A Dive Into Uber’s Business Growth Strategy

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Imagine the last time you had taxi ride. Was it pleasant, neutral or unpleasant?

Currently operating in 35 cities, Uber has been rocking the transport space. It describes its mobile app as being able to “connect you to a driver with a tap of a button”.

You push a button, and in as little as 5 minutes, a black car, taxi or peer-to-peer driven car arrives to transport you from point A to B. Simple.

The typical sentiment towards taxi has been slightly negative due to safety and trust concerns. Examples include dishonest cab driver that might take detours away from the destination and drunk passengers who refuse to pay.

Uber beats this status quo by providing a consistently great service. Drivers often greet passengers with a bottle of water, and are incentivised through Uber’s ranking system.

This is reflected by its fiercely loyal fan base who fought a transportation bill that disadvantaged Uber’s usage. The result was a whopping 50,000 emails and 37,000 tweets with the hashtag #UberDCLove. 

When was the last time you did that for your cab company?

Here are some factors that are leading to its massive success.

Riding Marco Trends

A huge factor behind Uber’s success was aligning with the marco trend towards collaborative consumption. For example, AirBnB facilitates room sharing while eBay facilitates commodity sharing. This allows assets to be better utilised, rather than sitting idly as an expensive deadweight.

With technology enabling real time data and smarter usage, collaborative consumption is only going to increase. Uber is poised to benefit greatly from it.

Use Data To Guide Decisions 

Uber uses data to guide its market maneuvers. Through their innovative pricing strategy, real time feedback of the service demand is used to determine the cab prices. This beats the tradition cab system that has a more rigid pricing structure.

This also applies to its promotions. It experimented with offering discounted rates during non peak period (e.g. 2pm) but to no avail. A possible reason behind this is that users have no legitimate need for transport when they are at work. With this data feedback, Uber switched its focus to other promotions that may be more effective.

Supply Focused Strategy

Most businesses focus on increasing demand. Interestingly enough, Uber focuses primarily on supply to drive its marketing strategy. Their philosophy is that the penetration of smartphone and credit card usage will support the growth of demand. Hence the gap lies in the supply. This aligned with my observation on  Uber recruiting driver via Facebook ads.

Uber Facebook Ads

Trust via Technology

A key value proposition of the service Uber provides is building trust via technology. Taking taxi rides has traditionally been a less than positive experience. Both cab drivers and passengers are concerned at encountering an unsafe stranger.

With a rating system where both parties can rate each other, accountability is built in. Uber becomes a network haven for ‘safe and pleasant’ cab drivers and passenger.

Pro-active Customer Service

Rather than outsourcing customer service, the team at Uber stays in touch with their day to day operations by going through customer emails. This allows them to understand current gaps in their operation and correct it.

This also facilitates identifying possible partnerships from organisations who have been using their services a lot. Its a signal that they are advocates and and more likely to be keen for a partnership.

Which leads us to our last point…

Extensive Partnerships

Uber relies on early adopters to fan the word of mouth. One distinct channel was event sponsorship. During a recent event by Uber’s growth hacking by General Assembly, Uber offered a $10 voucher to those using its services to arrive at its event. 

By targeting attendees who are well connected and social media savvy, they are able to generate low-cost word of mouth and increase publicity.

In a Nutshell…

So there you have it, a short coverage of six elements that are part of Uber’s business growth strategy.

How To Determine Target Niche For Your Personal Brand

Have you watched Alice In Wonderland yet? There is a scene where the main character Alice was lost and seeking directions. In her desperation, she sought the advice of the Cat.

As famously quoted, the Cat replied ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.

Profoundly said. Indeed similar principles apply to personal branding too. If you are unsure of the niche audience you are targeting, how are you supposed to construct a powerful brand?

To assist you in your journey, here are some questions you should answer while identifying your target niche.

 

1. Which market allows you to achieve your goals best? 

Most people make the mistake of doing the mass appeal – being everything to everyone. This inevitably ends up as mediocre attempts to fulfill everyone’s expectation.

While you shouldn’t neglect all your customers, it is critical to identify the ones who make up the core of your business. From there, you are able to customise your brand towards a more attractive appeal.

An example could be seeking business referrals for your fitness business. Rather than aiming for individuals of all ages and background, targeting female executives allows you to command a premium for your services. This facilitates reaching your revenue generation goal while working minimal hours.

 

2. What unique attributes allows you to stand apart from your competition? 

What does your brand offer that allows you to stand out from the noisy and competitive landscape? If you are unsure, take the time to ask your customers what they appreciate most about your business.

Being savvy about your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is increasingly critical as this will separate you from the masses. This prevents your business from being commoditised, where you are aggressively subjected to competition on lower prices.

An example would be a fish and chip store. Rather aiming to expand your menu by serving pizza, pasta, and chicken wing, its wiser to focus on providing the tastiest seafood in town. This becomes your USP where fish and chips lovers will flock from across the country to your store.

 

3. What common frustrations does target market face that you can help solve? 

What are the frequent pain points that your audience typically face? By being able to describe the problem, you are able to start sculpturing the solution that is advantageous to your target market.

If you are searching for a job and specialise in a specific skill set, you should leverage it to your advantage by angling it to the pain point that your prospective employers are facing.

Rather than competing for a generic marketing role for example, you could position yourself as a “marketer who helps B2B companies generate revenue online through content marketing”. This makes it apparent that hiring you would most likely help solve a gap within their company, instead of simply applying under the generic role of marketing.

 

Over to you…

What are your thoughts on finding a niche audience? What additional questions would you ask when determining your niche audience? Do let us know in the comments below!

 

 

How to Identify Relevant Facebook Pages

Identifying Facebook pages relevant to the page that you are managing is important for the following reasons:

(1) You learn what content works and what doesn’t. This helps you in finding popular content formats that boost fan engagement rates. For example, you might want to post more infographics is a similar page is getting huge engagements from their infographic posts.

(2) By identifying pages that your audience is currently following, you can increase your following by targeting fans of a similar page with ‘Like’ ads. For example, an outdoor equipment company might want to target Tough Mudder fans due to their affinity for ruggedness and the outdoors.

Here are two methods of locating relevant pages (1) Facebook Social Graph via Search Bar (2) Facebook Audience Insights.

In this instance, let’s use Mindful In May as a case study. The fans we are targeting are interested in conscious living, specifically in mindfulness and happiness

Facebook Social Graph via Search Bar

To start off, you need two Facebook pages at minimum. This could be your Facebook page (Page 1) and another similar in your industry (Page 2).

Login into Facebook and access the search bar. Then type in “Pages liked by people who like ‘Page 1′ and ‘Page 2‘.

Facebook Bin Teo

In this instance, I know that ‘Project Happiness’ and ‘Tiny Buddha’ have massive followings on Facebook so used them as my starting point. The result is a list of pages liked by fans who liked BOTH these two page.

Some of the pages in the resulting search are ‘MindBodyGreen’, ‘Brain Pickings’, ‘Elephant Journal’ and the list goes on.

As long as they are relevant to my page, I record them on my spreadsheet.

Facebook Audience Insights

Next head over to Facebook Audience Insights, one of the latest features rolled out by Facebook. This tool is really handy in understanding the characteristics of fans in Facebook pages. This ranges from demographics, location they are based in, device they use e.t.c

For this case study though, we are only interested in the pages that has affinity to the pages that they like. So we will key in the pages we compiled in the spreadsheet earlier  under ‘Interest’.

Facebook Audience Insights Bin Teo

Then proceed to the ‘Page Likes’ section where you were see a list of pages with their level of affinity to the pages you have entered. For example ‘Pema Chodron’ fans are 9.1 times more likely to ‘like’ be interested in your topic of interest compared to an average Facebook user.

Facebook Audience Insights

From there, you are able to analyzed the content that resonates with Pema Chodron fans and experiment on your own page.

Furthermore, you can increase your page following by running ‘like’ ad campaigns on Facebook users who have been pre-screened due to previous pages liked. Better targeting allows you to save on ad wastage and attract audience who are truly interested in your brand.

Good luck!

 

 

 

Social Media Strategy: Three Objectives That Matters

When drafting out a social media strategy, what metrics should you focus on? Likes, shares or something else?

Recently, a friend who started on a social media internship asked me what metrics he should align his strategy with. That got me reflecting on the transformation in my understanding of social media since I started.

There has been heavy emphasis about the vanity aspects of social media. That image that got a thousand likes on Facebook, or 50 retweets on Twitter. While these are all positive signals, they are merely the symptoms of a good social media presence.

As covered by experts such as Jon Loomer, the focus vanity metrics such as getting Facebook ‘Likes’ is absurd. Companies resort to buying fake followers to inflate their social media presence, but end up have zero (or even negative) impact on their cash-inflow.

So instead on mainly focusing on the next viral social media post, where should you direct your attention towards?

It boils down to three key areas:

(1) Awareness & Education for Thought Leadership

(2) Likeability and Familiarity By Humanising Brand

(3) Website Traffic Referral via Social

Awareness & Education for Thought Leadership

The first focus comprises producing content  that is valuable to the target audience. Some examples are blog articles and infographics. The core purpose lies in addressing the prospects’ pain points and educating them about the solutions (including yours).

Through doing so, your brand expresses thought leadership and become the go-to experts for your niche area. In Gary Vaynerchuk’s ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook’, he talks about how he creates so much value that customers feel guilty if they don’t buy his product.

In a business landscape where services are becoming increasing commoditized and easily accessible, the best way to stand out is to educate and connect with connect.

Likeability and Familiarity By Humanising Brand

Next, humanise your brand by making a portion of your content easily relatable to your audience. Buffer does this brilliantly cover topics on habits and productivity that is not directly about their core product (i.e. social media scheduling tool).

These topics are widely relatable and able to capture a wide audience. Some of whom would proceed to recommend Buffer to their friends who are looking to manage their social media presence more effectively.

If you lack the resources to blog about non-core topics like Buffer, another alternative is posting inspirational photo quote using image generators such as Canva. Or even post behind the scenes of stories of what is happening in your company.

Again, this method helps one’s business stand out in an increasingly competitive business landscape. Research has shown that consumer use a combination of emotional and rational factor to make a purchasing decision, rather than relying on rational alone.

Website Traffic Referral via Social

With the previous focus on humanising the brand and creating thought leadership, social media strategy should always relate back towards the business bottom line – sales and revenue.

This is where businesses occasionally promote links towards their landing pages for sales conversions, or promotions such limited trials or contest giveaways.

There is a careful balance to this objective. On one hand, pooling in effort into social media without aiming for a sales conversion is not a sustainable business practice. This is especially the case for small businesses where time and energy is scarce.

On the other hand, social media is not a one-way distribution channel to flood your followers with promotional links. Doing so show that you ‘just don’t get’, creates negative sentiments towards your brand and drives away followers.

The balance is to have the 4-1 ratio when posting. This means that within 5 posts, 4 posts should be about others while one post should be self serving. This blend allows you to create thought leadership and humanise your brand, while achieving your business goals.

Over To You 

Is your business achieving all objectives with your current social media strategy? If not, which areas do you need to amp up?

Are there any other social media objectives I might have left out in this post?

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Three Quick Methods For Identitying Keywords Within Google Adwords

There are three methods within Google Adwords to located keywords for ad campaigns.

Competitor’s Landing Page

Pretend that you are researching your product and conduct a few search queries. From ads displayed, shortlist the landing pages of competitors who are also selling a similar product or service.

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Enter the urls into Google Keyword Planner. From there you will be able to see the keywords that your competitors are ranking for.

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Keyword Scans

This applies after you have input the your landing page url into the Adword campaigns. At the ‘Keyword’ tab, click “+Keywords” then “Select An Ad Group”, Adwords will scan through your website and add suggestions.

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From there you are able to add the suggest keywords straight into your keywords list.

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Live Campaigns 

This applies to campaigns that has been running for a period. Next to +’Keywords’, go to the ‘Details’ tab and click ‘All’ under ‘Search Terms’.

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This generate a list of keywords comprising of those you have already included, as well as keywords not included by used by your searchers.

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If any of the keywords rank positively for CTR and number of searchers, add them to your keyword list. In addition, if any of these keywords are irrelevant to your offerings, add them to the ‘Negative’ list.

To Recap

Here are three quick methods to locate keywords without using external tools.

How Meditation Makes You A Better Contributor In Your Work #mindfulinmay 

@itsbinteo being mindful in may

Is meditation only for zen monks and new age hipsters? Not really. Regardless of your background, practising meditation can make you a better contributor in the work you do.

My exploration into meditation was an unexpected one. In 2009, I was enlisted into the military as part of compulsory National Service in Singapore. As I stayed in the army barracks during weekdays, there was plenty of free time to practise meditation in the evenings.

My first attempts at meditation can be described as horrendous. I could barely sit properly for seven minutes. With a tsunami of thoughts flooding my mind, I found the initial experience mentally tormenting. Encountering flashbacks of the day’s events and past memories made me unsettled and vulnerable.

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Valentine’s Day Special: Love Your Customers Through Shared Experience #LoveWeek

 

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Since its Valentine’s Day, I thought I would talk about ‘LOVE’. Nope, not that kind of love. But love for the customer through shared experience. With markets becoming hyper competitive, it is increasingly critical that businesses find innovative ways to connect or fade out in the noisy environment.

Just a quick recall, I covered the campaign on train safety called “Dumb Ways to Die” last year. Through my observation, one of the elements that led to its viral success was because of the “Inspire-Educate” combination.

That meant that the bulk of the commercial was designed to entertain the audience, in order to capture attention. In that example, this referred to the dancing cartoon characters. The campaign message was delivered at the end for a few seconds – “Be Safe Around Trains”.

On a larger scheme, this method works because consumers are constantly getting bombarded by a multitude of advertising messages. Therefore they had gotten very skilled at screening out content. This leaves the main purpose of them accessing their digital devices for communication (e.g. social media) and information/entertainment (e.g. buzzfeed, 9gag, mashable).

With the competition for attention getting more fierce, how does one thrive with such conditions? Perhaps one way is to BE the experience itself .

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How to Identify the Relevant Hashtags on Twitter for Your Business

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Identifying the right hashtags is critical when it comes to social monitoring and engagement. This allows us to find the conversations where our target audience hangs out.

By adding value to the conversation, we can start to build up a relationship that could possibly leads to a business transaction. Or at the very least awareness.

I have compiled a three step method using a few of my favourite Twitter tools – Twitonomy, Hashtagify.me and RiteTag

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Elance Workshop: Basic Guide to Hiring Freelancers

 

I attended a workshop organised by Elance last Saturday. It was a introductory session for people new to hiring freelancers online. For those who are new to the concept, online freelancers help you lower your operation costs, while freeing you from doing repetitive and menial tasks. This allows you the time and mental bandwidth to get more important work done e.g. strategic planning of your business.

During that session, I also met an individual who completed some admin work – extracted 8,000 contacts for just $40! Here are some key lessons I got out of it.

 

Screen Freelancers

On each freelancer’s account, there is level of activity, star ratings and feedback. Do take time to read the negative reviews  especially in order to get a gauge where the freelancer stands.

One of the quickest way to shortlist freelancers is to include a random question in the middle of your job brief. At the middle or towards the end of the brief, you could ask “Who is your favourite superhero?” This distinguish which freelancer actually reads your job brief, instead of simply cutting and pasting their replies.

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How to Set Up Twitter List To Engage Your Community Like a Boss

 

Over my time as a Twitter user, I have been experimenting different ways on how to use Twitter list effectively. While there is an infinite number of ways to use this function, I have been cracking my head on how to leverage this in order to engage my Twitter community thoroughly yet efficiently.

But first of, what is a Twitter list? It is a curated list of Twitter accounts by either yourself (or by someone else if the list is public). Instead of being overwhelmed by a tsunamic of tweets, a twitter list allows you to filter according to the accounts you wish to hear from.

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