How to Reach Clients in the Building and Construction Industry

The consultants at McKinsey  believe some businesses are about to make a fortune with helping the building and construction industry digitize and automate their operations. That’s just one of the opportunities on the table that startups could take advantage of. A few other possibilities include selling project management software, scheduling apps, CRM software and design software to the players in this lucrative industry. With construction being a 13+ trillion dollar a year business globally (calculated in Australian dollars), the potential for profiting from this industry is significant.

But how can a marketer go about reaching the right people in the building and construction industry to sell them software, automation services or whatever other relevant products and services your startup has to offer? If you’re selling to UX designers, it’s relatively easy to find them on social media — but most building surveyors, plumbers and glaziers aren’t spending their days hanging about on Facebook.

It’s easy to find them once you know where to look. That’s what we aim to help you with here: Finding your startup’s potential clients in the building and construction industry.

There are two major facets you’ll want to consider when marketing to clients in the building and construction industry. The first is inbound marketing — that is, creating marketing materials that compel your prospects to come to you because they genuinely want to learn more about what you have to offer. The second is outbound marketing — tailoring your outreach efforts to specifically target your prospects, start a conversation with them and determine whether you can build a mutually beneficial relationship. We’ll cover both aspects.

Inbound Marketing That Targets Professionals in the Building and Construction Industry

Your Website, Search Engine Optimization and Opt-In Email Newsletters

One of the most effective ways to reach clients is through your website. Be proactive about optimizing your website for lead generation. Capture email addresses and make an effort to segment your prospects. This will allow you to send out email newsletters that offer appropriate content for whichever stage of the buying funnel your prospect is currently in. Consider these relevant selling strategies for the construction industry when you create the content for your website and newsletters. Blogging is also effective if your team is willing and able to do it consistently.

Press Releases

According to Hubspot, you can use press releases for either inbound or outbound marketing purposes. If your team uses press releases, be sure to direct each message at your ideal clients instead of just the media at large; this will make your press releases more effective as inbound marketing tools.

Outbound Marketing to Reach Clients in the Building and Construction Industry

Trade Publications

Establish yourself and your team members as thought leaders in the building and construction industry by submitting content for, or obtaining coverage in, the most relevant industry trade publications.

In Australia, the following are some of the publications your prospects are probably reading:

It might also make sense to consider advertising your business in some of these publications.

Networking Through Industry Associations

There are many industry associations that bring Australia’s building and construction industry professionals together for sharing information and insights. Try to arrange for someone from your marketing team to set up speaking engagements or demonstrations of your products at trade association meetings and events.

Cold Calling

If you’re selling, for example, a product like a scheduling app that would be useful to individual plumbers, electricians or other contractors, it is possible that courteous cold calling could be an effective means of outreach. For this to work well, you have to target your calls with precision and ensure that you’re offering genuine value to your prospects. Know exactly who you’re targeting, research their pain points ahead of time, and be upfront about telling them precisely how your product or service will solve their problems. Also be sure to observe all relevant telemarketing laws.

Here’s how to reach your prospects by telephone:

You can find the phone numbers of many building and construction industry professionals in Victoria by searching the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) database.  However, individuals who hold a certificate IV in plumbing are not easily found through this database, and the relevant database for them will not help you locate unknown prospects. So if you’re specifically trying to reach plumbers, instead try searching the Master Plumbers’ database or using Searchfrog.

Tradebuild is the Housing Industry Association’s B2C database. It can be another good source for locating contact information for tradespeople in Australia, including plumbers and many others.

When you formulate your marketing plan, consider your potential return on investment from both inbound and outbound marketing. Both types of strategies can be effective for reaching your prospects in the building and construction industry.

Startup Pitch Deck Special – Podcast Episode #10

In this episode, I discuss pitch decks for startups looking to raise funds.

A few quotes from this episode:

  • Everyone is a pitch deck expert, some of the advice will even be good
  • You can get some real confidence when you see how basic YouTube pitch deck was
  • Pitch decks are designed to be “pitched” not emailed
  • A great pitch deck has very few words on it
  • A pitch deck is not a business plan
  • If you don’t win an investor’s heart you’ll probably never convince their head
  • You want to start your pitch deck with a story
  • When you pitch you need to create both ‘fear’ & ‘greed’ within your potential investors
  • Create a vision for the future with your pitch deck
  • Make sure you add the ‘secret sauce’ to your pitch deck
  • Please don’t ask investors to sign an NDA before you present your pitch deck

pitching your startup

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Here are the pitch decks I talk about during this episode.

QUT bluebox podcast – featuring Gerard Doyle

A real honor to be invited on to Episode 2 of the QUT podcast Podcast.

At the start of the episode, Tim and Yotam talk about the QUT Bluebox Robotics Accelerator for 2018 Applications are open now and you can find out more and apply at www.qutbluebox.com.au/robotics

Tim and I discuss ‘growth hacking’,

You can listen to the episode here

A few quotes:

  • ‘Growth Hacking’ is often a buzzword that annoys marketers
  • Growth Hacking is really about making short sharp measurable marketing tests for your business
  • For startup marketing: Tie your product in closely with your marketing
  • I like to think that a degree still counts these days
  • Growth hack teams often resemble a hackathon team with a Hacker, Hustler and Hippie.
  • People try to re-invent the wheel, without knowing what a wheel is first
  • Growth hacking sits well with startups because a startup does not sit in a room writing a business plan, they get out and test
  • A founder actually wants to know if they are spending money and not getting a return
  • You can’t run an experiment if you don’t measure anything
  • A startup a temporary organisation looking for a repeatable business model

 

 

Ep7: Should you outsource your social media?

In this episode, I look how, and if you should outsource your social media. I discuss how to think about your social channels and recommend a great new tool I’ve found to extract the value from your quality content.
For the second question, I look at how to win over a target market that is expensive to engage and also look at how to use content to drive the more protracted sale.
In my end of episode rant, I talk about how the competition can’t just copy your brand authenticity, and how you generally don’t need to be afraid of the copycats out there.

 

In this episode, I discuss missinglettr.com as a SAAS tool I ‘m testing for re-publish my content, you can grab a free trial here.

Key Quotes:

  • You really can’t have your brand authenticity stolen by a competitor, so don’t sweat it
  • I’m not a fan of outsourcing social media – this is your digital voice
  • Are you really important enough to ask somebody to speak on your behalf
  • Always try to insource your social media before you try to outsource
  • pitching for a search account is about the most boring thing a brand marketer can do
  • have a vision, mission and desired outcome for your social channels
  • Too many companies are just on social media because they feel they have to be there
  • Social Media Idea: Post less, comment more
  • ebooks are great, but if you’re hiding too much content, bring it forward and drip feed it into a campaign

Ep6: Can you do too much split testing?

In this episode, I look at split testing and consider if it is possible to do too much. I also look into the boom that was location-based shopping apps that have since seemingly disappeared.
At the end of the episode, I pay homage to the íce breaking’ founders.

Thanks so much stopping by, your subscription to my podcast really helps me to reach a new and bigger audience.

If you’re an Apple user then you can subscribe to the podcast here Apple iTunes Podcasts

If you’re on Android then you can find us on Stitcher here

If neither of these work then you can just use Sticher through your browser

and remember, if you do have any questions you’d like me to answer on the show please just leave them in the comments here http://fractal.com.au/questions

cheers,

Gerard

The Fractal Marketing Podcast – Episode 2 – Calculating CAC, tracking offlines sales and animated video advertising

Welcome to Episode #2 of the Fractal Startup marketing podcast.

In this episode, I discuss calculating the cost of your customers – thanks to writally.com for the question

We also cover the other common direct marketing variables and how to calculate them.

We then move onto more complicated offline and long sales cycle tracking  – thanks to BenchOn for the question

And finally, we look into the power of animation as a video medium – take a look at Big Fish & Biteable.com

If you would like to have your questions answered on the podcast, please add your question in the comments section here http://fractal.com/au/questions

If you’re an Apple user then you can subscribe to the podcast here Apple iTunes Podcasts

If you’re on Android then you can find us on Stitcher here

If neither of these work then you can just use Sticher through your browser

Below is a transcription of the podcast:

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[music] Hi, and welcome to the Fractal Marketing Podcast. My name is  Gerard Doyle. And on this show, I take marketing questions from listeners to provide answers so that everybody who tunes in can learn a little bit more about marketing and hope they find some ideas for their business. [music] So in today’s episode, we’re going to look firstly at calculating the cost of acquisition of your customers and other marketing variables like ROI and ROAS and discuss the differences between those two. After that, we’re going to spend a bit of time talking about more complicated tracking models where it might require an offline sale or a long sale cycle and how to relate that marketing money that you’re spending very early on back to that end sale and the customer value. And finally, we’re going to spend some time looking at animation and the power of animation in video marketing and how we can deliver clarity of message through an uncluttered interface. So our first question this week comes from Cass from [inaudible]. And her question is, “How do you calculate the cost per acquisition if your primary acquisition method is profitable?” Good question, Cass. And I think it speaks to one of the problems with marketing is that and like all industries, I guess, is we have a tendency to create a lot of our own words, a lot of our own acronyms, initialisations, and things that just make marketing generally confusing when it need not be. I think back to some of the rules that people like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk employed in their companies. And they just started stopping people from coming up with new acronyms inside the company because it just made life really difficult. But we are where we are [laughter]. And to answer your question, look, it is still possible to have a cost of acquisition particularly even if you’re profitable because it’s only the cost of acquisition is only the denominator in the ROI calculation. So what I’m talking about there is if you’re looking at the ROI of your marketing, you’re looking at the cost of acquisition over the lifetime value of those customers. And that’s what you want to be profitable. But it’s still completely possible of course, and in most cases, you would have a cost of acquiring those customers. So when I look at that I think, “Okay, there’s some really important variables there that we need to understand completely to get your head around marketing.” So as an acquisition marketer, I live and die by these two numbers. And the first one is the CAC which is the cost of acquisition of your customers, so customer acquisition cost, CAC. This is probably one of the most important variables because it’s much easier to get your cost down with your marketing. It’s generally where a marketer is going to be measured. On the flip side, on the denominator side of this equation for the ROI, you’ve got the LTV, the lifetime value. Now, as a marketer, we can impact that. We can attract sort of better quality customers. In theory, they’ll give us a longer lifetime value. So this is the total amount of value or revenue we’re deriving from a customer who comes to our service or our product. So really though, generally speaking, that’s going to be a product manager. And that’s why when you think about growth marketing, a growth marketing or a growth hack team tends to involve both a marketer and a product lead as well as often a developer of the backend to help you. But that pigeon pair of a product marketer and an acquisition marketer is usually ideal. So that’s pretty much the most important thing as a performance marketer to really be measured by. And the reason is that that typically for a startup, or a new product, or a business is there’s an amazing moment. So this is after we have achieved product-market fit. We’ve found out customers. We’ve got 30, 50 happy customers or whatever we’ll define that to be. But what we don’t have yet is a really scaled marketing process and that’s because at the moment when we start, we’re probably spending $2 to get $1 back in. The amazing moment occurs when all of a sudden you can spend a $1 on your marketing and get a $1.10 back. And what that means is your CAC, your cost of customer acquisition, drops down below the cost of the lifetime value. And then what we’re looking at is, okay, what’s that payback period? Now, that ideally is instantaneous in the sense that you’re selling a product, so the revenue you get back from a product is greater than the cost of selling it. For a service-based business, this is a little bit harder. You might be looking at 2, 3, 6, 12 months payback windows, and that has a big impact on the value of our company, the cost of raising capital, etc., etc. But really these are probably two of the most important variables to understand with your marketing, and then the variables that a marketer should on a daily basis be looking at to see how their campaigns are performing. Now, I’ve also mentioned in there the ROI, probably one of the misused terms marketers do. I had a client about a year ago, in a meeting [laughter] who stood up and said, “If another person uses ROI instead of ROAS, I’m leaving the meeting.” And what he meant was ROI, return on investment is a very general [captural?] term, really refers to the whole business. This is whether the business is being profitable really. So I invest this much. Do I get more back? ROAS, on the other hand, stands for return on advertising spend, so ROAS. I told you it was a lot of initializations [laughter] and acronyms. And ROAS is usually the measure of what the market is doing, so this is where you say how much revenue am I getting? So I might be, for example, selling a couch. That couch might sell for $2,000. The actual profit on that might be 500, but I’ve also got other costs as well, be it staff or it could be facilities, accountants, general sort of management overheads. And all of these variables don’t really appear to your typical marketer.
As a marketer, I might be doing Facebook marketing. I’ve got no idea what the overheads of the company are. I also don’t know where the other investments have gone, so what I’m calculating is the ROAS. So that’s the total value of the sales, particularly if it’s e-commerce, then I know I can get that back. I know I’ve sold $2,000 worth of goods. However, I might also know that I’ve spent $500 to get it, but typically that ratio’s going to be much higher in needs, be much higher in ROAS because it doesn’t take into consideration all the other cost of the business, so you’ll have a client or it could be your business, and you can still have a ROAS goal. It’s just that rather than it being $1 and $1.10 back, it’s more likely to be $1 in and $10 back, so hope that clears it up. If nothing else, there’s a few new acronyms in there for you to learn. CAC, customer acquisition costs. LTV, lifetime value of those customers. Knowing that is absolutely important. Again, working with the project manager, working increasing that value, makes a marketer’s life much easier. Obviously, if that lifetime value goes up, you’re able to spend a bit more on marketing. And secondly, looking at ROI, return on the investment and how that differs from the ROAS which is return on advertising spend. Absolutely crucial that you get that right. There’s nothing worse than presenting to a client, or a manager, or a boss, or shareholders and getting those two numbers wrong because you just end up looking a bit foolish with your campaigns. The second question today comes from Tim from [inaudible]. And Tim asks, “How do you manage the ROI on marketing spend when the signup decision is not impulse driven but rather a slow burn that takes time to filter through the client’s bureaucracy? I justify it now by calling it brand awareness, but there has to be a better way to make data-driven marketing decisions. Great question, Tim. It’s strange more and more this is the sort of the area of questions I’m discovering as I talk to business owners. And that’s because the two biggest marketing engines available at the moment particularly online but even generally across the whole world is Facebook and Google, and both of these tools are absolutely fantastic for measuring [inaudible] online. They are able to track someone through the whole purchase, but when that sales cycle is a bit more complicated, when there is more involved, it becomes really hard. So to answer your question, look, it’s not easy and it’s kind of the point where marketing consultants step in and really help set a framework for your business. But I’m going to break it into two broad approaches for you, the first one is around post-impression platform tracking and the second is using correlations of indicating variables which is a little bit softer. So I’ll cover the first one which is post-impression tracking first for you because that’s the one I prefer to get to. So what I’m talking about here is normally in marketing campaigns and acquisition campaigns, what we’d like to measure from is a click. A click is that magical moment when you know that someone’s definitely engaged in your ad or your content and come through to your website. At that point, you are able to use whatever tools you’d like to track somebody through to an end purchase and ideally, that purchase happens in the same session but it might happen two or three sessions later, but it makes it quite easy to calculate. If that window is short enough, usually a few days, you’re in a pretty good place. Now what happens is, more and more the way we engage with media isn’t see an ad, click on an ad, make a purchase. So originally ad technology was all based around cookies and cookies were great. Cookies run this ability to [drop user?] a one by one pixel to drop a little text file on a computer or users computer and then if that person came back we could read the browser, recognize that our cookie was there, identify who the person was and go, “Ah. They were the person who clicked on the campaign a while ago.” Now what’s happened over time is that the actual cookie tracking technology has become less and less robust, lots of people are blocking it, but more than that and I think probably a bigger impact has actually been the use of dual devices. People have not only their home computer, but they have their mobile phone, their tablet, and their work computer. So often people are interacting with content at work, going home, sitting on the couch and then purchasing through an iPad. All that means for us is it’s much harder to track and this is where the platform tracking tends to be the easiest for most businesses. Now there are more robust tracking solutions out there but at that level, you’re normally spending enough money that you’ve hired a full-time agency to deliver them for you. So what you do if you are an owner-operator in a small business and you want to achieve this? You ultimately have to leave your marketing in a platform channel. So I’ll talk about– so Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google. And what you’re doing there is you’re looking at post-impression sales. So post-impression means somebody who has seen an ad and then goes through and makes a purchase. So this is kind of the next easiest level to track. There’s a big difference there. The intent isn’t clear. If I run a Facebook ad and somebody clicks on that ad and comes through to my website and makes a purchase, I’m pretty confident my ad drove the sale. On the other hand, if I show my ad to somebody who it appears in their Facebook feed, they don’t click on it but then they go through and make a purchase. Well, did that ad drive the purchase? What impact did that ad have? It’s not as clear but the great thing is that the person doesn’t actually have to have an interaction. Because you’re on Facebook, you can be on your work computer looking at Facebook, you see an ad on your work computer, Facebook knows who you are, you go home, log back into your tablet. Facebook still knows that that tablet belongs to you; you are the same person. So if you then go through and make a purchase or sign up or do whatever action we want for your business, Facebook is able to identify that and say, “Ah. I know, even though you’re on a different device on a different network in a different location, you are the same person because this is the same Facebook account.” So what we’ve been able to do there is achieve two things by using Facebook post-impression tracking; one, we’ve been able to track between two different devices and two, we’ve been able to track even though somebody didn’t click on an ad. Now Facebook also has some kind fantastic options in there like people who watch videos. It can be a fantastic tool to measure engagement and say, “Well, if somebody watches X percentage of a video, then they must be more inclined to have engaged.” That’s very different to an ad just sort of scrolling past somebody. Now, there’s no hard-and-fast rules. Ultimately, you have to define, as a business owner or a marketer, exactly what you’re comfortable with. But if you’re looking for a rule of thumb, usually, with Facebook, their default settings, I believe, are– post impression tracking is normally set at one day. So in other words, you need to perform some form of trackable action within a day of seeing an ad. Otherwise, we’re not going to attribute it. Whereas, post-click, we’re normally looking at anything from 7 to up to 30 days to say if you’ve clicked. That’s the kind of window we’re willing to consider attributing that person back. Now, attribution modelling is a whole other podcast, so I won’t get too far into that. But to get an idea of how you can measure these things. You can obviously extend that post impression, but it becomes harder and harder to actually decide what’s going to be working. So my advice to most small businesses is use each of the platforms, Twitter, Google, Facebook, whatever you happen to be using, LinkedIn, and do look at post impression as a way to see if your content or your ads are engaging people and they’re converting. If you want to get into attribution modelling, I’ll wait for another question on that. But probably the easiest way to do that is to have a look at what’s built into Google Analytics. Their solution’s actually quite good, and there’s some great models pre-built. So the second, I guess, answer to your question, and this is probably I think where you’re really coming from, is what about if we don’t really have that kind of control? What if I’m doing marketing that might be writing an article on a news site or newspapers or press or radio? All these kind of very normal things that you know are doing the right things for your business, and they’re building your brand as you say in your question. But is it really driving my business forward? Well, the sad, I guess, fact is we don’t know. And that can be tough for people to sort of, I guess, deal with as a business owner because you do want to know where my money goes– where all your marketing money goes.
We’ve kind of been spoiled as we’ve been moved into this digital marketing age where we got used to the idea that, “I know exactly what I’m getting back for my marketing money.” Well, we’ve kind of gone past that now, and we actually have to go a bit old school in the way we think about things. So by going old school, what I mean is going back to that point where– the famous quote that says, “I know that half of my marketing’s working. I just don’t know which half.” Well, this is where most large retail brands find themselves. So traditional advertising through TV, radio, press, PR, there is no direct line of ROI or [ROE S?] that someone’s able to calculate. You ultimately have to go with gut feel. And that’s why sort of the old-school marketers if you like, they’re still a talent out there that needs to be fostered and preserved. And I think, to a certain extent, that skill set’s being bred out of us by this digital age. And it’s only now that, for a lot of industries, the competition’s so tight that skill set’s coming back into its own. So what are we looking at here? Well, we can probably work at how we need to tackle this by thinking about the way that TV advertising has traditionally been measured and people have made their purchase decisions. And to get this right, you really need to go and understand who your profile of your target customer is, the persona, who you kind of imagine that person would be and spend some time looking at where they’re likely to be. Now, old-school TV, you typically use offline survey-based metrics, like it might be Roy Morgan surveys, build profiles, get an idea of where that person is and what kind of media consume and how they do it, which is great. But for the purposes of being a startup or a small business, that’s usually well outside the range of what you’re able to do. My suggestion is always to look at Facebook. Digital marketer [first?]. That’s where I’m going to go back. But the data that sits behind Facebook these days is absolutely amazing. If you’ve installed the Facebook insight Pixel onto your website, you can start to get an idea of who the people are, looking at their interests, their age, their demographic. You can look at the other kind of pages, the celebrities, the interests, the restaurants that they might like. This kind of data is available as marketers. So my tip there is definitely install the Facebook insight pixel, and you can get an idea what’s happening. Getting back to your question, when it actually comes to buying that media, when you’re doing a media planner for TV, you actually start looking at things like [inaudible] all the breaking points. And this is kind of like how many people are watching your show, but media’s purchased in TARPs. So this is target audience rating points. And what we’re talking about there is the media buyer who’s working to a plan for a marketer for a big client is actually are interested in how many people are watching your show who are actually their target customers. So what I mean by that is they don’t really value– there might be a million people watching your show, but if only a hundred thousand of those people are their potential customers, then they value the media by the hundred thousand, not the million that they’re actually seeing it. Why is that important? Because ultimately, the marketers have done their research on who their customer is. They’ve done their research on where they might be looking, what kind of consumer information, what media they’re consuming. And that’s where they place their ads. Now, there’s a lot of [inaudible] behind that. You really have to follow your instincts and see what’s happening. That in itself is probably going to be [laughter] hard for you just to reconcile with yourself. So the trick at this point is to start putting soft KPRIs in, leading indicators in that we start to draw correlations between end business outcomes. Now, go back a few years. And generating likes on Facebook was seen as being very much like a vanity metric. However, where it really resonated and why it took off with businesses and why they built up Facebook audiences is it’s a general recognition that people who interact with your brand, people that see that, it’s a leading indicator. So it is possible to say that the number of fans on a Facebook page is in some way correlated to the size of that business or the audience or potential size of that business anyway. That’s one variable, and it’s a bit of a weak one because it’s kind of being bastardised by people sort of buying likes and becoming fixated on how many people are liking their Facebook page. But we can look at other elements like what’s the total number of minutes or hours our videos are being consumed on YouTube or Facebook or any other media? What’s the total number of clicks we’re getting, the number of impressions we’re seeing, the brand mentioned? These are all indicators that say what we’re doing is going the right direction. One of my favorites is actually tracking the number of brand searches to your website through Google. So to do that you might say, “I know that my brand is increasing, getting more interested in the marketplace the more people who search for me on Google.” So for example, you could run a Google Adwords campaign just bidding on the keywords [inaudible] or mispellings around that, look at the number of impressions that your ad’s being served up to. It won’t cost you much for the click. In fact, it’s probably a good thing to defend your brand and control that path. But what you’re going to collect is insights into the number of people that are searching for your brand even if they don’t click on your ad. Those searches will indicate brand power. So that’s a really cheap and easy way for you to look at whether your brand is taking off. Now, can you correlate that exactly to new business? No. But it tends to be a great way that you can measure potential future success. Other areas you might want to look at is obviously indicators like visitors to your website, brand mentions on external websites. They’re all soft KPIs, but what we’re trying to do is map these softer KPIs and say, “Well, this is leading through to a greater business discovery.” And you’ll get more faith in the model the more confident you are that where you’re placing your brand is in front of the right eyeballs, the right– all the people that you’re actually trying to target. So it doesn’t give you a perfect answer, and I don’t think there is a perfect answer for this. There’s a lot of [inaudible], and there’s a lot of belief in what you need to do. But the more you can establish robust soft KPIs, indicators, whether it be leads or phone calls, all these element and so you’re [inaudible] to website visitors. These are all the soft KPIs I’d like you to build in– for you to build into a model to build some confidence that yes, okay, you might only be doing three or four enterprise-level sales on a monthly basis. I don’t really know what that is. So you need higher volumes and higher numbers to sort of get some statistics behind. So these are all the kind of KPIs you should be looking at. The other key area I’d add is anywhere you’re able to grab data and that data being sort of broken into three broad buckets. You’ve got primary data which will be email addresses and phone numbers. If you’re collecting those, they’re primary data points that mean that you can identify a unique person and also find them again on the web at any different place using custom audiences. The secondary level of data is people who like or follow. So this is your likes on Facebook. This is your followers on Twitter. And the tertiary level of data which is the least robust is the anonymised cookies, the anonymised pixels, and people who’ve clicked on ads in Facebook. But if you start putting these three levels of data down and you start to consider these data points to be crucial value-add variables and KPIs in your business or assets to your business, that’s when you’re going to get a really good idea of, “Okay, I’m definitely growing my audience that I’m speaking to.” And whilst it might not represent a pipeline in the traditional sales sense, it does represent an audience that is willing to listen to you and you’re able to reach in another way. So if you think about those pixels and those three different data points and you value them differently, they can be great ways for you to indicate future revenue and growth of your business. So I hope that helps. Really tough question, I’m not going be able to answer it absolutely perfectly. But hopefully, I’ve given you a few nuggets and ideas there. And rest assure. You’re not alone. Every business that’s out there that has a slow sales process is wrestling with those ideas because they can’t track end to end. But there are proven techniques from old-school offline marketing that work. And the good about it is it’s not as cut and dry as pure online acquisition marketing. There’s a bit of art. There’s a bit of [inaudible] there which yes, makes a bit harder, makes it a little bit more uncomfortable. But if you get it right, there’s a lot more value in your business. And it’s a lot more dependable as a brand position.  So finally, I just want to have a quick look at the idea of using animation in your online videos be it ads or explain the videos. I was inspired to sort of look at this today and [inaudible] question but by searching through LinkedIn during the week. And I saw an article on LinkedIn Pulse written by Sheldon of Big TV– sorry, BigFish.tv is the head of content there. He’s got a great post, and I’ll link to that in the show notes where he’s talking about the power of using animation in your videos. And I think he touched on a really interesting point which is this idea that you can get quite distracted when you do a video when you use real people. I don’t think this is exactly his point, but this was my take away from what he wrote. As humans, we’ve sort of evolved around this idea that we make general assumptions, and we sort of say we recognise people. We have that sort of inbuilt human brain that learns from previous experiences. And what that means is how we relate to people is often how they look in all the information around them. So a traditional video, I’ve got background, I’ve got noise, I’ve got lots of movement. I’ve got these wonderful little idiosyncrasies that could be in the person that they’re interviewing in the video. It could be the subject of that video could be an actor. And the thing is my subconscious is amazingly powerful at interpreting the sort of the hidden message behind those people. And that hidden message in what they’re saying particularly if they’re an actor might not be entirely compelling. Now, on the flip side, animation doesn’t suffer from that same problem. Animation is able to deliver visually simple stories that are easy to understand. So all of a sudden now I can’t look at this like turn up in the eye and wonder if the person’s being a little bit sneaky or whether they’re holding back some information or can I tell if there’s something going on there? I’m actually looking at animation which is naturally going to be simple, but I’m able to focus on the audio a lot more. And the audio still portrays emotion. The audio still has the message in there. But the video, in a weird way, keeps my brain engaged visually enough so that I’m really listening to what’s coming through. And there’s a fantastic example that Sheldon puts there of a video that he created for the Queensland Ballet. And the emotion behind it is really clear. The animations are quite simple. I’m not distracted by costumes or the people. I understand what ballet is, I can see the movement, I can see the story and it’s coming through. The background and all the other colours that are flying around the screen are far more engaging. And I think this is something that we’re seeing more and more. If you’re like me, you’re seeing a lot of videos, influencers on LinkedIn holding cameras. And the problem is, there’s a lot of movement, there’s a lot of noise. You tend to judge the person, rightly or wrongly, by what they look like, how they’re acting, how they’re moving around, whether they’re paying attention. And animation doesn’t suffer from that problem.
The other great thing about an animation is it’s so much faster to produce. You don’t have to do as much with lighting, you can do a lot more in editing. And I can still do a shout-out here for one of the clients and one of the companies I work with called Biteable. And this is exactly the space that Biteable operates in. They create amazingly beautiful and simple animations for explainer videos that allow people who sign up to it to tell their story in a really simple way. And that’s often the case; the simplest stories can be portrayed in just a few letters, a few words. And the animation is a way to engage the person’s brain and keep the audience paying attention. The words can be quite simple. Sheldon’s example, they use spoken word over the top of the animation. Biteable more uses text, a bit like Twitter. You think you’re being restricted down to a small amount of text. But I think the amazing thing is the way that what would seem like a limitation actually empowers you to tell a much more powerful story. So I’d really recommend checking out both Biteable and some of the videos – you can get a free account there, it doesn’t cost anything to try that out – and also head over to Bigfish TV and have a look at a couple of the animations they’ve got.
The ballet one is hugely– so that’s [inaudible] bigfish.tv. The Queensland Ballet is quite an emotional and easy piece. And then there’s a second video they’ve got called Family Law Systems Exposed. That one’s much more emotional. And I think the power in that one is that you’re able to hear the voice. You can hear the person who’s narrating’s voice breaking as they struggle with the pain of the story that they’re telling. The animation isn’t of them. I don’t know what this lady looks like. I can’t see her face, but I can hear her voice, and that makes it easier for me to relate to because I don’t have the ability to judge her physically. I don’t get to look at her and make some assessments about who she is or what she might represent. I’m just listening to her as a person and I’m seeing the animation that brings that story to life. So if you’re struggling with how you’re going to tell your story, if you’re struggling with your website and you’re running copy and there’s lots of information there, I think animation is a fantastic way to explain a message or basically to tell a story. Definitely take a look at it. There’s obviously varying levels of it. You can go hire a great agency to produce top-notch work or you can go use one of the free online tools.
But I think there’s a rising use of animation and if you want to look at the best examples of that it’s just the rise and rise of Pixar movies and other animation studios, and how well those movies are now grossing because people are able to identify. It doesn’t matter what country you’re in, you can relate to two monsters that are blue and green because they’re animated. They’re not real people. Whereas any other movie you might like to shoot with actual human actors, there’s always going to be that slight judgement that occurs. I’m taken to a thought of a movie recently that came out around the Great Wall of China, but with American actors in it. It just grates you the wrong way. Well, grates you anyway. So take a look. Have a think about how you– what story you want to tell. And maybe think about using animation as a way to get around that need to hire talent and have along production crews and big overheads in producing what really should be something that’s fairly cheap to produce.
[music] Thanks for listening to that latest episode, guys. I’m just got two quick favours to ask of your here right at the end. Firstly, if you have any questions, please shoot them through. This podcast only exists because I answer questions that listeners send in. So if you head along to fractal.com.au/questions, that will redirect you to the latest episode and you can drop your questions down there. Those questions you submit become the basis for each episode. So if you’ve got a question around SEO, paid search, growth hack marketing, PR, brand positioning, market segmentation, anything you might like to know and it’s going to help your business, drop the question down there and I’ll try to answer on the next episode. If you don’t have any questions, that’s absolutely fine. The other thing you can do is head on over to fractal.com.au/subscribe. Subscribing to this podcast not only delivers each episode straight through to your smartphone, but it really helps me reach a bigger audience all the time. That subscription really helps me out. So if you can do that, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks a lot for your time, again, and see you next week.

 

The Fractal Marketing Podcast – Episode 1 – Teas.com.au, Brannd Savvy & Powerwells.org

In this episode, I take questions from Teas.com.au, Brannd Hub and PowerWells.org

We discuss:

  • finding your niche market
  • How you need to own a niche before you expand
  • Tribes and how to use them to expand
  • Great domain names and the ‘radio test’
  • promoting a service-based business
  • Crowdfunding marketing

Thanks to Teas.com.au , Brand Hub , and PowerWells for being on episode one.

If you have a question you’d like answered on the show please leave a comment on Linkedin here 

 

Want your question answered in the next episode? Just leave your question here

Here is a transcription of this episode: (there will be mistakes in this transcript so please just use this as a guide)

 

Hello and welcome to the Fractal Marketing Broadcast. I’m Gerard Doyle. Each week, I explore online marketing objectives and strategies from you, the listener. Sharing the advice on this broadcast for everyone to learn from. The goal of this broadcast is to keep startup founders and entrepreneurs, teach them marketing tips, tricks and best practices that they can apply to their business. Welcome to episode one. On today’s episode, we look at the niche marketing selection for teas.com.au. Help brand hub with their web presence, and I will share how I promoted the ground founding campaign for power wells. So let’s jump straight into the episode. So the first question we have is from Celina who runs teas.com.au, and that’s T-E-A-S.com.au, who asked the question with a rather low population density, yet first world GDP in Australia, how does someone choose a niche? Her niche is too niche. Is there a golden figure or a clever way to say, “Yup, this is a mature market for X or no, its way to small, thanks a lot.” Thanks for the question. First things first, just as I stumble over the word niche right at the beginning of my podcast. Franny Wayne is listening in the US, there would be a niche. It’s probably a little bug there for most Australians and Brits. That there’s a different way to pronounce that word, but in Australia we say niche. Look, great question. I think the first thing I want to say is just a lot of good domain name. Not directly related to your question, but teas.com.au, as somebody who’s worked in the domain industry for a while, one of the things I love is a domain that’s just easier to say, easier to spell and the kind of to quote the wrong sort of brand campaign, it does what it says on the tin. So good work on that one. To get more into your question, is there an easier way? Look, I guess I can give you a roundabout answer and that’s to say for me, the trick with niches is actually to go as niche as you can at the start. I think one of the traps we get into with business is we try to go too broad. And I guess that goes to the second part of the question which is have you gone too niche. I guess it depends on the way you’re looking at it. If one part of your question is the market big enough to justify, that’s a bit different to are we going to a niche. In my mind, one of the key things to do when you’re starting a business or running a business is to go as niche as you can at the start. So what that means is, you’re better off winning over a really small audience and turning them into an absolute evangelist for your brand. So what I mean by that is, it’s really hard to be everything to everyone. So, obviously, [inaudible] with so many tea drinkers, but even tea drinkers are a really broad set. So I think the trick is to get that niche as tight as you can and to play around with that. So, obviously, an easy market to define is people who drink tea. But that again is quite a broad market. I drink tea, not a huge amount. The tea I drink I describe as Bookies Tea. So, how do you appeal to me, or is there a niche market in that? Well, just– I mean, its always easy to use yourself as an example. So the way I’m thinking about it is, I’m a dual citizen living in Australia. Born in Australia, but lived for ten years in the UK. And there’s one thing I picked up in Britain is that Brits tea more than they drink coffee. So already I’m thinking of a niche market, which is British experts living in Australia. And even that in itself is quite a big market to go after. But its interesting because by niching that one level further, you’ve already started to create an idea in your mind’s eye about the persona of who we might actually be going after. So I’m thinking about it now, I’m starting to imagine the British person who is in Australia who don’t have a great tea selection or doesn’t quite understand why Australians are so obsessed with coffee and not drinking tea. And to that end, I think about tea and I think this is a good, long game
for you this is– in Australia is obsessed with coffee at moment, and I say at the moment since that coffee’s got a few hundred years of history whereas tea is based on thousands of years of history. So if I was going to take a bet for the long-term play, tea seems like a better one. It also seems like the slightly more mature option which I think you can play into with your marketing as well. So what I mean by that is– I guess I’ll try explaining through an analogy. Thinking back a long time ago so whatever it is, 20-plus years ago when I sort of I guess first became legal to start drinking or there [or?] thereabouts, [inaudible] drinking spirits or beer. Beer was the easy drink if you like and then over the next few years, people started to introduce wine. Nobody really loved wine the first time but it was that sophisticated answer and wine was more multidimensional. I mean obviously, you start looking at red wine and white wine, and then there’s types of grapes for the red wine, and then there’s regions and price points and styles, and I think tea’s in the same position. I think tea’s something where you can win over an audience and then when you win them over you create that level sophistication. Anyway, I’ll get to that in a second. I think it’s actually key to break down niches even further. So yeah, thinking about myself, the second job I had coming back to Australia five years ago was working at an ad agency at iProspect, and one of the things that amazed me about iProspect was the fact that half of the staff were British. They were either born in Britain or had dual citizenship or a lot of them had permanent residency but half of the few hundred people working for iProspect were British. Across the advertising industry, I’d suggest it could be as high as 30, 35% of the people working in the [al land?] industry in Australia are British which then creates a really interesting niche because all over a sudden now we’ve got probably higher educated, they’re going to be typically 20 to 40 years old. A lot of Brits sort of at around 40 years old start to think about moving back to Britain or back to Europe in some way. But if we’re starting to narrow that niche down, why does that matter? I mean, we’re not restricting our potential market. What we’re doing is creating a more narrow persona, the kind of customer that we want to win and turn into an evangelist. So in my mind zone now I’m thinking about advertising professionals working long hours, trying to be creative, keep clear of mind, try to be a bit healthy whilst probably still working in a desk job, British so a natural-born bias towards tea or coffee, and probably a higher than average disposable income. One of the other issues he thinks about the expert community [yes?], the advertising industry is that the time demands on you means that you’re probably less likely to have a family. So maybe I am higher income but more disposable without the kids, without the burden, maybe don’t [inaudible] have the mortgage as well. So what we have done here is we’ve really tried to come up with an idea of who we’re targetting and by niching down to that level what we’re going to do is attempt to create a marketing campaign that entirely focuses on that one persona, that quite micro niche. That’s not to say we only want to sell to the British expert community in the advertising space between 20 and 40 years old who higher income, higher education, no kids, no mortgage, but what it is is to say we can create a positioning for the tea around that. Now, when it comes to positioning with the tea and the niche market, what we want to do is step the tea up beyond the kind of what the tea does, the actual ingredients, and really move into why you would drink certain kinds. Now, having looked at the website I can see actually you guys definitely moving in this place and I can see that the copy that you’ve got on your website but I wonder whether there’s a way we can lift that to a higher level. So what I mean by that is– here’s another example [of?] a different industry if you look at some of the juices that are out there at the moment, so the premium cold-pressed juices. I go along to Woolworths. I have a look at the cold-pressed juice section, and what’s really interesting about it is often on the labels amongst all the ingredients, and the benefits, and the vitamins, and minerals, that are listed there. What really gets my attention is the fact that they often get labelled to do something, so what I mean is. I can pick up a juice that has lemon juice, orange, ginger, and that will be an immune juice – boost your immunity, or get over a head cold. And all over sudden we’re taking something that we can’t even transitively know or maybe it’s inferred, and you up to that level. So I noticed on your website there’s some great features that we talk about cleansing teas. Well, I think that’s the kind of benefit we really need to hone down on and so rather thinking kind of making a selection about what’s the type of tea that I’m getting. What I want the tea to do for me? What am I looking to achieve? And so all the website, all the copy they’re really targetting the articles, the blogs. I can really see that you’ve got that messaging and I think if we can tie that really nicely around a really tight niche. We’re going to be in a great position to market the products, so getting back to– yes, we started with a question. The way I think about it is what we want to do is take that niche, tailor our copy, tailor our ads the way we describe the product, what it does for me. Am I buying teas that give me energy in the morning? Cleansing teas in the afternoon, teas that help me go to sleep at night, clarity of mind, teas that sort of lead to sophistication, things that I might be able to highlight around a working life of an advertising professional. And then package those teas up in that way and sell to that niche audience and win them over. The great thing is once you get yourself into the head-space that you were thinking about niche market it opens up niche marketing opportunities. So then finding brand evangelists, finding advertising professionals with high net promoters scores for you creates another opportunity. You’re able to gauge places like marketing week, Ad News, Mumbrella and pitch the idea. That the advertising industry is moving towards tea with a high demographics of British people coming across, turning us from the nine cups of coffee in feeling clogged and fuzzy headed. We’re moving into tea which is a more cleansing, sophisticated, power drink, and we start to create this idea amongst this niche that tea is the choice of the successful high-level advertising executives. And so you see where we would never be able to get maybe appear [inaudible] into Ad News all over sudden because we have niched down we’re able to do that. And that’s not the say you have to stop there but this great thing happens and I’ll kind of paraphrase it badly – reference Seth Gordon here – it talks about tribes in his book. I think it’s actually called tribes and one of the things that I really took away from that is that people aren’t a member of a single tribe, so what that means is. I might work in the advertising industry. I might be a dual citizen – British-Australian – I might be male. And these sort of different tribes, so one tribe can be around [Adland?], one tribe can just be around your gender, one tribe can be about being a dual-citizen. But I can also be a father. I can also be a Star-wars geek. I can also be a soccer fan. I can be lots of different things. Now, why is the important? Well, it’s important because if you win me over to tea in my dual citizen 25 to 40-year-old male, hard working advertising professional persona and that tribe, and that becomes stunted. Well, I can bring that tribe to the next level or to the next tribe that I’m part of, and it might be that I’m able to bring it to a world of school or me, as a dad, or other social circles that I’m able to get into. And that is the way you can take one niche or one tribe and move it into the next so I think it’s an interesting position. I think I guess what I’m getting at with this whole thing is I guess two things. One is I think you need to niche down. I think absolutely niche down to the tightest audience you can, which allows you then to create evangelists, get that high net promoter score. And once you’ve got that, you’ve got a fan base, a supporter base, that don’t just buy your product, they rave about it. I think it’s important that you absolutely then, once you got those niches, focus down onto the, “Why are people drinking tea?” not just, “I’d like a black tea or a green tea” or the ingredients or whether it’s got ginger or not. What we’re trying to do here is talk about the benefits of tea. We’re trying to sell the whole idea. And part of this education process is not just to sell to new customers. It’s absolutely crucial in the way that we do our marketing that we take these great I guess rationales as to, “Why I drink tea,” the irony here being often the logic – not the heart, the head logic here- is something we apply after a purchase, a post-purchase rationalisation of our decision. And this is the great thing you’ve got. You’ve got email addresses, you’ve got Facebook fans, you’ve got retargeting pixels. This is where you’re able to educate your existing customer base and give them a rational reason as to why they bought the tea in the first place. They might have bought the tea with the heart. You pitched in the idea they can work harder, longer, stronger, smarter. So they bought the tea to be better at their job. But actually, what you need to do after that is give them the rational arguments. So when they’ve got a high net promoter score, they’re inclined to promote to other people, to talk to other tribes. That’s when we take the rational things and we pitch those in to other people. So when niching down, we can create the 10 out of 10 net referral scores, give the people who are giving us these scores the argument, the rationale, the reasons as to why they want to promote your Teas.com that are you, and then I think you’re going to be in a great place to go from niche to niche to niche. Look, if you really wanted to– I mean, the other great thing about the web is it is completely possible to produce multiple brands without a huge amount of [inaudible]. So it is possible that you could have one I guess holding brand if you like, and then you could actually produce sub-brands under that. So it could be, for the advertising executive, you could have an entirely separate brand and domain although the whole backend and processing is all the same. But you could bring those people in. So there’s a lot of different options open to you.
So, that’s I guess my view on the niching side of things. The other posed question was around the size of the market. Look, I think the trick is, whilst your expanding those niche markets, is to recognise that– look, I don’t think Australia’s too small of a market to make this work, but it is a premium product. It is going to require you to win those niches over to expand out. So I just really focus on winning group to group to group as you expand your market. I’ve got a general feeling that you’re backing the right trend. I’d rather be selling top-end, quality teas much more than I would be coffee. I think coffee’s a much more competitive market. I think you’re on a better long-term game with tea. I think it’s more sophisticated. What you need to do, though, is you need to bring that purchase decision up into more around why I’m drinking tea. What’s in it? What’s the result going to be of drinking tea, as opposed to the actual tea itself? Again, it’s in the copy on the website. I can see the messagings there. I think maybe just commit wholeheartedly to the idea that, “I’m not selling tea, I’m selling clarity of mind,” or a positioning statement that you can go with. So I hope that’s been a help. I’m going to post, obviously, the podcast. Of course, I got your details, so more than happy to do follow-up questions afterwards. And then we’re going to move on to our second case study.
So the second case study we have today is from Brannd Hub. So that’s Brannd Hub, which is B-R-A-N-N-D-H-U-B.com, who come with a question, “How does an online, service-based business effectively market itself?” So Brannd Hub is targeting small businesses, medium businesses, startup firms, etc. And they professionally develop names and slogans for entrepreneurs, businesses, and brands. So this is a tough one for me because I think my first instinct is to test your name itself, which is Brannd Hub. And the test I was given by a good friend of mine from evergreen.com domains is what she calls the radio test for domain names, which is if you can’t say it on the radio without having to spell it out, it’s probably not a fantastic brand. The reason I bring this up is the difficulty I think you’ve got at the start is that Brannd Hub, in its own self, doesn’t necessarily pass the radio test because, for me to spell it out, I have to actually– or for me to explain exactly who you are, I have to mention the double N. So for me I think one of the core things is going to be not to fall into that trap of being the mechanic’s car. Sorry, this is the idea that you look after everyone else’s brand but not your own. So I think it’s going to be absolutely crucial that Brannd Hub doesn’t have two Ns. I think to have the two Ns is kind of self-defeating and it’s going to be really hard to sell the business and services you offer after that. So my natural position as an ex-domainer – so it’s obviously coming up a lot – is to go look at, well, who owns other domains similar to that. So I’m not 100% sure where you’re based but, for example, I looked at branndhub.com.au and noticed that that was a parked domain which was potentially for sale from Sedo. At the same time, I might get a look at brandhub, with just one n, .com, and you see other sites that are there, which is not a great place. Because if you think about it, there’s going to be two scenarios, and they’re going to play out here. Scenario one, you struggle to take off as a brand because people can’t really remember it, in which case you never really got to have a chance to demonstrate how good you are at the service. Scenario two, which in some ways is even worse, is you do become successful. Then you have massive leakage of your brand traffic off to the person who owns the premium domain, the actual, real domain. So I guess it’s a difficult one to give advice on on that side because, obviously, I’m looking at your brand first. Look, the other thing is really focusing and spending some time on your website and the way it looks and feels. I think it’s going to be absolutely crucial for you that your brand, your website and the way you portray it, needs to be super slick. At the moment there’s a lot going on with your website. I think the animated snowflakes is very sort of late nineties in terms of website design. I’d be really keen to see you guys [taking?] your domain, and then throw up a template from Wix or a Squarespace. On one side, you kind of look at these and you think, “It’s just Wix,” or “It’s just Squarespace,” but these sites look amazing now. And as a brand, I don’t think you have to communicate a huge amount through your website. I think you can actually keep it really slick. I think minimal is probably the way you need to go, so for your website in itself, I’d really be focused on minimal. And why do I say these two things? What am I thinking of when I look at this, and I say, “Look at your domain. Look at your brand.” Well, this is the thing about selling services online. There’s very little people can use to assess you, so your domain name, your website, I mean, that’s basically it. You know, in terms of the last check. So this website has to look great. This website has to be slick. This website has to look like you really care about brands, and if you care about brands, then you got to care about layout and design. So using a template that’s going to work on every browser and every style. I mean, I’m looking at this on a Windows 10 Surface Pro looking through Chrome. But I could just as easily be using an iPhone 8, X, using a Safari browser, an Android phone. These are all very valid options, and at the moment, your design just doesn’t really work across those. So I’d really recommend looking, yourselves, at the brand, and something simple. Probably stay away from even using the brand in the actual domain. Let’s look for a domain or a brand for yourselves that’s super slick and maybe doesn’t actually say a huge amount. Borrow a leaf off the way I approached it, naming my company Fractal. It’s not the perfect brand by any stretch, but it’s one word. It means something. It can be spelt, but I get to make and use a brand that I want to make it into. Anyway, getting more specifically to your question and some ideas that I think everyone else can sort of take away and use, I think the trick for service providers is not to try to do everything on their website. It’s really around content and content distribution. So what we’re doing is we’re trying to present you guys as thought leaders, and the best way to be a thought leader is to share those thoughts. Look, there’s a general rule which is you should be able to talk about all the different strategies and still retain a whole lot of value in what you do. So what I mean by that is you should be able to sort of create bespoke documents, detailed documents, talking about specific areas of brand marketing, and come up with brands, and add a lot of value, and position yourselves as thought leaders. Though over the years it’s actually a lot harder to execute. So you can give someone all the answers, all the ingredients, but it’s kind of like a recipe when you’re making a cake. It’s one thing to say to somebody, “This is what the cake is going to look like. These are all the ingredients. This is in the method. You can hand all that to me, and I’m still going to make a horrendous cake. And that’s the way I want you to think about your business, as a service business online. Give away the ingredients. Give away the method. Give away the final product. Give it everything you possibly can to help people. Don’t hold anything back. The reality is for services that provide real value and require real talent to deliver, the people aren’t going to have to do it, but what they are going to do is see you as an authority. They’re going to see you as the person with the answers, with the method, with the process, and they’re going to trust you to deliver all of that knowledge into what you do. It’s actually really hard to validate everything you’re going to do for a brand in one of these services. You can spend a long time justifying your decisions to get the person’s radio content all ready, and they’ve considered what you would– potentially considering you’ve done a lot of the pre-sell for you. The thing about content is it’s absolutely fantastic for distributing online. Use LinkedIn, use Twitter, the more professional channels, and put your content out there. Partner with people. Approach other websites, web hosts, small business start-ups, accounting firms, whatever it might be, and offer to write articles for them. There’s enough accounting firms out there with small business coming to them in local areas. They don’t really have anything to say. They’ve got emails like– my accountants send me a newsletter every month, and it’s so dry and dull. There’s never a huge amount in there. But if you were to write something that was for them, for their clients, that used your brand, I think you’d find a really high take-up. So I’d really focus around create a nice brand for yourself, a brand that is nice and clean. Carry that through to a super slick website. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Like I said, Wix or Squarespace are just really valid options now with so many fantastic templates. Keep it minimal. Don’t put too much onto your website. Don’t try to say too much on your website. Keep that looking premium, slick. Make sure it’s compatible with every kind of browser. And then focus all your efforts on writing down your thoughts and distributing that content to as many different providers as you can. Post it on LinkedIn. Share it. Grow your audience. Post it on Twitter. Follow people. Engage. Look, one of the best things you can do on both Twitter and LinkedIn is actually be the listener and offer value. So what I mean by that is social media channels, these days, are full of people shouting and not many people listening. It would be absolutely amazing if you became one of the people that listened to what people were shouting about, and responded, and added value. It would be an amazing way for you to build up traction online. So instead of being just one more person shouting out on Twitter and making a post, why don’t you put all the effort into replies because that what people can respond to. It’s amazing. You look at the number of businesses that are tweeting frantically trying to get some kind of traction to an audience that really doesn’t care what they say on Twitter. If you’re the one person who’s on there who makes a valid comment, you’re probably going to pick up a follow. You’re probably going to win a little bit of love back from that particular brand, and that can be a fantastic guerrilla way to kind of get your brand out there. So I guess, in a nutshell, content’s going to be your friend. Use your experience. Use your knowledge. Share as much as possibly can. Again, think of it a bit like a recipe. Share all the ingredients. Share the method. Share the final product, and you’re going to find that people will find a way back to you eventually. Some people will solve it. Some people will take your instructions and do a really good job. That’s actually not a bad thing. Two great things come from that. One, you’ve got someone who genuinely values what you’re doing and will be grateful. And, secondly, you can feel good about it. You’ve helped somebody. But what you’re going to find in most cases is that people look at it and say, “Do you know what? I’m just going to ask BrandHub to just go and do all the work for me because they seem to know what they’re talking about.” I hope that helps. I look forward to seeing some changes on the– maybe your brand and the way you can position your website. And, look, when you produce your first content, send it through to me on LinkedIn, and I will give you my friendly comment and help spread love from my end as well. Good luck. So, lastly on today’s podcast, I just want to cover off a company I have been doing some work with about 16 weeks now, and it’s called Power Wells. That’s powerwells.org. And what the Power Wells guys do is they come up with this really novel way to provide power to remote communities around the world that don’t have regular land supply power. So what they do is they find large containers where they drop recycled laptop batteries into them and then you use solar panels to charge up the batteries. And the idea behind this is they’re looking to provide means power supply to communities, what they discovered is that these are remote communities, their mobile phones is actually an absolute essential tool. Now, at first part, you think mobile phone, its a luxury. But in a lot of these remote communities, and they have done a lot of work in Indonesia, they discovered that their mobile phone is their only form of communication. And that’s not just to chat with people, this is about emergency communication, trade, any kind of information to the community. It’s also often their only source of light, which was another amazing fact. So, what the Power Wells are designed to do is during the hours where these remote communities who are typically farmers are out working the land, the solar panels charge up the recycled laptop batteries, so you’re reducing e-waste. And it allows the community to come plug their phones in at night, charge them up to remain connected to the rest of the world, to give them some light so they can do things like prepare dinner and extend the number of useful hours in the day. Anyway, I met these guys at the Logan startup weekend. And meeting Nick and Brad, well they didn’t actually have a great idea exactly how they were going to go about this. One thing was abundantly clear, and that was these are two guys with a heap of passion and a really sort of strong desire to do something. So I quickly went from mentor to permanent mentor, so I guess weekend mentor to permanent mentor and started donating a lot of my time to these guys. And what we did is we sort of set ourselves a really ambitious goal, which was to sit down and we said, “Can we go from zero, startup weekend to running a successful crowdfunding campaign that would finish in January,” which gave us a total of 12 weeks from the two founders meeting each other to actually launching a crowdfunding campaign and hitting the target within 12 weeks. So what I wanted to share with everybody was really I guess my approach in how we did that. The end of our story is good, we hit our target. We wanted to raise $12,000, which we did. But I think what really interesting is a couple of lessons we’d learned. One of the key things we did was that we built an audience first. So we went back and we started all– the people we had at the beginning with the Logan startup weekend people. So got them, added them to our Facebook page, and then decided, “Okay. Well, Facebook is going to be our primary method of communication. We need one channel, but we got to be really good at it.” Any other channels we got, we decided that was going to feed towards Facebook. Again, it’s from the same square, it’s easy to be successful on one medium rather than trying to spread too thin. And everywhere we went, everyone we spoke to, the guys just encouraged people to follow them, to like them on Facebook to see the post, and everyone was directing people here to Facebook. So what we were really doing was building an audience and the idea behind the audience was people that have met the guys, met somebody, heard something could engage in some different way. The bigger that audience was the day that we decided to launch– the day we launched, sorry, the crowdfunding campaign, we had somebody to talk to. And the key to these crowd funding campaigns, and I have only run one, so this an experience of one is that if you launch and have zero dollars in the bank, you’re going to struggle. So what we did is we– as soon as we launched, we had a few bankers, people who we knew were going to come in and make donations. So right from the very word go, we had
me coming in. I guess [inaudible] the theme of today’s podcast I’m talking about [inaudible] talking about Seth Gordon talking about tribes and another thing, in his book, he talks about the need for the first person to jump out there and do something and say, “I’m going to start a movement.” And the absolutely crucial thing to the tribe is the second thing. Once you have a second person who joins in, you’ve got a tribe. That makes it really easy for person three, four, five and six to come along. Sitting back with zero dollars on a crowdfunding campaign waiting for the first person to drop a dollar is absolutely gut wrenchingly, excruciatingly hard to do. You’re sitting there saying to yourself, “This is never going to happen.” No one wants to move first so having two bankers at the very start made a massive difference for us, it meant that the momentum was there and people thought, “Yes, I’m going to get behind this and I’m going to give them a few dollars as well.” And obviously, the first two people it helps if they’re making reasonable donations. Over the course of that campaign which we ran for four weeks, we really focused on the story, we focused on the why. The amazing thing with Nick and Brad, is that they were really clear on their why. And it was really clear to everybody else who read their story and watched their videos is to why they were doing it. The amazing thing was they didn’t really know how, they still don’t really know exactly how, we had [inaudible] so we knew what we were going to deliver which was these PowerWells, exactly how wasn’t known. So it gets to this really interesting Simon Sinek quote and thing around getting to why and answering your why. We were able to successfully raise $12,000 and we didn’t even really know how, and we still didn’t know how we were going to get the PowerWells exactly in. We knew what we were doing, we knew why we were doing it, and it was the why that made a difference for these guys. Couple of other things we do in the crowdfunding campaign, every single time somebody donated, sent them a thank you email and that’s the automated one but Nick was in there sending a personal email saying “Thank you.” Giving the person at the same time some collateral that sort of said, “Hey, can you post this and share it so.” And when they did and then we were sort of posting and thanking them on social media so it really shined the movement. We told the story to news spots. We got some great coverage on the Brisbane Times, 4ZZZ, ABC Radio, and the reason we did is you get one go, you get one go at telling these stories and so we knew it was our momentum play, we knew we could get some press, we could get some coverage but it something that was going to eventually die down. So there was no real reason reason for us to go run this campaign for 12 weeks, it was really, we had one shot, one go at the story, had to draw a line in the sand, and the exciting thing for us was it’s actually the last few thousand dollars goes quickly. So effectively, in the crowdfunding, we launched, we started quickly, the middle was a real low, took a lot of people, a lot of 10 and $20 dollar donations and then as you get to the end and people can see that you’re inside– once you [inaudible] got past $10,000 dollars, we kind of even doubt if we were going to get there because you get to a situation where the people that have already backed you and the people that are thinking about it don’t want you to fail. The thing about a crowd funding campaign is when you set that mark, and we set it at $12,000 dollars, if we had raised 11,900 it would have been a failure because we wouldn’t have got a single dollar, you’ve got to get to the 12, 000, you can’t go under. But the great thing is when you do get close, you do find you tip over the end. So really, the key of the campaign for us was that we launched with some backers, we had an audience, we kept building the audience. Two, we really focused on the why, why we were doing PowerWells and what we have to achieve from it. And thirdly, we just kept the communication going, we focused on the explosive start, did as PR as we drive towards the story and got it over the line. So I don’t think PowerWells is typical, it’s sort of a B Corp style setup but the one definite thing, I’d recommend it for anybody, is if you’re to do any kind of crowdfunding campaign, is make sure you’ve built up a real audience before you get started. So that’s the end of my first podcast. I hope you’ve really enjoyed it, I’ve had a good time recording it for you. If you’d like to be featured or you have any questions you’d like me to address in future podcasts, just head over to fractal.com.au, the follow links through to the LinkedIn page where you can drop some comments down under this episode’s links. In those comments, and I’ll put some notes in the description there but just try to describe what your company is, the name of it, the URL is absolutely important, explain to me who your customers are, the problem that you’re solving, and then finally, in a little bit of detail, one or two lines, what’s the question you’d like to ask me for me to address in the next podcast. Those questions on LinkedIn almost always form the basis for each of my podcasts each week. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, look forward to answering your questions in future podcasts and we’ll see you next week. Cheers. [music]

 

Facebook video remarketing – turning passive viewers into customers

After slaving away on a great piece of new video marketing content, you upload and boost it on Facebook, then watch the views climb –  while the likes and comment trickle in slowly. Sometimes you’ll meet with colleagues and friends who’ll tell you they loved your video, yet they didn’t like, comment or share it. We’ve all been there, right?

You’re not alone. Unfortunately, while some content is ‘like bait’, other content will always struggle to attract the positive social signal we need for increased distribution. Often it’s the more instructional and educational material that people forget to like.

Facebook now offers you an amazingly powerful way to reach out to these people, video retargeting. Now you can re-market to all those people who are passively viewing your videos while taking no action. The best part for startup founders/marketers is that this strategy is incredibly cost-effective as people willing to invest their time to consume your content are self-identifying and creating an affinity with your brand.

I’m going to make a few assumptions here. Firstly that you promote your videos on Facebook, and secondly that you’ve used Facebook ad manager.

You can navigate directly to the ‘Audience’ section in ad manager here https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager/audiences/manage/

Next, you want to click on the blue button labelled ‘Create Audience.’

From the options listed you want to select ‘custom audience’.

On the next screen, you’ll want to select the ‘Engagement’ option

Finally, on the next screen you can select ‘Video’.

This feature might be buried deep in the Facebook ecosystem but you’re now using one of the best marketing tools that turn ‘window shoppers’ into real shoppers.

On the next screen, you can select the video you’d like to target viewers of as well as the time they have viewed the video for.

What you select here really depends on the length of the video you uploaded and also how perfect you want your audience to be.

If you uploaded a three-minute instructional video then anyone who watched more than 50 percent is probably engaged.

You could limit this to people who have watched more (say 95 percent of your video), but in my experience, this will produce a target group that is too small.

If your video is shorter, say 15-30 seconds then you will want to push the targeting closer to the 95 percent side as it requires much less commitment to your content to watch 8-15 seconds before skipping on.

After you name your audience, Facebook will take a couple of hours to generate this new audience group for you.

Once ready you can retarget any future posts or ads to this audience.

The best part is that once you’ve generated this audience facebook will automatically keep the audience updated.

What you’ve achieved here is a classic marketing funnel.
Your carefully crafted video content is now gaining the attention of potential customers, and as people watch more than 50 percent of your video, you can retarget them with slightly more aggressive posts with a stronger call to action.

There is a vast variety of ways to retarget on the web. However, most of these options require the target users to perform some kind of positive action, typically a click.

Facebook video remarketing empowers you to retarget users who self-identify with your content not through their clicks but through their time, which I would argue is far more valuable than the token like.

If you have any questions or thoughts on the above please do reach out, I’m always happy to help.

How to look big while spending small in Adwords

So here’s the scenario, your Startup has entered a market with a dominant player. You have your USP, but with the classic innovator’s dilemma, it’s hard to market a product or feature people don’t know exists.
You can see your target customers conducting generic searches on Google. However, the dominant player is in there already, and they are bidding aggressively.

How can you possibly compete in this market?

The long strategy is to bid low, take up the long tail search terms and wait for the conscientious consumer to find your brand, weigh up the benefits and make an informed, rational decision.
The wrong strategy is to bid head to head with the dominant brand in blind faith that the lifetime value will cover the crazy Adwords bills.

What you want to be doing is using ‘Retargeting List Search Advertising’ by Google, or RLSA as the cool kids call it.
RLSA is an advanced Search Engine Marketing (SEM) technique that is typically employed by specialist SEM agencies or full time in-house digital marketing staff.

So what is RLSA how does it work?
RLSA works with Google dropping pixels on your website that tag all your visitors. Google can then identify these people when they are searching online and offer you the option to change your SEM bid strategy. In other words, you can treat these people that have already been to your site once, twice or a particular part of your website differently.

As a founder of a startup you’re always hustling, pushing content, working social media and attending a networking event. Anything you can do to draw attention to your business. Every visitor is hard won, yet mostly once they leave your site, they are gone forever.

Now there are two techniques I recommend once you’re tracking your website visitors. One is display and social re-targeting, and the other is RLSA.
While retargeting is fantastic it assumes your website visitors are ‘in market’, and because you’re hustling there is a good chance many of your visitors are not yet ‘in market’ but merely curious about your business or an article you’ve written.
This is where RSLA is the king.

RLSA waits until one of your previous website visitors conducts a search that your bidding on and then up-weights your bid. In other words, the previous visitor self-identifies as being ‘in market’ and this is the time you strike, but now you’re striking with a little more information because you’ve seen this person before.

For example, right now one of my clients has an RLSA list that is performing 100% better than the generic campaign. So we can afford to bid twice what we usually do.
For the audience that we hustled to get to our website the first time, we’re now outbidding the market leader.

The logic in the above-increased conversion rate is that this searcher already has some affinity with your startup brand. However, they have probably forgotten your name, what your company does or even that it exists. But with that small prompt in the Google SERPS (Search Engine Result Pages) it all comes flooding back.

All of a sudden for a small group of people you’ve become a big fish in a small pond. In their world your the top result in Google and you’re killing it. You no longer need to bid on every person that is searching, just the ones where you have a competitive advantage.

As you’ve no doubt already worked out, for the above to work, you’ll need to drive people to your website in the first place. But that’s what Startup hustle is all about.
This is also where content marketing is the key.
Remembering one of the reasons you have to compete against the established market dominating leader is that people don’t know your unique solution exists.
With content marketing, you can attract the attention of a demographic first, and convert them when they are ‘in market’.

For example, you could produce lots of content around dogs, attracting the attention of pet owners, then when the same person is searching for home contents insurance, you could use RLSA to market your discounted home insurance for dog owners (because thieves are less likely to rob a house with a dog).

So the task from here is simple, get those RLSA Google pixels down on your site today. Every day you delay you miss adding website visitors to your RLSA list, and you can’t go back and capture them later.

The Marketer’s Innovation Dilemma

Having spent the last couple of months entirely focused on marketing strategies for my innovative startup clients, I realized that they all suffer the same marketing dilemma. There was no latent demand for their products or service. The world doesn’t know that their truly innovative product exists, so naturally that same world is not out searching for my client’s product.

Having made a career over the last 20 years around Search Engine Marketing (SEM), I realise how lazy marketing has become. If you sell (for example) waterproof work boots, then you can bid in Google for the search phrase ‘water proof work boots’, and then you just have to demonstrate that your product is the best option based on features, brand, warranty, price or other variables.

This is all relativity logical and an easy consumer path to map out.

But what do you do if your product is innovative? A truly innovative product it is not defined by a different or better feature, it is defining an entirely new class of product or service.

Take Uber for example, while it’s true that Uber is a replacement for existing transport options like taxis, buses or private hire cars, the paradigm of a ride sharing cashless app service didn’t exist. If Uber was not innovative and just simply iterative then their service could have just been a cheaper taxi company. Hardly remarkable but easier to create a marketing plan for.

It was at this point that I realised that much like Clayton Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma, marketers face their own innovation dilemma; “For a true innovation, there is no latent consumer demand”.

The only answer to this dilemma is to interrupt the associated solution path, provide value, then educate.

This is why startup marketing requires a creative and strategic approach. Traditional marketing can rely on iterative ideas and buying power, but startup marketing needs to dive deep into the core rational of why the solution is needed. To be honest, traditional marketing should be taking the same approach, but in reality traditional marketing can skip this extremely hard step, and still achieve a measure of success. For a startup however, skipping this step will lead to the inevitable failure of the company.

If you’re a small business that is just starting, then Google’s adwords provides an amazing product where you can tap into highly targeted existing demand for your product. But if you’re a startup, you need to think harder about the needs and desires of your target market and work out ways to intercept that decision making path with messaging that will cut through.

There is a reason why startups hire ‘growth hackers’ and not digital marketers, the path and methodology is not as clear when it come to startup marketing as there is not latent demand to fall back onto.