Blog Post

Discussion: Cheap Marketing Tricks

Marketing a webapp has become increasingly difficult with the growing competition on the web2.0 front. Viral-Marketing is the way to go in today’s scenario. But HOW can it be done on a low-budget, even better if without cost?

I developed a social webapp called “Saywit.com”:http://www.saywit.com/spring/about.html, and launched it a few weeks ago. It has an innovative theme, nice look-and-feel, and a solid feature-set, but few bells & wistles. *Marketing Saywit it to the world is my concern.*

This is a self-initiated product that I developed in my free time, so I did not wish (and could not afford) to hire marketing professionals. After reading a few articles about viral marketing, I was greatly impressed with the propects and decided to try it out.

Some things I tried seemed to work for a while, but traction is hard to sustain. Other things I tried didn’t work at all. I’m sure there are a million other founders like me who’ve also develop applications (whether as a pastime or professon), and need help.

I’d really appreciate a brainstorming session on *Cheap Marketing Tricks* is all that we can use. I’ll start it off by sharing more with you about what I tried that worked:

*My first step* was announcing the launch of Sawywit by shooting out a few emails to my friends and relatives. The response was good. Many of them visited the site to see what it is, but did not become a returning vistor.

*Next I tried a post on Digg* and the Digg-Clones was my next step. This did only a little good. Social bookmarking my webapp on several sites helped to gain more visibility among the search engines.

*Then I tried submitting my webapp to media-blogs* such as ‘Museum of Modern Betas”:http://momb.socio-kybernetics.net/,’ Ehub (this domain is now for lease), “Web2List”:http://web2list.com/, etc. So far, this is the only trick that helped me gain real traction through publicity. Several other bloggers who were subscribed to these sites also reviewed Saywit in time. (However, I haven’t gotten interest from major media-blogs like GigaOM and TechCrunch yet!)

*Advertising via Text-link-ads and Google adwords* is yet another option that I am having in mind, but have not pursued it yet. I tried a few other places of advertising too, and some were good. Work is in progress to get a “Facebook”:http://www.facebook.com/ app for Saywit.

*Talking about the product at social networks* also fetched some recognition. “Techtribe”:http://www.techtribe.com/, “Orkut”:http://www.orkut.com/GLogin.aspx?done=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.orkut.com%2F, and “LinkedIn”:http://www.linkedin.com/ are the ones I frequent(ed).

Other marketing strategies that I’d like to try include “Lifehack articles”:http://www.lifehack.org/, Resources page, User forum, etc… as part of the webapp.

I’ven not yet created as much buzz as I’d like to for Saywit. My real goal is to make more, if not all, Web2.0-enthusiasts aware of www.Saywit.com. It has been little over a month since Saywit was launched for public. So, I understand that it all takes time…but if you have experiences, or advice to share I think *it’d be great to start building a List of Cheap Marketing Tricks* as a resource for all of us on Found|READ.

8 Responses to “Discussion: Cheap Marketing Tricks”

  1. leecastle

    I still don’t get what you do. I got the idea of putting “Creative Inteligence” to work, but you have capitalize on the design, keep it simple, and make it a bit user-friendly.}

  2. gorenflo

    One of the easiest and least expensive ways to get a viral impact is to do something unexpected, something that exceeds a user’s expectations, just after they sign up.

    Marketers often spend the bulk of their resources on the conversion, but our research shows that the post-conversion experience of users has the most impact on whether or not a user will talk about the service to someone else (this assumes your messaging is sound to begin with, a poorly structured story isn’t viral).

    This is because soothing buyer’s remorse is a social process. People seek to confirm their decisions by talking to their friends and family about them. Your brand can hitch a ride on this natural word-of-mouth channel if you give users something to talk about AFTER the conversion. Doing this skillfully can help you keep your momentum if not start chain reactions.

    This is especially true if you’re focusing on gaining users within a specific community, which is a good beachhead strategy. Just a few concurrent conversions within a relatively small, densely connected community where you’re able to spark word-of-mouth post-conversion can make a huge difference.

    Say those three new converts talk about your service to their friends, who also know each other, concurrently. Our research shows that someone who hears about a brand from two people they know are 3-5x times more likely to buy than someone who only hears from one person (results depend on the vertical). This is one strategy to reach critical mass in a niche community.

    Anyway, here’s a presentation I recently gave at the Social Networking Conference that gives a tad more detail on this
    and other viral principles:

    http://www.slideshare.net/gorenflo

    I hope this is helpful.}

  3. aroxomatt

    Hi Seshu – just wanted to add my thoughts too, I looked at the site and from the front page I couldn’t really get a grasp on what it was or what it did for me. This is definitely where to start.}

  4. cosmican

    Tony, thanks for your invaluable tips. There are sure a few terms obscure to me, and I’m glancing at my best friend “Wikipedia” to learn about them. I will work on a more elucidative front-page design too…}

  5. ravneetg

    As Tony said, Get a ‘mantra’ for the idea first. Viral marketing relies on a 10-second-to-understand-the-concept theme.
    The faster you can get the idea understood to someone new, the better the chances are for him/her to come back to the service.
    Once you have a mantra, focus on spreading the word to an audience who belongs under that mantra.
    Good luck!}

  6. webwright

    Looking at the site, I’d focus on messaging before you focus on marketing (viral or otherwise). Spend some brain-cycles on messaging and usability (or better yet, seek the advice of someone who is good at that stuff– it’s hard to see the forest for the trees oftentimes for a founder).

    Took me quite a bit of clicking and reading on your site before I understood what the site did (and I’m still not entirely sure I get it). That “Oh, I get it” moment has to be virtually instantaneous.

    For viral marketing to work people have to be thinking, “My friends/readers will understand this and find it interesting as hell.”

    Keep working on making it viral/interesting on a tiny scale (friends, family, forums, small blogs). Measure your bounce rate (Google that if you don’t know what it is), understand your funnel (how many of your visitors engage with site? Read a page or two? Contribute content? How long are people spending at the site?) talk to your users and ask the hard questions.

    Show your app to 10 people who’ve never seen it before and ask them to explain the site to you after they’ve been there for 15 seconds.

    Once you’re ready for a big marketing push (heck, maybe you still think you are) try googling the phrase “linkbait” and learn all you can about it.

    Hope some of this helps!}