Fintech Startups and Performance Marketing

In this contributor's post, Frank Ravanelli walks us through the importance of performance marketing for startups and the game plan

Performance Marketing is an umbrella term which includes affiliate marketing, lead-generation, CPC, and other forms of marketing where the payout is based on a mutually agreed outcome. The typical outcomes are bringing a paying customer, user registration, a visit, etc. The process has matured to become a bread and butter staple of Forex and eGaming marketing.

What not everyone is really capitalizing on is how performance marketing can be used at the different stages of a fintech company, from “stealth mode” through startup, and all the way to M&A. Today, we are focusing on some of the ways fintech startups can use performance marketing in their business operations.

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How to Test New Services/Products with Performance Marketing

Performance marketing, especially through performance-based media buying on niche sites, is the best way to test-drive your services/products before you launch them on the general market. Benefits include the ability optimize product features, and review IT aspects such as server loads. Also, you can use performance marketing to get relevant users, the ones most likely to be early adopters, and their opinion. They then can be requested to invite their friends and contacts as beta-users. Needless to say, in this very competitive eBusiness world, you probably would want to keep the beta version to the maximum of a couple of weeks, and present a decent, working version of what you want to offer, making sure the users you get through media buying will come back.

At this stage, you may want to identify the affiliate networks you want to work with, and start taking care of the IT aspects of the integration.

How to Test Business Model and Pricing with Performance Marketing

By creating optimized landing pages, with pricing structures optimized for the users you are targeting and for the acquisition cost of each channel (some networks may demand a high CPC, some may have lower risks and better pricing for CPA, etc.), you can test what works better, without affecting your main site. You can even test different business models. Just be aware that your most attractive/convenient LP may go viral.

While you are in this phase, make sure to assess how your business and pricing options can create synergies with your affiliate marketing strategy and potential partners.

How to Test… Marketing with Performance Marketing

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If you want to know which marketing messages and designs are attractive for a given audience, you can do A/B testing. Testing with organic traffic may take a very long time, and you will likely have less ways to segment the incoming traffic unless they are returning users.

With a focused, measured and benchmarked approach, you can get a lot of insights about which messages work, and which do not. If you want, you can work with selected, hand-picked affiliates to make them part of this process, so they will be ready to roll-out the full campaigns once the program opens to the general public.

How to Grow with Performance Marketing

By now, you have tested the services/products you offer, and optimized them. You know which financials are attractive, and for whom. You know how to package all of these with an effective and efficient marketing message. Furthermore, you know how to tailor what you do, based on the segment(s) you are targeting, because you have enough, statistically-meaningful data that you have turned into actionable information.

You are ready for the big launch. You can scale-up the PPC campaigns which were successful. Optimize your creatives for CPL. Optimize the CPA deals with the partners you have already worked with, and identify patterns which will tell you which kind of CPA partners are converting well for your business.

Now, you can launch your public affiliate program, making your growth very cost-effective. It is important to emphasize that, while you have started to plan your affiliate program launch since day one, and you have integrated affiliate marketing at each stage so far, you will likely have to wait until you have done all your homework before making the program available to the public.

Affiliates do not want to do the testing for you. Selected affiliates may be an integral part of the testing process, but they need to get returns on their efforts and investment. It is an ethical duty as well as business imperative, to make sure everything is in place when you start to openly recruit affiliates.

What’s Next?

There are best strategies and practices to use performance marketing for pre-IPO, post-IPO, mature, etc., eGaming and fintech companies. We’ll be analyzing them soon.

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