This is a repost of email I sent to my 30x500 classmates.

In July I put a lot of time and effort into marketing, and it paid off pretty well.

There are clearly several divisions within marketing (and separate from writing my book). I’m trying to figure out how to balance them.

Here’s how I’m currently thinking about that:

  1. “Feed the funnel” marketing. This is education and posts of all descriptions, as well as getting mentions of me into sites, newsletters, etc. Basically, anything that drives people to my blog or Rebuilding Rails. This is short-term in mindset, but gets me the most (direct) sales. The falloff in effectiveness over time is pretty vicious, though — this is the most like having a job, and is the easiest to calculate an “hourly wage” for. Amy retweeted Thomas talking about “gold farming”, and this really does feel like that.

  2. “Legibility” marketing. This is work that gets me no customers but lets me see things about them. Google Analytics, tracking codes, checking logfiles, split testing, propagating referrer tags in JavaScript… No money here at all, directly, but it makes every other category of marketing more effective. This is how I understand my audience and my watering holes.

  3. “Optimize the funnel” marketing. That’s web site design, copy rewriting, adding social proof to my sales page and so on. The goal here is to improve the conversion at some step, or drive people to a later step instead of an earlier one (e.g. add mailing list signup right to the blog instead of making them click through). This can compound nicely but it’s only a multiplier, it doesn’t add revenue by itself.

  4. “Next bite at the apple” marketing. This can be emailing my list(s) with a sale or e-bomb. Eventually it could be emailing my buyer list with upgrades, new products or discount-for-your-friends offers. I don’t have a good feel for the mechanics and payoff, but clearly it will work better as my lists grow. Early results look promising.

  5. “Engagement” marketing. I don’t have a good feel for this yet. I’m building a lot of content that should stay valuable for a really long time — for instance, by making documentation for Rack. But I’m currently only getting a short-term boost out of it, which feels like a waste. I think I should be working harder to drive people from one page in my blog to another, to build page rank, to get inbound links and otherwise to generate an honest-to-God passive trickle of constant traffic that I don’t have to write for or pay for. This is the Patrick McKenzie holy grail. And I don’t think I’m doing this effectively yet.

I’m focusing hard on type 1 marketing. It’s the only additive (rather than multiplicative) bit here, so clearly I have to start with it. I feel like I’m doing both too much and too little type 2 marketing – I don’t have a huge number of customers or a huge list so it feels wasteful, and yet I’m just guessing where my most valuable readers (the ones who actually buy!) come from.

I’m doing a little bit of type 3 marketing, but it feels like it’s not very effective yet. Optimizing will get way easier when I can measure. But I am going to apply a real template to my sales site since the current design is getting flat-out embarrassing ;–)

And 4 and 5 are mostly future-tense. When I get major stuff done I’ll send email to my list, of course, and I’m already planning on three more (loudly telegraphed) price hikes over the next few months. But 4 and 5 feel like it’s too early for me to being working on, overall.

How do people divide work in marketing? Do you folks see anything major I’m missing, or have areas where you strongly disagree with my division or characterization?

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