Two and a half years ago, we started a new company.
First, we settled on our positioning – we build & grow businesses and brands we believe in.
Then, we implemented key messages, built our website and ran some pilot projects with old colleagues, friends and associates.
But how did we actually get real customers? How were we going to understand how the market would react to our mission?
Here’s our story:
First up, Guerilla Marketing / Publicity Stunt
We started like many other bootstrapped startups do. With no money, no people and not much money for delicious food (this is important). How do we find a solution to both of these things, plus gives us some free burgers along the line?
Enter project UberEats. We built a landing page called www.iloveubereats.com.au and placed our UberEats referral code on this site. We then ran free ads, directing people there, for people who were new to Uber Eats. Within a month, we’d turned $1.24 into $1000 of UberEats credit.
Then, Publicity Stunt / Virality
We thought this was too good to be true. So, we did what anyone who was proud of their achievements would do – we wrote a blog post! We seeded this blog on our favourite social media channels and picked up some storm. Within 24 hours I had over 700 likes on my post and comments from people I didn’t know.
Okay, so our friends and our friends’ friends seem to like this story. But would the press? We reached out to news.com.au, pedestrian.tv and other key publications to see what would stick. The story was picked up far and wide, in online and offline publications and media channels around the world.
For a 6 month period if you Google searched the words ‘Aussie Maniac’ I was the #1 result.
Then, we knew that we needed something sustainable.
So we tested Facebook Ads / Google Ads / Instagram Ads
But, we quickly found that digital advertising wasn’t for us at the time. While we were generating some results, the lead quality wasn’t up to scratch with what we were experiencing in our existing channels. We weren’t satisfied with the result we were receiving.
We felt as though our customer segments needed more than just an ad to decide to speak to us. And, at the same time, we didn’t want to look desperate. We wanted our customers to come to us, and not the other way around. So, we decided to write what we knew. And it worked. The more blogs we wrote the more clients we received.
Then, personal LinkedIn content
Then we decided to distribute these blog posts on LinkedIn to our personal audiences. After initial success, we decided to start posting our thoughts, ideas and principles.
Over the last 9 months we’ve seen that by increasing our posts on LinkedIn for a 3-4 week period we are more likely to receive inbound leads.
Earlier this year, we sponsored a trade show
We went to Pause Fest, the world’s largest creativity infused business tech event, hosted at Fed Square. In fact, we were a sponsor and ran their digital marketing for the better half of 2018 (but that’s a story for another day). We were gifted a stand where we asked attendees to take a break and have a game of basketball with me. We closed a couple clients from this gig, but the effort wasn’t worth the reward.
Now, we’re testing cold email outreach
We were approached by an awesome company called J2 Group. They produce leads by producing a unique email flow that is sent to a bespoke list that they create. We were quickly flooded with leads. We’re now playing with the angle of our communications here to increase our close rate on these leads.
And, we’re starting a newsletter
And now, we’re looking to take our learnings from the content game and replicate them into a newsletter. We want to build a low cost mechanism to keep our audience engaged and aware of our latest blog posts. We’re also going to add in some of our favourite new marketing tools and client stories. We can’t wait to share it with you.
So, that’s how we’ve built our funnel. It works, and knows how to draw eyes and attention, and educate our audience while they consider us.
But here’s the thing with funnels. They’re moving beings that should constantly be tested and tinkered with, in order to continue to reap the best rewards. At Hedgehog we live by a process called Channel Coaching.
We use it to identify, prioritise and optimise marketing channels that are actually moving the needle and achieving our goals.
Only a few of the above channels have made it through our testing and retained our attention. We’ll keep monitoring and testing for new channels which achieve our goals faster and with less time and financial investment.