Digital Marketing Leader at Australia's largest MBA provider and past leader at ASX 100 Flight Centre. Focus on SEO, growth hacking and digital marketing - with path to conversion optimisation through marketing automation.
Based on your budget and my experience advising travel start-ups and running multi-million dollar travel budgets, I wouldn't recommend the traditional digital channels as they're flooded with travel competitors already. The caveat to that would be if you have something truly unique that can cut through in a crowded space.
Most likely it's a no for Adwords and Facebook advertising.
There are a number of low/no-cost content amplification and inbound lead gen angles I'd be happy to discuss, they'll take more of your time to get up and running, but at this early stage you need to be frugal with your investment, so that's what I'd recommend.
Happy to setup a call if this is something you wanted to discuss further.
As Ross mentioned, you can get started with some pretty simple attribution modelling out of GA, rather than using the platforms themselves to report conversions individually and hence getting duplicates.
Important thing to keep in mind with all attribution modelling is that you're trying to best account for contribution along the path to conversion, it's never going to be 100%, but you're just trying to become "less wrong".
Few things to consider here, definitely would want to be looking at vesting the equity, good article on that here to get you started: http://thestartuptoolkit.com/blog/2013/02/equity-basics-vesting-cliffs-acceleration-and-exits/.
I'd also be looking at a technical gun to be reviewing him from a technical standpoint, if you aren't a developer yourself it's difficult to review him from a code standard type standpoint, so I'd get that checked off also.
Regarding salary, % of equity and all of that, it's just what is the expected increase in business value through his contribution and then work back from there. Performance and bonus structures work well to incentivise without risking a large salary portion.
Also be wary of your fixed costs basically doubling if you're used to only paying yourself a salary and all other costs are variable i.e. development costs based on customers etc.
Few points that hopefully help out!
It really is necessary to take a look at your current system to get to the bottom of it, but one possible issue is duped conversion data. An example of this would be tracking Facebook ads, Google Adwords and organic conversions, tracking these out of the platforms themselves you may have them all reporting a conversion at the platform side. If you compare this to a de-duped view either through attribution modelling out of GA or another view, then you would get a different picture of CPA.
It becomes more difficult as you start to use display and remarketing advertising as well, so these may be factors at play.
The other option is just the way the tracking is fired, GA will have variance to Adwords, to DoubleClick etc. even though they are all Google platforms, it's just the way it is.
As with all things tracking, it's about understanding there will be variance, but putting in place measures to reduce it, we call it "being less wrong". At the moment you have +/- 100% which is obviously not acceptable, but a few measures in place to get one source of truth with +/- 10% would probably be completely acceptable.
Happy to schedule a call if you'd like to discuss this in more details.
First things first, it's pretty easy to take a look into your analytics and identify the source of this traffic, try looking just by acquisition channel or source/medium in GA.
Secondly you need to ascertain the total organic potential and competition, based on the total volume available and competition you may have already hit a point close to saturation. Conversely there may be a huge opportunity that you haven't yet tapped into, making it very affordable.
The third thing is about risk mitigation, I'm always a big proponent on diversifying marketing and traffic sources as there will always be fluctuation, similar to diversifying your risk in stock portfolios, it's worthwhile looking into this as well.
Happy to discuss further on a call if you'd like advice on this from someone's who handled this on small up to multinational sites.
My recommendation would be to focus on ASO, through localized ASO you will be able to capitalize not only on the Euorpean demand, while also tapping into the US market.
Another well known strategy I've successfully employed in my app portfolio for premium paid apps is to rotate them from paid to free, delivering a massive amplification in downloads and then rotating back into paid. If you have built-in in-app purchases you can also explore the freemium route in more competitive markets.
I've built an app empire of 200+ apps so have some solid frameworks for exploiting the organic traffic available in the app store, which can be complimented by paid activity.
I'd be happy to jump on a call to discuss some activity you could get running immediately to boost your downloads.
One of your big opportunities is positioning yourself in the B2B rather than B2C space. I've consulted for a bow tie e-commerce retailer and one thing I know from that is just how competitive the B2C space is for men's accessories when looking at SEO/SEM etc. as a promotional method.
One major opportunity for you as a manufacturer though is in the positioning yourself as a distributor and even dropshipper if you have the capacity. Suppliers and manufacturers are notoriously poor at promotion and hence a lot of e-commerce startups looking for quality suppliers will have difficulty finding them. This presents you with a great opportunity to acquire customers that are going to give you far higher lifetime value of customers than pure retail transactions and without the immense competition of the B2C space.
As I've had a lot of experience in both the e-commerce side and in working with distributors and manufacturers, I'd be more than happy to discuss further with you a strong go-to-market strategy.
It really depends if you're looking at macro trends or for some more granular insights and also if you're just looking at free tools or looking to spend some money as well.
As mentioned before EuroMonitor does have some great macro analysis across a variety of industries, we use it fairly extensively for macro travel insights across destinations.
If you have an idea of some of the trends you're interested in and are looking to take a deeper dive into, that's where I look into areas like Google News, Twitter sentiment analysis and even more specific at Google Keyword Planner and Suggestion Tools to see what people are actually searching around different topics.
Hopefully that helps out a little with a few options, happy to help out if you have some more specifics.