I came across this smart (and cute) infographic on Edudemic. It pretty accurately reflects how people under 21 think about the different social networks. From my work helping students get Boundless textbooks, I’d have to agree that Facebook is much less important than the image creation/sharing networks of Instagram and Snapchat. I’d probably add Tumblr as another network that matters. Marketers who are trying to build brand with students constantly have to keep on their toes since social changes so quickly!
I’ve been thinking about channels a lot recently – where potential buyers/users come from, what were they doing when the ‘showed up’ and how did they even start thinking about making a purchase? When it comes to practical execution I find that understanding about purchase intent is a great way to cut the chase and efficiently decide on marketing actions that will result in either sales or learnings with data on what didn’t work.
By purchase intent, I mean the moment when a potential customer expresses interest in paying for a solution to a problem.
For a startup, there are at least two critical moments when you want to ‘exploit’ a potential customer’s purchase intent: a) when the person is forming purchase intent and b) when a person is expressing purchase intent. (I don’t like the word exploit, but it gets the point across.)
The funny thing is that now that I’ve run marketing at two different startups, I’ve found that the exact same channel could be in the formation phase for one company and at the expression phase for another.
For example, at my last company national press would drive a large number of new users into our purchasing funnel. Small business owners would read about us on a respected news site and decide to give the service a try, with many of them putting down their credit cards to begin using the service. Choosing to read an article about, say scanning receipts, shows that a person is already interested in the solution; nobody reads articles on b2b solutions for fun! Formation is triggered when the title the of the article is read “hey I have this problem,” and leads to purchase expression when the reader clicks to OfficeDrop’s website “this sounds like a great solution!”
At Boundless, national press does drive a lot of visits, but doesn’t covert in the same way. This is because students don’t make textbook buying decisions based off of news articles; students express intent during specific times of the school year. While they may be intrigued by an article on a way to save money with Boundless textbook alternatives, reading the article only helps them form purchase intent. It doesn’t directly lead to the expression of purchase. Instead, they (hopefully) remember to check out Boundless at the start of the next semester when they are looking for books. So news articles help the potential user form the desire to try out our solution when the time is right, but won’t directly lead to purchasing.
Supporting both sides of purchase intent is important. The Boundless press helps with branding (hard to measure) but also drives increased on page and in funnel conversion (by providing third party proof of quality.) So we can quantify the benefit beyond the hard to measure branding and awareness. However, my main point is that the exact same channel influenced different parts of purchase intent for two different startups. And if you don’t measure your channels you’ll never know if you are positively impacting anything, so careful tracking is critical to success.
I continue to be impressed with my design and copy team here at Boundless, and we’ve recently released this great infographic on saving money on textbooks. The infographic strategy has been working well for us, as we now have a network of friendly edtech bloggers who will repost our infographic, and we post theirs. If you note at the bottom of our post on how to save money on textbooks, you’ll see that we use an embed code that makes it really easy for other bloggers to embed the graphic, plus provide optimized links back to Boundless.
I’m really happy with the press that my team has been able to create for Boundless. In addition to some great tech and mobile press, reporters at major publications and TV networks are taking note of our recent launch. Here’s a round-up of some of the places Boundless has been making headlines:
Our CEO Ariel Diaz interviewed with Money Matters on Bloomberg TV recently – we saw a huge traffic spike during this interview. Basic cable can drive some real visits! During his interview, he said,
Boundless-branded textbooks are free across our 20 plus subjects. They’re free on our website, in our mobile apps, and in other platforms. And on top of that, we offer two things on a premium basis: one are premium study tools… and we also offer students the ability to customize Boundless to their assigned textbook.
Click to watch the interview above.
And in TIME’s TechLand, reporter Dough Aamoth talked about Boundless textbook alternatives. This piece continues to drive real traffic. He wrote,
Boundless has content for a wide range of college subjects, most of it for popular entry-level courses where traditionally-assigned textbooks would have spanned multiple editions already. You can cross-check any books you’ve been assigned and Boundless will return comparable matches from its own collection.
I was really happy to have Boundless featured in the Sunday print edition of the Washington Post. And they really liked our solution! They really liked the Boundless mobile app. The Post said,
The company says the textbooks are as good as ones you may buy from a college bookstore, and the app even lets you search for a textbook you need in order to find one in the Boundless catalog that can work for the same class… For those looking to save cash or for help with the fundamentals, however, Boundless gets an A.
ABC News featured Boundless as a way that students can save money in college. (see video above). Among their tips: skip the school bookstore! They said,
Consider buying used textbooks on Amazon and renting textbooks at Rent-a-Text for 40 percent to 70 percent off. And for intro classes, use the website Boundless, which matches assigned books with free versions online.
Finally, the Wall Street Journal chatted with our CEO too, discussing how Boundless can save students money. Watch the interview above!
Want to see what all the news is about? Check out Boundless.
My team at Boundless has another great infographic, this one designed to help incoming freshmen understand what to pack for their dorm and new life at college. Check it out below!
I’ve really gone more towards twitter than blogging these days – for whatever reason, the ability to sort and then share lots of great content is just really appealing to me right now, much more so than blogging. Note that you can follow me on Twitter here: Healy Jones on Twitter.
So I thought I’d share some of my most retweeted and/or clicked tweets. These tweets have action oriented marketing tips in them:
Great email marketing tips
I’m way overdue writing up a blog post on some of the great things I’ve learned about email marketing, drip marketing and using emails to survey users for marketing and product purposes. But here are the email marketing tweets my follower really liked.
- Good example targeted email: RT @SourceLink: 4 Considerations for Email Marketing Done Right http://buff.ly/10kTHUp
- RT @responsewise1: 6 Obvious Email Marketing Mistakes To Avoid! http://buff.ly/15FykWN
I continue to be fascinated with marketing mobile apps, and trying to understand how visitors and users intact with mobile apps and web sites.
- Study suggests that non-mobile optimized sites are a major cause of lower mobile vs tablet ecommerce: http://buff.ly/19oK24k via @mediapost
- ’12 digital ad unit performance: 0.14% rich media; 0.15% mobile; 0.62% invideo http://buff.ly/14caLRa via @pointroll http://buff.ly/10y8b7C
And I’m super overdue writing up a piece on how to win when you’ve got a huge stash of great content ready to be revealed to Google. Here are my most clicked tweets on search engine optimization: