What We Learned So You Don’t Have To (P2)


6. Build your email list. BUILD IT.

If there is ONE THING you should take away from this is: Build. Your. Email. List.
Email continues to be one of THE MOST EFFECTIVE marketing channels available. When a Facebook ad CTR hovers well below 1% across the globe, 25% of people still open emails, not to mention it’s less expensive and more targeted than a CPC ad.

Whether you’re a new business or an existing business, it is absolutely in your best interest to always be building, refining and segmenting this list. There are also a million tools available to help you manage your contacts: Insightly, Zoho, Sugar, Salesforce, and more.

7. Don’t spend all your money in one place

That said, when it comes to marketing, don’t spend all your money in one place. Salespeople will call you from every imaginable channel — Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Houzz — and all will make compelling cases about the promise of their platform. Obviously, you have to first start from the channels that already attract the majority of the kinds of customers you are trying to attract — but you also have to have room to experiment. We prefer monthly contracts over annual ones, simply because they give you the flexibility to move along if something’s really not working. BUT, you also need to let things run their course to see if they really worked. We’ve found that a minimum of 3-6 months is needed to build up enough of a case for/against a channel.


8. Mobile first, not only.

For several years now, the idea of building mobile first has gained real traction — and with good reason. As of May, Google will lower the rankings of sites without mobile optimized web sites. Nearly HALF OF ALL WEB TRAFFIC comes from mobile devices. People are using their mobile devices to look at your stuff, that’s true.

But they’re not only looking there. Mobile sales conversions are still relatively low (less than 2%), while desktop and tablets perform well in conversions. It confirms what we’ve known for a while: people visit a site multiple times before making a decision, often switching to different devices for different tasks. Some statistics now say that, on average, a consumer will check 7-10 sources before making a decision.

Because we’re not talking about a split between “people who look at your site on their phone” and “people who look at your site on their laptop” — they’re the SAME PEOPLE — the experience needs feel cohesive across all these devices.

9. Attention spans have changed

This statement is usually followed by bemoaning the short attention spans of millennials or something. But as Kyle Miller of Tinder told a crowd at Digital Summit LA this year, these “short attention span millennials” will sit and binge watch 9 hours of House of Cards or Making a Murderer. They have to be entertained. They have to be engaged. Staffers at Refinery29 went even further to suggest that younger audiences don’t even care if content is sponsored, as long as it’s good.

You’re not competing for a user’s attention from a site similar to your own; you’re competing against their favorite content providers (whether that’s movies, music, games, tv). We need to invest in the quality of our content in order to be as relevant and rich as possible AND we also need to be realistic about our metrics. “Time on page” isn’t necessarily the best indicator if all you really want them to do  “buy X product.” Create experiences that get them in and to completion as richly and quickly as possible. And let them get back to the next season of House of Cards.

10. Final thought

This is a LOT to take in, and if you’re in a lean organization, you’re doing this with a handful of people. The most critical aspect of being able to work in an environment like this and not lose your mind is…. your team. You need a cogent group of people who respect one another, communicate well and are fully committed to the experience of living through uncertainty. So on that note, here’s to a pretty fearless team!