A large part of successful marketing for hardware startups is concentrating on your metrics. You could have a business model that involved giving away free gold, but if you didn’t have the right marketing to go along with it, you still wouldn’t be successful. Simply put: you can’t sell something – or even give something away – if nobody knows you exist.
But how do you know if your marketing is successful?
Monitoring your campaign is ultimately what will allow you to see what’s working and what isn’t, which in turn, will allow you to hone and optimize your approach.
Here are just some of the crucial metrics that you as a hardware startup should be monitoring after your product launch…
Traditional Metrics Startups Should Measure
If marketing for startups is underpinned by metrics, the most important question is: “Where to begin?”
The following ‘traditional’ metrics are a good starting point for any startup:
- Revenue: This is a pretty basic metric, but it’s an obvious one to watch. Your revenue is your turnover – the amount of money that people are spending on your product (before tax, before overheads). Along with your price, this number gives you a basic idea as to whether your product is successful or not. There are many types of revenue streams and for a hardware product you will most likely be looking at product revenue.
- Gross Profit Margin: Your profit margin is the difference between your COGS (Cost Of Goods Sold) and your revenue (turnover). In short, it is how much you earn from each sale without taking operating costs into account. You should have calculated this prior to launch but it’s worth making sure your figures line up with expectations.
- Net Promoter Score: Your Net Promoter Score is a great measure of customer satisfaction that will also let you see how this is affecting your overall reputation and word of mouth. Word-of-mouth marketing is probably one of the most impactful marketing efforts a hardware startup can have and determines if your product will cross the chasm. The measure is based on a series of questions which users can then answer with a score of 0-10. You can learn how to get your Net Promoter Score here.
- Market Share: Your market share is important for multiple reasons. Of course, if you are entering a space with other existing products, this tells you how well you’re performing in relation to your competition, but also how much more revenue and profit is potentially there to be made. If you have 100% of your market share but your revenue is low, then your market may be a little too niche. Can you expand to appeal to a larger audience? There’s no standardized method for measuring this metric, but there are plenty of tips to be found online.
- Leads: Your leads aren’t customers, but people who have stated an interest in your product, and are likely to become customers. Leads can come from an email list, or they can come from tradeshows or telesales. Either way, prospective leads can often be a better indicator of your marketing success than actual revenue or profit. The focus here should be improving sales technique to better closing the sale. This is similar to customer adoption – ascertaining the number of customers who commit to your product and your brand by signing up to your site or your mailing list, by buying into your product mentally or by pre-ordering.
In this day and age, a lot of marketing for hardware startups is likely to take place online. Most likely you will have launched your product through crowdfunding then transitioned an to e-commerce strategy before heading into a retail strategy. Here are some more metrics that can help you evaluate the success of this type of marketing:
Social Media Followers/E-Mail Subscribers: More subscribers and social media followers mean a bigger audience, and are indicative of a good marketing campaign. It’s also a great way to engage with your audience and get qualitative data. Likes and shares suggest your fans are engaging with your content meanwhile, which will be beneficial for building brand awareness/loyalty.
Email Open Rate: This tells you how many of your e-mails are actually being opened. It’s no use having a huge list if no one is reading your messages. Often your email open rate will be informed by your subscriber targeting, and by the quality of your subject headings.
Google Ranking: This tells you where your website ranks on specific ‘SERPs’ or ‘search engine results pages’. Ultimately, this is the best measure of your SEO efforts. This tool can measure that for you, as can many others.
CTR: CTR is ‘click through rate’. This applies to your advertising campaigns, which often will revolve around PPC platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. If you have low CTR, then this means the users who view your ads aren’t being compelled to click them. This should be assessed in the context of your number of impressions and your ‘CPC’ (cost per click) in order to assess your ROI.
Website Traffic: There are a ton of metrics relating to your website traffic, and this could easily fill several posts in itself. Some things to consider though are the number of visitors you’re getting, the referral link that’s bringing them to your site, and the ‘bounce rate’. If your visitors are bouncing, it means they’re landing on your page and leaving immediately. Most likely it is the quality of the content and web design that is at fault in this case. The best tool for measuring this and much more is Google Analytics.
Conversions: Conversions is a broad term that tells you how many of your visitors/readers/followers are eventually clicking through your ads and purchasing your products. If you suspect your conversion rate is being hampered by your web design, or by your sales copy, then you can run split tests to test the performance of your website, your eCommerce store, or your e-mails, with slightly different settings.
Customer Acquisition Cost: It’s also important to work out how much you are paying to acquire each customer, as this is ultimately going to impact on your profits (above). If you’re spending X amount on advertising and it’s creating N number of customers, how much is each one costing you? You should look at this for each marketing strategy and also for your marketing as a whole.
This is really just scratching the surface of the kinds of metrics you should be monitoring to improve your marketing. When it comes to collecting data being having a focused intent on what data you intend on collecting will go alot further than just collecting random data. The outcome of collecting this information will hopefully allow you to identify where your campaigns can be improved. Of course each hardware startup is going to be tracking different things as there goals will most likely be different. If you can see what is going well, and what is not working it allows you to make positive changes and keep doing what’s working.
If we consider the internet specifically, changes can be made so quickly that even if we test something and it doesn’t work, it is easy to make speedy changes and set our marketing on the right course.
What do you think? Which of these metrics do you feel is most important for a product launch?
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