Growth Newsletter #091
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In this newsletter, we're covering Black Friday, recurring revenue, and long-tail SEO.
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This week's Insights
Alternative approaches to BFCM
Black Friday-Cyber Monday isn’t for everyone.
If sustainability is part of your mission, it probably doesn’t make sense for you to push a traditional BFCM deal—this is a notoriously wasteful time of year.
Instead of participating in the retail rush, here are three alternative approaches to consider.
- Highlight other brands that are doing good work. Ocean Bottle did this last year in a post supporting businesses like Trap Fruits London, a community grocer, and From Babies with Love, which donates 100% of their profits to orphaned and abandoned children. Build goodwill for your brand that outlasts the holiday shopping season.
- Launch a disruption campaign. In 2020, Allbirds raised prices for Black Friday—and donated the proceeds to Greta Thunberg’s climate movement. REI’s #OptOutside campaign encourages everyone to spend the day outside, not money indoors. They close their stores on Black Friday (but still pay employees). Trade short-term holiday sales for a stronger brand, new, mission-aligned customers, and long-term customer loyalty.
- Celebrate your loyal customers. Instead of promotions to bring in new customers, nurture the relationships you already have. Offer premium services or hold special hours for your existing customers, or consider on-brand sustainable ways to thank them for their loyalty.
94% of global consumers value companies with a strong sense of purpose. If your core values seem at odds with holiday sales, and you choose values over sales, you’ll leave an impression that lasts long past the season.
Three business model tips when you don’t have recurring revenue
Insight from Demand Curve.
We see it all the time: A startup with a great product but no clear way to bring in recurring revenue.
Everything about your business is going to be tougher if:
- Your product only gets you 1-2 sales over the entire lifetime of a customer,
- It generates relatively low profit, and
- You have a super niche market.
Example: wiener dog ramps.
You can still build a thriving business. But without a way to grow LTV over time, you’ll constantly be on the customer-acquisition treadmill.
Consider these three levers to grow LTV and make your revenue more predictable:
- Add value through memberships and subscriptions. Peloton is an example: You buy a Peloton bike just once, then pay a subscription to get full value from it by taking classes.
- Expand your offerings within the current segment. What are some other products your customers would love? Bonus points if those new products have a higher buying frequency than the primary one-time product. Alpha Paw, the company that makes the dog ramps, expanded to sell dog beds, food, and toys.
- Take your product to new audiences. There might be new-segment opportunities right in front of you. While market expansion won’t increase your LTV, it could be a relatively easy win, since you won't have to build a new product. (You will have to do some rebranding/repositioning, but that’s easier than developing and validating an entirely new product.)
Target long-tail keywords about competitor features
Insight from Harsh Gupta (in the Demand Curve community).
Are you competing against well-known, established brands in search?
Here’s a clever way to use their popularity to your advantage: Create content targeting long-tail keywords about their product features.
You can effectively “steal” your competitors’ traffic. Companies often use a single landing page to discuss all of their products’ features rather than separate pages for each one. By writing content specifically about one feature, you could outrank them.
Take ClientVenue, a project management tool for agencies. ClientVenue targets branded keywords about better-known competitors like ClickUp, Trello, and Asana.
- Here’s a page about Asana’s client portal, which ranks for keywords like “asana dashboard” and “use asana as crm”. The page thoroughly covers Asana’s feature—what users are searching for—but then also explains what makes ClientVenue a better option.
This strategy doesn’t just help drive traffic—it drives high-intent traffic. After all, the people searching for info about a company’s specific feature are generally interested in using it. According to ClientVenue, its page about Asana’s client portal has an 11% conversion rate.
To find long-tail keywords worth targeting:
- Look up your competitors’ feature pages in Ahrefs or Semrush. Example: If you were creating a new messaging software, you could check out Slack’s features page.
- Find out the page’s top organic keywords.
- Look for keywords about features that also apply to your product. If there are any features for which your product is superior, even better—these are the search terms that you should create content around.
Just make sure you tie the piece back to your own product—like explaining why yours is a better alternative. That’ll drive the conversions.
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From Victoria Sakal
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