Why (and how) you should let your customers do the advertising for you

customer advertising

photo credit: DSC_0134 via photopin (license)

I grew up in the nineties, and my parents weren’t big on technology. My first computer had a 486 processor with a monochrome screen, it ran DOS, and it had Chessmaster 3000 on it. It was given to me by the people who owned the used bookstore in town after it had finally become too dated for even them to use. I loved that little computer.

Finally, one Christmas, my parents broke down and bought a more modern computer. It had Windows 95 and could connect to the internet. I was in heaven. I quickly taught myself to write HTML and launched my first website, a resource for pet rabbit enthusiasts.

Since that time, I have been responsible for the creation and promotion of many more websites, some of which have gone on to become full-fledged, successful businesses.

I am currently CEO of a company I founded around 8 years ago: Hatchwise. Hatchwise is a crowdsourced design community that has designed over a million different logos, websites and graphics of all kinds.

When I first launched Hatchwise, I was still running an internet company I had started previously, called MyCustomLogo, which relied almost 100% on PPC ads to bring in new sales. My company was profitable, but I was constantly stressing over the daily fluctuations in advertising cost. Also, there were a massive amount of competitors who were offering services which were priced similarly to mine, who were then advertising in the same places I did. So each of these factors made me decide that I wanted my next business to rely heavily on word of mouth, and to avoid PPC bidding wars and razor thin margins.

I was successful. The vast majority of contests started on Hatchwise come from people who heard about us through word of mouth, and who then go on to tell others about us, and just about everybody who wraps up a contest on Hatchwise has nothing but good things to say about us.

In this article, I am going to detail what we focus on here at Hatchwise, and why our customers love to tell their friends about us.

1. Focus on what you are selling. If people love the experience they’ll come back.

If your main focus is on getting new customers, but you’re neglecting the service, software, or experience that you are selling, then, in my opinion, you are wasting your time. Having a solid offering will increase your conversion rate and help you maintain a healthy growth. You should always strive to be a company that you would want to be a customer of.

Make sure that you have a website that is scalable and user-friendly. You do this by getting feedback from as many actual customers as possible. For example, it may seem to you that your website is easy to navigate, but you can’t know this for sure until you’ve gotten feedback from the people who are actually using it. Ask them what they like and don’t like about it, and how you can improve their experience.

Once you have a solid website and product you can then focus on spreading the word because everyone who uses your website or buys your product will be telling their friends about you. Obviously, the same situation applies if a customer has a bad experience, which is where the next point comes in.

2. Go above and beyond with your customer service. Everyone should have an amazing experience.

In our current day and age, people expect fast and responsive customer service. One of the things we do at Hatchwise is to make sure that all emails are responded to as quickly as possible. We also try to be aware that if we are consistently getting the same questions over and over, we need to figure out what we can do to eliminate the issue that is causing the email in the first place.

We use every email we receive as a chance to think about how we could make the customer experience easier and better than it already is. There have been times when a customer had an idea, and we implemented it that day, simply because it was a great idea. Every customer is important to us, and if they take the time to provide an idea or problem we take it very seriously.

3. If you never ask you’ll never know.

Several years ago, we began requesting feedback on our customers experience after they’ve completed a contest. This really helped us scale efficiently because we quickly identified issues that affected multiple customers. One of the big issues that arose was that the site was not mobile friendly. We realized pretty quickly by hearing feedback from customers that having a mobile-friendly site was very important to them, which is something that we had, for whatever reason, not really paid any attention to.

We also created an easy way for customers to share issues and request improvements as they were in the process of running a contest. This made it simple for customers to let us know about an issue they were having without having to email us. So we have also received a lot of great suggestions through this tool.

4. Do what you do better than anyone else.

Regardless of what you sell, customer satisfaction should be your number one concern. Identify what your customers want from you and make sure they get what they want. At Hatchwise, we realize the most important aspect of our website is the design that the customer receives. With that as our focus, we’ve worked hard to make sure that the designers who use Hatchwise are completely happy. We do this by dealing as fairly as possible with the hundreds of little issues that pop off when you have a community of thousands of designers, and also, we do this by making sure the website has all the tools and features that they require in order to operate as efficiently as they can. Shortly after we launched we created a unique program that runs in the background of the site that catches most clipart and keeps designers from copying the work of other designers.

By making sure that the designers are happy, we are able to provide an overall better experience to our clients, which results in everyone being happy.

5. It’s okay to reward people.

For a long time we did not have an affiliate program. Anytime a customer referred us it was because they thought we were awesome and they received nothing for doing it. We have recently launched an affiliate program after receiving a lot of requests to implement one. The results have been great. Giving people an incentive to recommend us was something that we should have done a while ago. If people love you and also receive something for recommending you, they are going to do it way more often.

6. It’s all about happiness.

Focusing on customer satisfaction and making it easy for customers to share any issues they are having is one of the biggest things you can do to grow your platform. It’s easy to create banner ads and market your site, but if the customers you have already have are not 100% satisfied, you are wasting your money. It is much better to have your existing customers be the marketers for your website. This will save you a significant amount of money and you will have a much more stable site.

George RyanGeorge Ryan is a serial entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Hatchwise, a community of tens of thousands of graphic designers and writers who have created over a million amazing designs and company names since 2008. George resides on the Connecticut coast, where he enjoys photography, his family, and starting new businesses.


Know Your User: How to Define Target Audience For Your App

Know Your User: How to Define Target Audience For Your App

photo credit: depositphotos.com

Do you want to know a common reason for a business’s demise? CB Insight has analyzed hundreds of stories on failing startups and concluded that 14% of them hadn’t examined their client. This is a pain point for those who develop and market mobile apps. They are often guilty of developing and designing a product without an end user in mind.

Having a great idea for an app isn’t enough. An app should provide real value for a specific group of people. If you take time to define your target audience first, you will save a lot of time and money during app development and promotion stages.

By figuring out a target audience for an app, you can:

  • plan functionality and design around their needs and preferences
  • use the best monetization model
  • develop a precise and effective marketing campaign

How to define your audience?

There are two ways of identifying a group of people you want to target: a general understanding, based on the app’s category, and secondary research. If an app provides a location-based catalogue of pregnancy shops and services in the US, it is safe to assume that all moms-to-be in the US are a main target market. Secondary research is the analysis of information about your industry, category and competitors.

Finding a target audience for a specific niche app is easier than for a general, category app. But even in a broad market there can still be a wide niche (like certain age and gender group) that can later provide the most loyal users. Gaming apps usually concentrate on finding their “whales” or devoted gamers who bring the largest part of revenue.

Developing a marketing strategy for a target audience

When the target market is defined and app is ready for launch it’s time to develop a marketing strategy. Here are three steps for a safe start:

1. Launch a low budget ad campaign

In an ideal world every penny of your marketing budget works to acquire users from a targeted audience. In reality cost per loyal user crossed the $4 border. One can waste a lot of money on marketing efforts without a test campaign. The soft launch allows developers and app creators to acquire a small groups of users, analyze their life-time value (LTV) and define the most valuable group for an app.

Apart from demographic targeting, such as age and gender, there is behavioral targeting that can be more effective. Behavioral targeting help to reach user segments based on their past actions or interests. An app with recipes can be promoted to users who attend cooking classes, follow cooking blogs, or engage with cookbook apps.

2. Find the right time and place to reach your audience

It`s important to understand when and where to promote your app to a target audience. When is the right time? It may be a seasonal trend, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, for retail apps. Maybe you can launch an app for an upcoming sporting or cultural event or start an ad campaign for a kids game right before summer break.

Promotional efforts should concentrate on websites and social channels that target audience visits. You can reach out to opinion leaders in your niche, ask industry blogs for an app review, or even place information about your service in thematic forums and communities.  PR activity may be seen as a time consuming task, yet it allows to reach the potential end users.

MobileSleepDoc Pro is an app that is synched with the FitBit and designed to help identify and resolve sleep issues such as sleep apnea, insomnia and unrestful sleep. It has reached the target audience with the help of PR activities. Marketing strategy, designed and provided by app marketing agency ComboApp, included reviews of the app and its integration with the tracking device by fitness and wellness bloggers. Bloggers shared their positive experience with their readers, thus promoting a brand and an app itself to the target audience.

3. Analyze, customize and scale

The last and the most important part of app marketing for a specific audience is gathering data about your users. By analyzing statistics you are able to customize a marketing strategy and scale when needed.


Eugine is a Content Manager at app marketing agency ComboApp. She has 4 years of experience in marketing and content writing and strong understanding of remarketing, app monetization and social media promotion. Eugine is passionate about providing insight into latest trends of mobile app industry and online advertising.

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