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Craig Kerstiens

Category: Startup

Going from blog posts to full launches

I recall extremely early stage where you’d build a feature, realize it was awesome, then the next day write a blog post for it. At some point you start to move from that to more coordinated launches. A larger coordinated launch allows you to reach a bigger audience, can lead to bigger deals, and help expand your overall market. But perhaps more importantly by the time you hit full launch you’ve message tested and ensured it’s going to resonate in the way you expect.

The process itself will both help amplify and validate/refine your message

This is often a more gradual process than a sudden single change, you’ll introduce new parts of this in time. And for many what an entire launch process looks like comes by trial an error, to help shorten that learning curve here’s key areas I pay attention for a launch and process followed by a rough timeline.

Securing your Internal Organization with OpenID

I’ve recently been amazed at the number of companies that are still using a VPN or other means to manage their apps/network. Not just large enterprisey companies, but small agile startups. I fully understand that it works, but 95% of these places are also using another key tool for access inside their company… Google Apps. I fully expect companies to use google apps, its more of the former that surprises me most.

Attribution 101

Continuing with the recent posts on metrics and marketing. I want to give a quick primer on attribution. To any marketing or analytics people out there, simply skip this it would aim to be a primer recap at best for you.

The very general meaning behind attribution is to give credit. When it comes to web products this can be giving credit for lots of things:

Startup/Bootstrapped Marketing Recap

If you have an hour to spare its well worth it to look back and look back at my series on startup/bootstrapped¬†marketing. But if you’re short on time and want the high level summary here’s the quick recap:

Part 1 - Focus on SEO

Reading Metrics to Evaluate Marketing

A short while backed I talked about tactically measuring metrics for your site/company. Recently I talked a bit about methods of marketing. A large key to getting the most out of your time and money is to properly report against the intersection of these two items. First I’m going to make the assumption you’ve read those posts, if you haven’t go back and do that. Next this is heavily on the assumption that you’re using Google Analytics as your primary tool for measuring metrics and have setup goals appropriately.

Setting up Goals and Funnels - Google Analytics

I had a recent request on how to setup a funnel in Google Analytics. If you’ve missed by first post on some tips for Google Analytics first check that out. With most websites today there is some portion of the site that is event and not page based, meaning you have some workflow on the page based on Javascript. If this is the case you’ll want to fake a page view instead of an event in order to entirely use it in funnels and goals.

A personal recommendation is actually to use both, goals and funnels. The key a funnel is that you need to have successive steps that occur in some order. With regards to metrics tracking this is absolutely needed, but typically you may have 1-2 total funnels with many steps in your site versus goals where you could have 10-15 single goals. For Registry Stop we’ve structured our site so that our earlier stage goals become the same as steps in later stage funnels. For us in almost all cases the first part of the funnel is the visit, the second is registering for an account. We do have independent goals for visits and registrations as well, but we do not have funnels on those goals.

Bootstrapped/Startup Marketing Part 2

For the second part of the series we’re going talk a bit about finding the influencers in certain industries. We’ll get to more traditional means that people think of later, and if you’ve missed our first post that dealt mostly with SEO make sure you check it out first. In most online ventures there’s a key set of influencers, often times these are blogs or podcasts. Blogs can receive a huge readership, which are often very loyal.

Bootstrapped/Startup Marketing Part 1

This is the first of a 4 part series on marketing for startups/bootstrapped companies. Much of the learnings from this are a result of experiences with Registry Stop. The key to each of these is going to be measuring and reacting to your efforts. If you need help on this, check out previous post around metrics for startups.

So without further adieu, on this initial post of the series we’re going to talk a bit about the biggest free way to get traction and traffic for your startup. The best way to aquire free traffic to your site, is to ensure your site is optimized for search engines or more commonly SEO. Sure you can pay $3 for your ad to show up on certain keywords, but why spend the $3 per click if you can simply ensure you’re the first search result. There are slightly different methods for this for each search engine, but we’ll cover a broad set of items to pay attention to.

Tactical Steps for Startup Metrics

Metrics are obviously a very valuable area for start-ups, if you don’t believe in metrics and think you’re idea wins just because its great then you better start searching for your next day job. Dave McClure has done a great talk on start-ups several times over, you can check out a video and corresponding slide show at:

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/5336115 http://www.slideshare.net/dmc500hats/startup-metrics-for-pirates-long-version

And besides, it’s a pirates acronym, so it’s got to be great. But translating these from concept to actual technology metrics is also something that needs discussion. You can’t exactly say we’re going to use Google Analytics and let it magically tell you everything, furthermore all of the web developers out there talking about tweaks on Google Analytics do little to actually tell you what you need to know.

Bootstrapped/Startup Marketing Part 4

We’ve talked some about SEO, media/blog posts, adwords, no one of these is a magic bullet. Some work better for different reasons. As I mentioned in the first post, if you haven’t checked out the post on tactically measuring metrics then please do. If you have followed those steps and explore each of these options, then you should have an idea of which one works well for you and which doesn’t. The final piece of marketing may be a bit harder to measure, but is going to do great things towards growing your brand to users and visitors.