I position your startup's product (for free, of course)

(Guy Vincent) #21

@derekfrome this is an amazing way to contribute to the community – thank you!

If you have time to position another one, I run Publishizer, which matches authors with publishers during pre-orders campaigns. We’re like a literary agent that pitches publishers based on pre-orders metrics, to help authors easily get the best publisher for their book. Our company was in 500 Startups batch 13 in Mountain View last year.

Thanks in advance for recommendations – brutal ideas are welcome :slight_smile:

(Pawel Janiak) #22

Such a great thread! Good on you @derekfrome

(Tarik Kurspahic) #23

Hi Derek.

Thanks so much for taking the time to look. I really appreciate it and think your feedback is pretty spot on :smile: I will definitely be spending time with my time on this and let me know if you have any other thoughts. Also, if you wouldn’t mind trying the product, I would love that feedback as well…

(Derek Frome) #24

Great! Glad to hear it!

(Derek Frome) #25

@guyvincey - cool project. My immediate reaction is I can’t tell if you want to both run the funding campaigns AND hook authors up with publishers or just hook the authors up with publishers, no matter where they fund their projects.

To me, the latter seems like a more viable model for you since that’s really where you’re adding value, although I understand why you might have to do both (not enough supply on Kickstarter/Indiegogo).

Positioning-wise, I think “Welcome to Reader Powered Publishing” doesn’t quite get me there. You have a conundrum in that you have 3 audiences to appeal to at the exact same time. You need to decide who is the most important of them (probably pick 2) and appeal to that subset with your website positioning.

So, if you’ve got a sales/BD team out signing publishers directly, your site can appeal to the readers and authors primarily.

In that case you could position it like “Where great authors meet their earliest fans” or something like that.

However, if your entire business revolves around getting publishers interested, you probably need to focus on authors + publishers and leave the authors to promote their work independently.

If that was the case, I’d suggest positioning like

“Authors, meet your Publisher.
Publishers, meet your next Best-Seller.”

A few other notes for you:

  • You need a secondary color to help you separate CTAs. Your progress bar is the same color as your CTAs, which is confusing.
  • You’ve GOT to have CTAs on the “trending” book proposals!
  • Social shares on the trending proposals is probably a good idea
  • Integration w/ kickstarter and indiegogo seems like a really good idea. People need you even if they’re funding the project elsewhere. If your business model can’t support this, probably you should change your business model to allow for it.
  • Consider a more appropriate font like something that looks like typeset print
  • On the Browse page, make filtering easier instead of one super long drop down list
  • Seems like browse page should be infinite scroll, not a load more button
  • For finished campaigns, if they’re available on Amazon or elsewhere, put a buy button! Take a cut of that revenue.
  • Think of other ways you can support these authors. It can be as easy as linking to their twitter or website. But help them build their audience in any way you can.

That’s what I have on first look. Hope that helps!

(Derek Frome) #26

Glad you’re enjoying it!

(Amber) #27

Hi @derekfrome - thanks for your offer!

I’m the founder of Endorsevent a platform that connects brands with event sponsorship opportunities. We have a slant towards events that are tech, charity, and/or diversity focused.

We provide event organizers with an easy way to get the attention of brands already identified as in the market, while also helping brands reduce the time and people resources involved sifting through sponsorship inbounds and searching new events on their own.

We have a freemium subscription model where any event organizer can post the first event free of charge. Brands can also join for free however, with the paid packages brands receive a dedicated rep who will put together custom event sponsorship packages based on their audience and budget. Endorsevent also charges an 8.75% matching fee to event organizers who successfully raise on the platform.

Thank you!

(Derek Frome) #28

Amber, hi!

What a cool platform you have (and congrats on the recent seed round). Business model makes sense, and you can keep fees for organizers low enough that they’re pretty much guaranteed to come out on the positive side. I like the approach of charging on both ends of the transaction because both parties are benefiting from using your service. Don’t love the human labor as upsell component, but if that’s working, you run with it for now.

You have a challenge we’ve seen in this thread a couple times where you need to appeal to multiple audiences at the same time, and your messaging is in danger of suffering as a result. You can take the middle road and message the platform as something like “Where unique events meet amazing sponsors”.

Not knowing this market too well, I’d be interested to know what else is out there and how you’re uniquely or comparatively better than the other options. Your positioning seems to be mostly against a DIY approach, which I imagine is what most companies/organizers do. So then, you could run with a theme of taking the heavy lifting out of event sponsorship.

Other thoughts (sending you a DM also):

  • Not a big fan of the X ____ Y format for your headline. Requires too much time/attention to see something relevant to me
  • Don’t describe yourself as an innovative platform. If that’s what you are, you don’t say it yourself. A more colloquial way like “Endorsevent connects exciting sponsors with unique events to…”
  • Remove or significantly rework the bottom banner with the “on course refreshments…” bubble. It replicates banner 3 but is much more cluttered and confusing. Banner 3 is pretty darn nice and gets your point across. Maybe have some arrows to the items on the table though - it took me a second to figure out that the stock photo and callout circles were related.
  • Don’t love the “FREE!” callouts on the Get Sponsored page, but worth an a/b test because I could be wrong.
  • Event cards need to be a uniform height. Differing heights makes it look unprofessional
  • Top right labels are hard to read on event cards
  • How it Works is a solid page, but it’s kind of weird that the words “Post, Connect, Endorse” are the same across all 3 target audiences. I’d take a hard look at whether the exact same top-level positioning makes sense across all 3 groups.
  • Don’t love that pricing is not transparent-ish. Even on your FAQs, you say “sign up for an account to find out how much we price” (basically) - I’d be out of there real quick if I read that. Consider more transparency since you have a great value proposition. You do want to keep people from completely circumventing you, but in growth mode, policing that shouldn’t be too big of a concern.

Hope that all helps!

(Laurence) #29

Hi Derek!

Thanks for the initiative!

We’re developing a network helping teenagers with missed connections by recommending them new people they might have noticed in real life (a cafe, subway, bus, mall etc).
It works like a time machine, because they can go back in time and find each other after they locked eyes in real life.

Can check out Intersect here: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.intersect.app

We started in a small city to test out the usecase (iterated with tens of thousands of users on different concepts on the same pain point) and have gotten good organic growth of 60% MoM despite the chicken-and-egg issue -> gathering 60k alpha testers with this new app.

We are having trouble communicating it. High schoolers desperately need this but it’s hard to communicate as a social thing not as a dating app because they are too young and terrified of creeps. But the idea is here you can’t have fake profiles because you actually see those people in real life.


(Derek Frome) #30

Laurence -

Well ok so here’s the thing - the products already on the market pre-position your product as a “dating” app. People don’t make new friends by “noticing them in real life” at a coffee shop or whatever. They might meet a cute someone they’re attracted to that way, though. Then you go after the teenage market and things start to get weird because your app is rated “Mature 17+” in the play store.

Questions for you would be:

  • WHY the teenage market?
  • Why NOT have it be a dating app?
  • How are you ever going to monetize this concept?

So, this is to say that I think your problem might be structural, not positioning. But, I’ll give you a few thoughts:

  • What if you positioned it as a way to find people who are interested in the same activities you are interested in? For instance, cycling or video games.
  • Then you’d only “match” people based on the physical proximity and also matched interests
  • With this, you could make it look less like a dating app by emphasizing the shared interests
  • For god sakes, if it’s not a dating app, REMOVE THE GIRL WITH THE BIKINI FROM YOUR IMAGES. Or let it be a dating/hookup app and just own it.
  • With activity centric matching, you could easily see which communities use your app most and put on events to attract and grow that community. This is a monetization opportunity.

Hope that helps.

(Stephen Willis) #31

Hey Derek,

After your advice I decided to go with the following pricing strategy:

  1. 7 day free trial for x amount of greetings.
  2. x amount of greetings per month (monthly/yearly)
  3. Unlimited amount of greetings (monthly/yearly)

The x amount of greetings would still fall into frequency of average or high-end user, say 4 per month for $3.99
Basically I am giving best of both that way user can choose and not feel obligated to purchase unlimited…


(Derek Frome) #32

Cool! Let us know how it goes.

(Nate) #33

Hi Derek,

Thanks for doing this - enjoyed reading your insights. Would love to get your thoughts on our positioning at Athos (www.liveathos.com).

We make workout apparel with embedded bio-sensors that measure exactly which muscles you’re using in real-time and at what intensity in addition to heart rate. Our goal is to use your unique biodata to offer real-time insights and trends into how efficiently you’re working out. As a high-price point product in a crowded wearable space, our main challenge has been educating customers on what EMG is and the products benefits in an easy to digest way. Let us know what you think!


(Dilip Rajan) #34

Thanks for the help Derek — looking forward to your insights on positioning for my media startup, Vyrtex (www.vyrtex.com)

Vyrtex’s goal is to be the #1 media brand for millennials interested in smarter, thought-provoking articles (compared to the listicles and clickbait on their FB newsfeed). “Smart reads for smart people.”

What makes Vyrtex different from all the millennial-focused media publishers out there, besides our focus on smarter content, is our model: we don’t hire writers to produce content. Instead, we curate the best articles published elsewhere on the web and distribute that to our audience, lowering our costs and increasing our quality (since we have a larger pool of articles to pick from).

We source the articles through a community website we’ve built — it’s a social content curation platform where content-junkies share and organize the stuff they’re reading by topic. We promote the best articles on our front page (currently improving this front page for non-members/curators), a daily email newsletter, and an app in the future. So as I see it now, the value for the average user = we condense the firehose of content on the web into a shortlist of amazing reads, handpicked for quality.

I’d love your critique on how I’ve explained this, as well as advice on how to position and promote ourselves to the audience we’re targeting — mostly college students and recent college grads, ages 18-25. We’re currently making the transition from just the community site (focused on the curators) to the full-on media site (focused on readers) and it’s a bit tricky for us right now. Thanks again for the help!

(Jonathan Korn) #35

Hey there!
I built Manda, an ecommerce app that allows you to buy directly from famous Brazilian Brands. You can collect cool products (similar to Pinterest) but with a twist! If someone buys something from your collection, you get comissioned!

website: http://www.getmanda.com.br (it’s super duper localized in Portuguese :slight_smile: )

(Nathan Murphy) #36

@derekfrome Hi Derek!

It’s really kind of you to do this. Have learnt a lot from reading your responses thus far!

My product is http://tribegrowth.com - we help you get customers over twitter and grow an audience of engaged relevant followers.

I think it’s great because we have some incredible targeting features and it works out 10x cheaper than buying ads through Twitter itself. It puts your twitter growth on autopilot.

Look forward to reading your critique!

  • N

(Derek Frome) #37

Hey Nate - I’ve definitely heard of Athos before and have been aware of the company for at least a couple years now. Seems it has not quite broken through despite pretty cool technology. Positioning probably plays a part. There’s a lot at play here - look for a message from me in your inbox.

My main issue is this: who is it for? The price point is high, nearly $550 for a full body suit - shorts and shirt. For the recreational athlete who jogs twice a week, this has just strictly got to be too high. For the serious athlete who does a strenuous workout 4x a week or more (I fall into this category FWIW), you look at it and think “Ok, This could be cool. But at the end of the day I’m only getting one shirt, which I’m either constantly washing or is going to smell terrible by day 2 or 3.” Right or wrong, that’s what immediately pops into my head.

“See gains faster” isn’t bad, but it doesn’t speak to what you position as the actual benefits further down the page. Off the top, “Data is the best coach” seems to fit better with your value positioning, which is geared toward correcting form, fixing imbalances, and tracking muscle exertion/efficiency.

I’m trying to imagine real world use cases, and all the barbell centric imagery doesn’t really do it for me. Plus, the sensors are in non-ideal places for barbell activities or crossfit. Trust me on that one because I coach 9 crossfit classes a week in my “spare” time :slightly_smiling: . People that care about the things you’re positioning as benefits seem to be more along the lines of cyclists, runners, and maybe things like Zumba or Pilates.

With that in mind, I actually like the “If there’s more left in you, Athos will find it” concept. Cyclists get hot and bothered for 4% efficiency gains. Runners obsess about muscle imbalances. These are long sports where small efficiency gains can make a big difference. Something to think about, anyway.

Hope that gets you started. I’ll send you a message as well.

(Matthieu Varagnat) #38

Hi Derek,

That’s an awesome idea - really nice of you. And I could definitely use some help on positioning.

I made www.smooz.io as a side project, initially target at native-Slack support for companies (think API startups) to their users (think a dev team using said API). That reflects in the current copy.

However after 3 weeks, I can say that this positioning is incorrect. The product is used by 125+ teams around the world, 100 messages per day, doubling every week. However none in the scenario initially envisioned. I have fablabs from Vietnam talking to fablabs in Singapour, startups in the same incubator but different floors making lunch plans, consultants and design agencies talking to clients, and mentors talking to startups.

So, my langage needs a big overhaul, but I don’t know how to position because of the diversity. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

(Guy Vincent) #39

@derekfrome this is mind-blowingly awesome advice, thank you so much.

These suggestions have been integrated into wireframes that are being built now.

You’re awesome!

(Mikhail Trofimov) #40

Hi Derek,

Thanks for the opportunity!

I’m working on SaaS analytics platform Revealytics

Revealytics helps you understand what ​is going on with ​your marketing, product and revenue metrics by connecting user acquisition and revenue data.

Problem: It’s really hard to calculate and collect all metrics in one place and get the full picture of your company. Most of these companies spend a lot of time and money on marketers, analysts and developers to set up analytics software, calculate all the needed metrics and fill in enormous spreadsheets for different time periods.

Solution: We can get all of these metrics almost without integration. We found the way to bundle marketing channels and purchase data through different APIs. We use Stripe API for obtaining purchase data (later we plan to work with other payment systems). That allows us to calculate most metrics like MRR, CAC, LTV, Churn rate, Payment conversion, etc. and segment all of them by channels and cohorts.

Product positioning is very important for us at this stage. I will appreciate your help.