This is a response to a post on the London OpenCoffee mailing list ‘Marketing an internet product… what are the methods?’
Rather than build an average product and throw your money at marketing it, why not focus your marketing spend on the product itself?
If you build a great product people will talk. Think of it as free marketing. But you need a product worth talking about. So I’d build an awesome product before driving traffic to it.
Some bits of advice:
1. Make it human.
The more your product feels like a real human being at the other end the more you’ll create a connection with your audience (whether through humour, a bit of copy, a strong brand identity, great UI, simplicity, etc) and the more you’ll stay in their memory. For instance WuFoo didn’t spend a cent on marketing for their first 4 years but built an awesome product instead (more here: http://spookstud.io/QHqt0T).
“The only other thing we ever did was focus on remarkable customer support; that led to a lot of word-of-mouth about the quality of the product and the experience. From that point on, everything was just people talking about how unique the experience was, how easy it was, and how much they enjoyed using the service. It was software that was described as really fun to use, even though it’s a database app that helps you create replacements for paper forms.” Kevin Hale, CEO WuFoo
2. Really know your audience.
Who’s it for? As they say, if you design for everyone, you design for no-one.
3. Surprise and delight
Again, spoil your customers, add some excitement and they’ll do your marketing for you (and love you for it).
4. What’s your value proposition?
You need to communicate the value you offer clearly and create trust with your audience. You could spend fortunes on ads, PR, social media, SEO which generate tons of traffic to your site but unless it results in conversions then it’s just vanity.