I recently did an interview on vator.tv for ivybrain.com that focused on marketing tips for entrepreneurs in on-demand software (soon to be posted). This is the first in a series of posts that summarize the ideas covered….enjoy!
- Create and deliver a focused, high value product. Don’t try to solve every problem; keep the value proposition simple.
- Choose a big market, so you can choose your customers. Don’t chase customers that need features you don’t have or would naturally sign up later in the adoption cycle. Ultimately, your value proposition has to draw customers to you…and the integrated product has to allow them to sign up and get going on their own.
- Strive for 100% self service acquisition/deployment/maintenance and work rigorously to eliminate obstacles that require and hand-holding. Put people in place initially to do the hand-holding, e.g., education, sales, service, support…but recognize that while their tactical function may be to close a sale, the more important strategic function is learning. These folks are a direct line to your prospects that provide critical feedback to get the product just right and understand the details of what is stalling growth. Then, make it your company’s habit to use this knowledge to eliminate these obstacles through automation.
- Develop online marketing prowess and creative PR. SEO, SEM, email marketing, and affiliate marketing are commodity skills; you must be a master at these (or outsource to a master) just to be competitive, and then you should be good and creative at more cutting edge marketing vehicles like blogging, social media, viral media and syndication. Plus, don’t underestimate that one incredibly great marketing or PR idea while mastering the basics…often that one creative blockbuster, viral marketing or PR idea can generate 10X demand. But, you can’t count on that long shot…so mastering the basics is a given.
- Flexibility. You won’t get it right out the gate…so all of the above should be designed to create a flexible, rapid response to quickly zero in on your sweet spot, accelerate adoption, and grow rapidly. Expect failure. Learn from it. Move on.