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Sarah Perry

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    PS Echoing Andy’s advice, take a look at some other businesses and borrow/repurpose what you like. You can also put the URLs through tools like https://moz.com/link-explorer and https://sparktoro.com/ to review who’s linking to them and how they promote themselves (borrow all the things that work for your tactical marketing plan).

    I’m a subscription box addict so here are some you could take a look at (if you haven’t found them already):

    https://www.bellaboxnz.com/

    Home

    https://iamco.co.nz/iamco-shop/

    https://micropod.nz/

    https://www.smartass.co.nz/

    https://thechocolatebar.nz/

    Home

    https://ooooby.co.nz/

    https://www.whitestonecheese.com/

    https://www.nzdogbox.co.nz/

    https://getdrinkhappy.com/

    https://iamco.co.nz/iamco-shop/

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    In case helpful from a website and payments front:

    https://themeforest.net/search/subscription%20box
    https://www.cratejoy.com/sell/subscription-website-templates/
    https://www.subbly.co/subscription-website-templates
    https://themes.shopify.com/websites/subscriptions

    An impeccable free website template for all the subscription box websites out here!


    https://subscriptionboxer.com/
    https://themeforest.net/item/subscription-box-a-landing-page-template-for-your-subcom-business-responsive-bootstrap-4/22550751

    https://stripe.com/au/partners/apps-and-extensions/website-builder

    Even if you don’t feel confident using these templates to build a site yourself (assuming you don’t have a site already), browsing the templates and deciding what you like and don’t like will make it easier to brief an agency clearly and efficiently and save you money and time on a build.

    All the best,

    Sarah

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    PS Great advice from Barney above.

    You might find some other useful ideas here: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book
    Self-publishing is pretty easy these days and so is getting a website up to support the book. EG I just grabbed a cheap WordPress template to throw this one up: https://bravebootstrapping.com.

    A word of caution though – because it’s so easy to self publish these days the marketing of your book is critical if you want to derive a decent income from it.

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    Hi there,

    This might be completely off track…Have you heard of the term “Content Marketing”? I’m not sure what sort of writing you want to do ..but if creative non-fiction is of interest.. plenty of companies are willing to pay for “Content Marketing”. It can be pretty creative https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/what-is-content-marketing/ and, if it’s something of interest, you could set yourself up as a contractor on UpWork or similar to advertise your services.

    Good luck,

    Sarah

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    Hi Amanda,

    The approach you take will depend on the type of product and target customer but here’s what I did to test one of my product concepts (enterprise HR software):

    Used https://www.canva.com/ (free and 30 day free trial for pro) to make a postcard style brochure (you don’t need any design skills to make a slick result as you can use free existing templates). I made a workflow of how my product worked and the problems it addressed on one side and then had an “I’d like to know more” response option with a few tick boxes, a free form note area and email address on the other side. I took it to a few conferences where my target audience gathered and showed it to quite a few delegates. Because it was something physical it gave the impression that I have already developed the product and I gathered some excellent feedback and market validation. Essential this simple piece of card acted as my MVP (Minimum Viable Product).

    Obviously, physical conferences are not running at the moment but you could perhaps publish a similar “postcard” to a FaceBook post or even a simple website (You can publish to a website using Canva). Maybe try some social posts or even some cheap ad words to drive traffic to the site and then see how many visitors click on the calls to action (Sign up to be first in line for the Beta release, sign up for a newsletter, send an equiry etc).

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    Hi there,

    I don’t know anything about your product or website yet but, before you assume the issue is the price, CRO factors are probably worth considering. CRO stands for conversion rate optimization. Its purpose is to remove points of friction for visitors and increase the chances that a visitor will take a conversion action. Here are what I consider to be the most essential CRO tips.

    Use credibility and trust elements
    When a potential prospect visits your website for the first time, they may know very little about you. Build credibility and trust with:

    • Badges showing that your website is secure
    • A privacy policy
    • Testimonials from customers
    • If you have been featured somewhere well-known, mention it, such as “As featured in Forbes” (or whatever media sites lend credibility relevant to your target audience)
    • If you have support from industry analysts or from influencers in your sector, include quotes from them
    • If you have won any awards, include the badges on your website.

    Include visual content
    Infographics and compelling images are great website assets, but high-resolution images that haven’t been suitably compressed take a long time to load and can frustrate visitors. Take the time to optimize image size and quality for web use. http://optimizilla.com/ optimizes images for free.

    Put the most important content at the top left
    The Gutenberg rule of reading gravity indicates that most reader attention goes to the top left corner of a web page. The eye then tends to go to the top right, then to the bottom left and finally the bottom right of the page, which is considered a dead zone. Make sure that your most important information is shown in the top left-hand corner of your web page or content.

    Include calls to action
    Include call-to-action buttons for trial sign-ups, quote requests, etc. A call to action doesn’t have to be a button prompting an overt action, however. It could merely be a prompt to move the visitor further along the sales journey via, for example, a link to relevant case study pages.

    Capture email addresses
    Provide a newsletter sign-up option and/or relevant downloadable resources for visitors not ready to progress further. This allows you to stay in touch with them with drip email content.

    Avoid long sign-up forms
    Visitors are more likely to abandon sign-up forms if there are too many fields to fill out. Tools like HubSpot allow you to progressively ask for more information each time a prospect returns to your site. Alternatively, just ask for a name and email address.

    Use landing page and email confirmations
    A post-sign-up landing page and/or email confirmation reinforces your value position and ensures that prospects remember your brand. Add hyperlinks to additional content if you can include them in a helpful and appropriate way.

    Run A/B testing
    A/B testing allows you to test two different versions of content such as call-to-action buttons, headlines, page layouts, etc. A/B testing works when two different versions of content are served to separate visitors, allowing you to test which version converts most favourably. Marketing platforms like HubSpot and Marketo include A/B testing options in their more expensive subscription versions.

    A/B testing tools include:

    • Content experiments in Google Analytics (free)
    https://www.optimizely.com/ (free trial)

    Google “Optimizely competitors” and you will find more alternatives.

    Use heat maps
    Website heat-mapping software allows you to see where visitors hover and click on your pages. It can help you find and address points of friction. For example, you may find that some visitors are clicking on an image expecting it to hyperlink to other content. This is something you can address very quickly to improve the visitor experience.

    Heat-mapping tools include:

    https://www.crazyegg.com/
    https://www.google.com/analytics/ (free)
    https://www.hotjar.com

    Google “Crazy Egg competitors” and you will find more options.

    Get inside the head of your visitors
    CRO techniques work best when you understand your target audience well and can anticipate common objections and concerns at different stages in their buying journey. This allows you to serve visitors with content and calls to action that suit their personas and stage in their journey.

    Anticipate and overcome concerns
    Structure your content to address common concerns with features such as FAQs on the page, or links to additional resources such as technical information.

    Think “AIDA” (attention, interest, desire, action)
    AIDA is a marketing concept that stands for attention, interest, desire, action. Think of it like this: if you were dating, you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger in a bar and ask them to marry you. First, you must say hello and hopefully get them interested in you. Then you might build their interest in you over dinner. The desire might increase as you date for a while. Only at this stage would it make sense to propose marriage. It’s kind of the same online. It is probably pointless to try to convert a first-time visitor to your site to undertake a trial. However, tempting a first-time visitor to download a white paper or visit a product page may be a realistic goal.

    Additional CRO resources
    Here are some excellent CRO resources to help you find out more:
    https://moz.com/blog/category/conversion-rate-optimization
    https://conversion-rate-experts.com/articles/
    https://conversionsciences.com/blog/

    I hope this helps,

    Sarah

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    Hi Glenn,

    It’s good advice from Andy (to pick a niche) above. We did this but took a slightly different approach to fund growth (we bootstrapped and funded the business via sales and invested in growth as revenues allowed ie no investors needed at all).

    We were in a similar situation where our product could be applied to many use cases globally. We also had zero budget (investment) to grow so picked multiple narrow niches based on where we could compete and get found in Google search engine pages. It wasn’t just about who we could compete with, but more a case of where there was high Google search volume but low competition for ranking in the Google results pages.

    For example, use the right tools (e.g. http://www.moz.com is one) to check for search volumes for relevant (problem and solutions based) terms to your product and check their ranking competitiveness globally (not just in your location). You may find that the search term “intelligent road sensors” has lots of people searching for it, but the content that is ranking for the result is poor and your ability to “compete” online with useful content for those searchers is high. Whereas the term “Intelligent Aviation sensors” has fewer people searching and lots of high-quality content already in the results so it will be too hard for you to compete with useful content to rank (particularly as a newer website with less trust from Google).

    NB) The above is a theoretical example, and I haven’t actually checked these terms, You’d need to do this yourself.

    Using this sort of approach you may be able to create useful online content for the search terms you can compete for. For example, a “long tail term” for you could be “how to use intelligent sensors to detect flash floods”. This term could have moderate search volume but very little competition (aka useful content) for ranking. Leads that come from a search term like this mean qualified, motivated global buyers find your business and fill out an enquiry form.. hence a much higher and cheaper conversion to sale.

    NB) some of this advice flys in the face of more traditional advice. Advice such as “strategically” focusing on your best product features versus your competitors when you pick your niches. Of course, this is relevant but with the inhouse development capability you have, you can afford to be more agile and iterate and develop your product based on the type of leads you can easily get. Then iterate to your dominant niches over time.

    Some people may also say that you need to pick your niche and “burn the ships” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_of_no_return, I.e. once you have decided on your niche, you need to eliminate all other activity. We didn’t take this approach! We just optimised our online content strategy for the areas where we thought we could win and then iterated and evolved our product and approach based on who found us in search and enquired about our product. It’s less “top-down strategic”, and more market-led, iterative and agile.

    I hope this makes sense, it can be a bit confusing when you first come across digital marketing approaches to entrepreneurial business growth. However, a useful (slightly old but still relevant) beginners guide is here to get you started.

    https://www.skillshare.com/classes/Introduction-to-SEO-Tactics-and-Strategy-for-Entrepreneurs/681600915

    NB) I keep posting the link to this Rand Fiskin video. I don’t have any affiliation I just think its really helpful beginners guide with no overt agenda to sell you on a particular product or agency.

    If you Google the term “B2B Content Marketing” this should provide some useful ideas regarding the type of content approaches you can take.

    Hope this helps,

    Sarah

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    Hi there, that’s a big question 😊!

    You can use a domain registration site like https://nz.godaddy.com/offers/domains to research website names and register the web address. Then WordPress (lots of cheap website templates available https://wordpress.com/themes, https://elementor.com/pages/free-templates-3, https://themeforest.net/category/wordpress). Or you can use a website builder tool like https://www.wix.com/.

    I recommend doing some keyword research first (https://moz.com/explorer is helpful and has a free 30-day trial, other tools can be found for example https://www.semrush.com/lp/keyword-magic-tool-1/, https://ahrefs.com/keywords-explorer, but I find Moz easiest). Use these tools to understand what sort of terms are used in your target industry and try and use a related, memorable and easy to spell/type term for the website domain name.

    In terms of the legal and process side of things, Here is a link to several start-up templates that are good starting points https://kindrik.co.nz/resources/startup-resources/.

    Regarding indemnity and insurance, any business insurance broker can help you out. https://apexinsurance.co.nz/ is an example that I have come across in my past, but any business insurance broker will help you out. (Quick comment, if you haven’t started the business yet, insurance can probably come a bit later but please take your own advice on this).

    Regarding marketing, it depends on where your target market is. Can you provide a little bit more insight?

    I have posted this elsewhere, but this is a useful beginners guide to getting found online (at least in search engines). https://www.skillshare.com/classes/Introduction-to-SEO-Tactics-and-Strategy-for-Entrepreneurs/681600915

    Understanding what your customers read, where they hang out, where look for best practise and answers to problems, asked for vendor recommendations, etc. will hopefully you understand where to start your marketing efforts.

    All the best. Reach out if you need anything else.

    Sarah

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    Hi there,
    This video is worth a watch. It’s a few years old now but the fundamentals are the same for a beginner:
    https://www.skillshare.com/classes/Introduction-to-SEO-Tactics-and-Strategy-for-Entrepreneurs/681600915
    Cheers,

    Sarah

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    Hi Scotty,

    The tool https://www.canva.com/ is worth a look if you don’t know it. It is super easy to create professional-looking logo designs (and brochures, presentations, visuals etc). The existing templates are easy to modify too (if you are short on ideas). You can play with it for free and get the Pro version on a free 30-day trial. Could be a good stop-gap while you are pre-revenue.

    Have fun,

    Sarah

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    Hi there,

    Can you share a little bit more about your business? For example, is it a product or a service? One-off sale or ongoing subscription/service? Who would be the main buyer and who are the other people in the decision-making unit (DMU)? What problem does it solve? Who in the DMU is likely to gain the most benefit? Are any of the DMU likely to resist (due to the perceived pain of change, threat to their position etc). What is the status quo (without your product)? Would your product be purchased to avoid pain/risk / be compliant or is it an aspirational (better operations etc) sale? Are there likely to be competitors bidding?

    A little more information would help me and hopefully, a few others, give you some ideas regarding where to start.

    Best,

    Sarah

    PS Answering these questions if you haven’t already considered them may be a good place to start 🙂

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    PS Asking friends and family for feedback is OK but remember that Kiwis tend to be too nice and may not give you the blunt feedback you need. Also, they may not “get” your idea because they are not your target customer profile and/or you haven’t got good at explaining your idea yet. Long story short, friends and family feedback is a start but should be taken with a huge grain of salt and is not a substitute for the research I have suggested above.

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    Hi there,

    I think in-depth market research is a perfect place to start.

    Many businesses fail due to inadequate market research (in terms of market need/willingness to pay, demand and already active competitors). https://www.cbinsights.com/research/startup-failure-reasons-top/. Market research will help clarify your thinking and firm up some of your ideas (even if your ideas are very vague at this stage).

    I find these tools very helpful. https://moz.com. There are tutorials to get you started, and a free 30-day trial will be more than enough for you to get some insights.

    First, think about the sorts of problems you might want to solve. Then, consider how people might type those problems into Google to try and find help or a solution. In other words, come up with lots of “keyword” ideas (keywords are the phrases that people might type into a search engine).

    Next, enter your search phrase ideas into the Keyword Explorer tool in Moz. This will help you assess “search volumes” for your phrase ideas (indicating whether there is a demand in the market). Take a good look at what results are ranking on Google for your phrase ideas. This will give you an indication as to what type of solutions that are out there and what you would need to compete with or position against. ( https://www.disruptiveadvertising.com/marketing/positioning-in-marketing/).

    NB)You can pick the region you want search results from, I recommend the US to start with.

    Moz also offers a Keyword Suggestion tool to give you ideas on some other search terms that may be related to your idea.

    This may sound complicated but I promise you it isn’t once you get started.

    Be warned, it’s easy to get sucked into the research and spend hours on it at a time (which in your case wouldn’t be a bad thing because it will help to stimulate your ideas and refine your thinking). I recommend opening up lots of browser windows as you go and using the https://www.one-tab.com/ to save everything when you need a break or to put stuff aside for later. I later sort my One Tab content into “Competitors”, “Competing Content”, “Possible Partners”, etc. (You can drag and drop and add titles to One Tab saves).

    Much of the start-up advice out that is to “just get started” and “commit” and “go hard”. However, most start-ups fail. In-depth market research at the beginning gives you the best possible chance of success.

    Don’t worry if you find competitors in the space. Competitors aren’t a bad thing because they indicate there is a market for your idea. You just need to find a way to do it better and “position” yourself against them.

    Also, remember there is no shame in deciding that your idea doesn’t have merit (once you have done all the research) and you need to go back to the drawing board. It’s much better to come to this (informed) conclusion before you start then when you invested your heart soul (and bank account!) into an idea that has been poorly researched.

    I have personally researched many different ideas and ended up back at the drawing board. Still, these ideas have a way of coming back to you in a different form and you have to learn to embrace the process of idea and business creation (which is often two steps forward three steps back five steps sideways and finally a step ahead).

    Be well, good luck, and reach out if you need any more help.

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