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Startup Essentials: What You Need to Achieve Business Success

Startup Essentials: What You Need to Achieve Business Success

It is rarely – if ever – an easy prospect to pursue a business venture. Everyone wants their enterprises to succeed but the reality is that it is a colossal undertaking that can overwhelm all but the most dedicated entrepreneurs. Fortunately, even with the grim rate of failure of startups, there are ways in which you can tip the scales of success in your favor. And in this article, we’ll discuss everything that your startup will require to succeed where many others have failed. 

1. Begin with a comprehensive plan

No enterprise can ever become successful without a plan. While it may sound like a daunting task, it boils down to putting the details of the endeavor down on paper. However, make sure that the business model is as detailed as possible. Apart from your short and long-term goals, you must include information such as market studies, finances, and other relevant data. The more comprehensive it is, the less you’ll leave to chance. More importantly, it will help you secure backing from prospective investors and financial institutions much easier than you would otherwise.

2. Stay on top of your expenses

While the majority of startups that go belly up fail for different reasons, the most common cause is a lack of funds. Due to their inability to manage their finances, many end up spending more than they can safely afford. And as a result, end up with little to no profit and a lot of losses. Don’t let this happen and make sure that you monitor your outgoings. Track where all expenses are coming from and see if there are areas that you can cut costs in without compromising the integrity and quality of your operations. Invest in accounting services if there’s room in the budget. It will save you money. 

3. Make sure you’re covered

These days, the majority of businesses across all industries are insured. After all, financial protection gives peace of mind and, in some sectors, it is required. If accidents like injuries, property damage, business-related errors, and other issues arise, you’ll want to keep the associated costs at a minimum. And it is for this reason that you must make sure that your startup is covered with the required insurance policy

4. Don’t burn yourself out

As entrepreneurs, it can be difficult to keep ourselves away from our work. However, you must give yourself enough time to rest and relax. Overworking can be counter-productive, after all. And if you burn yourself out, you’ll risk more than a few bad decisions for your startup. So be sure to practice self-care and look after your health. You’ll have an easier time running your business if you’re not physically and mentally fatigued.

It isn’t surprising that an increasing number of people are taking the entrepreneurial road rather than remain as mere employees in a company. It is a more lucrative option, after all. However, it is by no means an easy task to attain business success. So make sure that you follow the strategies and practices listed above. You’ll be able to reach the intended outcome by doing so.

Multi Touch Attribution

Multi Touch Attribution

In previous blogs, we have discussed the importance of setting KPIs and goals, analyzing results and tracking all of your marketing efforts. But, it’s not that easy as most customers need to see a message several times before making a purchase in today’s multichannel marketing world. So, what medium gets credit for the sale?

Think of it as a soccer game. The player who scores the goal is the one that gets his name in the boxscore. But, if the defense never clears the ball and the midfielders don’t advance it, the goal scorer on the front line never gets the chance to score. To lead the league in scoring, you need to have assists along the way.

Many marketers take the easy way out by using single touch attribution. Usually it means whoever kicks the ball into the net, gets credit for the sale. Final click attribution probably made sense in the early days of the internet. After all, just doing any kind of attribution was better than nothing. Today, however, single touch attribution is likely not sophisticated enough to be the best method for determining where your sales come from. 

Today, sophisticated marketers are using a more holistic approach to the customer buying experience by using multi touch attribution. It is likely that multiple actions are working in connection with one another, and all contribute to a weighted modeling approach to attribution. The question is, what percentage of the sale is attributed to each touch point? Are they all equally important? Or, does the first and last touch point deserve greater consideration?

Let’s take a look at some of the most common attribution methods being used.

  • First Touch — The initial message received gets 100% of the credit for the sale.
  • Final Touch — The final message that usually results in a tap through gets 100% of the credit for the conversion.
  • Linear — All touch points get equal credit along the buying journey.
  • U Shape Model — In the U shape model, more credit is given to the first and last touchpoint and those in between get assigned the remainder. This attribution is also called “position-based attribution” or “multi-channel attribution.” Often, the first and last touchpoints get 40% each and those contacts in the middle split the remaining 20%.
  • Time Decay — In this method, the most recent touchpoints get the most credit and the earlier touch points get a declining share of the attribution credit.
  • Custom Modeling — Is watching a 30 second video of your product more valuable to the penultimate sale than seeing a banner ad? 
  • Cost Modeling — You pay different CPM rates for different types of advertising. In this method, those costs are assigned to an overall percentage of the sale. The more expensive the marketing, the greater percentage that touchpoint receives.

One of the messages that has been prevalent for the Purplegator team is the ability to monitor and gauge results. There’s no official right or wrong way to measure this as the various attribution models concur. The savvy marketer just has to pick the one that makes the most sense for his or her unique situation.

Types of Ads

Types of Ads

When developing an app, the app marketer is inevitably going to need to be involved in the decision of: “what type of mobile app should we build?” 

Let’s take a look at the different types of apps and the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

Native Apps

A native app is software that sits on the smartphone and native apps are developed for a mobile device’s operating system (OS). That means that development must be separate for Android than it is for Apple. 

Programmers use common languages such as Java, Python and C++ for native apps.

Advantages of Native Apps

  • Faster — Because the software resides on the user’s phone, native apps tend to be very fast.
  • Reliable — Again, because the software is on the device itself, it doesn’t have to go out on the internet and look for more information before providing it via the app. There’s no concern, even if you are away from wifi; it will still work.
  • Access to the Phone — Because native apps connect directly with the hardware on the mobile device, it has access to the features on the phone such as contact, images, Bluetooth and other on-phone technologies.

Disadvantages of Native Apps 

  • Greater effort to Develop — Since you have to create an app for each operating system, the effort and cost to write code for multiple operating systems is higher.
  • Expensive — Native apps require seasoned developers to do the work and those developers are more expensive than typical web developers.
  • Cumbersome Updates — Every time that the app needs an update, the user has to accept a push notification and download the latest version of the software updates. Many users won’t bother to do this and this reduces the functionality of the app.
  • Space — Native apps hog a lot of space on the user’s phone.

Web-Based Apps

A web-based app gets its information from the interaction between the phone and its browser access to the internet. With a web-based application, there’s no software on the phone. Rather, they are responsive websites where the on-phone app is merely an interface to easily access information from the web. The fact is that a web application is really nothing more than a bookmark of a website.

Most web-based applications are written in HTML5 today while some use CSS or Ruby. 

Advantages of Web-Based Apps

  • Cheaper — Costs to develop web applications are considerably less than native apps, because there are no requirements to customize the app for various operating systems or device sizes. 
  • No Download — Changes and enhancements to the app can be made on the internet and no download is required from the user. 
  • No Space — Since there’s little software on the phone itself, the user doesn’t have to waste any of his or her valuable on device space for the app.
  • Time to Market — If you need an app to be developed quickly, web-based will be the fastest way to the end game.

Disadvantages of Web-Based Apps

  • Internet Connection — Without an internet connection, the app won’t function properly as the user requires. 

Hybrid Apps

You may have a hybrid app on your phone and you don’t even know it, because it acts just like a native app. 

Hybrid apps use a mixture of web based technologies and native APIs. Hence, they use a combination of the technologies mentioned above. 

Advantages of a Hybrid App 

  • Lower Cost — Hybrid apps are cheaper to develop than native apps. 
  • Fast — They also load quickly, although slightly slower than a native app. 
  • Less Coding — There is less code to maintain than with a native app. Only one code base is required regardless of the operating system.
  • Access to Device — A hybrid app can access typical device functionality such as the contacts or pictures.
  • Don’t Need Web Browser — Unlike web-based apps, a hybrid application doesn’t require a browser to do all of its functions.
  • Building Block to Native — If you are not sure about the viability of your app, hybrid gives you a way to create an app quicker and cheaper. You can then decide later if you wish to upgrade to a native app.

Disadvantages of a Hybrid App 

  • Speed — Faster than web-based, but not as fast as native apps.
  • Bug Fixes — Bug fixes are more difficult to solve with a hybrid app, because you are dealing with two technologies of the mobile operating system and the web.
  • User Experience — At times, the user experience is not as good as with native, because the app is not customized for the particular platform.

Monetizing Apps

There are multiple ways to monetize an app. Let’s take a look at how a business can get a return on its investment into the costly development of a mobile app.

  • Free Apps — Free apps make up 92.7% of the apps on the Apple App Store and 96.7% of the apps on the Google Play Store.  With a free app, the business is hoping that its value extends the brand’s profile in such a way that it pays off in ways other than direct app sales revenue. Or, the app exists solely based on the advertising revenue that is generated. Good Housekeeping Network’s app is an example of a free app where the value comes in the form of added promotion for the network. 
  • Paid Apps — With a paid app, the payment is made at the time of the download and the payment gives the user access to all of the features of the app. Games are often paid apps and the popular Grand Theft Auto is a paid app. 
  • In-App Purchase Apps — In this instance, apps are provided for free, but users can pay for additional services or add-ons. For example, a gaming app may charge for additional lives during a game. Eleven percent of American apps use in-app purchases. 
  • Freemium Apps — The freemium app is a derivative of the in-app purchase model. Freemium apps are free to download, but users do not have access to all of its features. They are consistently encouraged to pay for advanced features. Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby app uses the freemium model.
  • Paidmium Apps — Paidmium apps charge for both the initial download and for the additional features that are available. The Minecraft game is an example of a paidmium app.
  • Subscription Model — In this case, the user must pay a recurring monthly subscription fee to use the app. Spotify is an example of a subscription app.
  • Distribution Channel — A distribution app is free to download, but users shop within the app. Apps help make the shopping experience frictionless and enable sales of new services. Think Amazon.
  • In-App Advertising — In-app mobile advertising helps keep free apps afloat. It brings direct revenue to an app that was free to download. Many free apps use the in-app advertising model. In-app advertising is available on 26% of all American apps. In-app advertising generated $240 billion in revenue in 2020. 

As you can see, there are infinite possibilities of ways to advertise your brand. When planning to do so, it is important to keep your target audience and business goals in mind.

Mobile App Marketing

Mobile App Marketing

It’s the inevitable question that is going to come up in every marketing presentation regardless of the product or service: “how much is this gonna cost me?” Good question, but our answer is not so black and white. Let’s first discuss how a mobile advertiser can choose to purchase ads on the major ad networks — Google and Facebook. These two giants control almost ⅔ of the overall USA mobile advertising market. 

Google

Google offers both pay per click (PPC) advertising initiated via search and it also has a popular display network that is second only to Facebook in revenue. The company’s search engine marketing, or pay per click network, is known as Google AdWords. Google’s advertising display product, known as the Google Display Network, reaches 92% of all websites and is also included within apps that sell advertising. If you aren’t sure about the difference between its pay per click and display products, this graphic will explain it for you.

Here’s a look at the average click through rate and cost per click by vertical market on Google AdWords. According to WordStream, the average click and tap through rate on Google AdWords pay per click is 3.17%. The average click and tap through rate on the Google Display Network is 0.46%. 

Those pay per click (PPC) taps, or clicks on AdWords, cost on average, $2.69 a click. On the Google Display Network the average cost per click is 63 cents. This might make you believe that the Display Network is a far better deal than pay per click is since the cost per click is so much lower. But, that fails to take intent into consideration. A tap or click on pay per click is likely lower in the sales funnel and that consumer is ready to buy now.

Google AdWords Pay Per Click

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a lot of budgets migrating to using more pay per click advertising. That’s because businesses need business NOW, and they need to be seen online. There’s no time for branding campaigns. 

Contrary to what many people think, Google determines what pay per click advertisement to show based on more than just the bid you are willing to pay. “Quality Score,” or Google’s judgement of how qualified your site is to accept that ad, plays a critical role as well. 

Google Display Network

The Google Display Network not only has the most online publishers, but it also has data that no other platform has — Google’s own proprietary search inquiries. Its targeting is greatly enhanced by its ability to add device search data to locate your best potential customers; this is a huge benefit to the advertiser and a tremendous benefit that is exclusive to Google.

Google Display enables advertisers to purchase ads three different ways:

  • CPC — Cost per click is the same way that it sells its AdWords product, only now the click or tap (mobile click) is coming from a display ad and not a search inquiry. CPC is the best way to purchase Google Display ads when the goal is to gain website traffic.
  • CPA — Cost per acquisition is another way to purchase display ads. This might be the best way for an ecommerce company to purchase on Google Display.
  • CPM — Cost per thousand impressions is the most common way that advertisers purchase on the Google Display Network and it is usually the most efficient way. If your goal is branding, CPM is usually the best way to purchase ads.

The Google Display network also enables an advertiser to purchase ads via dayparting. With dayparting, your ads will only appear at certain times. In a retail environment, many advertisers only advertise when the store is open. Hence, CPMs may be higher during normal business hours than in the overnight hours. If your goal is branding, you can garner a significantly greater amount of impressions if you purchase the off hours when many retailers are closed. Remember, with mobile, there’s no prime time anymore; small businesses can play on the same field as large, national companies. 

On the Google Display Network, expect to pay about $6 CPM for most advertising buys. Of course, this can be significantly higher or lower depending on the target market. If you desire to reach high income people, or those with specific job titles, that CPM rate can be anticipated to double.

Facebook

If you can only afford to do one thing in mobile advertising, make it Facebook advertising. When people go to Facebook, they are typically in relaxation mode: maybe taking a break from work, or having some down time after a long day. This is very different from advertising on Google Display or many of the other mobile display networks where the intent of the user is to find specific information. If you are seeing an ad on the ESPN app, for instance, it could be that you just made a wager on the game and are intensely determined to learn the outcome. That makes you inherently less likely to want to tap on an ad there, because your focus is elsewhere. Not the case with Facebook when you are on “me time.” This is why Facebook advertising works so darn well. People are ready to tap through and ready to pull out their credit card to make a purchase on the spot.

The other thing that makes Facebook advertising so effective is that the ads are right in your News Feed, just like the posts from your brother or your high school ex-girlfriend. They take up 100% of your mobile screen so you can’t miss them. Since Facebook knows so much about you, the ads are usually fairly native, meaning that the advertisement seen is likely for a product or service that you are already interested in.

With an average click through rate of 0.90% and a cost per click of $1.72, Facebook advertising provides an excellent opportunity for advertisers, especially small businesses that don’t have a very large budget.

Take a look at the average Facebook interaction rates in various industries. These statistics are a good starting point for creating interim KPIs if your business doesn’t have previous experience with Facebook advertising.

Cost per action, more often referred to as cost per acquisition (CPA), averages $18.68 across all Facebook categories. Of course, this varies greatly depending on a number of factors, including competition in the industry and the average ticket price of the product.

Instagram

Since Facebook owns Instagram, you can use the same platform to advertise on Instagram as you do on Facebook. In fact, unless you choose otherwise, Facebook will adjust your budget allocation between Facebook and Instagram based on the engagement that you are receiving. If you are doing better on one platform than the other, the platform will push more to the side that is showing greater engagement. This also does magic for your business because people also use Instagram, along with Facebook, in their down time.

The great advantage of Instagram is that engagement is incredibly high — 10x greater than Facebook.  This is great for a business branding campaign. Think about how you use Instagram. You scan the images of your friends and businesses that you follow and you probably like a very high percentage of them. The high engagement rate of Instagram bodes well if your campaign is about branding. 

While engagement is usually significantly better on Instagram than Facebook, Facebook does tend to sell better for ecommerce products than Instagram does. It’s no surprise then that 80.4% of all ecommerce traffic from social media comes from Facebook. 

Facebook & Instagram CPMs

Cost per thousand impressions on Facebook and Instagram vary widely based on the market you are attempting to reach. RevealBot provides an analysis of the 2020 Facebook CPMs it experienced on Facebook. You can see a downturn after COVID-19 was discovered in March 2020, but then a recovery of the CPM rate as the year progressed. That recovery was no doubt in part due to record spending on the presidential election. 

WebFx has a different analysis of average 2020 CPMs for Facebook display advertising. It pegs the average at $7.19. (WebFX, 2020) One might attribute the difference to the type of clients that each company has that may alter the average CPM.

Bob Bentz is president of mobile-first digital agency Purplegator. He is also an adjunct professor at West Virginia University where he teaches the graduate level course in mobile marketing.

Digital & Data Driven Marketing

Digital & Data Driven Marketing

Mobile’s uncanny ability to target just the right person is dependent on the marketer’s ability to maximize its available data. A major advantage of mobile and digital advertising is that we know so much about the consumer. While that may seem frightening to some people, as a marketer, it’s why mobile advertising works so darn well.

Let’s take a look at the type of data that mobile marketers use when targeting its audience that is most likely to buy:

First Party Data

First party data is your own data. It is usually acquired from the CRM of the business. First party data is the most valuable targeting data that you have to work with, because you can be sure of its quality and it is unique to only your business. Therefore, your competitors don’t have access to it. First party data includes not only your customer and prospect list, but also a list of behaviors, actions and interests acquired from website visits and other marketing activities such as surveys, customer feedback, in-store purchases, email marketing lists and social media data.

Once you know the actions of the consumers that are your best customers, you can take that information and purchase “lookalike” audiences from third party data companies in an attempt to expand your market. The theory behind lookalike audiences is that if your data works with your own market, then it should work with a market with similar characteristics.

Second Party Data

Second party data is data that you acquire from other companies so it’s essentially the first party data of the other company. Such data is usually purchased or bartered. 

Now, the obvious question is why would the competitor of your company sell you its data? Well, it probably won’t if you are direct competitors. But, consider this scenario: your business is a cosmetics company that provides products solely to the female market. You are introducing a new beard grooming product for men, but you don’t have any first party data available. Hence, you might reach out to a company or publisher that isn’t in the beard grooming business but does have the first party data that may help you.

Third Party Data

Many ad networks have third-party data providers baked into their offerings so as an advertiser, you don’t have to do anything to purchase their data individually. In some cases, however, a larger business or agency may purchase them directly. Some of the most important data providers include: Acxiom, Lotame, Nielsen, Oracle, Exelate, Blue Kai, Data Alliance and Data Logix.

The third party data companies are not necessarily accumulating their own data, but they are usually purchasing it from other companies. Third party data providers have the unique advantage of being able to accumulate information from multiple sources and merging it into one much larger database. The biggest advantage of third-party data is therefore its scale.

Geo Conquesting — Mobile’s Most Powerful Targeting Tactic

Geo Conquesting

Facebook and Google have done a great job of simplifying their platforms so that the average person with limited marketing knowledge can set up and monitor their own mobile and digital advertising campaigns. People with greater experience or an agency, who do this kind of work every day, can probably do it better. But, the fact is that the tools exist and it is fairly easy to set up for anybody with minimal marketing knowledge. 

Geo conquesting, however, is a different story. With geo conquesting, an advertiser can use mobile device detection down to the address level. It’s the sexiest thing available in mobile advertising today and it’s why many brands invest in mobile advertising.

Imagine that your business is a retail store. With geo conquesting, your business can do a “lookback” to find mobile devices that have been at a specific location over the past six months (during the pandemic this has been extended to 12 months). Geo conquesting enables your business to capture mobile devices that have been at your store location since your best customers are your existing ones. Moreover, and what advertisers find most exciting, is that geo conquesting enables you to capture devices that have been at your competitors’ locations. This creates an invaluable database of prime prospects that your business can target with mobile advertising. 

Another way to use geo conquesting is to obtain real time data, as opposed to using a lookback to find mobile devices that were at a specific location. We call this “micro-proximity.” With micro-proximity, a marketer can find mobile devices at a trade show and target delegates to visit your trade show booth. You could target football fans at a stadium and serve them a mobile advertisement to come to your club or restaurant after the game. Imagine the possibilities and how you might use geo conquesting in your marketing plan.

How is this data obtained? Cell towers have the ability to provide a seven mile triangulation reach from the location of the tower. If you are driving to a destination that is greater than a seven mile distance, chances are that you are pinging different cell towers along the way. These cell towers are keeping track of your mobile phone’s geographic position via latitude and longitude. This data is then stored and sold to agencies for targeting details.

The more popular method of knowing a mobile phone’s location, however, is gained from apps that are on a consumer’s mobile phone. A few years ago, for instance, when the iPhone hadn’t yet installed a flashlight on the device, people often downloaded a flashlight app. It was a very functional app and there were many of them in the app stores. 

You may have wondered “why would somebody take the time to create a flashlight app that is free to the user?” The flashlight app isn’t advertiser supported and there is no visible or obviou method of monetizing it. Well, the answer is quite simple: in the terms and conditions (which you probably didn’t read), you gave permission for the flashlight app to gather data from your smartphone. That data includes geolocation information that is then sold to mobile advertising platforms and agencies. 

Today, you may not have a flashlight app on your phone, but you probably have a navigation app such as WAZE or you have a weather app such as Accuweather. With these apps, you have to give them permission to access your location; otherwise, they wouldn’t be very beneficial to you. This is another way that geolocation data is accumulated. 

Of course, at the end of the day, business owners want to know that their mobile advertising has worked. With geo conquesting, we have that covered with “foot traffic reports.” Just as we can find mobile devices at a specific location, we can also find them later at your retail location. Hence, geo conquesting enables a business to identify those people that were served an advertisement and then showed up later at their retail location. How’s that for validation?

Still not sure of the definitions of the various geo targeting techniques? Read this article that describes each of them and gives examples of how a sushi restaurant used each to target its best customers via mobile advertising.