This post covers some of the success we’ve had with one of our project’s called StartupPlays. If you have more questions on the iterative learning we went though, or are looking for more details, feel free to ask.
In November of 2011 we launched the website http://startuplays.com, a wordpress splash page with the promise of highly successful entrepreneurs helping aspiring startups run their business. We got the idea out in front of a few friendlies, drove some initial traffic, and got candid feedback before deciding it was something we wanted to pursue.
We had grand visions of creating something meaningful in the startup community but knew big things have small beginnings. Our small beginning was going to be Appsumo style mailing list distribution of our initial product: “Plays”. We committed half the MercuryGrove team to the project, set up a slightly more stable website and began optimizing for email submits.
We drove initial test traffic for feedback in November and December though communities and directories like:
The first week of January we sat down and had a press meeting with the team to figure out how we could create a press angle and get covered. We came up with about 100 different whacky angles including “Sit down for coffee with an All-Star Entrepreneur” and “Dragons Den for tech startups”
By the second week of that month TechCrunch picked us up labeling StartupPlays “An Affordable (Virtual) Alternative to the Startup Accelerator”. The press push and subsequent dribble drove over 3,000 signups at a conversion rate that over the next few weeks would peak at 41.22% and bottom at 22.00%.
We now had a foundation for distribution through email, and were purely focused on creating actionable how to’s from successful entrepreneurs. We started working with entrepreneurs from all over the world; documenting how some of the best startups were using facebook ads to sell consumer goods, how to get press attention over and over again, and how you can get customer advocates to resell your product/service.
For any startup looking to create supplemental revenue and build an audience while working on your greater vision, email lists are king.
StartupPlays.com became a content creation project with a simple funnel: drive traffic to submit an email, create product every week, send a weekly email with product. This model works, week after week our emails were leading to paid conversions. For any startup looking to create supplemental revenue and build an audience while working on your greater vision, email lists are king. The setup time/costs are minimal, and it becomes more of a marketing project that builds your brand while the dev team can focus on the bigger picture.
Now as we approach May 2012, StartupPlays.com has grown into a community with one of deepest networks of tech startups in the world. Our biggest asset has become our users and we’ve humbly accepted our position as the first Golbal accelerator for startups. As we phase out this chapter of the StartupPlays story, we will finally be able to release the first hints of what is to come. Stay tuned!