeks to pitching it only to close acquaintances and asking them to test it in order to get early feedback.

 

The feedback was divided into two clear groups:

Those who had the same marketing problem as I did focused on the quality of the content and the necessary components of the system.

Those who don’t understand the point of sharing mostly gave feedback on the UI (which should not be discounted).

I instinctually had the urge to explain to the second group why they should share, why it’s important to be active on social media, and why they should want to grow their community. After enlightening them, how could they not fall for Swayy?

 

You can’t convince people to solve a problem they don’t have

The defining moment in our marketing efforts was when we realized that we cannot sell the problem itself. We’re not here to explain the importance of social media for you and your startup, we’re not here to explain what sharing can do for you. We aren’t the messengers of blogging, content marketing, and content sharing. We’re here to solve a problem for the people who already know they have it.

 

Filter feedback from “fake” users and ignore their metrics

Having more users onboard is a good thing, but it’s a bad thing when it negatively affects your usage percentages. The users that didn’t understand the point of Swayy or social media marketing were not counted as signed up users, and their activity on Swayy was ignored. These “fake” users are great for getting feedback on UI, UX, the onboarding process, and so on. Their feedback is important, and we made a point of never ignoring it.

 

How we approach user growth at Swayy

At this moment, several weeks into our private beta, we’ve better learned more about who our users (or potential users) are and are not. We also learned which channels to use for finding potential users, and which should be avoided.

The most important lesson we learned since launching the beta is to not waste time explaining why Swayy will help one solve a problem someone might experience in the future. We’re here to solve an existing problem for those who know they have it.

 

I would love to hear about how you find your potential users, and the ways you reach out to them. Leave comments or be in touch on Twitter

 

If you are interested in using Swayy, leave your email at www.swayy.co to join our growing private beta.

 

Cheers.

 

Photo Credit gem66

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How to Set Up a Company Blog

Following the launch of [Summer], my co-founders and I sat down to discuss our company blog – a place where we could post release notes, stories, tips, information about exciting startups, and anything else we would want to say to our amazing supporters.
 
Then we faced fundamental questions about setting up the blog – where and how we should do it?
 
Although I have basic knowledge of web development (as a Marketing guy), I felt that I wasn’t equipped enough to decide the best way to set up the blog. So I had to bug Oz, one of our engineers, to help me with it.
 
I also asked him to summarize the needed steps, so that all of you out there which are like me, could do it next time easily, and consider everything before you set one of your own:
 
The Requirements
 
  1. Customization – We wanted the blog to have the same look and feel as our website (and I expect you do too), which means the HTML and CSS need to be customized accordingly.
  2. Domain – One key issue was to have the blog on our own DNS, blog.getsummer.com.
  3. WYSIWYG (What you See Is What You Get) – In many cases (such as our own), the non-techies from the team might need to be the ones maintaining the blog and posts, so editing needed to be easy.

The Alternatives
 
  • WordPress.com – Theming at WordPress.com is hard, and regretfully not available in the free package.
  • Hosted WordPress – Again, theming is hard, and getting it hosted seems like a big headache.
  • Django Blog Engine – Since we are mostly a Django Shop, we considered using some of its existing engines, such as http://mezzanine.jupo.org/ but it turned to take too much work. Mezzanine can however be a great alternative if you want to control every little detail, and don’t mind getting your hands dirty.
  • Blogger – A valid option, however, Oz wasn’t pleased with the confusing template language (and we thought it best to avoid upsetting the engineer…).
  • Tumblr – Tumblr templating with HTML / CSS turned out be incredibly easy despite it being only one file to edit (which usually means it will be harder to maintain). Thanks to the simplicity of the Tumblr templating language, maintenance is actually quite simple. Tumblr also has an attractive admin interface that allows you to edit the template, setup Analytics, add a commenting system, and a custom domain. Although Tumblr’s WYSIWYG editor is probably not the best out there, it’s still good enough for our needs.

 

 
 
 
 
As you might have guessed, Tumblr won, and we started to implement the requirements (mentioned above).
 
Now, this is the important part (so pay attention and take notes!)
 
 
  1. Start off with the default theme since it’s pretty straight forward and easy to extend.
  2. If you are familiar with Mustache\Handlebars.js\Jinja2\Django templates it’s kinda similar, but without any real programmable logic. http://www.tumblr.com/docs/en/custom_themes is a great resource.
  3. Use {block:PermalinkPage}…{/block:PermalinkPage}where you want things that only appear on a post and not in the main feed.
  4. Add a few classes in the CSS to add predefined styles that you might want to incorporate into posts.
  5. Since the Tumblr editor doesn’t let you do much in the way of coloring or altering text, nor will it let you use thestyle=”..” attribute in your HTML – we use the class=”…” attribute and add these classes to the theme itself as a workaround.
  6. Analytics! – As a figures freak, I recommend never forgetting to track the visits to your blog.
  7. Simply add an Analtyics tracking code to the blog HTML (I recommend using a UA which is different from your website UA).
  8. DNS – Tumblr makes this pretty easy. Using your DNS provider’s admin interface, create a CNAME record calledblog.yourcompany.com and point it at domains.tumblr.com. Then, under Tumblr’s admin dashboard, check “Use a custom domain name” and enter “blog.yourcompany.com”. It will usually take around an hour for the DNS changes to propagate, so be patient.

 

 
If you find that you have the same blogging needs as we do, I recommend choosing Tumblr. It was surprisingly easy, and we are pleased with the results.
 
Visit our blog at blog.getsummer.com to see how it turned out – and as always, we welcome your feedback.
 
Tell us what you take into consideration while setting up your company blog, and how you chose the right platform for your needs.