After working for Google France as a digital coach the past 2 years, I have met hundreds of entrepreneurs and SME owners. Some of them understood the importance of digital transition in their business, some of them didn’t – mostly because of a lack of time or knowledge. Above all however, they often don’t have a good mindset about the value and purpose of digital marketing. Most of them find themselves going digital just because they feel that they have to, but not because they truly understand the results they could get.
The 5 keys to build an efficient digital ecosystem:
1) Social media: Build your community first
If you wanted to create a startup even just a few years ago, you would have to work on it out of your garage and wait patiently until it’s done to show it to the world. Today the vision of entrepreneurship has totally changed. You shouldn’t waste your time on building something that no one may want and wait until your launch to acquire customers.
Fake it until you make it
Even if you just have an idea, create a social media account on each platform you think your potentials customers are present on. Start sharing content you know they will enjoy, which relates to your future offerings. You can use tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite to schedule posts in order to gain time and create valuable content to engage them through blog posts or visuals.
In this way, you can build your offer while receiving feedback from your community. The day you launch it, you will already be confident of your first sales. Why? You would have already created a relationship with your community – they’ll like you, support you and will be impatient to use what you have to offer.
This community will also be a perfect way to help you spread the word when you launch your product. You can use them to join a thunderclap campaign or also to support you in a crowdfunding campaign.
2) Optimize your website to get leads
A website shouldn’t only be a showcase of your value proposition. Imagine you are the owner of a physical shop and you have a hundred visitors everyday. Yet, nobody speaks to you, nobody buys anything. How frustrating would that be? This won’t happen however, because you would engage with your visitors, act friendly and try to understand their needs in order to sell them your products.
The concept is almost identical for your website. If you have a hundred visitors per day, you should provide the best user experience possible and attempt to engage them. It can be through contacting you, filling out a form, subscribing to your newsletter or even sharing your content. In almost each case, you might not make a sale but at least you’ll get a lead – their email.
As you can see on NUMA Bengaluru’s home page, we allow our visitors to apply for our acceleration program and we offer them the option to follow us by subscribing.
Your landing page should be efficient as well. This means that your visitors should understand in less than 5 seconds what the benefits of your offer are. One of the best ways to do so is to break the top of your landing page into 3 parts:
- A headline that explains the main benefit/goal of your offer. It’s possible to add a small text under it to ensure clarity.
- A powerful and explicit Call to Action
- A step by step explanation of the process to ensure that your potential customers quickly understand what their user experience entails.
WordPress and Squarespace are good plateform to start.
However, to give the best user experience to your potential customers, your website should be a 100% responsive and fast. You can use this Google tool in order to check: https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/
For free, it will give your website a score for speed and responsivity. It will also tell you what to fix in order to improve your given score and thus, your overall user experience.
Finally, the better way to optimize your website is to get datas analytics. It’s pretty simple to setup Google Analytics for free which will give you a good a vision of what your website is doing:
- Who are your visitors?
- How do you acquire them?
- What are they doing on your website?
- Do you get conversion?
In order to improve your conversion rate, you should get this 3 step mindset:
Tips: Have a look at your Exit rate. If one of your pages has an Exit rate more than 70%, and it’s not your “thank you page” for purchasing, you should probably try to improve it. It’s also possible to use complementary tools as Hotjar and Mixpanel to more deeply understand your visitor journey.
3) Blog: Content is the key
Developing a blog is the best way to display your expertise to your community. Too many people think that it is unnecessary or that it requires too much time. You need to understand that before to ask, you need to give. Sharing your experiences, experiments, tips and advice is a good way to show your community that you are effective at what you do and that you have real value to offer.
To find topics on which to write, you can ask yourself: what problems are my potential customers facing? An article is often an answer to a question. Help your potential customers reduce their pain point and have the possibility to receive a great outcome in terms of engagement. Neil Patel is known as the content marketing Guru, take time to read his articles, it will help you.
Moreover, writing blog posts will aid your website in ranking better on Google thus leading to more free traffic. If you use WordPress, Yoast SEO is a free plugin that assists in improving your SEO. Here is a screenshot of the list Yoast SEO provides to do so:
Finally, finding the right keyword is easier with bunch of free tools such as Google Trends. It shows you which keywords are widely searched on Google and thus which ones drive traffic.
4) Emailing is branding
Emailing is still one of the most efficient and effective ways to reach customers. While it’s a great way to acquire users, it is also extremely valuable in increasing retention. A human brain cannot remember all the information it receives in a single day. A lot of people might land on your website and like what you do, but will not have the time to read all of your content. They will still be very interested in what you can offer them, though.
In this case, it is vital reach out to them through email. Sending them a monthly/weekly newsletter is one way to do it but if you really want to improve your retention, you should create a mail automation funnel. This is a serie of 5 or 10 mails, which provides value and knowledge in a logical order. The goal is to create relationship built on trust, showing that you are not simply a spammer but an expert who is happy to help his community to grow. You could become the industry reference for them. This will hopefully lead to a good-word-of-mouth with an increase in sales of your product. Even if your opening rate is low, your subscriber will see your name on the mail – this still counts as branding.
To build your list through which you send newsletters and automation mails, I would advise you to use Mailchimp. It’s the most commonly used, free at first and simple to set up. To reach someone, you can use hunter.io to find a mail using the domain name of the company.
5) Growth Hacking
Before using various methods to acquire traffic, understand that Growth Hacking is a mindset. One begins by grasping user psychology, how to delve into your target audience, figure out what motivates them, what they like, what they fear, what is their real pain point. You need to view every channel you use on a daily basis in different ways. How can you best leverage them to drive traffic and entice users to your website.
If you want to learn more about Growth Hacking, have a look to Hackisition, Startup Marketing, Coelevate, and Startupfood.
Here is the AARRR, the growth hacking funnel from Dave McClure:
Acquisition: How do you acquire visitors to your website?
Example: By creating your digital ecosystem
Activation: How do you activate them?
Example: By ensuring they understand your benefits, thus leading to taking action.
Retention: How do you make sure they come back?
Example: By developing your digital ecosystem
Revenue: How do you make money?
Referral: How do you make them spread the word and become an evangelist?
Example: By creating the best value and user experience for them.
To conclude, I’ll give you 3 tips to increase your number of followers for free:
20% creation / 80% distribution
- Facebook: Search the facebook groups you believe contain potential customers and share your facebook page in them with a short text explaining the benefits of following you. If you share within 15 well targeted groups per day, you’ll get 50+ followers a day.
- Twitter: Go to your competitors accounts and follow all their followers. You should be able to follow a minimum of 500 accounts per day and 10% will follow you back. To improve your distribution, you can try a tool like Statusbrew and use Post Recycler to schedule and more effectively post random content during timings that have the most impact.
- Instagram: Go to your competitors accounts and follow all their followers. You should be able to follow a minimum of 500 accounts per day and 20% will follow you back.
Don’t wait anymore, it’s time to build your digital ecosystem!
Pierre GUILBAUD, Startup Manager at NUMA Bengaluru.