It’s Day 5 of my 7 Day Startup experiment in which I attempt to launch a startup in 7(ish) days, following the method outlined in Dan Norris’ book.
If you missed any of the previous updates, you’re in luck, here they are:
- Day 1: Choose an idea
- Day 1.5: Doubts about which idea is best
- Day 2: WTF is an MVP (minimum viable product)?
- Day 3: Choose a business name
- Day 4: Build a website in one day for under $100
- Day 5: 10 ways to market your business
- Day 6: Set targets
- Day 7: Launch
Day 5 Task – Built a list of what marketing methods you are going to choose. Put together a rough plan for the first week or two of your launch.
It’s also worth underlining the real goal here:
Make sure you get your product in front of enough qualified buyers to learn.
Of course there’s an almost infinite number of ways to tackle marketing but, to narrow things down, here’s 10 of the suggestions from Dan’s book and another eight from the 7 Day Startup Resources website:
- Create content on your site
- Start sending emails
- Forums and online groups
- Guest blogging
- Listing sites
- Doing free work
- Media coverage
- Testimonials / proof
- Social media
- Influencer outreach
- Online advertising
- Attending physical events
- Cold contact
I think the other thing to highlight, and which I think Dan also mentions in his book, is that it’s good to try and match the marketing methods you’re using with your own skill set, personality and, of course, your idea.
(For example if you’re a complete introvert maybe organising a networking event might not be the most productive use of your time).
When I think of marketing I always think of these two posts from Seth Godin too. I’m more than happy to build up the business one person at a time, certainly in the beginning at least.
Based on the above, and anything else I can think of then, here’s my early marketing thoughts for both ideas, ThemeValet and WP Owner.
Create content for your site
I’m a big fan of content marketing, I started out as a writer so I feel comfortable with it.
It’s probably not going to get me thousands of customers right off the bat but it’s free, it’s fun, plus it’s a great way to build up an audience and create a load of ‘evergreen’ content at the same time (which will hopefully brings new customers for a long time to come).
In fact Dan (the author of the 7 Day Startup) basically built his current success off the back of a lot of content marketing (check out the WP Curve blog) and is currently finishing a new book about it called Content Machine (check out the Facebook Group, which I’m also a member of, if you’re interested).
I think the one note of slight caution or just extra thought / planning here is that because both my ideas (ThemeValet and WP Owner) relate to WordPress I need to make sure that the blog topics for each site (if I decide to blog on both) are well defined because there’s potential overlap.
Right now I think a good mix of blog topics for this audience (or the customers I want) would be:
- Educational stuff / common questions I might get asked anyway (‘Why WordPress?’, ‘the benefits of a new WordPress theme’, ‘recommended sources of WordPress themes’, ‘how to know if a theme is a good theme’ etc.)
- Instructions we might send to the client anyway disguised as a blog post (‘how to set up someone else as an admin on your WordPress site (and delete them afterwards’ etc)
- Theme reviews
- Great themes for ‘x’ lists (though the web has a lot of these types of articles, we’d try to make ours a little more thought out / interesting and not just a list of as many affiliate links as possible)
- What’s actually possible with WordPress (did you know you can know do ‘x’ thing with WordPress)
I think all other types of WordPress content, particularly ‘how to’ / general online business advice type articles, might be better suited to any WP Owner blog.
At the moment my assumption on the two audiences, possibly incorrectly, is that ThemeValet customers will be very hands off and WP Owner customers will be more hands on and happy to try setting up plugins etc themselves.
Finally, another idea might be to not do a WP Owner blog at all and go big on the ThemeValet one with a mix of ‘how to’ posts as well and use the articles to cross promote both sites (even though they reside on ThemeValet.com).
Start sending emails
I have a small email list for my blog (what you’re reading now) plus a couple of other people who’ve told me they’re interested in the service so I’ll definitely be letting all of them know.
Forums and online groups
I’m a member of a few Facebook groups, including the 7 Day Startup group, which have people that might be interested in my idea so I’ll definitely be mentioning it there.
I had a couple of early orders when I was still playing around with the idea last year so I could approach them for testimonials, plus other people I’ve done websites for in the past.
This is where I can see building the service up ‘one by one’. My aim is firstly to blow people away with responsive, fantastic service and then, when we’ve finished the job, ask them to recommend us to 3, 5, whatever number of friends they think might also benefit.
Some ideas, I could:
- create Pinterest boards of recommended WordPress themes
- do Vine (six second video) theme reviews
- create an Instagram account showing the most beautiful themes released every week
I’m thinking of doing some podcast advertising in something I think would be very suitable for this idea. If possible I might try one episode first (to keep the cost down) see how it goes and then decide on doing more.
Not quite cold contact as I have relationships with some of them already, but one idea I have is to speak to some of the theme shops that sell the WordPress themes in the first place to see if they might refer people to ThemeValet for setting up the themes (and in turn I’m referring people to them to buy themes).
I could look into setting up some kind of affiliate program if so…
At the moment I’m planning to launch this idea a little after ThemeValet so I have more time to refine and plan (and probably learn from ThemeValet) but for now this is my thinking.
Create content for your site
I think content marketing could be crucial for this site.
I guess the only challenge you could possibly see (apart from a possible content overlap with ThemeValet) is that as a lot of the value of the membership is in the content. Perhaps then there is a fear that if you ‘give too much away’ on the blog, people won’t join for the membership content.
However I don’t think it’s wishful thinking to suggest this fear is unfounded and can certainly be managed.
The idea with WP Owner is absolutely to create a reference library of ‘how to’ content for business owners who use WordPress, but there will also be a community forum, monthly member only Q & As and possibly a live chat advice service too.
I don’t want to stop myself from creating great detailed blog posts either, but the content in WP Owner will likely go a lot lot deeper and will likely include things like video content etc too.
Ultimately the goal is to attract attention and hopefully demonstrate some knowledge, authority and usefulness to potential members through the content.
I think there will always be some readers that will buy and some that won’t, so it’s better I just focus on delivering great blog content AND even better membership content and features (rather than try to second guess myself about one cannibalising the other other).
On the issue of what I would write about on ThemeValet vs WP Owner, I think the topics on WP Owner might be more along the line of:
- How to do ‘x’ business thing with WordPress
- Case studies of awesome businesses built on WordPress or using WordPress in unique ways
- Updates on some new plugin or service (not necessarily WordPress) that lets people do something new with their online business
Start sending emails
I will of course let my email list know about the launch as many of the people on the list know me for my WordPress skills and experience.
I’ve also built up mini list of people interested in WP Owner specifically so I will be letting them know of course.
For this, I have an idea to start a podcast where I would maybe do a live ‘consulting session’ where I go through the website issues of a business owner already using WordPress (or thinking of using WordPress) and try to help solve them / provide some general advice to them that will also be applicable to others.
Forums and online groups
Just like with ThemeValet, I’m a member of a few online groups and forums where people might find a service like WP Owner beneficial so I’ll mention it in there.
I’m lucky to have had some nice testimonials for my WordPress work so I will consider using some of them for WP Owner.
Again, like ThemeValet, WP Owner is not an inherently viral idea so I will be doing my best to give such a good experience t people that that feel compelled to tell everyone they know.
I’d like to try and keep the WP Owner Twitter account pretty active, not just tweeting my own stuff, but also sharing general good website, WordPress and other online business advice from other sources.
I can also try using Twitter to search out people having WordPress issues or questions and giving them advice in an effort to promote WP Owner.
Like ThemeValet I’m also considering advertising on podcasts targeted at entrepreneurs, particularly small businesses or those thinking of starting a new online business (and who would potentially benefit the most from WP Owner).
That’s it, I’m sure I’ll come up with more marketing ideas as I go along but that should be more than enough to keep me busy for the first couple of weeks of each idea. I will of course be measuring / trying to quantify the effectiveness of every different method too.
Join me for Day 6, when I’ll be setting some targets.
PS If you’re enjoying this series, why not subscribe to my email list and make your life even better than it already is.
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