We would like to share a story with you. It’s about a startup, a product launch and a community growing beyond anybody’s expectations. Embracing transparency we are now sharing with you what we have learned since launching Jumpstarter in the beginning of March and also giving away some growth hacks that we have successfully used to grow our community.
First, let’s back up a bit. In early 2013 Jumpstarter started off as a invite only alpha. While developing our service, we collected email addresses on our website, gathering them on a waiting list. As we launched our closed beta in September 2013 we onboarded 500 users (whose valuable feedback helped us develop the service that we have today), while still collecting emails for our waiting list.
People on your waiting list = users?
On March 5th last month we officially launched, and opened up our service to the world. Prior to that, we started inviting everybody on our waiting list – in batches. We figured we only had one shot at getting our waiting list onboard and by inviting them in batches, we had a chance of continuously A/B test, analyze and improve.
We quickly realized that everybody on our waiting list is not magically going to convert into users. From our first batch, the conversion rate was a poor 9.4%. Thinking about it, it makes total sense, as happy and excited we were about finally getting to onboard the people on our list, the excitement for them was just not as big. When you sign up for something you are in a moment of having a need for or an interest in that specific service or product, months later you might have forgotten that you even signed up for something at all.
We figured, we needed to
- Adapt our messaging depending on when people signed up.
- Remind people what they signed up for.
- Offer them something exclusive that made them as excited as we were.
The first two steps were easy. The third one was a challenge. How could we offer our users something exclusive without even having subscriptions in place, not even our pricing? We had to make them a promise. We promised that by signing up early, we would forever treat them like gold. The first 5000 users would become and forever stay Founding Members with loads of exclusive offers. We told the people on our waiting list to claim their Founding Member spot today and the conversion rate all of a sudden went up to 25.3%.
After people signed up they were presented with a large sign greeting them as a new founding member. We also included a pre-made tweet and hoped that a few people would share the news, the text was pre-written, editable and optional. Surprisingly many users tweeted, it turned out so well that external bystanders were actually accusing us of auto tweeting on our users behalf without their knowledge (silly, we would never do that). During the first 14 days 90 people shared our pre-made tweet and the traffic from twitter to our website suddenly increased with 284% compared to the prior 14 days. We still have a lot of our website traffic coming from Twitter, and people are still sharing their Founding Member excitement, when writing this Founding Member number 3585 just tweeted.
— Lafline (@Your_Lafline) April 23, 2014
As we had invited everybody on our list it was time for us to start experimenting with online marketing to find new users. One big experiment was SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and Google AdWords. We had 8 different campaigns running in 12 different countries, bidding on hundreds of keywords, improving and optimizing as we moved along. The initial result was a downer. Every conversion we got continued to cost us a fortune. The competitive landscape on the keywords was just too harsh for a startup like us and we decided to scale AdWords down a bit and try out Facebook ads instead. A great success, we lowered our CPL (Cost Per Lead) with 95%.
The learning we made was that it’s worth to spend a larger amount of money and time in the beginning to be able to find out what works and not, if we had been too careful with SEM, we would not have gotten enough data to analyze, and we would probably still be struggling. With iterative improvements and optimizations we were able to quickly get our costs down. The results in different channels will probably be different for your service, so the one thing you have to do is experiment and evaluate.
We’re continually experimenting with new things and will continue to share our learnings. We have just sent out our first exclusive offering to all our Founding Members and will soon release our “invite your friend” program. Stay tuned!
Also, we’re hiring
We are currently looking for a business developer to strengthen our team. Do you believe you or your friend has got the right mindset and skills? If your recommendation leads to a hire we will award you with a referral bonus of 10000 SEK (~1100 EUR, ~1500 USD). Read more in our job description.