If you have a customer who complains about something, don’t ignore it, no matter how crazy you think the complaint may be. If it can happen once, it can happen again; and more importantly, how many times has it already happened and nobody brought it up?
Of course not all criticism is valid, but you don’t know if it’s valid if you don’t take it seriously. Investigate every claim. Find the root cause of the complaint just as you would find the cause of a software defect. And once you’ve found it, see changes you could make, or what systems you could put in place to either stop it from happening, or mitigate the damage it could do.
If you treat every complaint as a defect, you’ll have fewer and fewer complaints over time. In addition, there’s simply nothing better than good customer service to promote word of mouth marketing.
Everyone, at one time or another, repeats the same mistakes. You reason with yourself, “this time it will be different.” You make excuses like, “but I’ve already got so much time/money invested in this.” You argue with your colleagues, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” So you press forward, despite knowing that you should stop and take a look around.
Economists call this the sunk cost fallacy. “Well, we’ve already dumped a million dollars into it, might as well spend another million and see if we can get the damn thing to work.”
Stop. Think. Evaluate. Change.
Whether you’re trying out a marketing strategy, writing a piece of code, designing a new product, or launching a business, don’t be afraid to re-evaluate anything and everything. It could be that the path you are on will work with a minor adjustment, but it’s just as likely that you need to do something else all together. With each failure you should stop and evaluate what went wrong, so that you can evaluate what will give you better odds of success next time.
Likewise, when you succeed, you should re-evaluate things as well. Just because you’re successful one way, doesn’t mean you can’t be more successful another. Tweak, measure, and respond. Tweak, measure and respond. This is how you can improve upon success.
A few years ago, a friend of mine posted a blog about dealing with trolls. In the article he asked the question, “What are you hoping to achieve by arguing with someone who doesn’t like your project?"
I massaged it a bit to become: “What do I hope to achieve from this?” and it changed my life. Basically, when dealing with any situation, try to figure out the best case scenario and then compare that with your expectations.
It’s going to cost you $4,000 to attend that trade show. Can you reasonably get $4,000 worth of business from it?
You’re having an argument with someone. What do you get by winning the argument? Does it even matter? Or would it be better to put it to bed and forget winning?
I’m going to add this feature to my app. Does anybody need it? Has anybody asked for it? Is anybody willing to pay for it? Do I need it?
Asking yourself this question before taking action could save you a lot of time, frustration, and money. I know it has me.
According to this article, which is based upon research from CJ Hutto, Sarita Yardi, and Eric Gilbert here are the top three most important factors to gaining Twitter Followers:
- The overlap between your Twitter network and your followers’ networks.
- The degree to which your tweets received retweets over a given period.
- The informational richness of your tweets. Measured as the ratio of tweets containing a link, an RT (retweet), MT (modified tweet) or HT (hat tips), to total tweets.
And these are the top three most important ways to not gain followers:
- Tweeting negative emotions and opinions.
- The use of hashtags.
- Meformer content or self-referencing content.
I was asked recently why I only post short snippets of advice, and whether I’d be willing to expand upon them.
I only post short snippets, because, sadly a lot of people won’t read a more in-depth article. Plus, it has the added side-effect of making you long for more. =)
That said, I’d be happy to go into more detail on any subject. Just post a note in the comments about what you’d like me to expand upon and I’ll do a follow up post.
If you are a software developer and have created or are creating a start-up, then please do not forget about building a web services API. Not only will it be an excellent way to build out a web site and connect mobile clients, but a web services API can be an excellent marketing tool.
The API allows other people to build their own stuff on top of your API. Sometimes these will just be hobbyists playing around, but those hobbyists can be an excellent marketing tool as they’ll likely write blog posts and release their source code out on GitHub, or elsewhere. In addition, businesses may tie into your service, which is not only an additional source of revenue, but they’ll likely tout their integration with you on their web site.
A good way to build up a sustainable amount of business on your site is to work on your organic search traffic. There are people you can pay for SEO, but you’d do well to learn the tricks yourself, or have someone on your team become the resident expert. This is an on-going process, so if you don’t learn it yourself, you will create an on-going cost for your business.
We’re still working on perfecting this every day on our businesses. Tavis is really our expert, but I can tell you this. After he took on the charge of fixing up our site to be a more search friendly environment, our traffic from search results has quadrupled, and a lot of those visitors turn into buyers.
The Viral Coefficient is a well known term in the software start-up realm, but those that are just getting started often have never heard of it. Basically you can sum it up like this:
viral coefficient is invitation rate times acceptance rate
Invitation rate is the number of invites sent vs the number of users you have. Acceptance rate is the number of sign-ups vs the number of invites sent. So you can pretty easily write the formula as:
v = ( i / u ) * ( s / i )
v = viral coefficient
i = number of invites
u = number of users
s = number of subscriptions from those invites
So if 4,000 users send 7,500 invites, then the invitation rate would be 1.875. And if 1,200 people sign up as a result, then the acceptance rate would be 0.16. Or as an expression:
v = (7500/4000)*(1200/7500) = 1.875*0.16 = 0.3
Therefore, your app would not be viral. In order to be considered viral, the viral coefficient must be greater than one.
One of the better ways I’ve found to keep customers and get new ones is to build a blog. And when I say “build a blog” I don’t mean install some blog software or get an account on tumblr. I mean post meaningful information to a blog every single day.
This is referred to as “Content Marketing” in the industry. What you do is set yourself up as an expert. You offer meaningful advice that people can really use. You link to articles that people find useful. You talk about your new products as you have new things to talk about. Fill your blog with useful content, and build a following. It’s a great way to build up a business.