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If you want to grow your business – start with the right customer acquisition strategies. 

Today on the WPMRR podcast, Joe and Christie discuss what growth actually means, tips to bring in more customers, and the creative side of marketing.

Listen in to learn how to land new customers! 

What you’ll learn:

  • [00:00:33] What’s new with Christie?
  • [00:03:45] What’s up with Joe?
  • [00:10:18] The beginner and intermediate phases of growing businesses.
  • [00:11:34] Gaining momentum won’t make business growth any easier for companies.
  • [00:13:38] What we will talk about today.
  • [00:14:35] Set a goal: Why do you want to grow?
  • [00:15:57] The 1000 True Fans technique 
  • [00:18:02] Is growth really the primary indicator of success?
  • [00:23:24] 1. First customers: the people who you know
  • [00:25:14] 2. Referrals: existing customers can give you new customers
  • [00:25:34] 3. Organic: Social and SEO
  • [00:27:33] 4. Events: In-person or virtual 
  • [00:28:02] 5. Paid traffic: pay per click is faster and more targeted
  • [00:30:03] 6. Affiliate program: give bonus to people who sends new customers to your site 
  • [00:31:41] 7. Syndicate to existing marketplaces 
  • [00:32:54] 8. Community promotion: putting your product on an existing community
  • [00:34:12] 9. Influence marketing: influencer on social media
  • [00:34:58] 10. Podcasting: longterm, conversational
  • [00:36:08] 11. Press releases: publish as blog, add a media kit 
  • [00:40:17] 12. The Guerrilla Marketing: creative, outside of the box, unique marketing strategies 
  • [00:42:45] Your own digital marketing toolbox.

Episode Resources:

Podcast Transcript:

Christie Chirinos:

Has a name, it’s an entire process. It’s called guerrilla marketing. It’s the process of putting stickers on lampposts. It’s the process of doing man on the street interviews. And guess what? If you can be personable and you can be creative, it works.

Joe Howard:

Yo, good WordPress people, welcome back to the WPMRR WordPress Podcast. I’m Joe.

Christie Chirinos:

And I’m Christie.

Joe Howard:

And you’re listening to the WordPress Business Podcast. Christie, what is going on this week?

Christie Chirinos:

Oh, lots of important WordPress issues and things, big moves, lots of cool websites, more and more market share of the internet, the usual. But perhaps, most important, high priority, shocking, extraordinary, revolutionary of all, I got my hair cut.

Joe Howard:

A little shorter. And you got it like, there’s something… I saw you on Twitter. You said something about how it’s cut, that I didn’t really understand, as people who are watching on YouTube know, from my lack of hair and not having any. But did you do something special you hadn’t done before or something?

Christie Chirinos:

So, nothing really super special that I hadn’t done before. The crazy thing, I guess the special thing is that it’s short. I’m trying to turn around. It’s so fun that we’re doing YouTube now, so that I can actually do this. But here, I’ll turn around. And you can see it’s very short.

Joe Howard:

Oh yeah. Okay. So, you know what? Remember when we had those custom images we had for the podcast. And I remember you saying like, “Oh, my hair is actually a little shorter in this image and it’s actually longer now.” I was just ahead of the game. I was just a few months ahead. I knew you’d get to cut it at some point. So, now it matches.

Christie Chirinos:

That’s actually so true, because you also got the designer to do the curly texture and then my hair curled back up in the Texas weather. So yeah, you just predicted the future that we should get that designer to pick out some lottery numbers for us. And yeah, I went for a really big chop. My hair was down to my waist. It’s been that way for-

Joe Howard:

Oh, really? I didn’t know it was that long. Because you’ve been in Austin for a few months now, so I haven’t seen the hair that long. I didn’t know it was all the way down to the waist. That’s like a hippy status, really super long.

Christie Chirinos:

Hippy status. True hippy status. Yeah. I think all of us have been dealing with quarantine hair, well, those of us who deal with hair.

Joe Howard:

Not as parables, but for the rest of us.

Christie Chirinos:

Dealing with quarantine hair. And so yeah, it was pretty long. And I’ve always had long hair. And I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff to it over the years, right? With chemicals and textures and colors and whatever. And so, I was just looking a little ratty. And Texas is super hot. It’s so, so, so hot. And I’ve been swimming a lot and being outside a lot, so my hair is really taken a beating. And I was just like, “You know what? Take it all off, take it all off. Let’s go short.” And I’m so happy. I was so excited when they did it. And yeah, it’s a big change. It’s funny because I started out with that tongue in cheek, like most important thing. But it’s really amazing how different our physical appearances can make us feel.

Joe Howard:

Yeah, totally.

Christie Chirinos:

And how something like a big eight inch haircut, and seeing all the hair gone, and feeling all the lightness and not sweating outside, can really make a big difference. So, those are my big news for this week. Go over to you, how are you doing?

Joe Howard:

No, no haircut for me. Same old style. But yeah, things are pretty good over here. [Strong 00:03:53] and I and Moe were down in Texas for a little while as well. We went back down and we got back 10 days ago. So yeah, we self quarantined for a few days, got tests. Testing in DC is actually super fast turn-round. It turned around in two days.

Christie Chirinos:

That’s awesome.

Joe Howard:

So, we both got our results two days later. And yeah, they came back negative. So, that is always good news. So yeah, Moe was able to go back to daycare, in his small little home daycare. And yeah, a lot of times spent. Alec is our new head of growth at WP Buffs. So, I’ve spent a bunch of time on video with him sharing stuff. It’s been super refreshing actually. He’s super on the ball, super gets it. And I feel like I only have to explain everything once. And yeah, he just takes things and runs with them. And that’s maybe my number one good quality in someone, it’s like, can you get shit done? Yes. It turns out again. So, that is good as well.

Joe Howard:

So yeah, just thinking about, I guess what the rest of this year looks like. It’s been like totally crazy upside down year so far. And it’s like, what is it now? It means August is almost over, it’s almost September, which means it’s almost fall, which means it’s pretty much almost Halloween, which means it’s pretty much almost holidays. And so, what is this year? [crosstalk 00:05:23] and so fast.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. Yeah. So, but that’s what’s up with me. I’m just hanging, getting little work done, trying to survive the year. Also just good, quick shout out to Post Status Podcast, they recently had a podcast came out, where they actually did a super good job of going through some of the how to not stress out during quarantine episode. I don’t know if that was the focus of the episode, but they went through a bunch of stuff, Corey and Brian. So, I would definitely tune into that one if people are like, “Man, my life is crazy.”

Christie Chirinos:

What was the 32nd summary, the top tips?

Joe Howard:

I’d say they talked about some stuff that I just, I hadn’t really thought of, but that are totally applicable. One of the things is make sure your areas are clean, try to keep your home clean. And I was like, “That’s so obvious.” But that’s totally true because if your area is messy, it messes with your mentality. It’s just another thing that’s in your brain, like taking out bandwidth like, “I have to clean later, I got to do the XYZ.” And it’s just like it’s in there. But you try and keep things clean, it releases your brain from having to think about that thing.

Joe Howard:

And I think, I don’t know about you, but I get stressed out when I have a hundred things on my brain. That’s when I can’t sleep, it’s when I have a hundred things I’m thinking about, it’s like, “I got so much to do.” And even just 10 minutes spent just cleaning your home or your living space, your living area, especially when you have kids. It’s not that messy here right now, but I just cleaned this morning. So, that to me, it was just like a little thing. That was cool.

Joe Howard:

And they talked about some other things too, like trying to make excuses to get out of the house. Instead of ordering something on Amazon, go take half an hour to put your mask on and go get it. You obviously want to be safe while doing all these things. But if you just literally sit in your house and order everything delivered, that’s just another excuse to stay inside. Try to give yourself excuses to go out on walks or to go to your local store during non-busy hours. I don’t know. There were some other stuff too. I can’t remember right now. But the cleaning one was the one that stuck with me that I was like, “Yeah, I should clean more often.”

Christie Chirinos:

Yeah. That cleaning note, that’s super interesting to me, because I’m insanely sensitive to that. Just messes, and not necessarily like dirt, but like clutter really, really, really affects me. It just feels like completely overwhelming. So, I don’t think I’ve ever driven you anywhere, Joe. But if you ever rode in my car, I am one of those clean car people. There is not a single thing.

Joe Howard:

Are people allowed to eat in your car? Are you a one of those people that’s like, “Eat it and then get in.”

Christie Chirinos:

Yeah. So, that’s what I’m saying, it’s not a cleanliness thing, it’s a clutter thing. Right? You can eat wherever, whatever, right? Like, “Oh, look at my bathing suit is wet, should I still get in the car?” Yeah. This car is here to be used. Right? But I will go insane if there’s little items on the dash and stuff in the console. And I’m like, “Oh, everything has to have a purpose.” And I think that’s everything to do with brain load. Right? I think that I put in so much effort into making sure that all the things that I have to keep track of are as automated as possible. I don’t want to do anything twice. Right? And so, that’s super interesting because it does become so much more important, when we are looking at quarantine living where we just cannot get out of that space.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. I totally agree with that. I asked about the eating thing because my dad would never allow anybody to eat in his car. So, he was a super like… Hey, I don’t know if OCD is the right word, but he was definitely, yeah, he wanted a clean car. And like, “Yeah. Don’t spill stuff in the car.” Definitely no, no. So, okay.

Joe Howard:

Well, I’m glad you’re doing well. Hope Austin is good. I’m glad your hair is fabulous. All right. Let’s jump into today’s episode, which is like a growth related episode. And yeah, how should we intro this? We talked before, we did the episode and put some plans together and we were like, we want to talk about different growth levers at certain part or certain milestones of your business. But milestones are so different for everyone. We talked about, you want to do try X, Y, or Z at zero to 10 customers and 10 to a hundred customers, a hundred to a thousand customers, but everyone has a different price point. Everyone, one customer could be a thousand dollars for one person and $10 for someone else. So, it’s really arbitrary. It’s the same with MRR. We’re going to do it based on MRR, but it’s the same. Someone could have one customer and $10,000 MRR. I know some businesses like that. Some people could have a hundred customers, and with 10,000 MRR. So, it’s so dependent on your business you’re running.

Joe Howard:

So, we decided to go like beginner, and then intermediate, which is you have traction, you have things going, what should growth look like and customer acquisition look like at that stage? And then what does customer acquisition look like once you’re more established? And I guess that’s it, like advanced area. What does customer acquisition look like when you’re a more mature company, I guess I’d say. So yeah, Christie, does that sound like an accurate description of what we’re going to chat about today?

Christie Chirinos:

I would add to what you just said about the stages, right? That we’re strictly focusing on that starting stage. I think a lot of people know that it’s a lot harder to just get off the ground. And once there’s momentum, it’s still hard, but it’s a different kind of hard. And when we started talking about the topic for this episode, we were going to talk about that second stage. And I said, “Yeah, but have we talked about the first stage?” And I wanted to cover that because we’re really talking that beginner and then beginner intermediate space. When we talk about companies that have one customer, that’s giving them $10,000 and that’s the bulk of the company. It doesn’t mean that we call a highly risky company, right? Because that one customer changes their mind, and what happens then? Right? You have to find another $10,000 customer.

Christie Chirinos:

So, even though MRR in dollars is a really important measure, I wanted to focus on just that number, that number of people, of businesses, of customers that the money is distributed among and what it looks like to satisfy 10 people versus 100 people, versus 1000 people. Right? I’m very curious about that stage and how those growing steps are often very important to get right.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. I totally agree with that. Keep that in mind as we go through all these, because I want to keep touching on that. Because I think it’s important to always bring back in the conversation, because it’s really going to affect a lot of things in terms of customer acquisition, because it’s like, how many customers are you trying to acquire? Are you trying to acquire a hundred or you’re trying to acquire two? It will make a big difference in terms of what that looks like, especially at scale, but also at the beginning when it’s not scaled. So, cool.

Joe Howard:

I think so we have on our list the first thing to talk about before we…. We have three sections here. One, first is we’re going to talk about how growth isn’t the only important thing. We just want to make sure that that’s clear, not growth for growth’s sake, I guess I should say.

Joe Howard:

The second is we’ve made a list of a bunch of customer acquisition options people can use. And I think that’s a pretty good list, pretty exhaustive. We probably missed one or two, but mostly I think they there. And then, the third part we’re going to talk about today is those different steps, beginner, intermediate, advanced, like what kind of customer acquisition and marketing should you be doing to acquire new customers at those different stages? So, like when you’re starting off. You’re talking about Christie, we’re talking about when you’re starting off, what do you do to acquire your first 10 customers? We’ll definitely dive on that and jam on that today. So, okay.

Joe Howard:

First, growth for growth’s sake is like a silly thing. You should have some goal of why do you want to grow. Okay, I’ll use myself as an example. I like growth. I think one, it’s really exciting to me. And I enjoy watching that number go up. Two, growth causes my company to change over time with the size. And that’s exciting for me because it means every year is a little bit different for the company. And if I was just the same all the time, I don’t know, I’d probably be bored. And so, that’s good too.

Joe Howard:

And the third, big reason is actually, really team building. I like building a team. I like putting in the best people I can together to solve hard problems and do bigger things than I could do myself, because I’m not super talented at most things. So, it’s pretty easy to get other people to do things better than me. But that’s the goal is to support people’s lives and create a good company people want to work at, but also do bigger things. So yeah, I mean, those are the reasons I really like growth. But you shouldn’t just grow because you’re like, “I want to grow. I want to be a billionaire.” I don’t know. People will tell you who make that much money. It’s like, yes, sometimes it can be nice, but it’s not the be all end all for sure.

Joe Howard:

So, you mentioned here Christie, this 1000 true fans thing, which I think is important to touch on. So, maybe you want to touch on that quickly.

Christie Chirinos:

1000 true fans is interesting to me because it… Lets broadly apply it here, right? In the context that it was originally presented, it was about creators. So, people who make stuff online, music, art courses, articles, podcasts, that getting 1000 people that are really excited about what you’re doing is a perfectly amazing and sustainable milestone. Right? And to me that’s super interesting because it’s a goal, right? Once you’re sitting there, if you’re just one person that’s a pretty good spot to be. 1000 people really listening and hanging on to the things that you’re putting out into the world, that’s awesome. Then it was presented in this way that says that the internet is going to allow for that, right? That we’re going to slowly in our lifetimes, get away from the mega celebrities, the massive bands, and that instead we’re going to have something that’s kind of just right for everybody.

Christie Chirinos:

It’s very interesting. It’s a very interesting concept. And I think it can be applied to a lot of different contexts. And we wanted to touch on this because it can be so easy to get lost in just, “Oh yeah, keep growing.” Right? Our entire world, our economy is based and moderated on growth. And so, if people like podcasts, you know that in a different alternate universe, I’m a hippie economist. And anybody who’s listening to this show long enough knows about that part of my story, I think. And so, I really enjoy listening to economics podcasts. And the Freakonomics Podcast just recently featured a newer movement, which is a degrowth movement in economics.

Joe Howard:

Degrowth movement, I haven’t heard that.

Christie Chirinos:

And it’s this idea that a handful of hippie economists are pushing out there, that’s getting a lot of attention now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And it has everything to do with this idea that growth as our primary key indicator of success is maybe not the best thing, right? That we keep thinking that GDPs have to grow. That we keep thinking that stock market has to grow. And that maybe that is incompatible with sustainability. And that instead we can scorecard ourselves in different ways that have to do with quality of life, that have to do with all sorts of other types of measures. And that starts from the ground up. Right?

Christie Chirinos:

And I think that, especially right now, because of the current situation, we have started to consider questions like, how do we shut down an economy and keep everybody okay? And it’s making us reconsider the paradigms of what we think humans are supposed to be doing from years 18 to year 88.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. That’s it. Thank you for bringing that up. I think that’s super important and super valid point. I really hate the idea that like, oh, okay, I want to invest in the stock market. What are the best stocks? What’s going to make me the most money? Oh, like Facebook? Fuck Facebook, why do I have to invest in Facebook to make money? Also, your 401(k), what are you investing in your 401(k)? I bet most people don’t know who invest in 401(k), like what that’s actually invested in, mostly big tech companies. Do you like big tech companies? Do you want to support them all? Maybe some you do.

Joe Howard:

I agree with you Christie. I just want to say, I think I hate that, to put my money on the S&P 500, it’s like I have to put my money in a lot of these companies, it sucks because they’re big monsters that are ruining the world. Anyway, yes. Valid point, Christie.

Christie Chirinos:

Because under the current structure of how corporate governance works, they are incentivized in every single way, both financial and also legal through fiduciary duty to optimize for the shareholder value, as opposed to literally anything else. Right? We could do a whole other episode on my hippie economist views and why that’s messed up. But I think that a lot of our audience and a lot of the people who listen to this and are interested in this space are interested in it, because they’re trying to figure out how to live within this world in a different way that’s more sustainable, and that is more true to the values that are really high up on that importance scale for a lot of us become drawn to this world. And so, let’s identify that while talking about growth, is super interesting. Most of us are not here for insane explosive growth. Right?

Joe Howard:

Totally. Yeah. I think it goes a little bit back to what I was saying about growth for growth’s sake is and can be really harmful. I think the reasons I talked about the reasons I like growth, for my own company, I think they’re probably more responsible than just saying, I want growth because I want to hit X revenue or fiduciary responsibilities for shareholders, which I have none, which is nice. But there are more things you can do as a bigger company as well.

Joe Howard:

Like if bigger companies also had ethics involved in their decision making, instead of just fiduciary responsibilities, that seems like the world being a better place. So, maybe becoming a B Corp instead of an S Corp or an LLC or something, which is a company that has ethics at the forefront of what it does. We can do more, we can give more money away. Allie gives a portion of her profits away every month and every quarter to good places that do good work. So, we can do more of that as well with growth. So, growth isn’t always bad, but there’s definitely in our current structure, growth can definitely be harmful.

Joe Howard:

One other resource, I just want to point out was Company of One, by Paul Jarvis. It’s a book that was pretty popular about a year ago, but definitely still pretty popular. And it’s about, it’s pretty much talks about all this probably more eloquently, well, than I am. You speak about it very eloquently, not me so much. But that’s a good book that really talks about how you can grow a successful company and have a thousand true fans without necessarily focusing just on growth, growth, growth. So, Paul Jarvis, Company of One, you can find it on Amazon or, well, maybe not Amazon. Don’t buy it on Amazon, go to Paul Jarvis’s website, and buy it from him directly. Because Amazon, who needs that?

Christie Chirinos:

I think you’re very eloquent and I’m very glad that we could share this hippie moment before we start talking about aggressive growth, how to grow your company. Let’s go. How to get customers.

Joe Howard:

Also important for small companies to know how to do growth, right? But we want to do it responsibly. I think that’s just what we’re saying here. So, we have a list, a good list we went through of, this is part two of customer acquisition, ways to acquire customers, I’d say, or opportunities where you could acquire customers. And so, we’re just going to run through them right now. So Christie, why don’t you start? And then we’ll, I don’t know, keep saying them.

Christie Chirinos:

All right. Especially from zero to 10, I always tell people this, know who your first customers are going to be, people who know you, your mom, your best friend, people at the gym. Right?

Joe Howard:

Yeah. Yeah.

Christie Chirinos:

I once heard this quote about this particular method of customer acquisition that was really interesting, because I think a lot of people hear that and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t want to be like that sales person. That’s so gross. Oh my God.” And no one’s asking you to be a sleazy sales person. Because here’s the thing, if you sincerely believe that your product is going to add value to someone’s life, why would you not suggest it to them?

Joe Howard:

Yeah, I agree. Sterling and I have a friend who sells to all his friends and he sells a sleazy product. And everyone’s like, “You probably shouldn’t pick up his calls because he’s going to try to sell you some sleazy thing.” But honestly, if you are selling something good and you started your own business, your friends are going to want to support you, your real friends, I guess, I would say, will want to support you. And you can be honest like, “I’m starting off. I don’t really have any customers yet. Can you be one of my first customers?” People like that. I’m always honored when people do that. Corey who used to run iThemes and now is at Post Status, he was selling soap. I don’t know if you ever saw that, but he was selling this soap that he made, him and his family made. And he has put out on Twitter.

Christie Chirinos:

I didn’t know that. That’s so cool.

Joe Howard:

I bought it. I bought some of it, because I was like, “Oh, he’s a friend of mine.” And he sold out. And I was like, “Oh, that’s so cool.” So, all he had to do is tweet it out. And I bought some stuff. So yeah, ask friends, I think is important. Okay. Let’s keep running through the list.

Joe Howard:

Next is referrals. Current customers giving you new customers by talking about you. This can take time sometimes, because you want to obviously have a good product and probably a strategy to have people suggest to people that they can refer you out. But this is definitely another customer acquisition strategy. So, that comes from doing a good job. What’s next?

Christie Chirinos:

Organic. So, there’s two types here. We have social and SEO, which I might want to call in the moment an evergreen. So, creating interesting stuff and putting it on the internet, so that other people talk about it. And a small percentage of that group of people goes through and gives you credit card information. Magic, amazing.

Christie Chirinos:

Social is cool because it can be a really fast and great way to get people’s attention in the moment. It can be a great way to get attention where people already are. And SEO can be really cool because not only do you get people’s attention when they’re doing things like searching Google for information and help, but also once you publish it, it is there for a long, long time. And hopefully, is doing the evergreen work of continuing to bring you in trickles of people. And then if you set up many, many, many, many trickles, eventually that is a stream. And eventually that is a river.

Joe Howard:

Yep. That’s definitely what power WP Buffs from day one and still does to this day. So, I’m big on SEO. When Christie says evergreen content, an example of evergreen content would be how to get a free SSL certificate on your website. An example of a non-evergreen content will be like WordPress 5.5, what’s new in WordPress 5.5. Because in a year, people are still going to be searching for SSL stuff, but not probably for WordPress 5.5, unless there’s a real slow down in the release schedule.

Christie Chirinos:

50% of calderaforms.com traffic came from organic SEO.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. If I were to look at our analytics today, it would actually be like 90%.

Christie Chirinos:

Damn.

Joe Howard:

So, very high. Yes. Okay. Next, in-person events. So, that could be in-person, not as much right now, but virtual events. There are a lot of people that I guess, either you could sponsor an event, so that’s a form of customer acquisition or you could just be at the event. And when it’s opportunity to talk about your stuff, you can talk about it. Or maybe you speak at a conference, that’s another way. Maybe you’re volunteering. I’m just, I guess saying events are a thing that you can lean on for potential customer acquisition.

Christie Chirinos:

Back when we had events.

Joe Howard:

So, that’s definitely some to think about. Yeah, sad. I miss everybody. What’s next on the list?

Christie Chirinos:

Paid traffic.

Joe Howard:

Oh, I skipped over. I skipped over. Yes. Thank you. Go back. Talk about that one.

Christie Chirinos:

Paid traffic, super important. We have, again, similar to SEO and social, except you’re paying per click. Now this is different because instead of putting out content to the world and bringing in that targeted percent, that small percentage of conversions, as opposed to views and impressions, you’re playing a game of figuring out the right audiences, and specifically tailoring stuff and paying for it to show up to those people. So, conversion rates are expected to be much higher. Expenditures are obviously higher.

Christie Chirinos:

And that is a more targeted and faster way of getting people coming in when you really need that first round of people to start the machine, paid traffic. So, that’s Google ads, advertisement on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, paying for placement on websites, sponsoring placements on other people’s content, whether it’s podcast, newsletters, things like that. And then of course doing the work of making sure that we are tracking the impressions that we get and retargeting them and continuing to serve ads to those accounts, to push people down that sales funnel. Paid traffic, super important, especially at the beginning.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. Some other of those examples of the paid traffic are Google ads specifically. So, the things that show up above the organic results in Google SERPs or search engine results pages. You have retargeting, which are those ads that show up on different news sites. And it’s like, come check out this website that you just visited because you’ve got cookied. So, you can re-target people. And then yeah, social does have paid advertising as well. So, you can do Facebook ads or Twitter ads or Instagram ads or Snapchat ads or TikTok. I don’t know TikTok very well. TikTok ads, sure. Okay.

Joe Howard:

Next, affiliate program. That’s like a way to get people a cut of sending you customers. Right? Most people know what affiliate marketing is, but it’s like someone signs up for your affiliate program, they get a special link to send folks to you. If someone sends a new customer to WP Buffs, if they buy a performed plan from us, it’s $197 a month. So, as long as that person is still working with us, the person who referred that person gets 10% of that person’s payment every month that person is with us. So, like $20 a month. And that can add up if you refer multiple people over, or bigger customers over, especially. Right?

Joe Howard:

So yeah, the affiliate program is, most people should probably have some form of affiliate program. Even if you’re not focusing on it too much, you can just have it up and running ,so people can have the option to like, “Oh, I have an audience of WordPress people. Yeah. A lot of them need WordPress help. Sure, I can refer some people over to you.” So, affiliate program or referral program.

Christie Chirinos:

Sorry, there’s a shameless plug in here. But it’s so important that if you are using Managed WooCommerce on Nexcess, by Liquid Web, we include affiliate WP with every single plan, the paid version. Because it’s just one of the best ways to grow a new store, right? Think about it has worked for small businesses to large businesses. Every time you see some company doing a, “We’ll give you and your friend $10 off, if they use your referral link.” That stuff works. People love free stuff. Even in a world where we are so immune to most advertising, that kind of thing works really, really well.

Christie Chirinos:

Next item, syndicating to existing marketplaces. I put this one on the list because it’s a super important strategy, especially when you’re starting out. You are going to build a site and it’s really hard to get people to come to a website, but it’s not as hard to get people to come to a product listing on a marketplace where they already are.

Christie Chirinos:

So, we tend to think of syndication as being making sure that your WooCommerce products are also listed on eBay and Amazon. But so many different examples of syndication to marketplaces exist. For example, even having something like, “Hey, you made a WordPress plugin and it’s available on your website and also on the wordpress.org repository.” Is an example of syndicating to an existing marketplace. The point is that you want to make sure that the thing that you’re making is not only accessible to be distributed through the channel that you manage, but also other channels. And those expenditures, especially at the beginning are often worth the cost.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. Cool. That was one where Christie said syndication, and I was like, “What’s syndication?” So, I said, “Christie, you have to explain on the podcast because I don’t really know exactly what it means.” But yeah, that’s a super valuable.

Joe Howard:

Next one is in the same vein, which is community promotion, which we… I don’t know. Do we just coin this phrase? I never heard of before. But it’s not really paid, but it’s not really being at an event either. We thought of it like promoting on Product Hunt or even putting something out on Craigslist or something. It’s like putting your services out there into an existing community and seeing what people think about it. There’s like Indie Hackers community as well. Right? You can post your milestones and your profile there. And everyone there is doing startup stuff. So, people may come and check out your stuff there in terms of community. So, it’s community oriented, but it’s community promotion, but it doesn’t really feel like pure salesy promotion because you’re pushing a product on twitch. The whole point of it is to hunt different products and promote your stuff there. It’s part of what Product Hunt is. So, that’s an option as well.

Joe Howard:

So, and I’ve seen a few WordPress companies do pretty successful stuff on Product Hunt. I’ve definitely talked to a few guests here who have been like, “Yeah, we launched our Product Hunt and it was great.” I think we got multi-language plugin data and did on Product Hunt, that it didn’t give them years of traffic or whatever, but it gave them a nice bump then. Yeah, it was definitely, I think they were glad they did. So, cool. Next.

Christie Chirinos:

Influencer marketing is on the list. I think that when we talk about that 1000 true fans thing, finding those people that have the 1000 true fans and seeing if they would find that your product would be something that would make their 1000 true fans lives better. Very interesting strategy for acquisition.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. I think a lot of people actually do influencer marketing without really thinking about it that way. A lot of people on their website have like, “This person said this product was good.” And like, “Oh, I want someone who’s known in the WordPress space to be on there.” It’s a form of influencer marketing.

Christie Chirinos:

Social proof, yeah.

Joe Howard:

Because it’s not like asking them to post something on Instagram. Yeah, it’s a social proof thing. So yeah, influencer marketing is a good one. I forgot to add this as a separate item, but podcasting is a customer acquisition strategy. Probably not at the top of my list, but it’s definitely over the longterm, for you just another way to talk to people and converse, or I guess talk to people, converse with your audience. And yeah, put yourself in front of people.

Joe Howard:

And yeah, we’ve had a few people say they found us through the podcast, but over a year and a half, a few people. It’s not definitely not our main channel of customer acquisition. But it’s definitely, we could do a better job of it. I mean, people, listen there, we don’t do any sponsorships. We don’t promote it. It’s not like we live and die by how many people listen to this podcast. It’s more for us and to have fun with it. So yeah, it could be probably a better customer acquisition strategy. If people focus on it a lot, people make great content. And if people really are super targeted about how they’re doing the podcast and making sure it’s really translates really well what they’re selling. So, what’s next?

Christie Chirinos:

We put press releases on the list. I mean, that’s just a thing when you do something exciting, you put out an announcement to the [inaudible 00:36:15] channels exist. And sometimes other outlets that focus on bringing valuable news, such as newsletters, the news websites, whatever, it can pick it up. And it’s important to make sure that you have all the journalistic facts for people to write about it. [crosstalk 00:36:28]

Joe Howard:

I think it’d be interesting actually to do an episode about press releases. Because I actually, I don’t know almost anything about them, but I do know that I read a WP Tavern article. This is probably a few months ago, where I forget who it was that wrote it. But they are writing about people were complaining, because all these big companies were getting featured. And WP Tavern and no small companies were, or not definitely as many small companies. Companies like Liquid Web and GoDaddy and bigger companies were being featured in Tavern. And then the person, I think it was Justin was writing about, well, these companies actually put press releases out. Everyone should try to do more press releases because that gives us an official, this thing happened.

Joe Howard:

So, we don’t actually do press releases at WP Buffs. But after that, it’s on my list of things. We should probably when we do new stuff, pay a few hundred bucks to do a press release, so that people are impressed actually, are able to say this is a real thing. I don’t know. It’s kind of bullshit, but also it’s a thing. Sometimes you got to pay to play. So anyway, interesting.

Christie Chirinos:

So, we can definitely do a whole episode on that. I think that, especially for WordPress companies and for people who aren’t familiar with this space, not that I’m an expert, but I just, I had the foundation just from a general education, right? Press releases out there on press release outlets are an option. But for many companies like this, you just have to understand how to write the press release format. The press release is all about having the key information that a journalist would need to write about your topic. And then you just publish it on your blog.

Christie Chirinos:

And then the other thing that you have to have is a media kit, right? So, you publish it on your blog. It has to have all the right information. And then you have to have the media kit available for any additional inquiries or any additional, how to quote you. How do you want to be talked about, whatever. Just because journalists don’t want to do the all of the lifting of having to figure out all the stuff, if you’re not putting it out there. We’re going to do an episode on that. Yeah.

Joe Howard:

Cool. Let’s definitely do that. It’s on the list. I’m literally writing it down right now, so we can have it. Okay. Press releases. Nice. Okay.

Joe Howard:

Last one. Oh, I had this customer acquisition thing that I did once that didn’t work at all. I mean, it worked in a sense. But is it any of these? It’s not really any of these. I didn’t make this up. I definitely heard about it from someone who’s listening, will probably remember where it’s from. I don’t remember who did it at first. But I remember when WP Buffs was a super young company, I would go out to Apple Stores and I would change the homepage of all the computers to wpbuffs.com. And the automatic page that came up. Right? And I would make sure that I check traffic to see like… because you can Google Analytics, you can see like where traffic’s coming from. So, I would see like, “Oh, it came from like Bethesda. I went to Apple Store in Bethesda.” So like, “Oh, I got 30 traffic from there. I wonder what they did. What pages did they go to?”

Joe Howard:

And it totally didn’t work because it was obviously not targeted very well, but I was still learning this stuff. So, anyway, I learned that definitely from someone else again, but I did try it. And I went out to like five Apple Stores around the DC Area and did that. And yeah, that’s a customer acquisition strategy people could try. But unless you’re selling a high end Apple thing, it probably is not going to do anything for you. But I just thought that was the funny story I want to tell. That I tried, even though it didn’t work, but hey, sometimes you got to try stuff that doesn’t really work.

Christie Chirinos:

Let me push up my glasses up my face. So, that’s what we would call guerilla marketing. So, once we have all of these traditional channels of customer acquisition, I think that it goes without saying that obviously outside of the existing structures of how you get new customers, there are many different and creative things that you can do. You can throw parties, you can make memes, you can go to the Apple Store and change the homepage of every single device to your business about Apple products. You can go to World Cams and wear an insane t-shirt. You can do all sorts of things that are outside of the scope of these very established, here’s how to do them right, here’s how to find people where they are at, type stuff and just see if it works.

Christie Chirinos:

Sometimes standing out being creative, being unique can be the way to get, especially from that zero to 10. And that has a name, it’s an entire process. It’s called guerrilla marketing. It’s the process of putting stickers on lampposts. It’s the process of doing man on the street interviews. And guess what? If you can be personable and you can be creative, it works.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. That’s cool. I didn’t know that was a specific thing. And now I do. So, that’s yeah, totally, exactly what I was doing. I knew that the whole time. I remember being at Microcomp, I think it was three years ago now. It may have been the year we went together, Christie. But DesignPickle, which is a design agency. They would walk around with this huge jar of pickles. So it was kind of an event thing, but it was totally a catch like, “Oh, that’s a funny thing.” And I never was their customer because of it, but I definitely still remember it. It’s in my head now. Oh, they were walking out with this literally a huge jar of pickles. It was pretty hilarious. So yeah, I mean, I totally think that in different contexts it may not have worked to make me a customer. But hey, they found a way in my brain. So, there’s something there, and in a positive way, not in a negative way. So, there’s something there, definitely.

Joe Howard:

So, cool. That’s our list, that’s it. We went through them off. We may have missed one or two, who knows? But that’s a pretty comprehensive list. I think if anybody’s like, “I need new customer acquisition channel.” You should probably be able to find one out of all those. So, hit the rewind button if you want to listen again.

Christie Chirinos:

When I was working on Caldera Forms, I actually had this list in my notebook in the back, I referenced that all the time. And I would call it my digital marketing toolbox. And periodically I would look at the list and I would just ask myself, “Okay, what am I doing across all of these dimensions? How much am I spending? What efforts are we doing? Could we be doing something differently?” This was how we got from 70,000 to 100,000 active installs. That’s around the time period in which I was referencing this list in my notebook and just making sure that I had trickles going across all of these dimensions. It was especially important for me because again, I’m very interested in the idea of creative and curious marketing strategies. And the thing about creative and curious marketing strategies is that they are the cherry on top of you having your foundations right. So, I would constantly make sure that I had my foundations right, so that we could continually break those growth plateaus.

Joe Howard:

Oh that’s makes me really tempted to want to just go and do a super long episode, because what you shared just totally was like, “Oh yeah.” But this is going to be our first ever part one and part two of episodes. We’re going to do a few. We’ll keep this one to our usual 45 to 50 minutes. And then I think we want to talk about where all these fit in at different sections of growth. And I think that is totally a part of this conversation, but we could do a whole another 45, 50 an hour on just that.

Joe Howard:

So, we’re going to wrap up here for today. And just today will be our growth strategies. Now, you have a lot of growth strategies or customer acquisition strategies. And next time we’ll talk about where those fit in at certain levels or milestones or maturity levels of a business. And also what scales and how you can think about these in having them in your arsenal of a toolkit to actually make growth sustainable, and not make it so that if you were putting like 10 hours into getting one customer, you’re not putting 50 hours to get five customers, or a hundred hours to get 10 customers. Right? It actually will scale. So, you spend 10 hours eventually getting a hundred customers instead of a hundred hours. So, we’ll talk about all that next episode. I think that’ll be a very good one as well. So, cool.

Joe Howard:

Let’s wrap up for today. Yes. This is part one. My notes are open in another window. I was like, “Where are my notes? I have to wrap up the show.” I’ve only done 110 episodes, I still can’t remember how to wrap the show up. If people want to leave us a little review, that’d be pretty sweet. I would really like that. Where could people go to leave us a review?

Christie Chirinos:

We’ve got wpmrr.com/itunes. Go leave us a review. Tell us if this was useful. Tell us if you’re going to write down all the things we outline, and then periodically check them in your notebook. If you’re a new listener, you’re coming in to WPMRR with fresh new ears, flip the switch, do oldest, newest and hit play. I promise you that while we weren’t as engaging as we are now at the beginning, we were pretty engaging.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. I never know what to say to people to go back and listen to super old episodes because it’s like, listen with the grain of salt or whatever, because we really also didn’t know as much as we do today. And I’m sure if we do episodes in a year and a half from now, we’ll say, things we’re thinking about now, probably change as well. So, go back, listen to old episodes. But it’s not just about doing what we say to do. We actually say that a lot. Literally, listen to some of what we do, but don’t take it and copy and paste it. You should never do that. Take it, digest it. Think about how it works for your business. And then whether what we’re saying is a good example or a non-example that will be helpful for people. So yeah, people should definitely take what we have to say and twist it to make sure it fits for them. So, you can definitely do that with all the episodes.

Christie Chirinos:

If you have any questions about this or any other topic that you’d like to have us talk about on air, you can email them to Yo, that’s Y-O at wpmrr.com. I love questions. I really, really dig questions. And yeah, check out wpmrr.com. Check out the virtual summit and all the stuff going on. Check out WP Buffs. Check out Managed WooCommerce at Nexcess. And we’ll see you next time.

Joe Howard:

We will be in the podcast players again, next Tuesday. See you, everybody.

 

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