How we’ve used social media marketing to attract over 1,000 sign-ups pre-launch
Set to go live next month, Total Freelance founder Aaron Regan explains how he's used a holding page and social platforms to pique customer interest
Name: Aaron Regan
Company: Total Freelance
Started in: 2014 (will launch in August 2015)
Company description: Online platform connecting UK-based freelancers with businesses, entrepreneurs and not-for-profit organisations
Describe your start-up barrier
We were creating an online marketplace and faced the classic chicken and egg challenge. We needed to connect one group of people – UK-based freelancers –with another – companies, entrepreneurs and in-house recruiters seeking UK-based freelancers.
How can an online marketplace attract one group without the other?
We took the view that before we launched we needed to have customers from both sides of the marketplace, ready and waiting for the day the platform went live. To do this we started with our value proposition before we began developing, so we could start marketing across social media before we went live.
We hired a freelance developer to make a basic website for us (pictured above), which enabled us to capture email addresses of freelancers and those looking to hire freelancers. The website also housed a blog which gave us content to share through social media.
The social media sites we had most success with were Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. When using LinkedIn, create a group which is of interest to your target customers as it enables you to send one “in-mail” per week, straight to the inbox of the group participants. LinkedIn is great for B2B marketing.
We ran this process for about 12 months up until launch. Not only did it prove successful in collecting email addresses but enabled the team to get very familiar with social media marketing, build up a following and create content for the blog which is great for engaging with your target audience.
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Through sharing our value proposition on social media, which cost nothing but our time, we managed to collect over 1,000 email addresses before launch, enabling us to email a large qualified pool of potential customers from both sides of the marketplace.
What three questions should other start-up business owners ask themselves before running a social media marketing campaign?
- Are your customers online? In most cases today, the answer will be yes. If so, it’s worth pursuing.
- Have you got a well-defined value proposition (VP), which talks to your customers? Having a well defined VP will attract the attention of your target customer, even if you don’t have a shiny product or service to show off today.
- Do I have the time and ability to run social media accounts? This is a key part of running a modern business, if you don’t have the time and/or ability then outsource to a skilled freelance social media manager.
What one piece of advice do you think start-up entrepreneurs should take on board?
Stay focused on your value proposition and persevere – refine your process and keep going and the sign-ups will keep coming.
Is there anything you would do differently?
I would have started social media marketing earlier. The earlier you start, the quicker you learn. The bottom line is you’ll have more sign-ups.