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Many of you probably know that Atlassian has a collection of awesome, powerful plugins, most of which are built and maintained by members of our ecosystem, not Atlassian. Members of our ecosystem are typically smaller development shops, composed almost entirely of engineers. Shortly after I started at Atlassian I was approached by Dan Hardiker of Adaptavist, one of our largest ecosystem members. Dan was eager to learn how Adaptavist could sell more plugins. And Dan isn’t the only member of our ecosystem interested in learning more about marketing. We saw a problem that much of our ecosystem was wicked technical, but lacking the know-how to attract and convert customers. So we decided to do a blog series on how a startup or small engineering team can spend five hours per week on marketing. This post is a conclusion of said series, and below you’ll find all covered strategies to acquire more customers and sell more product. Please let us know in a comment if you have questions, success or failure stories, or anything else.

Step 1: Measure and Set Goals

I assume that most of you don’t have much time for marketing. You want to get the most value out of your time and money. In order to spend your time on the most relevant marketing tasks, you need to understand where you need improvement. In our first post we introduced the customer funnel, a construct for modeling how an unaware potential customer becomes a customer.

Start your marketing efforts by spending a few hours modeling your customer funnel, perhaps something similar to what’s below:

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Next, run through your web traffic and sales numbers and assign values to each step in your funnel. Measure how many product page visits you have, how many evaluations have been started but not finished, how many people you lose on your signup page, etc. Learn exactly where and how you’re losing potential customers. Consider the bottom of the funnel as well. If you sell a product look at renewal and cross selling (when a customer of product X eventually purchases product Y). If you sell a service look at engagement rates.

Finally, set goals for yourself around how you can more successfully convert customers. Find parts of your funnel where you have a drop off between two stages, and set a goal for your team to tighten the gap. Be specific with your goals, assigning desired numbers to each part of the funnel, e.g., increase evaluation conversion from 10% to 12%, push for 100 evaluations per week, push for a 75% renewal rate, etc. If you feel you’re not known by a large portion of your market, consider setting awareness goals, e.g., blog X times per month, speak at Y conferences per year, etc.

Step 2: Pursue Your Marketing Goals

Pursue your goals by using the advice from our blog series to attack different parts of your funnel. Each of our blog posts have had a “Your Five Hours of Marketing This Week” section, where we provide a bullet list of possibly tasks to work on. I’ve placed each of these bullets below. Use this list as reference when brainstorming a plan of attack.

Awareness

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  • Create a blog and Twitter account: post often and make every post actionable, or at least useful, for the reader. At least blog product updates and new features, but also consider blogging testimonials, use cases, integrations, and anything else that might be useful for your readers. Feed SEO with keyword’ed link anchor text. Engage with the community as much as you have time for
  • Social website: rethink your website by making your content more easily sharable, with tweet, like, and share buttons. Same thing goes with your blogs
  • Consider an ad campaign: start small and set yourself up to measure success. Social advertising is better for awareness than search advertising
  • Press list: create a list of places you’d like product releases promoted; contact these places whenever you release product
  • Release checklist: create a marketing release checklist, and consider running a campaign or contest around strategic product releases
  • Conferences: find applicable conferences and try to speak at them; if you decide to sponsor do something unusual to help yourselves stand out

Consideration

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  • SEO: do keyword research and choose relevant keywords. Users searching for said keywords are ready to consider a solution. Rethink/improve your website and blog content given your keyword research
  • Create a video: don’t create a sales video. Create a demo video of your product–the shorter the better–and place the video prominently on your website. Videos are the best way to show off your product
  • Pricing: rethink your pricing strategy. You may find your products are priced incorrectly, limiting you from a certain audience or class of customer

Evaluation / Getting Started

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  • Drip campaign: consider running a “drip campaign” for evaluators and new users. A drip campaign is a series of emails that get sent over a period of time, each email building on the previous. Make your emails informative. Provide a lot of value in exchange for an email address. And let customers opt-out
  • Simple and easy: make evaluation and getting started free and dead simple, and drive people in these directions. Include very clear, powerful calls to action on your website and in your blogs and tweets

Purchase and Repeat

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  • Renewal/re-engage reminders: consider using email to help improve renewals and re-engage inactive users. Make these emails informative, actionable, and opt-out
  • Keep customers up-to-date: use your blog and Twitter accounts to keep customers up to date with use case stories, new product updates, interesting integrations, and anything else that your customers might enjoy
  • Go the extra mile: make your customers feel good about being your customer. If you sell guitar strings, consider giving away a free guitar pick with every pack. With both awesome customer service and grateful gestures you’ll show that you’re glad to have a customer. Such affection will inspire happiness in your customer, too

Step 3: Analyze and Refine

As you pursue your goals always analyze the results of your efforts and refine your strategy. Though keep in mind that some of your efforts will take time to pay off. For example, creating more product and brand awareness takes time, so measure awareness and overall traffic numbers over several months, not several days. Over time you’ll learn what strategies work best for your market, and with practice and time you’ll be well versed in the dark side, marketing ;).

And realize, too, that marketing is a lot like gardening: you need to continually invest as much time as practical. In any way you can, always try to engage social media, better your SEO keyword presence, blog and tweet, and improve your product videos and email strategies. Find a blogging voice and be yourself. The chances are good that you’re passionate about your product. People will sense your passion and enjoyment and latch onto your quirkiness and sense of humor. Be confident in your ability to tell a story, be yourself, and have fun!

Go Get ‘Em!

Well that’s it. Marketing isn’t all that bad, is it? Good marketing enables products and services to shine as brightly as their technical brilliance allows for. And hopefully with these posts you feel more confident and ready to sell more product, attract more of a user base, and accomplish any goal your company is shooting for. So good luck, and please let us know if you have any success or failure stories you’d like to share. Thanks for reading! For reference purposes here are all the other posts in this series:

Photo credit: Ian Mcintosh, cyclingfans.com

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