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LETS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.

Question :
Kia Ora, I recently launched a website designed to tell students if their highschool crush likes them back. The website is called zulicrush.com, and has had a really encouraging level of success at Western Springs College (where it launched) with over 1/4 of the school signing up (either from seeing our marketing or from being invited by another user). Part of our success was that we could market freely at WSC, as it’s our own school. However with no investors or sponsors as of yet we really don’t have the capital to spread it to other schools (a more pricey venture, though one which we can do relatively cheaply with giveaways and targeted ads). My understanding of our predicament is this: we need to either get media coverage, or an injection of capital to effectively get our brand and idea out there. However, in order to get investors or sponsors we need to either a) show that we’re turning a profit (however we’re not monetising our product yet), b) know the right people (which we don’t), or c) show that we have a steadily growing user base (which we need marketing for). I imagine we’ll have similar issues trying to get media coverage (+ covid doesn’t help). What are our next steps? Should we be reaching out to investors/sponsors/media despite our relatively small user-base? Is there someone you could put us in touch with who would like their brand to be featured in the niche market of teenagers in relationships? What are other ways we could get 1000 bucks under our belt to spread the word? What are the best media channels/investors to reach out to? Thanks so much in advance,Brodie

Question submitted 20/08/20 @ 10:34am
Industry: Digital and Technology
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  • Hi There,

    Thanks for your question. My biggest suggestion with something like this is to have active Social Media. The majority of Highschool kids have Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and more!

    My recommendation would be to have creative images and cool captions/hashtags to gain more followers and more interest in your website first before spending the money on media coverage or getting investors. The more followers you have on social media from highschoolers, the more people will talk about your site at school and the more engagement and traffic you will get to your website.

    I would also recommend having a Facebook Page where you can consistently post as well. You can link this to your Instagram account and have similar posts going on both platforms.

    I really would recommend Facebook/Instagram Advertising. This is extremely budget-friendly and would definitely attract a number of high schoolers. Using creative images and intriguing captions to draw in people to your site is key. For example, you could do, Ever wondered if your Highschool crush likes you? Well, now you can check for Free with Zuli. Use emojis to make the person more interested such as hearts or a person emoji.

    I myself am 21yrs old and so I have a rough idea of what people similar ages/younger than me are interested in and what would draw them in. I run E-Commerce Businesses where majority of my products are selling to teenagers. I also have social media that I run for my businesses and run Facebook/Instagram Advertising. I feel this project is something I could help with if you ever needed someone. Any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me annabellelindberg30@gmail.com

    Hey Brodie – my advice, don’t raise money, find a way to hustle using you and your team’s time and energy – do the hard yards now, bootstrap it, and you will be thankful later – as people say, ‘only raise money when you know your market, you know your metrics and now you want to scale it’.

    Good luck, and maybe read a few blogs about bootstrapping. Andy

    Thank you both so much for taking the time to reply 🙂

    I also love the idea of reaching a huge amount of our age group via social media (for free – yay!), but am skeptical of making it our sole way to acquire users. Would this really work independently of paying influencers to shout us out/paying to promote our posts and pages (which I’m not sure we have the budget for).

    Thanks very much for your offer to help Annabelle. We’ll definitely pose some questions to you after we decompose your advice at the next team meeting. In the mean-time, are there any similar businesses whose social media campaigns we could have a look at (perhaps an app which is dedicated to one service, rather than an e-commerce website with multiple products).

    Thanks for your advice too Andrew. It was the advice I was fearing, but probably the advice I needed to hear haha.

    I’ll look into bootstrapping now.

    Hi Brodye11

    No worries, look forward to hearing from you. An app could be a great option for sure as many high schoolers have smartphones nowadays. I have a great contact who builds apps and has lots of experience. If you’re interested I would be happy to pass over his details to you.

    I also have worked on multiple social media campaigns for numerous businesses. I would be happy to send over some of the campaigns I have worked on if you want? Just let me know. This might give you a few ideas as well for what you potentially might want to do.

    I do understand your potential concern with having social media as your main way to gain users however I do have other suggestions. Influencers are a great tool to use. Generally, if people see local influencers using the app they will think “I should try it because (xyz) is using it so it must be good” Also you could potentially get a group of students at different schools together who can talk about it and promote it during lunchtime at school. Word of mouth is definitely key to help with this. Initially, I think definitely start with Social Media to market and gain users but it will eventually be more word of mouth as high schoolers will talk more and more about it whilst at school or hanging out with their friends.

    Look forward to hearing from you
    Annabelle 🙂

    Hi Annabelle,

    Wow that was quick! I appreciate the suggestion, and we are certainly planning on developing the website into an app (the website is just an MVP so that we could get some feedback and validation). Unfortunately there’s no chance we could afford to pay your contact for the amount of time it would take him to complete the project (sorry if I sound like a broken record player on this, but we really don’t have much capital to spare). If he would be willing to give me some pro-bono advice on compiling the current website into an app (which is what I’m about to do now) then by all means send my details through, but I’m aware that the time of professionals is not an infinite resource so no worries if not.

    I would love to see some of the campaigns which you’ve worked on! My email’s dyeb@wsc.school.nz

    I’ll definitely reconsider social media’s position in our marketing campaign, and possibly send you through a vague breakdown of our social media strategy (if you don’t mind looking over it?) after our meeting.

    Thanks again so much for your help 🙂

    Brodie

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