(Got a startup question? Ask it at AskBob and I’ll take a stab at it. And if it’s a question that other startup founders are asking, look for it as a post here.)
Andrew of CliqFlip asks:

We’re about to release and we are starting to build ‘hype’ around our product. We are using all the social media sites: http://www.Twitter.com/cliqflip http://www.youtube.com/cliqflip http://www.facebook.com/cliqflip , etc. How do we grow our user base and our following ? How do we make people intrigued?

Hey Andrew,
Looking over your pre-launch page, your YouTube video, your Twitter feed and Facebook page, in a some of ways you’re doing the right thing to gain attention and ultimately users for CliqFlip, but there’s a key, critical element missing.

Show me the Value: Go Fast and Go Long

It used to be that just by creating an app or service, you were breaking new ground and would at least get a quick look-see by people. That was so last decade. This decade, everyone’s attention funnels are overflowing with teasers and offers each and every day. The bar has been raised. Your “15 minutes of fame” is now about 15 seconds. That means you’ve got to go fast and go long when it comes to getting people’s attention.
Go Fast – Tell – or better show – people exactly what makes your app different, exciting, useful in the first few seconds they hear about it. That’s something that’s missing right now from all of your Internet surfaces. That value is “buried” a whole 32 seconds into your video: “Improve your network by building deeper, better connections.” Now that is something that got my attention! Is it “fair” that few people – especially in your target market – will give you 32 seconds to get to the point? Nope. But it is what it is. That statement needs to be headlined on your landing page, be your Twitter and Facebook profiles. Up front and center.
Go Long – You need to start building a relationship with me your future customer by creating content of value to me long before you can make a sale. That’s how mainstream commercials work – they hammer on you for years, decades, before you are actually ready to buy. But you don’t need to interrupt customers 10,000 times. In our Internet-centric world (and I say our because it’s clear that whatever CliqFlip is, it’s for people who live on the Net), Content Marketing (creating relationships with future customers by blogging and curating great information) is the way to go.
Take a good, hard look at one of the best Content Marketing practitioners out there: KISSMetrics. Again and again and again and even again they come up with content that is useful, interesting, remarkable, shareable and tweetable as far as their customers-to-be are concerned. They’ve pre-made the sale as far as I’m – and a lot of other potential customers – are concerned.
Your challenge, even while you are building CliqFlip, is to start getting great content out there that helps your customers before they become your customers. If you are building an app, start showing people your expertise, understanding, insights into the problem domain that the people you want as customers are concerned with.
It’s easier today to get the attention of literally millions of people all over the world. But keeping that attention for longer than a second means you’ve got to start delivering specific relevant value to them that second – and follow it up by giving them value before, during and after your actual product launches.
Hope this helps,

1 Comment

  1. Wow. Great post. Kind of eye opening for me because it seems that I am way behind on a lot of the things you covered. I really don’t have that grabbing sentence down quite yet for userladder.com.
    It is pretty crazy the attention span of the average internet surfer. Just from looking at my analytics I see many people who are there for a total of 0 seconds. I believe that proving your value in such a small amount of time becomes even harder when your product is a new network. Now you not only have to convince people that there is inherent value in the site but also this value will increase as more people buy in.
    Thanks for all the great posts. I always stop by here or listen to your podcast if I get the founders version of writers block.

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