NOTE: Before launching these experiments, I had interviewed 100 people that I saw as target customers. I conducted these interviews via Skype, in person, and even a few email interviews. I found these individuals by entering cause based social networks, blogs, and my own local contacts to find aspiring Social Entrepreneurs. Click here for my full report on those interviews.
Here’s a summary of my findings as they relate to the current experiment. These were the common threads across the 100 interviews I conducted:
1.) Cause based businesses struggle most with legal issues, how to fund their operations, find cause minded customers, and how to brand their for-profit/for-purpose missions. After my interviews, I became even more confident that online content like webinars, e-books, and online courses would be something that these companies would pay for – provided I could offer value that would help them take their business to the next level.
2.) In addition to online products, I could offer hands on consulting services to a small number of cause based businesses that would generate enough revenue to make my business ‘minimally viable’ (i.e. throwing off enough profit to keep the lights on).
3.) Finally, I have over a decade of experience and connections in this space. I believe I can leverage those to offer one-on-one coaching to one startup Social Entrepreneur each quarter.
Given the above findings from my interviews, my first experiment is designed to test my value proposition for numbers 1 & 3. Thus, I created a virtual coaching program that both pairs aspiring social entrepreneurs with established social entrepreneurs (thereby getting them the legal, funding, and branding advice they need) and involves some one on one coaching with me. Here’s the full breakdown:
Primary Hypothesis: By creating a landing page with all relevant info for a high value mentoring program I will be able to close sales via paid ads on Facebook. If 500 clicks are driven from Facebook to landing page, 2% of those will complete an application (via Google Forms) which commits them to signing on and paying for the program.
Here are some screenshots from that landing page:
Secondary Hypothesis: A separate landing page that features a set of audio lessons with similar content (but no coaching or mentorship) at a much lower price will sell more quickly. By driving 100 clicks to this site, 10% will make an immediate purchase.
And here are those screenshots:
Primary Result: 402 clicks at $0.43 per click. Total campaign cost: $174.31. Total conversions: 0.
These are the Facebook ad pics I used:
Secondary Result: 88 click throughs @ cost of $.45 per click. Total campaign cost: $39.74. Total conversions: 0.
Here are the ad pic I used:
Thoughts on what went wrong: Simply put, my primary offering is too high cost an item for people to convert based on an initial interaction – even if the landing page is rock solid. I believe that a longer tail marketing campaign, which provides free stand alone value on the front end (e.g. video series) will function to warm leads to the point that they engage with and enroll in the program.
However, the fact that I didn’t sell one audio lesson set with 80 clicks is perplexing to me. I still believe, however, that the primary challenge is that we were asking people to buy before we had offered them value and before they had the chance to know us. Thus, here is the new general theory I would like to test:
By creating a ‘value funnel’ that provides new email sign ups with tons of free value on the front end, introduces our work at Social Change Nation, and leads to opportunities to further the relationship with our movement, we will begin to close sales. It is also critical that this value funnel offer varying price points for anything we try to sell.
How does this bear on my learnings from 100 interviews? (In other words, if I found this was a problem in my interviews and created a solution, then why in the hell didn’t people buy???) The finding that lack of specific knowledge (e.g. what are the special legal forms that Social Entrepreneurs benefit from?) and tools for startup Social Entrepreneurs was a significant pain point for my target audience led me to believe that I could generate value by solving this problem. I still believe this is the case BUT I must first prove to people that I can add that value. This is what I failed to do in my first experiment, and what I will fix and test with the next.
Way forward: I propose using paid advertising via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google to get 1500 clicks, of those, my target is getting 500 (33%) to opt in (with email address) for a free video series on the basics of social entrepreneurship & possibly a ‘hangout’ on Lean Startup for Social Good. All of these efforts will drive people into the process of making a decision on whether or not the big accelerator OR a lower intensity online class is right for them, but they will get some real value and spend time getting to know us beforehand.
New Thesis: If 500 qualified leads go through an automated video funnel leading to a close for a high ticket mentoring circle, 7% will convert to paying clients. (either by signing on for coaching program, or a lower level version of it).
Deadline: By May 31, 500 leads will have gone through the video funnel & will be on my email list. This list can be used to continue to bring them into the Goodvalchal, to provide them with weekly content (e.g. my podcast), and to continue offering opportunities at all levels to get more in-depth knowledge and exposure to social entrepreneurship.