Blog SEO: 5 Simple Techniques to Start Doing Now

1 – Easy-to-Read urls

Use urls that indicate the subject of each post, not numbers. Deep-linking (linking straight to a page) may be bad for security on some portals or throw off your conversion funnel analytics in commerce, but a blog should represent an interrelated series of ideas.

Pro Tip: This probably makes your urls so long that they are hard to properly Tweet. In Social Media, use Buffer, Hootsuite, or SproutSocial to shorten the url and auto-schedule the timing of your post.

 

2 – Link to Your Old Posts

Anytime you write a new post, think of how it relates to at least one previous post you’ve written, and link to the previous post within the new post. This means you need to know your blog contents. It is nice that a Blog can let you explore new topics on the tangents of your profession, but if you can’t create some sort of emergent cohesion, no reader and no bot or spider will do it for you.

Pro Tip – If you are a member of a team that manage a blog with a TON of posts, read a new post from months or years ago each day. React to it, link to it, write about it.

 

3 – Link to Your New Post

Anytime you add a new post, find an old post that is related and insert a link to it. The easiest way to do this, naturally, is to use the post you linked in #2. It will be better for your readers if there is a logical place to include it within the content of the previous post, but adding a “Recommended reading” section at the end of a post can help as well.

4 – Tags and Images

The easy thing here is to make sure you start naming any images so that they have meaning independent of the image. Using headers to organize the content of a post should be a no-brainer as well. If you’re bootstrapping and crunched for time – its never too late to start doing it better going forward with more discipline. If you’re a big business with a massive site, an SEO consultant who can dive into your code is a useful ally.  What may not realize is most SEO experts will give you a fair amount of information for free. Just ask!

5 – Have Fun!

Okay but seriously, the most important thing that will improve your SEO is to create content you care about. Take pride in the topic. Take the discussion with you into the real world. If the blog is an authentic “shadow” of who you are or who your organization strives to be, people will find it interesting. Find interest groups on Twitter and Snapchat and LinkedIn – then CARE. If you don’t care about your craft, no one will. If you don’t love blogging about your craft, no one will care about your blog.

B2B eCommerce Segmentation and Why You Need It

 

In B2B Commerce, customer segmentation and personalization is a complex topic. At one end of the spectrum I’ve seen companies who need to be convinced there is any way to segment their market. They’ve used the same 4″ binder for selling to their customers so long you get the occasional “We’ve always done it this way” instead of an explanation. At the other end of the spectrum, a company’s pre-digital-transformation business processes seem to rely exclusively on personal relationships, email, and witchcraft – prices, behavior, and even products are unique for every customer (or so they tell me).

When a small shop commits to a completely out-of-the-box, fully-configured SAAS product, you find one that seems close enough and work with it (or work around it) to get the job done. More frequently, I consult with major players moving to major-league platforms. These platforms have virtually unlimited freedom to configure catalogs, localization, customer segments, and unique pricing per User Group. The net result of this total freedom, of course, is going digital without transforming anything about the business process, or the company’s sustainable competitive advantage.

So if you’re at the ultra-complicated end of the spectrum, here are some ways get thinking about segmentation and personalization:

Unique Catalogs –

Catalogs are structured around two things typically: the category structure that groups products together and the classifying attributes that are shared by all products at a given category level. A great commerce site creates a selling hierarchy that makes it intuitive and fast for a customer to drill down to the products they want to purchase. Don’t underestimate the flexibility you have to customize this selling hierarchy based on geography, seasonal changes, or user group. Essentially, segmentation (and custom catalogs) needs to follow the distinct ways each kind of shopper completes their drill-down and purchase. If the main difference in behavior is average annual spend, segment that way. If the primary distinction is limited to a handful of major customers, you can give each of them a unique catalog. If there is a clear distinction in procurement methods, segment by purchase processes. Like anything else, draw a line in the sand, watch your metrics, and talk to your customers!

Unique Pricing –

When I shop on Amazon, it is pretty simple to compare two identical products based on price and reviews. In the B2B space, life isn’t so simple. That said, there are B2C equivalent best practices for most B2B problems. If pricing differences perfectly follow the distinct catalogs you’ve created, you can manage prices that way. If you have multiple price lists (even one for each customer) you can integrate with your ERP or use hot folders to keep these update. Beyond known pricing differences, however, there may be customers who don’t have a price yet and need to negotiate a quote, customers who have a price but want to re-negotiate a quote, and customers who are purchasing against multiple contracts for the same commodity. Any industry that has embraced negotiated price differences will need to pay special attention to personalization of prices. That requires you to segment user experience related to pricing as well. After all, combining all the options in one experience when it isn’t applicable invites misery and customer missteps. Get this really wrong and you can expect angry phone calls.

Unique Service Levels –

Generally, B2B buyers are less whimsical and (hopefully) drunken-impulse driven in their buying decisions. They are less likely to find you through social media rather than search engine results, and questions of omnichannel experience and conversion funnels are often inapplicable. So while pricing is more complex, buyer behavior is likely simpler in B2B – this leaves you the opportunity segment based service level either explicitly (with a service agreement) or behind the scenes. Segmenting based on opportunity size, customer lifetime value, or average spend can be a powerful was to tailor the digital user experience to the unique level of service you’ll provide. For a corollary in the B2C world, think Amazon Prime or AppleCare. If you have a top 20% of B2B customers that high revenue and high margin, give them the concierge treatment in their eCommerce experience too. If your lowest 20% needs to buy additional support or service, you know what that costs – make a product for it, cross-sell it, and let them choose based on their needs.

No Segmentation, Less Scalability

The most important takeaway is that if you haven’t thought about market segmentation for your B2B eCommerce experience, do it right away! If you are either assuming a one-size-fits all approach or chaotically customizing every transaction, neither are scalable.

 

Also check out these easy tactics for Blog SEO.

Scrum Backlog Prioritization

“Portfolio management is the art and science of making decisions about investment mix and policy, matching investments to objectives, asset allocation for individuals and institutions, and balancing risk against performance.” – Investopedia

How do you manage your backlog?  The strategists at the top are often accustomed to trusting their gut, while the engineers below insist on absolute scientific certainty.  Handing priorities down that game of telephone is a circus side-show of bull whip effect and sociopolitical contract theory.

Not that it doesn’t work out just fine….

Meanwhile, accountants and financial analysts, with the help of algorithms, benchmarking, and actuaries, have been tracking the present value of an asset, mid-investment, with all risks taken into account for a VERY LONG TIME.

The real question is, do you need all that certainty?  Should you be focusing on human interaction and the existential plight more?  I guess that’s a separate discussion…

I mean, at one extreme, do you care about your customers so much that you feel an ethical duty to fix every little bug no matter how much it costs you, your employees, and the families they feed?

At the other extreme, do you love churning out features so much you don’t care how many of those features aren’t wanted or how unsustainable your product has become?

No, I assume neither of those are you (I hope).  Instead, you are trying desperately to strike a sensible balance that lets you sleep at night while feeling good you pleased a small group with their favorite feature.  You’re really in the business of political and emotional backlog prioritization.

I want to let you know that I’m okay with that.  Relationships and society and worth building.  That said, when you are the bridge between the c-suite and several thousand staff member salaries, you may want to find ways to think harder about whether or not you are building the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason.

Thus, I will give you some science on backlog prioritization, but I wanted to let you know that I completely understand where you are with your current methods.

How the Sausage is Made

Conventional wisdom: “No one cares how the sausage is made.”  I’m sure you’ve heard this before as well. Maybe it gets followed up with more assumptions: “The consumer cares about the product.  They want the solution.” However, that’s not really true either. They care about their pain. The solution is irrelevant unless the pain is relieved. If you’re really great, you replace pain with pleasure, and build a lasting relationship that your customers are excited to tell others about.

The Sausage

So let’s talk about this proverbial sausage.  When you are hungry at a game and a sausage wrap stand is the only food or you’ll miss the entire game?  No. You probably don’t care about how the sausage gets made. You care about your hunger. You care about the solution. You care about the price. 

Luckily, we don’t live in the local monopoly conditions or restricted logistics of that example.  There are true artists of the craft, solving new pains everyday.

Have you seen how a master chef makes tantalizingly delicious and unique sausage from scratch?  If you love sausage, you do care how it’s made.  You would buy recipe books, watch reality shows, do factory tours, and attend sausage festivals. There is a huge difference between being an artist with a following versus a monolith with a secret. Which company are you building?  Naturally, I didn’t write this post to discuss sausage (though after talking about it so much I’d really love to fry up a batch now).  This is really about sharing your product backstory and software delivery methods. 

Think about a great chef. The kind that writes recipe books, heads up gourmet restaurant chains, blogs about food, hosts a show, and even gets invited as a guest to cook on other people’s shows.

Imagine Martha Stuart or Emeril Legasse teaching their audience about homemade sausage from scratch.  They smile and cook with their pre-measured bowls of colorful ingredients, hand-grinding the sausage.  The sight and sound of the fire, and sizzle of butter in the pan make you certain you’d want to eat not just any sausage – that sausage.  The great chefs care how the sausage was made whether you care or not. They make the best sausage they can and teach others to try their methods even if most people will never bother to make it the same way. 

So, even though what we are really discussing here is either 1) ”no one cares why your product was made” or 2) ”no one care how your software is developed” – I think that’s drastically incorrect. More importantly, when someone says “no one cares how the sausage is made” to me, I know it’s a symptom of something terrible in the prestige economy of the superorganism that could someday bring it to its knees, never to rise again. 

Now we can qualify that old saying…

“No one cares how a faceless factory makes boring sausage.”

Don’t let your factory remain faceless. No matter how boring the boots-the-ground element of your product delivery may seem, those are people who are representing you.  You can either take the Ice Road Truckers and brewery tour approach to your product delivery or you can hide it away. Even the most faceless factories have tour guides. They have a script, sure. This is a marketing opportunity for your customers who are most likely to give a referral. If they show up to see how the sausage is made, give them a taste of the experiments that you aren’t mass-publicizing yet. This let’s you find your early adopters.  That’s a special relationship that you should encourage, invest in, and keep personally engaged.

Go take a tour of a big beer factory and a small craft brewery, compare the two and imagine what a “brewery tour” of your software company would look like.  The big beer companies have a loyal fan base and brewery tours. The ingredients are well-known.  You can even try it at home.  Operational effectiveness, consistency and quality, and reliability are the big beer maker’s keys to success – not proprietary ingredients.

Don’t be afraid to demo upcoming features before they are finished.  Your opportunity to learn and from customer interviews during an alpha release cannot be understated – give them a tour before you make them work for you.  Don’t just make a website, make a fan page too.  Show people you care about what you build as much as they do. Make the digital delivery part of the human dialogue.  As it turns out, you can’t make people get interested in you by yelling “I’m interesting!”  Telling people your product is the best (today) doesn’t say much at all.  Showing them that real people are making sure the product will continue to get better, teaching them what you wish you knew 2 or 5 years ago about the pain you solved and how they can solve it too – then they might be interested. 

“No one cares what the ingredients in the sausage are if they can’t see and hear the artist who uses them, the special process for preparing and cooking it, and insights in why decisions were made.”

The individual lines of code you write aren’t proprietary. Maybe one or two shouldn’t be public knowledge for security reasons.  The rest are meaningless without the rest of the code base and all the people that create viable product-market fit.  Your accounting KPIs, eCommerce analytics, or SDLC aren’t that special on their own either. Your templates are common knowledge to anyone with experience. 

Your people – coming together to do something bigger than themselves -THAT’S special, and while you can lose that no one can steal that. I suspect there are some companies that would never approve a marketer posting a photo of coding-in-progress on Instagram for fear contents of the screen is proprietary. Yet, any developer would tell you that turning frameworks into a worthwhile platform people can reuse is incredibly challenging. No, nobody cares what your product planning meetings or your Scrum process is, unless the people who make it special are front-and-center.  You can make an official statement – like so many companies – that your people are your greatest asset; but when you hide your people and how they work from the public eye, the message is clear, not only to your people but to your customers as well: you don’t take any pride in the sausage-makers, so the sausage probably isn’t that special. 

This is the difference between posting on Twitter “My apple pie is made with 20 apples” versus a video explaining which apples to use and why, the process you use when you pick them out at the store, why you bought them where you did, etc. Teaching the generations coming up behind you makes you matter, not protecting a secret that isn’t even a secret worth stealing. 

“People don’t care how the sausage is made unless they trust you share their love of great sausage.”

The difference between having consumers and having an audience is sharing their pains, pleasures, fears, and passions. Don’t sell to people, mentor them. Don’t market to people, teach them. Is it possible that some people want to know how you make gumbo but not how the andouille sausage was made?  Absolutely.  That’s the line between retention and referral – if you say secret to great gumbo is making the sausage yourself, the real advocates who trust you as an artist and an expert will pay to learn your sausage-making methods.  The opposite is true too.  If you don’t share the passion or demonstrate your expertise, no one is going to listen.  They can spot you as a fake from a mile away.  They know sausage isn’t a priority for you and nothing you say about making sausage is worth sharing with their friends. 

“No one cares how you make the sausage if YOU don’t care how you make the sausage.”

This is probably the most on-point.  Teams who think no one cares how the software is made also don’t have much pride or faith that their process is worthwhile. Sometime the biggest challenge is just showing the engineers how great they are. As the leader, you have to be like a head chef: It’s not just that you love and take pride in the craft, it’s your time-in-the-fire and belief in the process itself that give people the confidence to follow you.  Sure, your customers may not want to sit and watch code being developed for hours on end, but throwing a montage, hosting meetups, YouTubing behind-the-scenes footage, and some exciting reality show commentary is something people love and look for as part of the complete package. That type of messaging let’s people know you care about the work it takes to solve their pain. By giving some visibility into how much diligence, care, and work is put into the next release, your customers can feel they were part of the experience and have a better appreciation why updates and new features can take awhile to release.

If you want the inspiration I had when I wrote this, go read these books:

Rework

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

Photo via The Digital Marketing Collaboration

How to Have Your Marketing Automation and Eat It Too

So you are starting a blog.  Or a company.  Or launching a new product.  Or you’re an intern or analyst somehow tasked with marketing and social media.  Me too.  I’m a couple of those – so we have things in common.  Here’s where I’ve landed so far with Marketing Automation.  Leave a comment or Tweet me @keenerstrategy if you have additional awesome ideas I can try or if you have any questions about what I’ve done.

This entitled “How to Have Your Marketing Automation and Eat It Too” because I have a fundamental impatience with my craft.  I don’t want to wait until the perfect time to publish a post.  I had the thought, I put it “to pen” and I feel closure knowing its OUT THERE.

Here’s what I do:

I use WordPress to write the post and I publish it as soon as its done.  This doesn’t optimize for the WordPress Reader audience, but that isn’t the source of views for me.  It also shares to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

LinkedIn and Twitter are the source of my views.

I have IFTTT (IF This Then That) set up to automatically Tweet my post like this:

IFTTTThis way, using the insights from Hashtagify about my target market (people who would want to read about how I “do” product innovation and management) I can automatically add the high-impact hashtags and have Buffer send out the tweet at the time optimized for impressions.

So it looks pretty simple the first time:

After

Then the second time (when it matters on Twitter via Buffer) it has great tags added automagically:

Before

After trying both, I do like Buffer better than HootSuite.  I like the iOS app better, but the real differentiator is that it works with IFTTT – something I use for other fun things and intend to expand because it is awesome.

The other great thing to do with Buffer – because I write about innovation and Tweet posts from TechCrunch – is to use Chrome and the Buffer Chrome extension.

Have fun automating!

You Look Dumb – 5 Mobile Marketing Mistakes

Your smart presence looks pretty dumb.

Welcome to the “smart” era – smart phones, smart cars, and smart homes are finally here! You can officially go to display rooms in your local appliance store instead of booking a trip to Orlando to see the home of “the future”.  In our smart era, a fair percentage of the population now carries supercomputers in our pockets with computing power that would have filled a warehouse even in science fiction during the baby boom.

Unfortunately, as “smart” as all this technology should be in your business, I’ve noticed your company looks pretty “dumb” because things are getting done exactly the way they were before, but now on a smaller screen!   As much as technophiles may blame late-adopters for not buying in to new devices and new apps, wake up – if you’re asking people to do the same old story, same old song and dance, but you’ve given them a more difficult form factor to do it on, they have no reason to adopt!

In that light, here are the 6 mobility mistakes you might be making RIGHT NOW that keep your mobile presence looking dumb where it ought to be smart:

 

#1 – You Encourage Channel Hopping

If your mobile marketing strategy has shifted consumers from one conversion funnel (web or brick) to another (apps) but hasn’t resulted in increased revenue, you’ve encouraged channel hopping.  This is a nightmare scenario that often pits employees of each channel against each other internally, fighting for additional budget, unable to fully justify forecasted ROI.  What happened? When you built your native app, the value created by your investment was captured 100% by your consumers!

This looks dumb to the smart consumer, because it is painfully obvious when the only difference between the native app and the responsive site is Touch ID. The choice between a link on the home screen versus a downloaded app comes down to space on the phone and speed of content loading.

The math for the mobile marketing individual is so simple that this mistake looks extra “dumb” to your boss. When traffic stays constant, but an additional channel is added, aggregate conversion across the channels must increase or else your funnels are just cannibalizing each other. That’s the ROI problem every mobile marketing initiative must overcome: when you invest $200k in mobile eCommerce and revenue stays constant, your consumers have captured all the value created. Sure, they may be happier. They might say “how convenient to have a desktop site AND an app for researching and executing my purchases!” Unfortunately, the return on your investment they capture doesn’t inherently result in more traffic, conversion, sales, or loyalty.

Admittedly, companies don’t make this mistake in a vacuum. They see traffic and sales moving from their desktop site to a new competitor’s mobile app – panic ensues – and they build an app of their own to stop the bleeding.

Remember, a bad bandage can be more dangerous than no treatment at all. The smart mobile marketing plan requires one of two approaches to respond to the threat of new entrants:

  1. Double-down on web. Yes, I make mobile apps and I’m saying its okay not to have a (native-coded) mobile app. If your plan for mobile is to reproduce a brochure, a paper form, or a website, don’t do it. Seriously, just throw your money in a pile and set it on fire like the Joker in Dark Knight.  If your site is working great but it isn’t a responsive site – start there. If it is outdated and anything is unintuitive, fix it. If you can’t create a unique relationship with consumers through your native mobile presence or capture the channel-specific value created, double-down on making your web presence best-in-class. This is Game Theory 101 – If you can’t win at both web and mobile, win big at one and forget the other.
  2. Create a unique market via app(s). If your audience is shrinking or your relationship with your consumers is suffering due to the mobile presence of a competitor and a truly unique relationship can be built through a mobile app – do it. This means your mobile presence needs to accomplish at least one of two things: augment the physical experience in ways a website can’t (to increase conversion) or create a completely new experience for a totally new audience (to increase aggregate traffic). Which path is right for you will depend on your market, products, and competitive landscape – so do your homework (and get a “tutor” as needed).

 

#2 – No Context Awareness

This is at the heart of what is so dumb about the way many companies establish a market presence on smart devices. If you have the opportunity to look “behind the curtain” you will notice this problem is not isolated, but occur on two fronts for that firm – externally in their consumer native apps and internally in their custom enterprise solutions. I’ve touched on specifics of Context Awareness several times. The differentiating power of a native app is in its intimate knowledge of where a user is, where they are going, and how they think. Segmented push messaging, one-tap deep-linking, and social API integration make the native app capable of a completely new relationship with your consumer. They are using a supercomputer that aggregates an unprecedented amount of personal information – all you have to do is offer a reward that justifies opting in.

Don’t fall prey to the opposite though – opting out should be easy, transparency on the use of private data is key, and you typically have one “strike” per consumer when it comes to keeping an app on their device. Whether it is download size, loading time, or privacy betrayal, as W.B. Yeats wrote, “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

Talk to technology professionals so you don’t plan your mobile presence in a vacuum. Geofences, iBeacons, IoT hardware, Photos integration, BLE, IoT, QR, wearables, and triggered messaging are all tools of the trade for ensuring you are able to create a unique proposition in a native app. Find the biggest impediment to solving your consumer’s pain in a way they will pay money for you to solve. Do NOT invest in native mobile unless the pocket supercomputer is going to augment physical realities with digital awesomeness.

 

#3 – No Business Intelligence

Ignorance is bliss. Unless you are driving a drastic paradigmatic shift in how you engage fresh generations of consumers through a new and constantly-evolving medium. In that scenario, ignorance is death – the death of any success you could have achieved.

“No Business Intelligence” is the bad-joke-telling best friend of “No Context Awareness” who crashes the wedding reception of your otherwise-integrated-marketing strategy. Where context awareness can drive new forms of engagement by proactively anticipating needs and supplying easy answers, business intelligence is a trailing ROI that takes effort to reap.   Business Intelligence is like planting a vegetable garden, as much as the visual presence of a lovely variety of plants may have delighted you on its own, you are leaving ROI out in the field until you harvest it. The same is true in mobile marketing. Until the big data you have created is collected, curated, and learned from in order to provide better plans, more focused campaigns, and the tightest possible updates to forecasts, you are creating white noise that should have been a joyful symphony.

At a minimum, it is essential you collect enough meaningful data to justify that you have accomplished your goals. The less you can prove directly that you have created new traffic, new converted sales, or new revenue sufficient to justify your investment in mobility, the more you need business intelligence to prove the indirect benefit provided to other channels. Better yet, even when new revenue is both directly and indirectly attributable to your mobile presence, you should drive BI insights like you are starting a company that will sell its knowledge. You may start by “selling” it internally to help justify you P&L, but don’t rule out the possibility external buyers may exist.

 

#4 – No Game Plan for IoT

If you don’t have concrete plans for drone technology or self-driven cars, I forgive you.  Not every industry will need direct adoption for these new technologies.  However, if you haven’t given serious thought to what your products and services can be in a connected world – called the “Internet of Things” – you are going to find yourself left behind over the next five years.

IoT is already within reach and less cost prohibitive than you may think. Connected power indicators, pipe flow sensors, BLE chipsets for detecting and communicating almost anything – they are all out there. Today what is being “tacked on” to products by R&D will tomorrow be a seamless experience seen as the baseline for market entry. You can afford not to be the first mover to the extent Silicon Valley startups are learning the hard lessons for us all today. That said, don’t get out of touch and don’t get left behind.

The Internet of most connected Things means at least one of two potential realities your business:

  1. Some products you currently market “dumb” will be expected to connect soon – a significant event in your product strategy because the value proposition of your physical Thing will not matter as much as how it connects to the app you provide with it. Think today what that app must be in order to compete. In fact, you should probably be building that app instead of reproducing your already-responsive web site. Then, more dauntingly, think about that product and app and their ability to connect with other Things that are connected in a way that creates a meaningful brand relationship.
  2. Widespread IoT products will further segment your target market and the position of players across your competitive landscape. If your product’s three year plan does not clearly indicate whether you will focus on selling non-connected versus connected variations or both, including the business case for how each will be priced and marketed, schedule meetings right now to drive those discussions.   The threat of new entrants on both sides will be higher as major players struggle to straddle the fence strategically.

 

 

#5 – You’re Stuck in Analysis Paralysis

Speaking of sitting permanently on the strategic fence, one of the dumbest responses to the introduction of smart technology is analysis paralysis. As my strategy professor emphasized while introducing Michael Porter, refusing to make a decision is your decision. That favorite Porter quote – “Strategy is the art of making choices”. In a Zero Sum game with multiple players and finite economic resources, strategy is the art of committing not only specific resources, but also commitments as a competitive position to the long-term continued investment of resources. By holding resources – even in the most uncertain times – you’ve made a decision to wait. The key to the good life, as Aristotle would say, is that the decision to wait, if virtuous, must intrinsically be deliberately decided.

If your organization is stuck in analysis paralysis, overwhelmed by the amount of aging IT investments behind you and the mountain of new (and sometimes unproven) technology ahead of you, a lack of action may preserve some capital in the short-term, but you are racking up immense opportunity cost and learning curve disadvantage. If your company has too many ideas and no commitment to a roadmap, here is how to get smart:

  1. LESS IS MORE – Don’t try to reinvent your entire IT and Marketing infrastructure in one big push. Define Lean Startup-style MVPs that give you a “quick win” (or a few) while getting you past the rookie mistakes, first-time jitters, and growing pains that are inevitable out of the gate.
  2. SOLVE REAL PAINS – Mobile for the sake of mobile fails the stakeholder, the end user, and leaves a bad taste in the mouth of executives and investors. Look for the biggest complaint of your customers or the biggest inefficiency in your operations workflow. If the solution is mobile, do the smallest possible iteration of that solution. If it isn’t mobile, fix the pain without mobile. Rinse and repeat as needed.
  3. OFF-THE-SHELF is an OKAY START– On that note, with the thousands of tech companies out there, don’t go custom on everything. Open or paid APIs, packaged solutions, and white-label solutions, and SDKs are all alternatives to re-inventing the wheel in a vacuum. Review your options carefully (but keep the scope of your goals tight enough your review doesn’t paralyze you).