View Full Version : Seeking Feedback on Marketing Plan
01-06-2009, 07:11 PM
I have a muse business to help web site developer's get feedback on their site. http://tinyurl.com/7m8kym
I'm planning to market my business heavily and wanted to share my plan. I'm new to this marketing game and would like your feedback on my process.
Your tweaks, thoughts, or additional suggestions are appreciated. Maybe we can compile a good guide book for new entrepreneurs who make it to this forum.
1. Put a mediakit / about us on the homepage.
2. Add a toll-free number to bring credibility
3. Add a mechanism to allow me to give away codes for certain key people to try the service once for free (it costs me each time the service is used so I have to limit this)
4. Use a virtual assistant to help build up a list of bloggers to contact with free codes. I know the process I want them to follow--I just need to them to carry out the leg work.
5. Write some decent "articles" and have VA post them to forums where I want to build a presence.
6. Contact local web development firms, offer to come in and give a talk about self-serve usability testing. I was thinking of even contacting other startups in my same niche to see if they want to pay me to help inform developers of their product too. I see their products as complimentary to mine.
7. Conduct an old-school postcard marketing campaign targeted towards development firms in my local area (again... to add to the local buzz). I hear the conversion rate on this is low but I'm willing to invest $60 and some elbow grease to learn a lesson.
8. I discovered pr.com from this forum. I plan to put out a press release there soon too. Is it worth paying for any of their upgrades or does the free service suffice?
It's an interesting idea. But i'm missing a bit of info in the early stages of the marketing question:
You mention web development companies but don't they have the knowlege allready? So do you think they will buy? My first idea is that this would be most accesible to a novice trying to get a site going.
Serial website builders like 4hwwrs have forums like this...
01-06-2009, 08:36 PM
I've heard your arguments a few times. I hope you don't mind if I respond to them quickly.
Many web design firms do little or no usability testing because there is a myth that it is expensive. Solo developers who work out of their apartment probably do none. Usability testing to most people means video camera, screen capture software, paid participants, and hours of time. I'm trying to help developers with a way to get a consistent quality of responses in a certain time frame. I eventually see developers using my service to add value to the materials they provide their customers. Imagine showing a customer two designs and accompanying each of these with feedback from 10 people.
As for serial entrepreneurs and forums: to solicit responses from a forum requires credibility there. And if someone were to post their site too many times or too often they will eventually get dismissed or ignored. I use news.ycombinator.com to get feedback but I only do it once per site or at major milestones. My service is a way to reach into normal internet users who will review even the most minuscule changes again and gain with no burnout. Its meant to be something you use in multiple iterations to adjust the course of your project during and after development. I'd hesitate to post multiple threads regarding my site on any forum. And even if I try to keep one thread alive--the number of responses will slow as the thread ages.
The other thing with my service--you're writing to a closed audience. Your request doesn't get indexed by Google unless you link to your results. I've had several customers post not-yet-live websites for my reviewers to go through.
01-06-2009, 08:51 PM
do you really have 10 different people review the sites for $7?
01-06-2009, 09:09 PM
Yes. I use Mechanical Turk from amazon.com to do it. For those thinking up muse business ideas MTurk is a golden opportunity. http://www.mturk.com
I interface with Web Service API put out by Amazon to post tasks for people to complete. I keep a certain amount of money in a prepaid account to cover the cost of tasks in progress. I'm free to reject responses that I deem unfit and not pay the worker. Its a pretty neat service.
Here are some articles on the worker perspective:
Okay, than it is definetely an interesting proposition. I'll take your word that the stuff you have done is valuable ie quality is no problem. So than the thing is to get the pros to try it out.
As far as cost you have to make are concerned, why not offer a paid trial package instead of for free? Offer a money back guarantee after the first site if they do not like it. If you are talking about less than 25.-- that should not be a big problem? Give a packadge of testing of 5 websites for 40% discount, then offer a subsription?
I think it is wise to try and find a way to make money immediately if you have to pay for the trials. I was strugling with this before testing my self steering system. I thought that I could make 5 myself and give those away for free.
When I realised that was small thinking I set a date for introduction and opened a pre-ordering list which was published on a improvised website. Put a forum post on the internet to get the buzz going and by the time I had to order parts (4 months later) had 25 pre-orders. (pre ordering was basically a reservation, no obligation to buy) Ordered parts for 36 which were sold at cost (for the pre-orders) or with a small profit.
I sold 35 in one year so testing made me a tiny (gros)profit.
01-08-2009, 12:57 AM
How is MTurk different from elance?
01-08-2009, 01:05 AM
I think it's a fantastic idea. I posted my response here: http://fourhourworkweek.com/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=2692 because I wasn't up to reading this thread :) oops
01-08-2009, 04:30 AM
Not bad, but I think you should re-thing paying a VA to post on forums for you. It is poor forum etiquette, and the only foreseeable results are that you will look like a spammer. You can have a VA find you the forums, but google is probably faster there as well.
Direct mail is a killer marketing tool with response rates many times those of electronic marketing (emails, sms...) $60 isn't going to get you very far though. Paying a VA to put together a good list might be reasonable, but it would probably blow your budget. What kinds of business were you planning on targeting, and are there 200 of them in your 'local area'?
Even with $60, you could do a very effective d-mail. It is not so much how much you spend as having the right list and good copy. In my hay day, I was sending out 5,000-6,000 post cards a month and pulling anywhere from 16-24%. Expand on your d-mail plans a bit and I would be happy to give some direction.
01-08-2009, 06:12 AM
I'll let you know what I end up doing with the d-mail route. I'll even post my materials here when ready--thanks for the offer.
As for the spamming--I believe in being a good net citizen. I collected a list of 40 web designer forums that have a section for services offered/market place. I was only planning to post anything resembling an ad into those spots.
Since writing my parent post, I tried this approach with three forums with 1000 active users in the past 24 hours and received few hits and zero conversions from it. *sigh* :)
I'll probably hit the books and see what someone credible has to say about forum marketing. If I can get away with writing useful mini-articles and having a VA post them to a few forums and subscribe me to those threads... that may work to start building up a following. We'll see. Obviously some research is required.
Oh--I did have an idea though. My product niche is self serve usability testing. At least that is what I am calling it. There are several startups operating in the same space and each of us has a different product that I see being useful at different times. At this time there are websites from usability experts but they seem to focus on buy my expensive consulting services.
I think there is room to jump in and be the voice of the self serve side of things. I'm working on setting up a blog and some good content to collect all this information in one place. I'm also planning to try and get my competitors/colleagues to contribute. Could be a win-win situation for me, them, and the users.
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