Back when Start-up Multicity launched their first products for Webmasters, they were a fairly small company trying to make a big noise without a lot of budget or even a full-time marketing staff. New VP Marketing Todd Tweedy says, “It was the founders and a few employees who were working to get awareness.” Luckily, as Tweedy puts it, “in this marketplace grassroots marketing is critical. If you’re not doing it, you’re not marketing.”
The team did extensive research online to find every important site that carried reviews and listings of products for Webmasters. “We have a gigantic spreadsheet that’s updated on a daily basis with at least 40 sites.”
Before submitting their products to the sites, the team carefully created official wording to be used in submissions. “They spent a lot of time coming up with very benefits driven statements that support value for each of our five products. Each is a very concise message that’s very action driven. It’s not just ‘we have this, we have that, we have something else.’ It’s ‘they’re free, they’re multilingual, and they help you in this way.’” Tweedy also notes, “It’s just as important as a paid media announcement. Your wording should be consistent across all placements.” In fact now that the company’s started banner advertising they’ve been careful to keep the same wording!
The team continued to keep in touch with sites that listed their products, “We try to expand our placements within the site, and we want to optimize text-based placements within the property.” The team also tested whether site listings should link to their informational home page or directly to their registration page. They’ve found, performance is generally higher for links directly to the registration page, except for links from news sites where it’s reversed.”
After seven months of this grassroots campaigning, Multicity attracted 100,000 Webmasters to use its software products.
NOTES: Since hiring VP Marketing Todd Tweedy this May, the Multicity has begun testing a wide range of online marketing tactics. Here’s what they’ve learned so far:
1. Banners: With the help of InterAdNet, a Raleigh-based media planning and placement firm, Multicity tested 24 different banners on a variety of sites. They learned “images of groups of people outperform single individuals and females outperform males if it’s just a one-person image. Text works better than graphics-rich creative. The word “Free,” larger capitalized text, and banners that had less copy worked better.”
2. Ads in text email newsletters: Tweedy recommends against “just doing one drop” saying you need to “do a series of drops in a sequence.” He also recommends you challenge the newsletter publisher to see if you can have your ad placed in an unusual spot or use unusual format breaks to identify that it’s an ad vs. editorial, “one of the biggest problems is all ads look alike in newsletters and it’s easy for readers to scroll right past and not read them.”
NEXT: Multicity’s pulled in outside expert Jill Whalen of NetRankings to work on optimizing their site for search engines. This six week process includes “defining key words, creating copy for specific pages, changing meta tags, optimizing site architecture for placements and then going through the submission process.” No easy task!
The Company is also about to launch an affiliate program to maximize friend-get-a-friend referrals with the help of Commission Junction.
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