Week 2 Bootstrapping a Startup

As my second week comes to a close I want to take some time and reflect on what is working and what is not to hopefully give an aspiring entrepreneur some much-needed resources. Again, if you have any sort of website I highly recommend setting up Google analytics and webmaster tools to be able to get insight into your traffic sources and the overall health of your website.

For instance, when I dig into my Google webmaster’s dashboard or search console as they call it now I can see some of my web pages are being indexed. I will have to probe a little further to determine why not everything is being indexed but this is a good start as my goal is to begin to get away from relying on paid search for my traffic and really dig into my organic search strategy.

Indexed_pages

Thanks to webmaster tools I can see the number of urls Google has indexed and get a high-level view of my website’s health. Unfortunately, I see I do not have many clicks coming into the website but the other report I like to look at is what keywords are driving traffic to the website.

Search_analyticsI can see that one keyword I optimized for is working to drive some traffic to my website so that is a good sign my search strategy is beginning to work even if I only have a few pages indexed. I also decided to build out a few additional pages for keywords I am targeting with a high search volume and very low competition. I hope these pages I built out will bring in traffic that will have better engagement than the traffic I currently have coming through from my PPC campaign. I already see a slight bump in traffic that I hope is from the SEO pages I built out.

traffic_analytics

Unfortunately, my bounce rate is higher than I want it to be and I would like to see a higher time on site I think this is a result of the trash traffic coming through PPC.

Site_metrics

I can see the search engines are sending slightly better traffic than the PPC campaign I am currently running. However, the bounce rate is a little higher than I would like. I do see the email traffic has much better engagement than any other traffic source. In the medium “ebay listing” I am testing out posting products on Ebay in an attempt to drive traffic back to my site. I am trying to supplement my traffic since I expect to cut off the adwords campaign sometime soon since it is not converting and it is not cost effective to keep running it. I also installed an app that serves up a questionnaire to keep some more qualitative data back from the traffic hitting my site on the product page.

Doubling back to my Ebay listing attempt I think the people searching on Ebay are ready to make a purchase. I am posting products on there with links back to my site. I also tagged the urls so I know what traffic is coming through and I can further segment the data and see how they engage with my site. To tag the url’s I use Google’s simple url builder to build the links and then I just code it in the html editor on Ebay. I highly recommend tagging all links you put out linking back to your website so you know if your efforts are working and if you are driving quality traffic to your site.

I am also tracking the keyword and rank positioning using traffic travis. It is important to track your rankings and positioning periodically to see how you fare against the competition. Don’t get too hung up on this because keyword positioning does not always correlate nicely with web traffic.

page_rankings Not only is Traffic Travis great because it’s free but I get a quick overview of the keywords I am ranking for and the specific search engines as well. I can see very quickly I am ranking highly for a niche term.

Until next time, feel free to leave comments and post questions.

 

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“How do I know what my first goal/priority should be with a new start-up”

“Me and my friend are starting a bags and backpacks line. The idea is to make fashionable items for men that travel often. Businessmen, travelers, sportsmen. Of course we don’t have the money to hire a marketing agency and this is our first personal endeavour.

Personally I’ve read a lot about marketing and start ups. I really like it. Subreddits like this one are that pushed me to go beyond my 9-5. I’ve read a lot, like I said, so I know that a successful marketing strategy is based on a specific goal. But what should be my first goal or priority: brand awareness? generate leads? sales?

I guess awareness leads to leads, leads leads to sale; so starting from generating awareness is startingfrom the beginning?” 

 Original Reddit Post

This was a question that was asked on Reddit and I think this is a great time to talk about marketing strategies in terms of bootstrapping for a startup company. More often than not when starting a company the most important aspect is to make sales of course and create brand awareness. Generally the entrepreneur is on a budget and still trying to validate their business model here are some tactics I employed when I launched my own start up Native American clothing line with extremely little funding.

In the beginning I relied heavily on social media to generate brand awareness. Primarily instagram I found it extremely useful for what I was trying to accomplish since in my opinon facebook is too saturated with companies already. At first I would hashtag what I thought were relevant keywords and then incorporated the free instagram analytics program Iconosquare. This program gave me insight into my instagram marketing campaign and let me know which specific hashtags were performing well along with my top followers, best times to post, which types of media were performing the best.

Secondly, once my instagram hit roughly 300 followers I started doing research on how various growth hacking techniques and stumbled upon followliker. This program used bots to crawl through social media profiles based on a set criteria of keywords. This allowed me to grow my instagram from 300 followers to over 1800 people fairly quick. I know this is not a huge amount but it got me a page in a magazine and I was able to funnel traffic to my ecommerce website.

Lastly, I used bigcartel which has several pricing options including a free website as well. This allowed me to sell products for free without a substantial investment in the beginning. I also incorporated google analytics to get greater insight into where my traffic was coming from so I could better tailor my social media campaigns as well.

All in all brand awareness = leads which = sales. You can not get leads without brand awareness at first and social media is a great resource to begin with. I managed to launch a clothing line with a small investment of $300 or so and a lot of hardwork. Anything is possible.

( I would highly recommend checking out Iconosquare and followliker) 

 

What everybody ought to know about a Marketing degree and how to take charge of your education

As I approach my graduation I find myself reflecting on my past educational journey and how my educational expierences have shaped who I am today. I quickly realized that there is a disconnect in what is being taught in the classroom and what I am expected to know. I highly recommend any Marketing student to determine early on what specific direction they want to go within marketing and begin doing research into what employers are looking for.

I found myself one fateful day flipping through job ads on Simplyhired, Indeed and I noticed something concerning. Alot of the entry level positions wanted a marketing student with some sort of technical expertise whether it was graphic design, html/ CSS or some sort of analytics expierence. I realized I had neither up until this point I was under the impression that if I attended my classes and made good grades everything else would kind of sort itself out. Unfortunately this is not true at all.

I found out how wrong I was at my first internship.  I was overwhelmed by a vortex of data, information and digital marketing practices. I was really at a loss and desperately needed training that was never to come. As clique as it may sound if I knew then what I know now I would have taken charge of my self education a lot sooner than I originally did. Here are some resources to get you started on training yourself to be more marketable among your peers.

  1. www.Copyblogger.com  – Coppy blogger has plenty of useful resources for anyone looking to learn how to be a better copy writer.
  2. copyblogger  www.Codeacademy.com– Wonderful resource that allows you to begin your journey into learning how to code.
  3. code academy www.udemy.com – This website offers a variety of courses on a wide variety of subjects. This is a great starting point to learn anything from web development to graphic design.
  4. Udemy The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking–  “This guide is for entrepreneurs, founders, growth leads, or anyone else who is trying to grow a startup.” This guide may be primarily for start ups but I believe it is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in marketing.
  5. the-definitive-guide-to-growth-hacking Google Analytics- Of course how could I not write a blog and not include google analytics. This is a free resource offered from Google which basically allows users to track user engagement on their websites.

google-analytics

Post Launch of my start up clothing line *Lineage Clothing*

I developed a concept for a start up clothing line I call Lineage Clothing. It is a Native American owned and operated clothing line paying tribute to Native American design and concepts. I started the company with very little money and through hardwork and a tremendous amount of research I found a lot of very useful tools to assist with the business opertations and production of my products.

  • Instagram- A wonderful social media platform which allows me to showcase my designs and hash tag relevant items to segment my market and determine who may be interested in my products.
    • followliker- while this software is not free it is a one time payment of roughly $49 which allows me to automate my instagram marketing process. Thereby specificying certain criteria the software will go through instagram and like photos based on certain hashtags and follow other users within those similar critera allowing me to essentially mass market sort of.
  • MailChimp- While the advanced version of this software cost money I used the free basic version to structure an email marketing campaign and even though I did not get the response I wanted it wsa a great learning expierence and overall wonderful idea to implement contest and various promotions.
  • Bigcartel- The basic version of bigcartel is free which allows me to showcase and sell the T-shirts I have designed for free. I can even track which shirts get how many clicks.
  • Iconosquare- formely known as statigram this software provides me with much needed analytics of who my top engager’s are and when are the best times to post on my social media platforms. This is not only free but a wonderful and much needed software application I would recommend to anyone.
  • Theprintful- finally possibly the most costly aspect of my company is paying upfront to print shirts. Fortunately the printful deveopled their business around printing to order and offering samples for extremely cheap. This company allows me to offer a diverse set of products with no cost upfront.

So far I have learned a lot from this business venture and look forward to seeing how far I can take it. I recently got offered a spot in a Native American magazine and I am talking to retailers and looking at getting funding to grow my company.

Check out some of my work and be sure to visit my website to show your support : lineageclothing.bigcartel.com

 

Lineage Blackhawks T-shirt

lineage pattern6 shirt