The Grouvia Signup Drive

My brother’s father-in-law passed away on Monday morning. That put me in a funk, as I had to weigh hopping in the car and driving seven hours to Connecticut to be with family, or staying home to focus on business. I admit I do tend to be impulsive, and driving under pressure and exhausting myself would not have helped anyone so I’m glad I didn’t do it.

Jacque was a great guy, and we’ll miss him at family gatherings. So Jacque, this blog post is for you.

I’m behind on everything this week. My blog posts are late, I can’t keep up with my email much less my daily reading. My To Do list is getting longer instead of shorter. I think I might be at a saturation point where every task seems daunting, if not overwhelming.

I wake up in the middle of the night and think about where I am with Grouvia and how much further we still have to go before we’ll see results.

Why is it that everything seems more scary and uncertain at 3 am?

I much prefer broad daylight. I tell you this so you understand that this is my state of mind as I write this. I’m generally an optimistic confident person.

My big challenge at the moment is this: How to drive Grouvia signups.

There are several ways to tackle this. You know by now how much I love making lists, so here’s my list for Ways to Drive Grouvia Signups.

  1. Google AdWords: We did some testing with different keywords, ads, and landing pages and while the ads got a respectable click-through rate (see my Sept. 3rd post about this test) the actual sign up rate was not great. The presumption here is that the landing pages failed to get people to take action. So, we’re learning from this experience and working on improving the landing pages.
  2. Direct Selling: This is a lot of effort for very few signups. However, the signups we do get are of very good quality. I am currently trying to get the Yahoo group moderator for my networking group to move at least part of the group’s site to Grouvia.

    A side benefit of this exercise is that I’m finding out what messages work and don’t work. For example, no matter how many times I say “Grouvia is a free tool…” people always ask “How much does it cost?”

  3. Social Networking: While I do post blurbs and links to my blog posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, I have not asked people to sign up yet using these venues. I think it’s still early and I want to have something more concrete to show with the application before pushing into these channels.
  4. Email Sales: This is a bit dicey because some people might think this crosses the Spam line. Personally I don’t think it does and I am very intolerant of Spam. The concept here is that we search for people who run clubs or organizations and send them an email about Grouvia. There’s a lot more to this than what I’m describing, and I’ll probably write a post specifically about this topic at some point.

    At any rate, the process of finding these group organizers is tedious, but we’ve got a pretty long list compiled already. Did you ever notice how many organized groups there are? It’s probably in the seven figures. (Incidentally, *that* is the main reason I believe so strongly in Grouvia’s ultimate success.)

    (By the way I want to state unequivocally and for the record that Grouvia does not practice Spam techniques, and we are very careful to comply with the CAN-SPAM act of 2003.)

  5. Create Listings: Here’s another dicey one and there are certain risks involved. The idea is to create directory listings of clubs that we find are active online. This is a basic group listing consisting of the group’s name, topic, location, email link, phone number, and maybe a short description — whatever is available online. Then we email the organizer, tell them we’ve created this listing for them, and ask them to log into their account and create a password so they can enhance their listing and start adding their members.

    Honestly I’m not sure about this one, I think we’ll do a test and see what happens. If there is a negative reaction we’ll can it. The risk I mentioned is about creating stale content. The listings that don’t get validated somehow by the group’s owner would have to expire to make sure they don’t create a bunch of stale content.

So there you have it – the five ways we are trying to get sign ups. Are you using any of these approaches? Are you using any other methods that you want to share? Please let us know, so we can all benefit from each other’s experiences.

* * *

Do you enjoy reading these posts? Why not sign-up to receive Grouvia’s e-newsletter? You’ll get the latest news delivered to your inbox and you can participate in the Grouvia development process. It’s free. Sign up at www.grouvia.com.

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6 Responses to “The Grouvia Signup Drive”

  1. Wood Says:

    Can you explain why you decided to seek users before you had a product for them to use? I would think most users would not be interested in a site if when they arrived it was functional. Seems to me that you are wasting effort and opportunity by seeking them out prematurely.

  2. Lisa Pecunia Says:

    Wood – thanks for your comment. We are essentially getting people interested in the site's potential and asking them to give their input in the concept. It has great features that people really want and need and if they sign up now they can be involved in the design and development process. They will be able to test the early releases and let us know what they like and don't like. We all benefit from this approach.

    Many sites do this. The most well-known one in recent news is Mint.com, who asked people to sign up for their alpha test a full seven months before it was ready. Getting brand awareness takes a lot of time, sometimes months, and so it's always better to start getting exposure as early as possible.

  3. Lisa Pecunia Says:

    I discovered another method last night that I'd like to add to the list, although time will tell how well it works.

    The "Twitterverse" is full of people having conversations about a million things. These conversations are all public. So if we use the Twitter search feature to find conversations about the problems which our products solve, we can talk to those people about our products and how they can help them. The challenge is to do this in such a way that it is perceived the way it should be – as a willingness to help and not a hard sell (which could be a turnoff).

    I am trying this for the next week or two, hopefully we'll learn something from it.

  4. Scott Pelland Says:

    I'd suggest using hash tags in your Twitter search. Begin by searching for related hash tags, then add those to your Tweets so you'll be discovered by people who aren't following you already. Nice post, BTW.

  5. Bette Houtchens Says:

    Looks like you’ve done your homework, but I just thought I would pass along http://www.sitepoint.com It provides lots of ideas for driving people to your site. They have lots of information on web design and you'll find a link for keeping up with it all: http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread?t=634491 Also if you want help keeping your blog updated I like the idea someone posted of inviting guest bloggers to keep the flow of content fresh.

    As you noted above you can also buy Google ads on other pages to drive people to your site, or go on other sites and respond to other people's related blogs with links to your site. Then when people recognize you as an authority with your own niche, they'll start looking more directly to your site. Just Google "Marketing my blog" to get a ton of ideas on guerilla marketing strategies and potential revenue streams.

  6. Lisa Pecunia Says:

    Thanks Scott for the excellent idea – I will do that!

    Bette – I will take a look at sitepoint. Regarding guest bloggers, I've invited a few people but haven't had any takers yet.

    I actually just attended a Webinar that gave me some additional great ideas about generating traffic via blogs and organic search. I might even do a Part II to this post to add all the new ideas that have come my way since I wrote this.


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