Swipe File #2: Sell me dog food

Hey All,

Hope you got a kick out of the first issue. This one is better. In fact, each issue will be better than the one before it. If you agree, I'd ask that you pass this along to a friend.

See something cool online about marketing? Feel free to hit "reply" to share it with me.

Onboarding Isn’t About Signups, It’s About Long-Term Engagement via Ben Yoskovitz

I've been really interested in customer onboarding recently. There are great resources out there from Lincoln Murphy and Samuel Hulick but this post takes a different approach. Yoskovitz suggests that you try to match early customer behavior not with activation but rather long-term engagement.

It’s not enough to get a user through the sign up process into a first time experience and hope they become active.

Good Content Marketing Will Drag Down Your Conversion Rate via Kane Jamison

This article has been passed around quite a bit this week using a different headline (What Mark Cuban Doesn’t Get About Content Marketing). Kane makes the point that really good content will drive more traffic and more net conversions even if the conversion rate drops.

And he made a pretty graph to help us visualize his thinking.

Do Things That Don't Scale via Paul Graham

Startups focus a lot on scaling, so it's interesting that Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham advises investing time on things that don't scale. This is a very inspiring post ... definitely one worth bookmarking.

At YC we use the term "Collison installation" for the technique [Stripe] invented. More diffident founders ask "Will you try our beta?" and if the answer is yes, they say "Great, we'll send you a link." But the Collison brothers weren't going to wait. When anyone agreed to try Stripe they'd say "Right then, give me your laptop" and set them up on the spot.

"How I Got My First 3 Customers" via Noah Kagan

This is a pretty cool site where entrepreneurs explain how they got their first three customers. Very simple but there's some interesting stuff in here. You can even submit your own story.

The Valve Employee Handbook <-- That's a PDF link

Valve is software company responsible for video games like Half-Life and the Steam gaming platform. And this is their actual employee handbook.

It's pure gold.

I don't even really know what to call it. Content marketing? A recruiting tool? Public relations? Just read it. You'll understand what I mean.

Here's a snippet of what you can expect:

But how do I decide which things to work on?

Deciding what to work on can be the hardest part of your job at Valve. This is because, as you’ve found out by now, you were not hired to fill a specific job description. You were hired to constantly be looking around for the most valuable work you could be doing. At the end of a project, you may end up well outside what you thought was your core area of expertise.

Sell me dog food

I buy dog food at least once a month. Sometimes I buy it online and sometimes I buy it in a store. The people that sell me dog know that I'll be needing more food soon, but no one has ever prompted me to buy more.

This should be so easy. Send me an email when my food is running low (and base this on the size of the bag I buy). The type of food I buy tells you everything you need to know about the size and age of my dog. Tailor these emails and solve my problem over and over again.

Stores could do this too. What's the point of a membership program if you don't use it as a marketing tool? The pet store has my phone number, email address and purchase history yet all the do is send me random coupons as part of their email blasts.

Data is low-hanging fruit. Use it to sell me dog food.



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