Recently I finished the incredible book, “Traction”, which serves as complete guide to the various channels that entrepreneurs can use to accelerate the growth of their startup or product.
In the book, one of the channels to explore includes that of ‘Engineering as Marketing’, or put more simply, the process of creating useful tools like calculators, widgets, add-ons, extensions & micro-sites to get your company and product in front of potential customers. The purpose of these tools is to provide a ‘quick win’ and ultimately generate leads for your products, that expand your customer base.
Over the years, there have been a number of companies using this approach with high levels of success. The following examples below all use this approach.
While the above websites are high-end examples of Engineering for Marketing, I too have had recent success using this exact same method to generate leads and eventual sales. Here’s how
2. The extension which would be 100% free to download and use and would act as a brand building and idea generation engine for an upcoming iOS application. It would also work to confirm and validate the product, while creating highly targeted leads.
3. So with this in mind, I set out to build the extension ‘Move It’. The basic idea of the app was to work to create incremental brain boosts and activity breaks. Simply set the timer in extension to go off at your desired interval, and when that time elapses a popup occurs and prevents you from working in the google chrome browser. When the popup occurs, it comes with a short exercise or stretch that you need to physically complete, once you complete this you click done and your browser returns to normal. The countdown then begins again.
4. Once completed, I published the extension on the Google Chrome Store and then sent it out via social networks and email lists. It literally went viral among the educators and office workers. See the below image for the weekly active users Move It receives.
5. The next step following the success of the concept was to work out a way to capture leads from the user base. This would come from a two-step approach, that would channel users into an email list for updates related to the iOS app under development.
a) Create a quick PDF lead magnet, which could be downloaded via Move It users. The PDF focused on 10 ways to use Move It in the classroom. This when clicked would immediately pop up a leadbox from LeadPages, asking people for their email address to receive the FREE download.
b) Allowing users to email in activity suggestions via the Move It extension interface. Not only did this encourage people to supply an email address, but it enabled me to tap into the ideas of the crowd to build together an enormous list of activities that could be used to extend the extension and future application.
6. The final step in the process was to finish the iOS Application, and then place a ‘Download on the App Store’ button front and centre on the extension. As all extensions update in the background automatically, it resulted in all users having a constantly reinforced advertisement for the application appear every time the app interrupted their screen. Essentially creating my own advertisement platform.
The net result of this engineering for marketing approach has been a considerable increase in awareness and downloads related to the iOS app. It’s also been really rewarding to see the impact it has had on students, teachers and those using it. A simple Twitter search for ‘Move It Extension’ brings up a constant flow of happy people using the extension talking positively about my brand.
So how could you use Engineering as Lead Generation? How do you think it compares to paying for traffic via facebook advertisements etc?