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.