Many entrepreneurs believe, “build it and they will come." Meaning you can put up a cool, well-designed website or an app and it will go viral when millions of people flock to it.
While there are a few anomalies out there, most new products and apps do not strike gold right away. When building Talu, we didn’t kid ourselves about customers showing up on day one. Our goal was to receive valuable feedback to improve the app. We launched Private Beta by invitation only, our first users were friends, business associates and family. After taking their feedback and making subtle changes, we launched public beta, with a multi-pronged approach.
Step 1: Marketing Site - Basic Messaging and App Demo
After launching our marketing site, we spent time reviewing and refining messaging. We had been too close to the app and needed to take a step back with help from the outside. During the proccess, we made sure our CTA's were clear and set up Google Events for beta signups, this allowed us to measure how our CTA's were performing. The last item we added to the marketing site was a real-time demo with our company's report. There is no better way to show what your product does than showcasing your own authentic data to the world.
Step 2: Basic SEO
We started making some noise on social media and used various URLs with Talu keywords to link back to our site.
The second phase of SEO was creating mini sites populated with Talu methodology and content (whitepapers, infographics, etc.). These sites redirect and link back to our marketing site. The goal of these mini sites is to use industry related non-biased content to appear as experts in our field and quickly build our SEO prescene.
We were also in an Arizona startup competition, Venture Madness. We ended up making it to the final rounds of the March Madness style competition and received several linkbacks from well established news and business sites like Phoenix Business Journal, Arizona Republic and an Inc. Magazine blog article.
Through this proccess we heard people had difficulty finding our marketing site and became aware it was burried on page six of Google Search. We used a small spend on Adwords to buy 'Talu" as a keyword to help people find us more easliy. We went from being buried, to #1 on the first page of Google. Not bad!
These efforts, along with adding content to our site, helped get us our first visitors and become optimized on search.
Step 3: Paid Advertising Testing
While we were waiting on our SEO efforts to start kicking in, we ran paid ad testing to help accelerate signups and increase exposure. During a two week period, we used $800 across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Adwords-search and display networks. Although this is a small chunk of change, we saw what worked and what didn't relatively quickly.
We used KISSmetrics and Google custom tracking URLs to measure the conversion rate for beta signups on our marketing site. With A/B testing several different images and copy we found what spoke to our target audience and where the cost per aquisition was most cost effective, allowing us to get more users for less money. We took what worked and setup a monthly campaign with the remaining budget.
Our beta strategy for the marketing site took us from 58 new visitors in the first month to 772 visitors in the 2nd month, and 984 visitors in the third month. By that time we were also on first page of Google, as mentioned above. Our traffic continues to grow steadily, along with new users.