This is Week 4 in the 10 Growth Experiments in 10 Weeks series. We’re running 10 experiments to see which growth strategies are the most promising for Kiip’s business model and current state. Follow us on Twitter to get more marketing updates.
Flatter your ideal clients
Have you ever said to yourself, “If only we had company X as a client, everyone would use our service” or “these 10 clients are a perfect fit, but how can we approach them in a genuine way?” At Kiip, we found an answer by getting back to basics — show your dream clients that they’re special. We did this by putting all our ideal clients on an infographic congratulating them on their mobile commerce aptitude. Instead of a cold outreach with an email subject line of “Let me tell you about Kiip”, my cold outreach was “Mind if I cite you as a mobile commerce expert in an infographic?” Not surprising, but the response rate to emails asking if it’s ok to be cited as an expert are quite high. This is how you start relationships off right.
Find the commonality between your ideal clients
One aspect of this process needs to be very clear — do not take your top 10 dream clients and throw them on a list. Rather, take your prospective clients and determine what they have in common. Then create an infographic around that commonality. Not only will this be a genuine approach, but it will allow you to find even more companies that fit your ideal client mold. For Kiip, our ideal clients are companies that have significant mobile ad spend. The companies that have high mobile ad spend are those that have a significant percentage of revenue coming from their mobile properties. Thus, Kiip’s ideal clients are companies that have a high percentage of their revenue coming from mobile. Once you have your target audience, you need to (1) decide how to visually demonstrate their excellence, (2) collect original research (no one likes re-hashed stories), and (3) reach out to influencers to help promote your infographic.
Infographics: A visual story
The range in infographic complexity is broad – the most complex are the beautiful interactive artworks by companies like Visual.ly, and then simpler infographics from Infogram’s intuitive WYSIWYG builder. My recommendation is to find inspiration from these companies’ galleries, and then create a graphic that matches the technical and design resources at your disposal. We also have a copy of Stephen Few’s Information Dashboard Design: Displaying Data for At-a-Glance Monitoring floating around the office, which is a fantastic resource for learning how to display different types of data. We chose a horizontal stacked bar graph, which excels in comparing distributions — the perfect option for comparing the mobile revenue distributions for 25 companies. I created an initial prototype using Infogram’s builder, and then passed it along to our designer Brittany to give it final design love. The result is a clean graphic to tell the story of top eCommerce companies’ mobile commerce progress.
How to do original research for an infographic
I’m a firm believer in doing the dirty work of a project before asking for help. That way, once you ask someone for help, there’s a clear direction for the project and you can make the most out of everyone’s time. For collecting mobile revenue breakdowns for major companies, I started my research in journals with mobile commerce content ranging from Mobile Commerce Daily to TechCrunch. After finding the first 3-4 companies’ revenue splits, there was a clear pattern for the content. Most articles had the combinations of the words and phrases “mobile”, “revenue”, “share”, “breakdown”, “mobile growth”, “mobile commerce”. I searched these terms in the various publications and it was easy to find articles focused on mobile revenue. To find the next batch of quotes, I outsourced the task on oDesk with example quotes, the patterns I had found, and the best sources for quality content. The oDesk freelancer found 100 more quotes, and I was able to use data from 25 of them. Pretty awesome. It took me 4 hours to get the original research done, and I paid oDesk $30 to finish up the research.
Publish and promote your infographic with the help of influencers
The beauty of curating journal quotes is that you get 2 people to form a relationship with — the quoted company spokesperson, as well as the author of the article. Both of these people get to be promoters. Here’s the email template I sent to both company spokesmen and journalists:
SUBJECT: Can I quote you in an infographic on mobile commerce growth?
I came across a quote on _company_’s mobile growth (_article_url_), do you mind if I cite the quote in this infographic?
For some context, Kiip is a mobile rewards network, and the goal of the infographic is to show how prominent mobile commerce has become for top companies.
Let me know if you have any questions!
I sent 48 emails and received 24 responses. When we published the infographic, I reached out to all the promoters and asked if they would share, and most were happy to help since it was further distributing their content. Journalists and influential players in the eCommerce world promoting the post was a massive reason for the infographic getting over 4000 views, 200 tweets, and 100 likes. Although distribution was secondary to the primary goal of developing relationships with the top mCommerce companies, it has helped us gain the attention of even more companies in the space.
Close rates at 12% show that going the extra mile for cold outreach is worth it
Out of the 25 companies on the infographic, three now run Kiip campaigns. I expect three more to run campaigns in the next quarter as new advertising budgets open up. (One tangential lesson learned in this process is do not publish something important right before Christmas – no one is trying new things at that time). A close rate of 12% for cold outreach is 4x better than Kiip’s average, and all of these clients are whales.
$7500 = Average client LTV * 3 (conservative estimate)
$140 = 4 employee hours
$30 = oDesk
$170 = Total
Growth experimenting isn’t always about bringing on hundreds of clients at a time — giving extra effort for the special few will pay dividends in the end. As Paul Graham has explained, do things that don’t scale.