How To Build Rock Solid Relationships With Your Startups Pre-Launch Subscribers

It’s 2016 and most startup founders understand the concept of the lean startup methodology. They all seek to build an MVP to test their assumptions and find product market fit. As part of that process startups invariably aim to build a list of pre-launch subscribers to market their product to pre and post launch.

Typically startups aim to do this by tapping their personal network, advertising across digital channels and by submitting their startup to sites that curate companies that are launching soon like BetaList or have a beta program in the works. As one of the startup founder said, using the example of my own startup, Task Pigeon, I first of all sought feedback from my own network, before submitting my site to BetaList. As a transparent startup I even shared the metrics of our campaign in a recent blog post. You can find one more detailed review.

What happens post user acquisition however is typically an area where startups fall short. If founders have done some entry level reading they have probably heard about the need to “keep in touch” with their subscribers and send out a blog post or two in the coming weeks. Unfortunately such a strategy is not going to lead to the best results. And in fact is wasting some of the time and effort you put into acquiring your subscribers in the first place.

To build rock solid relationships with your startups pre-launch subscribers there are a number of things you can do to stand out from the crowd and remain at the forefront of their mind.

Plan in advance

The critical component of all that follows is to plan in advance. From the moment you have someone join your waiting list you need to know what you are going to do and when. For my startup Task Pigeon the early part of our pre-launch phase is all about gaining additional insight from potential users to refine our product and messaging. To achieve this we utilise an automated email campaign through mailchimp.

Our first email is a welcome email. It seeks to introduce the user with the company and it’s founders. This is automatically sent the moment they confirm that they have registered to be notified of our beta. As a result it received 75% open rates and represents an ideal opportunity to tell your story.

welcome email

welcome email

You can build on this relationship in the days that follow by scheduling other emails as well. Depending on what your goals are this could be to seek feedback on the product, obtain additional user information that may be relevant to your product roadmap (i.e. do they use Android or iOS) or simply share insightful and relevant content from your blog.

Connect on Linkedin

Doing the above will put you on a good solid footing. However, to further build upon the relationship you have with your pre-launch subscribers and to uncover additional channels through which you can market to them there are a number of other things that can be done.

First of all you want to connect with your subscribers on Linkedin. Chances are however you only just got their email as part of the sign up phase, so how do you actually do this? To start with you want to export your list of email subscribers from your email campaign provider. For mailchimp this is a simple and straightforward process with the “Export List” button easily accessible.

Export Subscriber List

Export Subscriber List

After that you want to jump over to linkedin and select “My Network”, “Add Contacts”. From here you can click a button on the right hand side that says “Import File”. Linkedin will then do all the hardwork and match the emails you have with the emails people use in their Linkedin profile. Now don’t expect a 1 for 1 match here. Many people may use an alternate email for your pre-launch list than they do for Linkedin. In our case we managed to connect with about 50% of our audience.

Linkedin Screen Shot

Linkedin Screen Shot

As a result of this two minutes of work you now have an extra connection with your subscribers, and another way to market to them for free (i.e. Linkedin updates and messages).

Find on Twitter

Now that you have connected with these subscribers on Linkedin you also have their first name, last name and the company they work for. This provides you with two opportunities. First of all you can now more easily search for them on Twitter.

People in some industries have adopted Twitter more than others, but if your product is tech or media focused chances are a good percentage of the people you just connected with will also be on Twitter. You can either look through their profiles directly to see if they mention it or search by name and try and match profile pictures or locations to ensure you have the right person.

Here’s an example of one of my pre-launch subscribers I followed on Twitter. He seems to be pretty active which is good to see.

twitter profile of Stan Kobrin

twitter profile of Stan Kobrin

Once you connect with these people on Twitter I also make a file with their Twitter handle. You can now Tweet at them as well, and if they follow back also send direct messages via Twitter.

Leverage the companies they work for

Ok, we are now going to turn away from the actual subscriber and see how they may be able to help you and your startup in other ways. I hope when going through Linkedin you took note of any large or interesting companies your pre-launch subscribers worked for. Perhaps none stood out, but every now and then you will come across someone who works at a tech giant or other globally recognised brand. This can add value and social proof to what you are building!

You can now take this information and refine your landing page and messaging. To pull this off effectively you will need to identify between three and five well recognised companies amongst your subscriber base. You now update your landing page and state something to the effect of “join pre-launch subscribers from the likes of Company A, B and C” or “Employees from Company A, B and C have already joined our beta”.

In addition to this you may want to look at who they are connected to within their own company and try and connect with their colleagues through Linkedin as well. This is especially valuable if you are creating a B2B tool that will require buy-in from more than one user at an organisation.

Custom Audiences on Facebook

Finally, there is one final network I recommend extending your follow up marketing efforts to and that is of course Facebook. Typically I save this strategy for closer to launch when you can get most bang for your marketing buck. With Facebook you can take that same email list and create a custom audience. Just like Linkedin I wouldn’t expect 1 for 1 perfection here, but hopefully you get exposure to 50%+ of your list.

facebook custom audience

facebook custom audience

You can now create ads that specifically target people you already know have an interest in your product. Even better, you can track people as they sign up or buy the live version of your product or service and remove them from this audience so your ad continues to get more and more refined and only targets those who are yet to convert.

In essence each of these strategies are designed to create multiple touch points with your subscribers. Merely reaching them on email will not be enough to sustain a relationship with everyone and each additional connection you can make significantly increases your chances of converting that pre-launch interest into a post-launch purchase.

Bio:

Paul Towers is a 3x Entrepreneur and Founder of Task Pigeon, a web app that makes it simple to create, assign and manage the tasks you and your team work on each day. Paul also founded Startup Soda, a daily network of newsletters that highlight the best articles, blog posts and tactical resources from startup ecosystems around the world.

How Web Design Affects the Conversion

web design conversion

Web design conversion

The recipe for high conversion is simple as pie: the balance between the design and content. These two components are inextricably interlinked. Once you save on the design – no one pays attention to the content. But how web design affects the conversion and is it that hard to find the golden mean when balancing the visual and the text part website? Read my advice to get the answer.

Location of a Text

According to statistics, most of the visitors look only at the top of a web page, that is, above the so-called “fold line.” The term came from the printing industry. Even if you haven’t bought printing press for a long time, you should remember that in a storefront, newspapers are always in the folded state. Therefore, put the “profitable” content at the “visible” top of the page.

Also, I recommend you to include a form for mailing to the “first screen” and use a header to attract more attention.

  • Your landing page is a face of the company. If the first impression was worse than expected, you’re unlikely to get the second chance. So make the “face” of your brand clear and understandable to anyone.

On average, a landing page has about 8 seconds to attract the attention of a potential customer. Use this time to increase conversion: be fairly persistent and convincing as much as possible.

Keep the Reasonable Information on the Web Page

A laconic website in minimalist design is what you should strive for. The more space is at the web page designer to increase conversion, the better: a visitor can easily perceive all the information and make a target action. Don’t irritate visitors, and they will stay on the website longer.

layout of web pages

Layout of web pages

Website Navigation

The navigation menu of a website should attract attention and allow the visitor to navigate easily. Therefore, better don’t experiment:

  • When clicking on a logo – see beautiful logos at DesignContest – a visitor must get to the main page.
  • The menu has to be horizontal and placed on the top. If it is vertical, then on both left and right sides.

Moving away from the canons of navigation, you risk confusing the customer.

Font Affects Conversion

Pick a font and its size in accordance with the content objectives. Put the most important information in the title or, at least, present it in large size. The trick for getting new customers is that they must understand the basic information on your proposal when visiting the website for the first time.

Color and Brand Awareness

A well-chosen color scheme controls buyer’s emotions and affects the awareness of the brand by building an associative connection which identifies the brand (for example, a large truck in multicolored lights may cause association with Coca-Cola).

Brand recognition and awareness are the things perceived subconsciously and remaining in the mind of a customer forever (for a long time, at least).

color and brand awareness

Color and brand awareness

Visual Cues

Place online visual cues. Large images, bold fonts, and headers help the user to find relevant information.

Photos and Graphics

Images of children, cats animals, and attractive women increase conversion, so you can safely use them. Just do not overdo. By the way, do not use stock images. If the user knows that these images have been used somewhere, your will loses the uniqueness in his eyes.

Use the features of web browsing: direct the visitor’s view from the images to the important elements of the page. Lead forms, CTAs, arrows, and lines are the best instrument to catch the user’s attention.

The Design of Buttons

There’s no any secret in the design of buttons: color and text are the two main conversion catalysts.  A CTA button should stand out from the page design, but be part of it. For example, if your landing page is in pastel colors, then the CTA button must be blood-red or acid green.

Mobile Friendliness

Did you know that up to the date 60% of the sites are visited from mobile devices? A website should not only be beautiful and clear – it should also be convenient for all users.  Adapt your website to mobile users and the result will be pleasantly surprised.

Simplicity

The simpler the design – the better:

  • Minimum information to fill out a lead form
  • Clear and simple links.
  • Familiar methods of payment.
simplicity in web design

Simplicity in web design

Feedback

Popular products and statistics of sales increase interest and loyalty. Remind visitors that the proposition is safe and profitable. Provide 100% money back in case a user is not satisfied with your services. Let regular customers leave positive feedback.

Make a one-time buyer your regular customer. Offer discounts and rewards, submit notifications about products similar to which have already been ordered.

Bio:

Brian Jens is one of the Design Contests enthusiasts who successfully combine design and blogging. His works are always done on the basis of the comprehensive investigation, so they all are of great value. Feel free to contact Brian and share your ideas.

Brand24 – Monitor the buzz around your brand

Do you want to monitor your social media presence in real time? Or want to keep eye on customer insights or your competitors?
Brand24 helps you in keeping bird’s eye on products, brands, competitors or your area of interests and give actionable intelligence relevant to it.

Brand24 offers social CRM and social monitoring platform, which empowers brands to get real time customer insights and actionable intelligence across multiple social media platforms including: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, message boards and news sites. Brand24 provides access to customer insights, influencer analysis, sentiment analysis, automated & customized PDF reports, info-graphics and much more online, as well as via instant email or mobile app alerts.

Interacting with your customers in real time is important to retain them, also it’s necessary to be updated on competitor’s latest round of funding, new features they introduced and buzz around them. Analyzing & comparing is not easy even if you have lot of data until you use that data to get actionable insights. Collecting data is easy but leveraging the data to get maximum information out of it is not. Here, Brand24 comes into the play. It is used by across industry segments worldwide including biggies like IKEAUBERIntel, etc.

50% off for StartupYar users

Setup:
It’s very easy to setup Brand24.
Sign up with your email & password and you will be prompted with option to monitor i.e. Brand, Sales leads, Competitor or any other topic. Choose topic, enter keywords and you are done.
Best feature i like about Brand24 is, it also shows you mentions of last 30 days (in case you got late to set it up). You can then give your project a name, exclude keywords (additional keywords – none of which can appear if the mention is to be collected).

Features:

  1. Search –  You may have hundreds of thousands of mentions, so you can search your mention by entering any keyword in the box. You can also make use of few wildcards in search e.g. searching for ‘[not] Steve’ will show all your mentions where ‘Steve’ was not present.
  1. Sentiment analysis – Brand24 identifies the sentiments with good accuracy. You can view the mentions in ‘Quote’ section that caters to positive/negative sentiments with highlighted keyword. It also helps you to filter your mentions by ‘Spam filter’ that includes spam & duplicate mentions.
  2. Data visualization –  You can create info-graphics, interactive graph and charts, including line chart, doughnut chart, pie chart, bar chart, etc. for your mentions. It will help the analysts to decide where you are getting more attention.
  3. Competitive analysis –  You can compare multiple projects with beautiful graphs. It will analyze different projects all together and helps you to benchmark your company against your competitors.

    Compare - Brand24

    Compare – Brand24

  1. Export data – You can export your mentions, reports, graphs or quotes in Excel or PDF format. It can directly be then sent to your colleagues, manager or analysts.
  2. Data filtering –  You can filter your mentions by influence score of source, time period (in days, weeks, months …), domain, media type, authors, etc. And the best part is that you can save your combination of filters and give it a friendly name.

There are lot more features in Brand24 like data latency, trend analysis, social CRM, archiving of data, API integration with third party products /CRMs, reporting, workflow management etc.

Why use Brand24?

  1. Generate Sales leads – You can generate opportunity for sales leads by using Brand24 in smart fashion. Think about the prospect’s needs & try to develop keywords that they will be searching for. Create a mention about it and interact with them ASA you got any mention, being responsive is a key here. If you are late, your competitor will take away your prospect. e.g. This is how Brand24 uses it: They seek for people who ask online for recommendations for Internet monitoring solutions. Then their community manager does a job with interacting with these users letting them know about Brand24.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            community-manager-sales-lead
  2. Real time monitoring – Monitoring a brand on internet is as valuable as building & marketing it. Brand24 makes it easy for you to monitor the talks going on about your brand on the internet.
  3. Check on competition – In competitive world where everybody is trying to be at top position, you must have eye on what users are talking about your competitor’s product, what new features they have introduced, what make them come in news etc. After that, you can easily compare your shout with your competitor.
  4. Sentiments – Your product sales may be growing by implementing new growth hack technique but what users are talking about your brand. Do they really like / dislike any feature? Are they are happy with your new pricing structure. Are your employees happy while working for you?
    Sentiment analysis power of Brand24 will get you deep into this.

    Sentiment Analysis

    Sentiment Analysis

  5. Customer engagement – If you do not engage with your customer online, you can’t grow in this digital world. You may have team ready to answers your users queries on Facebook, Twitter, Quora, etc. But if you can’t spot them, it is like losing an opportunity.

 

Why not use Brand24:
We have found only 1 point where Brand24 lacks. If you are getting lot of mentions & you have a large team which engages with your users, you cannot reply/like/comment/re-tweet from your Brand24 account. It can’t connect with your social media accounts. However it has an “Engage” button which transfers you to the original mention where users can make interactions.

Pricing:

Brand24 comes with three pricing models starting from $49/month and offers 14-day free trial without any contract or credit card. If you need big plan, it also offers custom plans based upon your requirements and needs.

Special for StartupYar users: You can avail discount of 50% for 3 months on any Brand24 plan. Click here to avail.

Conclusion:
Brand24 is an easy to use & affordable tool to track mentions and help brands know their users and competitors in better way. You can also use its iOS or android app.

 

50% off for StartupYar users

Special discount

Betalist – Get users before product launch

Are you planning a startup?
Do you think getting early users for your startup is difficult?
Want early adopters for quick feedback about your product?

If answer to above questions is Yes, Beta List is here to help you.

Betalist - Get early users

Beta list – Get early users

Beta List is a place for early adopters to discover upcoming internet startups, and for startup founders to share their startup with the world and get early user feedback.

Getting initial users to give valuable feedback for your MVP so as to give it a better shape is always important yet not easy.
Beta list solves this problem by listing your yet-to-launch product on their page and if their large pool of audience(over 25,000) likes it they will hand over their email address to you so that they get to know about your cool product launch first. (more…)

One Word: Product Hunt

Thousands of great products launch every day. But only few of them cross the hurdle of getting initial traction.

StartupYar was one among few who got introduced to our audience by Product Hunt. For those who don’t know about Product Hunt, it’s a community of entrepreneurs, investors, journalists, makers & early adopters. Everyday new and few awesome products are selected and up voted by this community.

Product Hunt has become so big that today most of the best companies do exclusive launch of their product here. Best thing about Product Hunt is different privileges to different users. Only few people have rights to submit the product to featured page. (more…)

Keeping review

Do you use Gmail to reply to customer support queries?Are you a small business having support team of few members?

If answer to above question is yes, Keeping is a tool that you would love to investigate. Keeping is a Customer Support tool that integrates with your Gmail account and lets your team collaborate & deliver better customer support.

Traditionally, small companies manage customer support requests through their company email but when the team expands, it becomes too complex to manage. This happens because

– It ends up in sending multiple replies to same customer by different team members.

– Or no member replies to request.

Also, it becomes difficult to compare which support member has high efficiency. Increasing problem gave rise to large number of dedicated customer support system having lot of features, automated replies, specific support ID for each request and much more.

One such product to manage customer service is Keeping™. It adds customer support functionality to Gmail. (more…)