Business was booming in Silicon Valley when Specific Impulse Inc. opened its doors in 2000, and we hired 10 full-time staff before the year ended. But with the DotCom Bust in 2001, things got lean and competitive pretty fast. Marketing on a budget means taking advantage of low-cost digital models. We quickly embraced SEO/SEM marketing, driving natural search and pay-per-click traffic to our web site using Google Adwords campaigns (yep, I’m an early adopter).
Co-founding a startup meant no more time to teach digital communication and IA/UX classes at Berkeley; instead, I leveraged that content for SEO/SEM visitors: an example of content marketing to establish bona-fides. We were part of a digital marketing ecosystem, so we teamed up with graphic design firms (great for design-for-development trades), and because we had a ColdFusion practice we joined the Allaire Partner Program (later Macromedia), which put our name out as a solutions vendor. That’s how content, partner, and search marketing kept Specific Impulse alive during those lean years.