In the early days of Google, it was common to refer to any search result by its incoming link. If you were looking for a pair of shoes, you would type “shoes” into a search box and see links for every pair that had been sold through Google. No matter what your query was, if you clicked on one of those links, you’d be taken to the product page for that shoe.
But if the shoe didn’t sell, there would be no obvious reason why people should look at those pages in any way other than as a way of finding out what they were looking for.
This is when Google began changing the way they thought about search results. They realized that there was more than one good search result: getting people to click on one of those links might lead to something useful; but trying to get them to click on another link could lead them into something less useful (or worse: not even that).
Google decided it needed more than just a link from your query: it needed an actual reason why people should click on it at all. So Google started thinking about product pages as not just shopping sites with guides and ads and prices but also hubs where users could find out more about the products they were interested in (and perhaps see some or all of the goods in question), where users could share their opinions (and maybe buy some) and where they could learn what other users had bought and liked or disliked or ignored or whatever else they might be curious about.
More recently, I’ve been wondering how I got here… How did we get from thinking of products as not just shopping sites but also places-to-be with information? The answer is pretty simple: advertising revenue! In fact, when I started talking about this idea nearly 10 years ago, I was only beginning to realize how much advertising revenue has changed everything about how we think about products!
In fact, advertising revenue has changed everything because it has allowed us to create products which are different from anything we can imagine before: things that don’t exist anywhere else – things like food delivery services and ride-hailing services that aren’t actually cars but instead have a little car (or sometimes motorcycle) attached to them – things like online drugstores and online dating websites where you can go online and say “I want this” rather than go off in person (if you want sex) or go off in person and
I’m a perfectionist
There’s a song that has been sung for decades, “I’m a perfectionist”. It is a popular refrain in the world of design and technology, but what does it mean? How does an idea get from the creative mind to the consumer’s mind?
The following example illustrates how women in Silicon Valley deal with this issue:
A female startup founder once told me that she was always the first one to be fired by her company. She claimed that she was too hard on herself and was “too perfectionist”. Women tend to be more aware of their imperfections and thus are better at self-assessing themselves and taking accountability for their mistakes.
Formal education isn’t enough when it comes to achieving your goals: you have to put in the effort! You can start by learning something new or improving your current skills. Everyone has an opinion; don’t accept theirs blindly! You can also find some inspiration in other industries, such as sports (if you’re good at basketball). If you’re not good at something, take up other activities that interest you; focusing on what you love is often the best way to improve yourself.
I’m going to do it anyway
You have to have a strong conviction, and you need to understand your audience well. If you don’t, you’ll fail to get people who care about what you are doing.
It’s sometimes tempting to take on the task of marketing for an unknown product without first understanding the rest of your team. But no one is more misinformed than someone who has never seen an audience before, so it’s way better to start by understanding who your audience really is. You should know what their pain points are, and how they would like your product to help them solve those problems.
One of the best ways to do this is through social media (e.g., Twitter), but there are also other ways of getting in touch with users:
• Social media: most people’s social media activity happens via a smartphone and can be very time-consuming and distracting; however, it can be difficult to figure out what they are actually posting by themselves. So it’s worth investing some effort into understanding your userbase online when they aren’t actively sharing anything (e.g., during the weekend). It might involve signing up for an email list or setting up a dedicated Twitter account for the business (so that you can analyze traffic patterns over time); or experimenting with various post formats that show up most frequently in tweets (e.g., short messages).
• Email newsletters: sending out regular emails is a great way of getting feedback from customers/users about which features/products work well for them. When setting up a newsletter list, make sure that it’s relevant for your target audience (and only send any content relevant for them), and remember that not everyone wants newsletters in their inbox; if people cannot opt out, then try sending only occasional newsletters instead. This will make sure that you reach out to those who want it, without having to “bother” everybody else constantly with irrelevant content (which isn’t necessarily helpful).
• Social media follow-up campaigns: If you’re marketing on Facebook or elsewhere on Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat/etc., make sure that you offer follow-up actions/events so that users will continue interacting with your brand after they’ve already expressed interest in it earlier on! This means creating content relevant for them through: polls; quizzes; polls vs text questions; etc…
You know what
As a startup, the most important thing to do is to figure out what you need to do to make it work. This can be very difficult; there are many factors that go into that answer and different stories vary widely.
And so if you’ve been sitting on the fence for some time, the last thing you want to do is make a break-the-dime decision and start experimenting with features that have nothing to do with your business.
Don’t worry though: I’m not here to discourage experimentation or experimentation itself — I’ve worked for companies that followed this approach (without a doubt, we could tell when we were doing something wrong). But there’s no point in doing it for something that doesn’t work well enough for your business anyway.
In fact, I think one of the best ways of testing and iterating is by starting with an idea from scratch and seeing how well it works before moving on the ideas which are “a little better than what we had before.” And then iterating again and again until you get it right.
This is especially important at first because small changes will take a while (and expensive) to implement; only as your product matures will you start making more dramatic changes which can be done quickly (and cheap).
For example, when Facebook launched its Messenger platform, they didn’t start with a large team of engineers who were familiar with their products already; they started by opening up their API and letting everyone experiment with different messaging systems like SMS or MMS…which worked great right away.
A lot of startups are too concerned about reducing friction for their users — but if people don’t know exactly what feature they’re using, it’s not really a test of value at all; it’s just confusing people who have no idea why they’re being asked for permission every time they use the feature.
I have to admit
The title of this piece is very much in line with my last post: “I have to admit”. It’s a sentiment that I often hear from customers, particularly when I call them back to discuss their problems, and even when I write about it later (on Medium, Twitter or one of my blogs). We’ll probably always have to admit that the subscription rates (and the number of subscribers we generate) are not high enough for us to be profitable. This doesn’t mean that we should stop marketing at all; just that we need to make sure we are focusing on the right things and doing so with a clear understanding of where our current goals are.
When you say “we will never succeed if we don’t spend without a clear ROI”, you are saying something very much in line with what I was talking about above. The first step is like the “before product-market fit” part: there are two phases here: before and after product-market fit. In the first phase you market your product to existing customers (those who already know your product); in the second phase you engage new customers — those who haven’t seen it yet — in order to get them hooked on it (and thereby keep them). You take some money out of each sale today and put it into sales tomorrow or next week; then you see how quickly they use it. If no one is using it, then you put more money out into sales (it’s just a matter of time until someone buys) but if someone does buy, then you ask for their name and email address so that you can send them more stuff when they get hooked on it.
In this way, your focus every day should be on growing your customer base as well as improving the quality of each sale (which starts by getting customers used to using your app). Here’s an example from our blog:
This doesn’t sound like much but over time adding features gets forgotten because people don’t think about buying features… they just want the end result — they want to use our solution! And by getting customers used to using our service, we can make sure they feel like they’re making progress towards their goals with us every day.
By doing this right, you ensure that both sides grow together rather than against each other; where one side grows faster than another then there may be an opportunity for the other side to gain ground
Cause you’re worth it
There is a song, a song about the value proposition of software development. It’s called ring my bell song. The song was written by the team of Ruby on Rails developers who started Sidebar in 2009. The song has a negative verse and a positive verse.
The negative verse (which gets sung at the end) goes like this:
I have no idea what makes me so special
I don’t know where I came from
I never even tried to find out
Was it because I was born with a silver spoon?
No one told me that I was worth it.
No one told me that I was worth it. People always said that I was lazy. That’s not true, people don’t know how to be lazy they just call it being lazy, but I have an idea why they say that, if you need to take blame for yourself then you are going to blame others for your bad behavior, so blame yourself with all your might! Do you know how hard it is to stop blaming others for your own bad behavior? You never had any idea that you were doing something wrong do you? No one ever told you when you were doing something wrong and then suddenly… five years later everything changed and now everything is different because other things were supposed to change but didn’t since we didn’t even try or learn anything new or do anything differently or do anything different or learn anything new.
So what does the positive verse say about why we are worth it? And what does it mean? It’s simple: We’re not just bringing products but solutions! We’re bringing valuable solutions which would make a world of difference in people’s lives! We’ve got really cool solutions which would make our lives better and would make yours better too! So please help us bring more solutions because we’ve got the solutions and people will really love them :D! This is our bell: ring my bell song ring my bell song Ring my bell song ring my bell song Ring my bell song
And all the time that I spent for you girl
I have a confession to make. When I first wrote this post, I didn’t think we’d get to this point. I thought it was just a few months away from launch and we’d be back to the drawing board. And then, once again, we did.
We have built a product known as RingMyBellSong. Now, I can hear you saying “That’s not what it sounds like at all!” You might be right; you might be right that there is no Bell on our product page. But let me tell you why that isn’t the case:
When we started the project three years ago, no one had ever heard of ringtone apps (or even cell phone ringtones). Today, RingMyBellSong is selling in more than 20 countries and has been downloaded more than 1 million times worldwide (those numbers don’t include mobile app downloads). We are also building an international following by launching in new markets in China and India with every release of our app — which means that there are people out there who have never heard of our product before today!
The reason for this is plain and simple: we didn’t market to them or pitch them on what they wanted (we just built it because we liked it) — but now they are hearing about us because they want it!
And now that they do want it, they want to buy the app so they can ring their bells too! To help illustrate how much we’ve changed and how much we’ve grown since then, here are some charts:
The first chart shows how many people in different countries download our app each month – whether they know about us or not. The second shows the number of active users who download our app each day and finally the third chart shows how many people in each country who purchase RingMyBellSong each month. Our growth over time has been exponential (year-on-year) — so much so that our team is constantly asking ourselves if this kind of growth could be sustainable if we did nothing else but build RingMyBellSong for life! I’m proud to say “yes.” For more on what has happened since then check out: https://blog.ringmybellsong.com/2018/04/10/where-were-you-when-all-this-happened/ .
That’s how you know that I really love you baby
It’s important to remember the adage that “no one wants to hear from you unless you’re being rude to them.” This is true for both customers and employees. And although it sounds simple, that’s not necessarily the way most people understand it.
I have a friend who has faced this challenge when implementing cross-department communication for his team. He started out with a simple message:
If you’re busy, let me know and I can take care of it for you. But the problem was he couldn’t seem to figure out how to do so. At best, he had a very vague vision of how his team would respond (e.g., likely I can work on it while I wait) and at worst, they just didn’t understand him (e.g., I don’t want to bother you right now).
As he put it at one point: “I can’t keep saying ‘Do you mind if we work on this together?’ because I don’t want to be rude! But they just don’t get it…so why would they get it? It’s my job as the leader of their department, not their job as their boss, so why should I discipline them? They’re better than that! They’ve got lives! What’s wrong with them? It’s not like they’re all out there playing some sport or something…”
But here is the thing: in many ways, he was underestimating his team’s expectations (even though his actions may have been more direct than initially anticipated). Just as we need to be aware of what we communicate in order to cultivate our team cultures (which will improve over time), so too should we be aware of what our teams think about us — and then adapt accordingly. After all, sometimes our words aren’t always expressed in language that makes sense; sometimes people look past our words altogether because they don’t fit with what they expect — or even worse — because they think we may be mad at them (and therefore also mad at ourselves).
This is a good time for us all to start making sure that our communication is more than just interesting content; we should be communicating in ways which make sense and which will encourage others who are listening or reading our words to do likewise. Sometimes those things are difficult at first but eventually become second nature — like getting accustomed to new socks or even your favorite workout