Fundamentals vs. Fun Stuff

May 12, 2011

3:14 pm

If you are like me, once you have a grasp on how to leverage social media, and the narrative is set for whatever your objective, you start to run wild with different ideas. There’s something about having some success thinking outside the box that makes you want to stay there.

That’s a good thing. After all, there is nothing wrong with having a little fun.

Many companies, startups in particular, tend to put the cart before the horse, focusing on spreading the gospel of their new company before having the fundamentals in place.

No matter if you are an up-start or a seasoned business, you need a platform to build from. All of the great marketing and product ideas in the world won’t make you a dime if you can’t manage and measure them in real time, making adjustments on the fly as data reveals patterns.

What items are deemed fundamental for you depends on your business type, but no matter your particular target prospect, in order to begin you need a simple, well designed website, with a clear path to action and multiple interaction points, including Facebook and possibly Twitter. Most important is the ability to connect by phone or instant message with someone at your company in an instant.  A “contact us” form will not cut it in this day and age.

Here are a few more things that are fundamental:

·        A short concise explanation of what you do.

Not a mission statement. More like an elevator pitch. Potential customers will be lost if they land on your website and feel they must figure out what you have to offer, rather than having it broken down for them quickly and in plain English.

·        Why you do what you do.

Most web sites have multiple pages of “About Us” content, breaking down management with bio’s and resumes. Nobody cares where your General Manager got his bachelor degree. They want to why he works there. What is he passionate about that makes him an asset to their experience? Why should they buy from or work with you?

·        Blogging is imperative.

You must be blogging, or paying someone with more than just a financial incentive to do it for you. For search engines, content is the only currency that matters and, as a result, the only organic way to be found is to push out quality content. In the end, it doesn’t matter if a single person ever reads a blog post of yours, it will improve your search rankings and ultimately help you craft your own unique selling proposition.

There are obviously many more fundamentals, including being sure you have a good analytics software tracking your site’s page visits.  Once the fundamentals are in place and all roads lead back to a platform you are measuring and fully prepared to leverage, you can move on to the fun stuff.

The fun stuff is easier to define, as it is anything and everything you can think of, implement quickly and monitor to weigh the return. The good ideas stick because they’ve been tried on a small scale and proven viable.

Now it is simply a matter of scaling and putting dollars behind them. In the end, every campaign has an acquisition cost you can track fairly closely. For example, a particular method may cost $3.35 or $10.00 to get a new user, customer, community member, while another method costs “X”. Then analyze your data and go from there.

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Jason Lorimer is a strategist and fellow entrepreneur @Entrepreneurs (, where he works to advocate and execute on behalf of those with the ambition to do more than just entertain ideas. Jason and his team transform pre-internet business models into post-internet companies and prepare them to scale. Most recently Jason has set out to help cultivate industrial age cities into start up hubs. You can follow him @JasonLorimer

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