3 ways to awesomeify your startup launch page with agile marketing

Posted on July 12, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the importance of embracing the agile marketing framework for startups. Over the coming blog posts I shall be delving deeper into this and show how it can look in reality, along with examples of companies both large and small that show the rest of us the way.

To kick this off, in this blog post I shall analyse at an exciting looking startup called Postbox Party. In particular, this post will look at their launch page as this is one place where I feel a lot of start-ups don’t get as much from it as possible and where agile marketing practices can really deliver

First a little background.

Postbox Party is an online party supplies service that gives people the opportunity to buy everything they need (apart from the food and drink) to host a professionally planned home party. With a keen eye for great design, and a natural appreciation of the “perfect little touches” that make a party special, Rose Hall (the brains behind the company) will deliver all you need to to turn a good party into a fantastic one.

Postbox Party is in true start-up phase. Since “pressing go” on the launch page earlier this year they have been steadily building out the proposition, promoting the company through their Facebook page (155 fans at last count) and had made inroads into Twitter as well. Below shows a steady growth in Twitter followers across the last 3 months:

 

So all is looking good.

How can agile marketing make a difference?

Firstly lets look at their launch page pictured below and what’s already so awesome about it:

It’s beautifully designed and does a great job of capturing email addresses of interested parties which will be invaluable when it comes to launch. If we focus on what’s right with it?

  1. Strong CTA – there really is only one thing you’re going to do here once on the page. This data capture if essential to building an audience pre-launch. 
  2. Clear communication of the proposition – I know exactly what this company it about and am intrigued by their product. 
  3. Social links – I’m going to be controversial and say not all startups should jump straight into bed with Facebook (more on that in later posts), but if you’re going to invest time in social platforms then linking them back to your website is key. Plus it gives your audience another way to follow the company development. 

But it’s possible to go further and I see a lot of startups miss this opportunity. One of my major bugbears with launch pages is that they never change. I’ve signed up to countless “launching soon” sites, some of which come to fruition and some that I never hear from again. For those that really intrigue me I make a note of checking back in on from time to time, and 9 times out of 10 I am disappointed with what I find. Months may have passed and still no change and no indication of when they might launch – come on guys, I was excited but now it’s waning and “launching soon” does not give me much to go on.

Agile Marketing tip 1: Relevancy – Put the customer at the centre of the product development

An area set-up to gather feedback from site visitors and get their input into the product development would be an awesome extra element to the Postbox Party launch page.

Some immediate benefits would be:

  1. Gain feedback on what the target market really wants to help shape product development and not waste resource on less popular items.
  2. Make the audience feel part of the startup and emotionally “invested” in the company.
  3. The 2 way interaction is likely to increase the conversion rate of the page.
  4. Enables better CRM, helps to create brand evangelists and creates initial sales leads – at launch Postbox Party could directly contact those that contributed to the product development with “their” party box.

The masters of this are Threadless, ok so they may be past launch phase now but the whole “customer at the centre” thing remains true to their proposition and is a brilliant example of agile marketing in practice.

Notice also the link at the top of the page, “Email me if this gets made!” – this is genius. They’re keeping the (potential) customer engaged throughout the process and generating virtual orders before even creating the product. Forget just startups, more companies should be doing this.

What else can Postbox Party do?

Agile Marketing tip 2: Speed – get your minimum viable product out to the market

Now Postbox Party are actually doing this, they’re currently fulfilling orders for clients with leads mainly garnered through WOM which is great. But why stop there? A naturally cautious approach I understand and completely agree you don’t want to over promise and under-deliver, and you want to ensure your fulfilment side of the business works. But why not channel this through the launch page? After all you’ve done the hard work of getting visitors to your site, so why not draw them in some more, make some money and develop the company a little further.

I love the Groupon model for this type of stuff. Assuming the first idea above has been implemented, they could pick a handful of themed party boxes with higher demand and have them for sale based on enough minimum orders. It doesn’t need to be huge numbers and if you target wider events (Jubilee Weekend, Halloween, 4th July etc) you can be pretty sure there are enough customers out there to provide the demand for a modest amount of boxes. This type of campaign would enable Postbox Party to test out their fulfilment channels in a controlled manner, generate some buzz and maybe even make a little cash in the process.  Again this could be handled though the launch page (WP Deals is a nifty little plug-in for WordPress sites) and provide more engagement for their return visitors.

 

Lastly what’s a third tip?

Agile Marketing tip 3: Engagement – get user generated content up on your site

This seems like a simple one to me but again so easily overlooked by many. Get your visitors and target audience involved early on and get their testimonials on your site. In this case Postbox Party are already sending out party boxes, and their Facebook page {hint: go here and “like” them} is littered with great compliments. They should be looking to get as many of those testimonials onto their site as possible, they’re a solid social signal that is imperative in CRO.

(I’ve smudged out the names and images, does make it look a little creepy!)

Another, more visual way, this could be handled is via the photo gallery. They could encourage users to send in their party images, and upload them to their Facebook page. Then via a handy plugin like Darkroom Facebook Photo Gallery this content could be pulled into their landing page (assuming the page is built on WordPress – I guess we could start there, step 1 – build you landing page on WordPress, step 2 – see above post). It makes sense to keep the Facebook Page a focus for actual posting and interaction, that is what the platform it set up for, but a gallery like this pulled into the launch page will give new visitors to the site a great taste of what Postbox Party is all about which it’s missing at present.

So my advice to Postbox Party would be to ship some developments to the page, embrace agile marketing mentality and it will give the company a great route to success.

So it’s full disclosure time, I know the guys behind Postbox Party. Rose is a good friend of mine and so I have been able to get a good understanding of what she’s done to date. I was not, however, asked or paid to write this post. That was off my own back as I thought it a really good example of how a great startup could employ agile marketing techniques to help them shape the business and products to give them the best chance of real success when it comes to full launch.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above. Have you seen any other great examples of startups really using the launch page to it’s full potential? Please do add your comments.