What COVID-19 teaches you about Marketing for Indie Businesses

Happy Sunday hackers and painters! If you think of the coronavirus as a startup, there are a bunch of lessons you can learn. I put together a list, enjoy!

1. Go to market with a defined, narrow niche in mind.

Corona started off with a small niche in Wuhan, China 🇨🇳

Here's what their persona definition must have looked like: "Adults above the age of 30 living in Wuhan, China who recently visited a wet market near the Wuhan Institute of Virology"

The virus has obviously diversified beyond this, but more on that later...

Remember, the riches are in the niches.

2. Don't be explicit.

The best marketing is implicit. It provides value to your prospects without being too pushy 🎙️

How do you think the Coronavirus reached global brand recognition? By being implicit.

About 80% of infections are asymptomatic. If everyone who got the virus was symptomatic, more people would rest at home and the virus would have no chance to spread.

Implicit messaging > Explicit pushing.

3. Segment your customers ➗

Segmentation will give you insights.

Look at Coronavirus. It started off with a small niche in Wuhan, but now it has grown its customer base all over the world.

Some of its target market was high-converting, places like Italy for example.
Some don't seem to care about its product, places like Sweden.

Coronavirus recognizes this and doubles down on the segments that care about its product, it serves them more of itself.
Meanwhile, segments of its customers like Sweden remain underserved.

Identify your highest converting customers, find lookalikes, and double down on those.

4. Build and exploit viral loops:

How do you leverage your current customers to get more? Referrals, and viral loops.

The coronavirus blitzscaled its growth by building virality into the product. It had an R0between 2-3. That means, every customer referred coronavirus to 2-3 people on average... and so on... and so on. That's exponential growth! 🚀

5. Create a Cult Brand

This one may be controversial, but that's the point.

All cults(and cult brands) have rituals associated with them.

The virus created a cult of people who wash hands, wear masks, stay at home, and blindly trust science. These people will dismiss contradictory evidence and are strong brand advocates. The ultimate cult branding campaign!

Do this with your marketing strategy, create a cult of loyal followers AND disbelievers, both help your cause.

6. Rapid Iteration: Test, Learn, Adapt.

Coronavirus was evolving its product and its marketing. It kept its "Number of Cases"KPI in mind and wasn't paying attention to anything else.

Coronavirus mutated its product based on the market's needs.

It wasn't fixating on growth channels too.
Sometimes it spread asymptomatically, sometimes it didn't.
Sometimes it spread from surfaces, sometimes it didn't.

It tested different methods and doubled down on what worked best.

Growth is all about testing 🎯

Okay, those were 6 lessons from the coronavirus. Now here's one mistake the Coronavirus made:

❌ Focusing on Vanity Metrics

It made "Number of cases" its KPI. This meant it only optimized for customers acquired, but never did anything to activate and retain them for longer.

Despite having many people sign up for a 14-day free trial, only a small percentage stayed back.

Only focus on metrics that are closely related to revenue. Don't optimize for vanity, as corona did.

That's it folks! Let me know if I missed something.

If you had fun reading this, show some love to my Twitter Thread on the same topic 🙂

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