Showcasing some interesting comments we received in the last few days:
@Jack on The secret behind in.com’s traffic!
Has anyone noticed the similarity between their logo and that of LinkedIn?
@Anand on Guerrilla Marketing tips for Indian Startups: Secrets of getting users without burning ca$h
The primary objective of a WOM campaign is to look at generating awareness then to convert new customers. In WOM you have a good control over quality but little over the frequency of it. So in essence if we say the right thing, the frequency automatically goes up and reaches a tipping point faster.
The biggest advantage we have here is that we are the underdogs. Most times people would not understand we are into, but then again, we have their admiration and they give us a more patient listen because we may have left our jobs for it or we may be taking on some big guys while at it. Our big challenge would be to create believers out of this set and that requires engagement.
I would suggest doing this in stages. i.e first creating and then sustaining buzz. Its very area specific for now.
. Creating Buzz. your friends and family play a crucial role in this and you would need to sustain highly targeted stunts that attracts attention while remaining memorable. Here are some ideas I think would help differentiate
Eg.1 Your Newspaper Vendor is your best friend.
This requires you to get up at 3 in the morning, about 1000 collats of your product tastefully done(try to make it the size of a CD cover or a bookmark, any bigger and it would look like the flyer for your neighborhood clinic) and three staplers with pins.
Target a locality that you think has potential customers. Pay the vendor about 500 bucks and sit with him and staple all the newspapers he’s delivering. My suggestion for the message would be something on the lines of ‘we xyz.com stapled the paper for your convenience, would you please visit us sometime?’. You can add something wackier (wackier the better, just don’t insult the reader’s intelligence but) as that makes you look younger and bolder and hence more attention from the reader. Request the reader to drop in. don’t announce your presence, you’ll end up sounding like arena multimedia (no offence arena!)
Variation.. the TEA stall guy outside the Campus (IT company/College/ IT Park) is your best friend
Set a day and a time when you get the maximum traffic. Pay the Tea Guy around 1000 bucks and put in a standee next to him or hang a poster on the stall that says ‘happy hour free tea from 5 to 6. no strings attached, xyz.com just loves you guys’. The tea stall is a brilliant place for conversations and a good number of blokes might just check the site out from their phone.
Eg.2 Bumper Stickers
you need friends with cars. bumper stickers buy them a couple of beers and ask them if you can stick your site’s stickers in their cars, lot of them won’t mind as long as you get it designed professionally. Strategic area to paste. right above the place where the Dealer’s name is. If possible, stick over it! Again, don’t just announce the site, put some interesting like ‘xyz.com likes chocolate for breakfast’. keep the message to not more that 5 words. In doing so, your objective is to create a personality for the site. Don’t say ‘I hang out at xyz.com’. you would create no buzz as there is nothing to talk about. In bumper to bumper traffic, this one will stick in the head of all those guys behind you. besides since the owner of the car is endorsing it, adds credibility and a bit of class
Avoid cars which are already stickered with stuff like ‘bad boy’ and ‘no fear’ and avoid autos. Autos are everybody’s bitch, have no class and look terrible after a while. Case and point, mginger.
Eg.3 Please don’t hack into my Wifi Connection
Lot many houses have that board sponsored by some realty or cable company or packers and movers or ICICI that says please don’t park in front of the gate. Take that idea and run with it in different ways. like for example ‘Road warriors, please don’t use my wifi for your emails, I’m broke already. me and xyz.com thank you.’ its a bit negative but the guys who are just passing by, will love it. It’s fresh and relevant for them to have a solid recall.
. Sustaining Buzz.
Now that you got a certain amount of buzz going for you, try sustaining the buzz by making your product or site or whatever relevant each time there is an interaction.
Eg.1 Video Blog
Blogging is good but is kinda stunted sometimes when trying to reach a crowd that has little patience. Just switch on your phone camera and record anything that is happening in your office (if you got an iphone. well then you get to lug your digicam.. heheh). try not to stage them and capture whatever you guys are doing on a daily basis, the drunken nights, the morning after you guys pulled an all nighter, fights, singing. anything. Apart from near reality-tv-like pull it has on people who visit the blog, it’s a solid recruitment tool.
Another example would be merchandising effectively. print t-shirts and put your dog on it. just say ‘Poochie! official mascot for xyz.com. Loves milk, bones and my slipper’. Put it up in your favourite coffee haunt for sale. The idea is not to get into merchandising but subtle PR in a very believable way. Your Grandmother on your Tshirt kinda tells people that everyone’s involved and you guys are having fun while at it. much more effective that just saying ‘I am changing the internet landscape with http://www.dingdongditch.com, are you dingdongditching yet?’.
Eg.2 Put a piece of you in everything that you have.
What I think a lot many start-ups don’t do is create the romance of being in a start-up in all their communication. The best way to do it is with what you have as ‘physical stuff’. This includes your stationary, your office building and your home.
for example, if your card says ‘xyz.com meets almost every sunday for brunch in zed’s’ there is a chance that you will bump into guys who remember your card. guys who come looking for you are the one’s who would like to get recruited or ones who might turn out to be evangelists for you.
Put a banner outside your building that says ‘xyz.com working here. we are overworked and underlaid but wait till we hit the bigtime’. even if it is a bit pretentious, a lot many guys will identify with it and that’s what we actually need, right?
Things not to do. don’t go post about your company in forums that are not sensitive. Talking about yourself in communities such as these will get you good ears. But i have seen a lot many people skipping us completely in other forums. Try using somebody else as testimonial in such cases and please make it look genuine.
Also this is kinda personal but avoid all these newpaper guys with private treaties. i dunno when the govt is gonna call it insider trading. call me paranoid but well i don’t like them. I do not think what they are doing is fair on us.
@Rajamanohar on ..and Google says YouTube lawsuit is a threat to online communication
rather than a medium, user(who uploads copyright protected stuff) should be punished. Incase someone uses mail service for unlawful purposes, we are after that miscreant. why not the same for online video?