About how we promoted a non-existent Internet project

    Article Two

    Our first material, “ Choosing a Name for a Startup, ” published by my colleague, in our opinion, showed a certain interest of Habrahabr users in the experience of other startups, so we will add up to nothing and continue our story.

    Let me remind you that in the mentioned material it was about how we, with the help of Internet users, chose a name for a startup - a social network for mothers.

    So, the task and the problem is in mid-October 2009: we have a thoroughly developed startup concept; we have his name - "Country of Moms"; technical developments are in full swing, but it is obvious that a working model will be ready no earlier than in a month or two; We have a number of Internet projects where quite a lot of users go, and where, in principle, we could start advertising our startup - especially since we have successfully promoted the choice of its name among our users, i.e. "Country of mothers" is a well-known phrase for many thousands of potential participants in the project.

    It’s clear that even cold-blooded people’s preparations for the start-up start up cause some excitement, and, of course, impatience. We, at least, felt this very impatience to the fullest - how could it be that the startup’s opening is slowed down by programmers, and we have to lose a month, or even two!

    And at that moment an idea came up that was inspired by the famous Leprosy - because from the point of view of an ordinary Internet user visiting leprosorium.ru- it is not known whether there is any form behind the form on the main page, what the site is there, and what the user can get there; however, the same user who got to vkontakte.ru - also does not know what awaits him after registration (unless, of course, he had previously heard about this social network :)). We decided to exploit this idea, finalizing it a bit: we did not register users on a non-existent project (although it was possible to do it too; we abandoned this idea because we did not want to “create” registrations; it was not known to anyone - it was important for us so that people register consciously on the project), and conduct an advertising campaign under the slogan “Did you get a passport in Mom Country?”, whose goal was to collect the email addresses of users potentially interested in registering with our startup.

    1. It was announced that in 2009 in the Country of Mom only 10 thousand beautiful ladies will be able to "get passports".
    2. Placed on the stranamam.ru domain this form for those who want to "get a passport":

    3. The following banners were placed on our projects:

    4. Here is the following text published in the form of news on our websites:
    "Country of mothers": hurry to get a "passport"!

    Which of us did not dream of returning to the wonderful Country of Childhood for at least a couple of minutes? But since this country exists, that is, the Country of Moms - while the baby gets acquainted with the world around him, his mother also lives a completely different life than before the birth of the baby. She has new worries and joys, topics for conversations and questions that she wants to ask only to the best specialists. At this time, mothers make new friends - other mothers, with whom it is interesting to discuss each new step in the life of a newborn. For you, Mom, we open the "Country of Moms".

    "Country of Moms" is a social network for pregnant women and mothers, where you can find entertaining and useful information about children and for children. Moms will be able to share experiences, talk about the successes of their babies, take part in interesting contests.

    A huge amount of useful original materials that you will not find on other resources, as well as a wealth of background information will help you become a good mother. We will organize consultations for any female and children's specialists, and you yourself will be able to set the mood for the project and propose topics for coverage that interest you.

    True, in 2009, not all will receive “citizenship” in the “Country of Moms”. This year, only 10 thousand people will be able to participate in the social network. Due to too many people wishing to become participants in the project, the administration decided to limit the number of participants at the beginning of the project.

    In just two days of advertising “The Country of Moms”, more than a thousand passports were distributed at Mediafort projects. At the moment, there are less than 9,000 places left for ladies who will be the first to test the merits of the new project.

    The launch of the "Country of Moms" is scheduled for November-December this year. You still have a chance to sign up, and, of course, take friends with you. It is enough for you and them to go to www.stranamam.ru and leave your e-mail, on which an invitation ticket will be sent to the magical “Country of Moms”.

    The project is organized on a geographical basis, so mothers can easily find their neighbors and get to know them in reality. Hurry up to get citizenship in the "Country of Moms"!

    Note that this text was published at a time when, technically, a startup, in principle, did not exist at all.

    Honestly, we were very worried about the outcome of our event. Well, firstly, although more than 150 thousand women visit our women's sites every day, and this, in general, is a really large number of people - but, according to our audience study, the number of mothers among them is relatively small, the figure is 10 thousand mummies who want to leave the email seemed very optimistic and overpriced to us, and until recently we did not believe that we would be able to attract and motivate such a number of users to get a passport in a month.

    Secondly, it was not clear whether women would agree to leave their emails in principle, whether they would take us for spammers or even crooks. As shown further, the fears were in vain - on the one hand, the ladies who are part of the constant audience of our projects were obviously loyal to our new site. The ladies, who in one way or another fell into the stub of the "Country of Moms" and heard about it for the first time, also willingly left their emails. Maybe they liked the idea that they would be among the finite number of invitees, maybe they were driven by curiosity - but there was no problem. Moreover, the analysis carried out at the end of the campaign showed that emails were left by 40% of unique users who visited the startup page.

    We were pleasantly struck that the news “Get a Passport in the Country of Moms” was reprinted by other sites and discussed on blogs. The users asked each other - what kind of Country of Moms is this, how to get there?

    Thus, while our programmers were rapidly developing the software part, we slowly collected emails of potential participants, and, as a result, by the beginning of December, the software development and the collection of 10 thousand email addresses of future “residents” of the Country of Moms were almost completed.
    In order to fulfill the promise made to our users, namely, that in 2009 only 10 thousand mothers will be able to “register" in the Country of Moms, it was decided to launch the project in closed mode - i.e. registration was possible only with an invitation invitation.

    As is clear from this article, we were in a hurry. On the one hand, there was the impatience of the startup owners mentioned above; on the other hand, it’s clear that the saying “time is money” has a direct relation to the start-up, because competitors develop their sites, and the sooner you open, the easier it will be to compete with competitors in the future. On the third hand, the New Year was on the nose, and I wanted to carry out the main organizational work before the New Year holidays - so that on New Year it would be possible to raise a glass of champagne with good conscience for the success of the startup in the New Year, and our users on the New Year holidays could joyfully communicate and learn new website.

    In this regard, in the shortest possible time (literally in a matter of days) we tested the software part, and also prepared the site for opening, that is, carried out its initial filling - both by forces of especially loyal users and regular authors.

    The opening was to take place on December 2, and we were very worried: we collected 10 thousand emails, but how many users would like to register after a few weeks? We were afraid of two things: firstly, that a small number of people would want to register; secondly - that the new project will not be interesting to these people, they will not want to use it - and after one or two visits to the site they will stop visiting it. It’s not for me to tell dear Khabrovsk citizens how often this happens - that in the first days after the start-up of a startup, there is some kind of attendance, which gradually begins to slide to zero.

    Nevertheless, the results exceeded all our expectations. On December 2, we launched the project, which, in fact, boiled down to sending out letters to 10 thousand users who left us their email. Each letter contained an overview of the project’s capabilities (at the start there were both standard features of a thematic social network - posting articles and blogging, posting photo albums, as well as “specific” functions for the “mom” project — for example, a pregnancy calendar), as well as an invite link and a call to take an active part in testing a new project.

    Users received these letters with enthusiasm. Within a week, 80% of the 10 thousand notified users registered on this mailing list - about 8 thousand. On the first day, site traffic exceeded 5 thousand people (we reached the same traffic, but on a stable basis only in February 2010), which allowed us to get to the first page of the top.mail.ru rating under the heading of “mom” sites (t .e. enter the "thirty"). On the first day, users viewed more than 50 thousand pages - we had not achieved such success with any of our startups before. And, most importantly - of these 8 thousand registered users, at least 500 immediately entered the "core" of the audience - and go to the Country of Moms every day until now.

    Immediately after the New Year holidays, we had to make a decision - when is it worth opening the project for free registration of all comers, and whether it is worth doing it - but this is a question for a separate consideration. We will definitely discuss the difficulties of our choice, the pros and cons of the development of projects in the “closed” and “open” modes in one of the following materials.

    And now - we summarize: in our opinion, you need to start advertising a startup as soon as possible, at the earliest opportunity. In our case, the “first opportunity” was the moment when we decided on the name of the startup.

    We were able to “save” at least a month of valuable time by two-stage promotion - public discussion of the name of the startup and its further advertising (with the still undeveloped software part). We achieved that we opened the project to an already prepared and loyal audience, and, in fact, from the first day we were able to form the core of a permanent audience - which immediately allowed us to believe that the project is doomed to success, and, of course, we greatly facilitated its task in its further advancement.

    At the moment, almost 4 months after the opening, more than 17 thousand mothers are registered in the “ Country of Moms ”, the daily audience is 6-8 thousand users, the daily number of page views of the project is about 100 thousand.

    Read also the first article: “Choosing a name for startup "

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