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8 Easy Steps to Get Started on Twitter

8 Easy Steps to Get Started on Twitter

Even since I began tweeting — as a non-early adopter in early 2009, btw — I’ve wanted to create a 10 steps blog post for something, because, well, because that’s what you’re supposed to when you blog, right? So when my Twitter dashboard became a (brief) topic of conversation at the San Diego Tech Coffee meetup last week , an opportunity arose: a 10 steps post on Twitter? Damn, that’s social media gold right there. And I’m after nothing, if not social media gold!

So I came up with 8 steps, which is 2 whole steps easier than 10!

But seriously, people. I love Twitter, use it daily, and there is simply no doubt that I have benefited from using it. Depending on your business, not only might you benefit, too, but it might be required practice for you to be successful.

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The Art of the Customer Development Conversation

Generally speaking:

Pre-Problem-Solution Fit, you concentrate on learning as much as you can about the problem, who are the real customers (user? buyer? boss?), and possible solutions.

Pre-Minimum Viable Product, you concentrate of learning, developing and testing the minimum features and functionality required o solve the problem to a degree the customer will buy.

Pre-Product-Market Fit, you concentrate on learning about funnels, testing messaging and positioning, and likely iterating on product and market segment in search of P-M fit.

Why Do Market Segments Matter?

Why Do Market Segments Matter?

I’ve written about market segmentation before both on this blog and as an important concept to understand in The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development. I think it is vital to grasp because it’s fundamental to achieving Product-Market fit and building a scalable business. I’m writing about it again because it has come to my attention that I have perhaps not explained one of its primary precepts well enough.

As I wrote before, Geoffrey Moore in Crossing the Chasm defined a market segment as:

* a set of actual or potential customers
* for a given set of products or services
* who have a common set of needs or wants, and
* who reference each other when making a buying decision.

Most of this is pretty intuitive. In a nutshell, a market segment is comprised of like buyers who share the same pain. But there’s more to it. The reference part trips some people up. The key point to understand is that the customers and potential buyers must be willing AND able to reference each other.

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Startups: Don't Hire a PR Agency

I hope my PR friends won’t hate me after this post, but the point needs to be repeated: Startups should not hire PR agencies. It seems not a week goes by without hearing about young companies blowing huge wads of cash on “marketing” they’re not ready for. Some entrepreneurs get in this fix because they fail to distinguish between PR and other marketing tactics. They know intuitively or are told they ‘need marketing,’ but the first thing they think of is PR. As I’ve mentioned before, PR <> Advertising <> Word of Mouth <> Social Media, etc.

Before you hire a PR agency or even consider PR, the first thing you need to understand is what you are trying to accomplish, what is your objective. Second, you should consider whether that objective is right for the stage of your business. If you are an early startup, pre Product-Market fit, or even pre “Sales and Marketing Roadmap,” you should not hire a PR firm.

Treat Your Customers Like Children (or your Children like Customers)

One of the more intriguing dynamics in startups and business in general, is customer communication. Customer Development is, of course, all about talking with customers to test fundamental business hypotheses, match product solution to customer problem, and in general, learn as much about them as possible in order more efficiently and effectively market and sell to them.

The tension comes from learning when to ignore your customers and when to take heed. Custdevguy reminds us that customers have their own agenda, which might not coincide with your own. Steve Blank reminds us that Customer Development is not just collecting web metrics and it's not about focus groups. I've written before that Customers own the pain, Founders own the vision, meaning that as an entrepreneur, you must tailor your vision to solve the customer's pain. That is the objective of speaking with your customers.

Sean Ellis perhaps says it best, describing the process as "honing in" on the "signal" that is the core value proposition of your product to your customer. What's valuable about this description to me, is that rather than looking at what you need to ask each customer, it provides a high-level perspective on what your objective should be and how to get there.  It's talking to enough customer and asking whatever questions necessary to hone in on the core value of the product.

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Entrepreneurs: Know Thy Marketing!

I don't know who is more exasperated, entrepreneurs flummoxed by marketers or me, upset that another entrepreneur has been flummoxed by marketers!

People, language is for communication and marketing terms, abused as they are, fall somewhere within the scope of language.  To communicate you need to learn the terms.  To practice marketing or to hire a marketer you need to grasp some basics. Please.

Marketing Help Rule 1.

(<> means "not equal to")

Blogging <> PR <> Brand <> SEO <> Logo <> Advertising <> Tagline <> Messaging <> FaceBook <> Positioning <> Twitter <>Lead Gen <> [Enter mktg term here]

Marketing Help Rule 2.

Trust me, you don't need all the marketing tactics listed in Rule 1.

Marketing Help Rule 3.

The right marketing tactics for you, right now depend on WHO your prospective customers are and WHAT stage your company is in.

Marketing Help Rule 4.

All Marketers have a core competency (or two).  Regardless, (almost) all Marketers will sell (almost) all marketing services.

Marketing Help Rule 5.

You need marketing to grow your business.  And more likely than not, you need or will soon need help marketing.  Admit it.

For a moment, forget everything you know or think you know or have heard about marketing.  Start with a clean slate.

Now imagine you are a new customer of a particular product or service.  You just finished buying.  You are a bit giddy: Read More »

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