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I recently joined a startup in San Jose called RetailKit. We are an eCommerce software company that offers both a storefront and a robust set of integrated tools in the backend to help customers grow and manage their businesses.

This is my first full time growth position. I'm knee deep in trying to generate leads and new customers but would love to hear everyone's advice on some best tactics to acquire new customers.

  • RG

    Robert Graham

    over 5 years ago #

    I'm not sure if you have product/market fit yet, but in any case I think you would be well served to read Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares's http://tractionbook.com/.

    It gives you a framework to attack growth in a structured way and highlights successes and failures with all types of potential channels.

    The quantitative approach to marketing planning is really useful. I first saw it from @noahkagan.

  • TK

    Thomas Krawiec

    over 5 years ago #

    Take a look at Dane Maxwells copy writing checklist - http://mixergy.com/Master-Class/Copywriting/TheCopywritingChecklist.pdf

    To be blunt, the homepage is horrible. I have no idea what your company does or what value you provide when I visit.

    In terms of getting customers, find out who your ideal customer profile/avatar is and then brainstorm places of where they hang out and go there first.

    Not sure what your company does so I wouldn't bother with testing SEO/Adwords just yet.

    • DH

      Dave Howe

      over 5 years ago #

      Thanks @thomas-krawiec.

      I agree. The website needs a lot of work.

      Early on we've been focused on a very manual approach to getting customers: using our own personal networks, freelance sites, message boards, referrals from current customers etc.

      Regardless, our website is the first impression most customers will have. One of my top priorities is to have it much more clear and compelling and start to use it as a tool for acquisition.

  • MB

    Morgan Brown

    over 5 years ago #

    I would read this: http://firstround.com/article/from-zero-to-10000-clients-in-two-years-using-channel-partners

    I would also look for dissatisfied customers or previous customers of other platforms that you can convince to try your solution.

    • IK

      Ivan Kreimer

      over 5 years ago #

      Awesome resource, Morgan. Thanks a lot!

      • DH

        Dave Howe

        over 5 years ago #

        Agreed, Amazing resource @morgan, thank you!

        Also, great advice with reaching out to dissatisfied customers or previous customers of other platforms. My Google alerts are setup for complaints of some other popular platforms :)

  • TW

    Tom Whatley

    over 5 years ago #

    Just to rattle this point home a bit - get your house in order first. The copy checklist by Dane that @thomas-krawiec shared looks like a good enough place to start as any.

    Check out what other great SaaS and Software companies are doing. Notice how they focus on benefits instead of vague terms like "Integration" and "Service". What relevance does that have?! What pains are you really solving? This isn't obvious to me during my first 5 seconds of looking on your home page.

    In addition to the copy checklist this may also prove useful: https://qualaroo.com/beginners-guide-to-cro/

    Good luck, dude :).

  • GP

    Grant Perry

    over 5 years ago #

    Google Adwords, Bing and Facebook PPC are all great lead gen sources for me. Adwords and FB both offer great remarketing targeting.

    SEO and PR could be important but will take more time.

    If email acquisition if your lead gen goal you should ensure your landing pages and website are well optimized and focused on that call to action. Exit or timed pops can really boost results. Currently I don't see any prominent email signup boxes.

    Ultimately you need a good sales funnel in place to best convert those leads to customers and give you continued revenue for ongoing paid lead gen and scale.

  • HK

    Hristian Kambourov

    over 5 years ago #

    Hey Dave,

    Welcome to GH.

    I took a quick look at your website and my main suggestion to you is to concentrate your initial efforts on CRO:

    - Get rid of the "horrible" stock photography
    - Rewrite your headline
    - Get a CTA on that home page
    - Show some actual screenshots of your product
    - Simplify your pricing page

    These are just a few basic tips.

    Best of luck

    • AL

      Austin Lilley

      over 5 years ago #

      Expanding on this - do you know if your current customers had domains before they came to you or did they purchase their domain after deciding to use you as a store platform?

      What you could do is put some kind of URL input giving people an imagination of what their store front would look like. Or a "Build your store now" where they input their URL. Take a look at how Optimizely structured their homepage and testing input to capture leads.

  • TJ

    Timothy Johnson

    over 5 years ago #

    Looks like your company also provides growth for your customers? That would be an interesting duality, but one i am quite familiar with.

    That being said I think that you are interested in getting more customers on the platform. I just browsed the mobile site and even if it isn't the full representation, I agree with Thomas the copy is bad and I always thirst for case studies and examples of customer success stories along with testimonials when I evaluate a platform of this sort.

  • VV

    Visakan Veerasamy

    over 5 years ago #

    My $0.02: I think it would boost your conversions if you skipped the iceberg visual and played it straight with a strong, bold headline about the precise benefit of your product. (Robust set of integrated backend tools- tell me more about that, sell me that!) I'm reading your about page and it says "After working in a variety of technolgoy and eCommerce roles Russell recongized a growing need for integrated eCommerce and business management tools. Admittedly these tools already existed, but they were always prohibitevly expensive for all but the largest enterprises."

    That's a selling point right there- Enterprise-grade integrated backend tools at SMB prices. (Also, there are a lot of typos in there... worth fixing!) Lots of little wins that will go a long way.

  • PD

    priyanka desai

    over 5 years ago #

    Before trying out the fancy marketing tactics, why don't you address the basic homepage language? The write-up language is poor and so are a few misplaced words. The key to portraying perfection is having it right on your official website.

  • KW

    Kevin Waugh

    over 5 years ago #

    Based on reading through the site, I am not sure if you are targeting small merchants or enterprise companies. I know you may want to target both, but at first, focus on one, they have different needs. Also, proof is in the pudding, offer demos to show people how this makes them better, this can drive sign-ups.

  • DW

    David Wang

    over 5 years ago #

    Your value proposition isn't clear on the homepage. What are you even selling? It feels like a lot of jargon thrown at me.

    #1) If you guys haven't done it yet, you should do a couple of customer interviews to figure out what the pain points are. Then address those pain points on the homepage.

    #2) Lead generation + lead capture. Where are you capturing the traffic that comes to your website? What can you offer them to get an email so that you can continue the conversation? Look at shopfy, they offer a free 14 day trial for an email. What can you do to get their email address?

    #3) What value can you offer to them before they buy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocity_(social_psychology) so that they can't do anything but want to sign up? A lot of people look at this as "content marketing", but it's just another way of giving people MORE value. Can your company offer something similar?

    #4) Value distribution. This is more along the lines of social media marketing/seo/ppc/referrals - ie. How do you get your word out (acquisition in pirate metrics)

    #5) CRO - once you get ppl to your site and enter your funnel, how do you get them to buy!

    • DW

      David Wang

      over 5 years ago #

      A note on #4 value distribution... like @rgraham mentioned, take a look at the traction book to figure out where your audience is and market there!

  • RW

    Ryan Wardell

    over 5 years ago #

    Just so you're aware, hosted ecommerce software is a brutally competitive space. Basically there is Shopify plus another thousand smaller players, each with very similar products, at very similar price points.

    This really smells like a classic "no-one is buying my product so I'll hire a growth hacker" situation. I don't think you have product market fit yet. What is the problem that you're solving, and why is RetailKit better than other solutions?

    So my first piece of advice is find a role at a different company. Unless there is some amazing secret sauce you haven't mentioned, I can't see this being a successful business.

    If you're determined to stick it out, then you need to find a specific niche that Shopify does not cater to very well and focus on that, probably via partnerships.

    Shopify recently raised money at a billion dollar valuation and is plowing nearly all of it into customer acquisition. So they're going to be able to outspend you on every single online channel.

    Good luck with it all.

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