Often times when I’m shooting the breeze with people who run startups, a question that comes up is “How do people find you?” There is no secret sauce, and the answer is different for different companies.
For us, there are 6 main ways that we think people find us.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – people find us when they do searches around credit card processing and lots of long tail keywords. This is a long term thing that takes time, but is completely worth it and a lot of the value of your company can be based in SEO. Make sure all of your blog posts and other pages are optimized for SEO. SEOmoz has a good beginner’s guide that I often recommend people to.
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing) – we often buy keywords on Google/Bing/Yahoo. Facebook has been less effective for us since we’re B2B (but we tried some interesting things with it). We’ve tried LinkedIn but probably need to give it another shot.
- We get media coverage. We hustle and email and tweet a lot of reporters, etc, try to get interviews. Try to help them out all the time, refer friends businesses, etc. It works. We paid a PR firm $5,000 a month. It didn’t work.
- We try to write interesting content on our blog. People link to it and we have a lot of subscribers who have no interest in our business who read our blog. Those guys love our blog though and tell their friends about the silly things we do, getting the word out. We also do infographics. I personally think they are sort of played out (it was cool when you saw a link to one every few days but now they are everywhere), but they can still work WHEN THEY ARE GOOD and actually explain something well. We have some great ones that got linked EVERYWHERE and some that we aren’t as proud of.
- Business Development – make deals with people in a similar space to sell your app. Several other sites are actually powered by FeeFighters, and yet other sites refer us business in exchange for a kickback.
- We let anyone refer their friends to FeeFighters and get paid $25 for it:It works… people want to refer us to their friends anyway, but this gives them an added incentive that makes sense to us financially, because we can track it. We use Amazon giftcards because they are the closest thing to cash we can think of that allows us to purchase it on our credit card and send via email to anyone – my mom can use an Amazon giftcard but doesn’t know what PayPal is.
- ABOVE ALL ELSE (Ironic that I put it last in the list – I guess it’s below all else?)
Make Something People Want.
You need to have an awesome product and/or content to sustain your business and attract customers. Steps 1-6 can help get customers in the door but having a product customers want and love will get them to stay with you and refer you in droves. Keep working on and refining your product. FeeFighters has taken 2 years to get to the look, feel, and completeness that it has now, but we’re constantly tweaking to ensure our customers have a fantastic experience.