TSheets is trying to create new behavior; moving business owners from paper time sheets to a web-based application – an initiative we call “Time Clock 2.0”. The bulk of our audience is small business owners. In addition to being extremely busy and dollar sensitive, they just may not be aware of how much NOT doing something is costing them. As such, we are focusing on the return-on-investment (ROI) of web-based applications. We are emphasizing that the math clearly shows that using paper time cards is costing a business owner thousands of dollars compared to using TSheets.
Obviously, this focus on ROI and education affects our marketing efforts. The result is a two prong approach that we call "discovery" and "direct".
Getting TSheets into the traffic circles of the audience in the following areas:
- SEO – The issue with search engine optimization is using the terms that the audience uses, not necessarily what you call your product.
- SEM – Also called Pay-per-click (PPC), SEM is used for creating an immediate web presence. You are essentially buying a front-page presence in Google. Goal: promote the free trial and low monthly dollar amount.
- PR – There are actually two approaches to PR. The first is traditional earned media; pitching your story to writers with the hope that your story gets picked up. This means being able to get in their shoes and tell a great story – not just pitch a press release. The second is "digital PR". This includes: reaching out to bloggers, creating your own content (blogs, videos, etc), and on-line word-of-mouth via social bookmarking (Digg, StumbleUpon, etc). Goals: create awareness through non-advertising methods.
Taking our message directly to your audience. In the case of TSheets, this will primarily be very targeted direct mail, plus some business newspaper advertising. Unfortunately, "direct" can be quite expensive and has an unpredictable response. On the plus side, you can control the message and the list you are reaching out to.
The point to both Discovery and Direct is to drive traffic to the point of purchase (the web-site, in our case). This is where "marketing" ends and "sales" begins. More on that later! The final key is to make sure there are no gaps; that any promotion to drive traffic doesn’t over-inflate the value.