When launching a startup you want to apply a Buddhist mindset, you need to have complete emotional detachment from your ideas whilst being entirely compassionate to the needs of your customers. This was the advice one of our mentors once gave to us when we first launched Prevyou. He was trying to articulate the importance of maintaining a clear mindset when launching a startup. It sounds perfectly fine in theory, however putting it into practice take training and discipline.
This week was crunch time for our pilot program. We’ve successfully signed up 10 local startups to take part, which meant we had 50 available positions for students. Bringing these students onboard was proving increasingly difficult for us. We had tried and tested a whole range of different channels, without much success. The pressure was beginning to mount as we knew that with an 8-week program, we needed to launch by the 10th of April at the latest otherwise we would run into Uni exam time.
This week we have set ourselves the goal to try to hit at least 12 student sign-ups before the end of the week. If we got this many students onboard, we knew we’d have enough to run some form of a pilot. This goal was a useful motivating factor but it certainly but our mindset to the test as we began to understand that marketing isn’t as simple as we expected.
What we learned
Marketing is an iterative process
Like almost all things to do with a startup, marketing is a process that tends to involve a lot of trial and error. We believed that we understood the correct channels into the student market, based on our previous service (which was a recruitment platform). However, we discovered that with a new service offering comes a new marketing approach. Figuring this process out has taken more time than expected as we’ve tried and tested a whole range of methods including:
(Our eBook – which we’re using as a lead magnet to build an email list.)
(One of the photos from our Facebook marketing campaign.)
(Some of our flyers for our free webinar.)
What’s changed for us
With the direct B2C marketing proving slightly difficult, we’ve decided to explore potential partnerships with Universities to help us reach out to students. All our advisors have been quick to remind us that Universities are notoriously difficult to sell towards, but we thought that we should at least try to start a conversation.
We also had the chance to host a focus group with students from UNSW. We’re in the process of design a new brand for our service that better communicates who we are and what we do. Prevyou was a name that we chose when we were a recruitment platform. The main reason for the rebrand is the fact that the spelling usually causes the messaging to be lost in translation – people say ‘prev’ ‘you’, rather than preview. We’re looking for something that can be associated with the following words:
The plan for next week
At the end of the week, we’ve agreed to give the B2C marketing one last push. We’ve had 2 proper conversions so far and are hoping that we’re starting to better understand the channels that work for us. We’ve agreed that if we don’t have 12 students on board by the end of next week, we’re looking to adapt the model in some way so that we can launch some form of a pilot program.
See you next time…