Startup Marketing: 4 Questions With Boomerang for Gmail

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Despite the rising influence of social media platforms and messaging services, email has maintained its position as a primary online communication method, and many of us struggle to keep up with the ongoing flow of new messages in our inbox each day.

Boomerang for Gmail, a popular browser extension for Chrome, Firefox and Safari, has earned a wide and reputable following for helping people better manage this problem. Notable features include the “send later” button, snooze messages, read receipts and more.

Following its early launch in 2010, word of mouth played a big role in growing Boomerang’s user base, with fans recommending the product to friends and colleagues that shared similar headaches over managing their daily email flow. Search and referral channels also proved successful in recommending Boomerang to audiences that were actively seeking out email productivity “hacks.”

More recently, as Boomerang continues to ramp up its user acquisition strategy, the company has been looking for ways to share its story with people who may not know that such email workflow solutions currently exist. In order to reach these new audiences, Boomerang teamed up with Taboola to promote its story on top publisher websites across the web, leveraging the power of content discovery to educate people about its innovative service.

Our two teams just published a case study about the partnership, and we invited Boomerang’s Head of Marketing, Chris Cichon, to join us in the Taboola Think Tank and share more about his approach and advice for fellow digital marketers working at fast-moving startups.

1. Now that Boomerang is ramping up its “discovery” strategy, how do you balance or optimize your overall acquisition strategy across multiple channels (e.g., search, social, referral, display)?

At Boomerang, we use data as much as possible to inform how we allocate budgets and resources in our acquisition strategy. The cost of acquiring a new customer varies by channel and by week, so we have to remain flexible and keep our eyes on the analytics.

Of course, we optimize towards the channels that are providing the highest return on investment (ROI), but we also try to keep a balance of channels to engage potential customers in multiple places across the web and throughout the conversion funnel. So we look for the optimal mix of strong ROI while also engaging customers and prospects throughout the customer lifecycle.

Taboola’s “discovery” channel has helped us cast a broader net for potential customers in many different places online, and has been effective for us, particularly at the top of the funnel.

2. As evidenced in the case study, your team really puts a priority on analytics and optimizing campaigns through testing. Are there any particular metrics or measurement capabilities that you find to be the most valuable?

It’s important to start by deeply understanding the metrics that drive your business. In order for growth marketers to be successful, you need to know what things are critical to your company’s success and focus relentlessly on those.

Since we’re a SaaS company, we focus primarily on cost per acquisition for our paid channels. We’ve calculated that if we can acquire a new customer under a certain cost then we will have a positive ROI. We test and optimize channels to lower our cost per acquisition. Depending on industry and business model, other people’s mileage may vary, but find the one metric that you can hone in on and experiment to find channels that work for you.

We also put a priority on regularly measuring and reviewing our analytics. We look at our marketing metrics as a team every week and do a deeper dive every month. This enables us to stay on top of trends and quickly reallocate our budgets towards the optimal mix.

3. It’s amazing to see the impact and scale that Boomerang has achieved in such a short time. Can you provide three tips for other digital marketers that are working in a startup setting for the first time?

Thank you, we appreciate that—hats off to the entire team who have worked really hard over the last few years to build a great product that our customers love and that we’re proud of. Thank you also to all of our incredible customers (including you guys at Taboola!) who have made all of this possible.

  1. Start with marketing MVPs (minimum viable products) — Engineering time is precious, especially at a startup. Avoid taking engineering or design time when you don’t need it. For this recent test, we built our test pages on Wix instead of hard coding the pages ourselves because it was faster and didn’t take up our engineering team’s time. Once we found the pages that converted the best, only then did we have the engineering team hard code them. Doing this enables us to run experiments faster and more efficiently from a cost standpoint.
  1. Pay attention to every part of the funnel — You can’t do this all at once, but systematically analyze and move your focus to each part of the funnel over time. Fix the biggest leaks first. If customers are coming to your site but are bouncing, do some user testing to figure out why they aren’t finding the value that they thought they would when they came to your site. If users are churning, figure out why they stopped using your product and address it.
  1. Focus on your process — We frequently test new channels and look for ways to improve the ROI of current ones. We’ve established a process for how we approach, test, and optimize new channels. Sean Ellis has a helpful framework, particularly for new startups, called High Tempo Testing.

Early on, we used to make the mistake of leaving our test campaigns running as they were after finding a new channel that was successful. We’ve since improved our process and now when we find a new channel that has a strong ROI, we double down and expand on our early successes.

This case study is a perfect example; after promising initial results, we took the top performing pages and made more variants of them and did another test to find our best performing page. Once you find a successful channel, seek to understand why it’s working—keep testing and optimizing. Don’t stop after one test, there’s likely more success you can squeeze out.

4. Boomerang is a favorite tool for many of us at Taboola. Are there any exciting plans slated for the coming months that we can be on the lookout for?

That’s great to hear! We have some really cool stuff coming down the pipeline that I can’t share quite yet, but we did just launch our newest product, Boomerang for Outlook. We’ve had great reviews already from people who use Outlook or Office 365 for work.

I can also say that an iOS app is on our radar. Hang tight with us! We love when customers write in with their thoughts and ideas, and use what they say to guide and influence our product roadmap. Feel free to email us with requests or questions.

This article originally appeared on Relevance.com and has been republished with their permission.