Archives for July 2017

July 31, 2017 - No Comments!

Did Harry’s turn off their referral program?

The truth is that Harry’s turned off their referral program 🙁

But with their prelaunch referral campaign, they achieved something unique.

They managed to gather more than 100,000 emails in a single week and build a strong brand.

Harry's milestone Referral Viral Loops

They used some tactics on their landing page such as:

  • big bold images
  • bold tagline
  • clear messaging
  • images with the prizes etc.

Harry's milestone Referral Viral Loops

Their goal was to let people easily understand the referral concept and how they can win several prizes.

Nobody believed that a small barber shop could reach so much publicity via a milestone referral program.

This success led them to buy a 94 year old razor blade factory, hire more than 500 employees, open a barber shop in New York City and publish their own magazine!

Along with the above accomplishments, their digital store is one of the fastest growing in the industry.

There are many ways to delight your customers. A nice approach is to reward them for telling their friends about your products/company.

You can say that Harry’s team knew that, but what if they didn’t? We can tell that they surely knew that word of mouth was probably their best marketing channel.

And this is what they did! They ran a pre-launch with a referral campaign.

Every day, you get a lot of emails which end up in spam folder.

Imagine getting an email from your best friend or someone you trust, suggesting a new product/company → boom! → you are immediately interested in checking it. This is called referral marketing.

As I said in the beginning, Harry’s prelaunch referral program is turned off.

At this moment they are trying to figure out some new mechanisms as effective as their previous milestone-style referral campaign.

But nothing special yet. In case you want to build a similar campaign, you can use a free tool we built: How to build a prelaunch referral like Harry’s

It helps design in 4 simple steps, a campaign similar to Harry’s.

That’s all from me 🙂


July 31, 2017 - No Comments!

What books are on your “must read” list for web startups?

Either you are a Founder or not, at the beginning of your Startup journey, you should check some learnings and experiences from successful people.

These books will challenge the way you think and will teach you some key things on how to run a web startup and many more.

If you want to think creatively and beyond your limit, add reading as your daily routine.

In no time you will find yourself in a whole new another universe where everything is possible.

Not excited yet?

If you want to learn more, you have to read more, so here is the 2017 (updated) must-have reading list, with 10 books/e-books paid and free to grow your startup.

Enjoy:

  1. The Hard Τhing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers PAID — this is my favorite ✌️
    by Ben Horowitz
    , cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs.
  2. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five DaysPAID
    by Jake Knapp
    , John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz, three partners at Google Ventures, a unique five-day process for solving tough problems, proven at more than a hundred companies.
  3. Let the Cash Flow: A Guide Full Of Growth Tactics For Your eCommerce Store FREE
    by Viral Loops and ContactPigeon
    , you will get a deeper understanding of what can make or break your eCommerce store. In addition to that, it presents you tools and how you can utilize them to take your store one step ahead of the competition.
  4. Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days PAID
    by Jessica Livingston
    , composed of interviews she did with the founders of famous technology companies concerning what happened in their early years.
  5. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future PAID
    by Peter Thiel
    , a Legendary entrepreneur and Investor shows how to build a great business and a better future.
  6. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products PAID
    by Nir Eyal
    , this book shows us how to apply our understanding of habits into making products for business.
  7. 100 Days of Growth: Proven Ways to Grow your Business fast PAID
    by Sujan Patel and Rob Wormley
    , these 100 growth tactics were compiled based on strategies and techniques that Authors have used to help hundreds of clients move the needle and actually grow their businesses.
  8. Growth Hacker Marketing PAID
    by Ryan Holiday
    , it shows how the marketing game has changed forever. He explains the Growth Hacker Mindset and provides a new set or rules-critical information whether you’re an aspiring marketer, an entrepreneur, or a fortune 500 executive.
  9. Traction: How any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth PAID
    by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
    , a Startup advice tends to be a lot of platitudes repackaged with new buzzwords, but Traction is something else entirely.
  10. Intercom on Starting Up PAID
    by Intercom
    , learn what it takes to build a startup from the ground up.

Feel free to copy and share, this book list, with your friends and colleagues.

“So do the reading.

Then ask yourself: We can test a few new things, can’t we?

Oh my… of course we can and of course we must test new things, because we can.” - Uknown


July 28, 2017 - No Comments!

How Joeywears used referral marketing before raising $100,000 on their Kickstarter campaign

^ That’s JoeyWears an e-commerce company which tries to change the way we wear underwear.

Yang, Jake and their awesome team want to offer superior quality fabrics, the perfect fit and innovative designs to make underwear the most comfortable thing in your wardrobe.

Their motto?!

"No more sweaty balls"

joeywears viral loops interview

We interviewed Jake Mellet, Co-founder at JoeyWears to know more.

Hey Jake, can you tell us about what you are working on? What is JoeyWears?

In a nutshell, JoeyWears is the underwear your balls deserve.

We wanted to create a pair of boxers that are comfortable, sustainably sourced and look great - most undies just do one of those well. It’s taken us about 9 months to develop these bad boys, and we’ve just launched our Fresh-Man range.

Our pouch technology is designed to prevent sweat, our fabric is 3x softer than cotton & sustainably sourced, and they don’t ride up. We tested them on 100 beta testers, and they really loved them - even describing them as the “the upgrade my underwear drawer needs”.

Tell us more about the stage of your company?

3 weeks ago we launched on Kickstarter. We wanted to raise around $15,000 over the campaign, to hopefully find a community who loved JoeyWears. We managed to do this in 30 hours.

We’re now over 1000 backers after 3 weeks, which is incredible. 

joeywears interview Viral Loops

How are your customers using JoeyWears?

Currently, only our beta testers have a pair of JoeyWears. We actually have two versions - the Pro and the Active.

The Pro version is perfect for everyday wear, and we recommend it for people who work in offices or want the perfect pair of undies for a sofa day.

The Active version is (you guessed it) aimed at the more sporty amongst us. It’s designed to be great for running, the gym and especially cycling, and the feedback from our customers confirms this!

joeywears interview viral loops

That's great! Were there any early 'growth hacks' or tactics that have contributed to your current success?

One of the really cool growth hacks we did when launching JoeyWears on Kickstarter was to tag everyone who bought a pair in a picture on Facebook. This meant that JoeyWears was appearing on their wall which gave us loads of exposure fast.

This only worked for the first day, as now around 95% of the people we sold to we don’t know, but for the first day, which is so important on Kickstarter, it was a great way to recognise the people who supported us, and surprisingly, actually drove quite a bit of traffic as well!

Wow! Do you think that you generate sales from word of mouth and referrals?

Yeah, so pretty simply we were acquiring emails through referrals and now we’re converting those emails into backers on Kickstarter.

viral loops joeywears milestone referral

What made you want to run a referral program? What’s your goal?

I mean at the core of it, we wanted to get more email sign-ups so we could have an enormous first day on Kickstarter.

The interesting thing about Viral Loops was that it actually saved us money.

We drove some of the email sign-ups from Facebook Advertising - the cool thing about that is that it turned each sign up into 1.4 sign-ups, which cuts the CPL.

Essentially you can look at Viral Loops as a way to improve the efficiency of your ads - so if you are doing paid acquisition I’d strongly suggest looking at them!

milestone referral viral loops joeywears

that's the Milestone referral template that JoeyWears used

Can you share with us some results/metrics of your Viral Loops campaigns?

Viral loops has a load of options for how you can set up your referral program - so we tried a couple of these out to see how they performed - at the end of every three people we signed up we’d be getting an extra participant, which really helped push us to a huge revenue number on the first day of Kickstarter.

Do you have any core metrics that you measure constantly and are super important for you?

Now, we’re looking mainly at revenue of course - but for me, the most important metric is the number of backers.

The point of this Kickstarter is to be able to manufacture our first big bulk order, but more importantly, make sure that people like the idea - and hopefully that number will hit 1000 in the next few days.

In the future, of course, we’ll be looking more at CAC and LTV as we grow the business.

joeywears viral loops interview

Before we end, what platform is your website built on and what are the top 3 marketing tools that you depend on to grow your?

Our platform is built on Instapage - which was cool because some of the Viral Loops options integrated with that.

Top three marketing tools that have been really useful have been:

  1. Buffer, to help schedule our social posts.
  2. Thunderclap, which helped us launch with a big bang.
  3. Our old faithful, Google Analytics to help us know what we are and aren’t doing well.

Final thoughts

Their campaign on Kickstarter has over $100,000 of funding from over 1000 backers.

Guess what? They have 6 more days to go.

Support them 👉 here if you liked them.

If you want to create a referral program like Joeywears, you can check this cool project harrysprelaunchreferral.com and create a Milestone referral campaign in 4 simple steps, like Harry’s did!

The entire process was designed to be as easy as possible!

July 21, 2017 - 4 comments

How Harry’s gathered 100K emails in a single week with a milestone referral program

Last week, I wrote a throughout article considering my experience with The Hustle’s milestone referral program.

I like this article, but I feel that there is more into milestone referral programs than just an example.

That’s why we decided that this week we should shed some light in one of the cornerstones of referral marketing:

Harry’s

Harry’s is a New York-based grooming brand that manufactures and sells shaving equipment via mail order.

The idea for the campaign was built by Jeff Raider & Andy Katz-Mayfield, Harry’s founders.

Their belief that the most powerful and effective way to launch their grooming brand was through a credible referral.

Thus, they focused on building a campaign that helped people to spread the word to their friends—and not just spending a ton of money on Google and Facebook.

They managed to gather 100,000 emails in a single week.

I want to write that again. 100,000 emails in a single week!

Although their original referral is discontinued, they have a new one in the making:

Harry's milestone Referral Viral Loops

Where this pre-launch led Harry’s?

Well, initially it helps the company to get 100+ million dollars in funding, for buying a 94-year-old razor blade factory. This way they could produce their own blades, taking on shaving heavyweights, Gillette And Schick.

Here’s how it looks like:

Harry's milestone Referral Viral Loops

Also, their team has now more than 500 employees and their digital store is one of the fastest growing in the industry. Apart from that, Harry’s owns its own barber shop in NYC (which I’m dying to visit).

The cherry on the pie is that they’re publishing their own magazineFive O’ Clock. Love it!

Can I tell you a secret? This referral was one of the reasons we decided to start Viral Loops.

By the way, we created a free tool to help you you build a referral campaign like Harry’s in 4 simple steps.

So, how Harry’s got so famous?!

I think the answer here is simplicity. Even a child that was capable of reading could easily be part of their referral.

The website of the campaign was something really simple, yet catchy and effective; just 2-page microsite.

1. When people landed to harrys.com, they were asked to give their email in order to participate in the campaign.

The big bold image made pretty clear to people what Harry’s is all about in the first 5 seconds.

That, along with the nice tagline sparked the notion that Harry’s is launching soon and will disrupt the industry (respecting the face and wallet since like… right now).

Harry's milestone Referral Viral Loops

According to Jeff Raider himself, these words were intended to be playful and introduce people to the purpose of their brand but also leave an air mystery as to what they were all about.

They paired the line with a photo of one of their razors, but they included no more information about their company or product.

One thing that I would surely do if I were in their shoes, is that I would also allow people to join the campaign with Facebook login—this would give them more data and also increase conversions.

Younger people are not keen on checking their emails constantly.

2. After giving their email, people had to invite their friends to get the prizes.

The page included the unique URL of each user, a brief explanation of how the program works and a tracker where people could see how many friends they had referred and what prize they had attained.

Harry's milestone Referral Viral Loops

Harry’s followed the concept of a “Milestone Referral Campaign,” meaning that when people reached a specific number of referrals (milestone), they instantly win the corresponding prize.

There were 4 milestones in total:

  1. Referred 5 friends = free shave cream
  2. Referred 10 friends = free razor
  3. Referred 25 friends = free premium razor
  4. Referred 50 friends = free shaving for a year

Their clear messaging: "Invite friends to earn product.", along with the fact that attaining a prize was super doable (who doesn’t have 5 or 10 guys that shave?), skyrocketed the sharing count.

According to Jeff Raider, Co-founder and CEO of Harry’s, the referral mechanics were amazing. 77% of the emails were collected via referral, meaning about 20K people referred about 65K friends.

This means referrers, on average, every user referred more than 3 friends.

Yet there were a lot of people who referred well above that average: More than 200 participants referred more than 50 of their friends, achieving the highest tier reward.

This social sharing frenzy might be due to the campaign was designed to be share-friendly. I mean, they used pre populated tweets with a simple, yet irresistible copy:

Harry's milestone Referral Viral Loops

How did the fire start?

In their case, Harry’s did the exact same thing that The Hustle did; they focused on email.

All employees handed their email addresses (that was crucial as the first announcement about the product, went straight to people that were known to each other; you can’t ignore an email from a friend), and set their email signature properly.

The recipients received a personalized email in a very friendly tone of voice, announcing that Harry’s is coming. In the same time, the copy encouraged people to spread the word.

Apart from that, there was a ‘special’ batch of people (like company CEO etc) that receive emails crafted accordingly in order to incentivize them to share the message with their entire team, or company.

Can you do it like Harry’s? 

I think it’s clear enough that this type of referral campaigns is perfect for eCommerce Stores.

So if you own one, then the rewards can be your own products and coupons. Also, if you’re in pre-launch, want to just build an amazing referral program, this is a thing for you.

This is awesome for blogs, too. You can use it for email list building and give merchandise, like stickers, t-shirts, etc.

I think the only thing that stops you from doing it, is the will to do it.

For the rest, we’ ve built this milestone referral program tool, inspired by Harry’s that will help you setup your campaign in minutes.

Are you in?

Note: Puggy recently started spreading her knowledge on Referral Marketing, so 👉 Push the "Send to Messenger" button below to grab her exclusive content 🐶

July 18, 2017 - No Comments!

What’s the riskiest thing you have ever done which did not pay off?

What's the riskiest thing you have ever done which did not pay off?

Not moving away from Greece.

I was born and raised in Athens, Greece.

When I graduated, I had the chance to move to Sweden or the UK.

But I decided to stay.

I didn’t take this decision because I had a vision or knew what I was doing.

It was just the easiest thing for me . I was playing safe.

But, you would say that this was not the best decision.

In 2010, Greece was under a great recession. No jobs. No money. No opportunities.

Despite there were—and still are— great multimillion startups in Greece, I didn’t have a network back then.

To be honest, I haven’t even heard the term “startup.”

But, I stayed. With no plan.

When I graduated I worked as a bartender to make ends meet.

I wasn’t happy and wanted to do something else.

I started looking for a tech job.

Very few people called me for an interview. So, I decided to learn programming. I took some classes on Udacity and Coursera. I mastered databases and scripting languages, like Python.

8 months later a software company called me. After 2 tests and 3 interviews, they finally hired me.

Things I’ve lost

  • I would have got a job faster
  • Better salary
  • Better network
  • More opportunities
  • Who knows what else?

Things I’ve won

  • I met Theodoros Moulos . He was the CEO of the company and a great mentor to me
  • Travelled to more than 6 countries in a single year
  • Gained a ton of experience. I started as a junior consultant whose main task was support and documentation. Then I became the Product Lead for the marketing automation platform we were developing

3 years later, I left my job and co-founded a growth marketing agency and a venture-backed startup with customers all over the world. With Theodore 🙂

When you take a decision, you really don’t know if it’s the right one.

What would happen if I have moved abroad?

I might be a multimillionaire, or just broke.

No matter the choices you make, if you have a clear goal, you will get there.

Just do it.


July 14, 2017 - 1 comment.

How the Hustle’s milestone referral program earned them 300k fanatics

I love the Hustle. I mean, I had years to read news that look so slick.

In the beginning, there was a link that a friend sent me. I clicked; ‘that’s some good copywriting right there’, I said.

‘I  dig the branding, also’, was my next thought.

Then I received an email from Sam Parr, giving a warm (and rather funny) welcome to their ‘crib’. As far as I remember, after 1 week, and pardon me if I’m wrong, I receive another email.

This time, it was an invitation for The Hustle’s milestone referral program. I followed the link (of course I did) and got my mind blown away from the awesome swag they offer in exchange for referrals.

I started a referral spree.

One of the friends to whom I sent my link was like dude, I’m already on board. Did you know these guys got 300K subscribers in just a few months?’

Come again?

My eyeballs turned into dollar signs. I had to know how they did it. I googled every relative term, just to find that there’s no secret to their success. It’s all there.

How a milestone referral program turned happy readers to fanatic ambassadors.

It’s pretty obvious that the folks at The Hustle take their content seriously. They serve emails that you can’t afford not opening, and their articles are informative with a very specific tone of voice.

These facts alone are enough to keep people coming back, but what do you do when you want to acquire more readers at a fast rate?

How about asking your happy readers to talk about you to their friends, in exchange of exclusive swag?

Harry’s used the exact same approach some years prior, resulting in a huge success.

But none of these aspects could play by their own. It’s the killer combination of 3:

  1. Great copywriting
  2. Focusing on email (it’s an owned medium, and you don’t have to play Facebook’s algorithm game)
  3. A milestone referral program that kicks a$$.

As the importance of copywriting and email marketing have already been covered in hundreds of thousands of articles, I thought that it would be wise to focus on the milestone referral on this article.

How does the Hustle’s milestone referral work

In order to make such a system to work, you have first to make it accessible to people. In the Hustle’s case, people can discover their ambassador program in two ways:

  1. Their dedicated landing page.
  2. An email from Sam Parr.

The landing page for their milestone referral program has a rather plain outfit. You can access it anytime from a link to their website’s footer.

The landing page includes some text that explains how the Hustle’s readers sculpt the face of the company, and a single Call-To-Action asking you to join their ambassador program so you can help them become even better.

I didn’t become an ambassador from this page.

An email (as I explained in the beginning), was the reason.  In fact, this is the email that I got:

As you can see, I was given a unique URL to share with my friends. Every new email address the Hustle obtained thanks to my sharing, added to my referral count.

Since building a community is obviously important to the Hustle, the first tier was to bring 4 friends in order to get access to a private Facebook group. That way you get the opportunity to introduce yourself and engage with the other people of the tribe.

You can always use your unique URL to track the number of your referrals. And that’s where the magic happens.

You see on this page, there’s a showcase of all the prizes you can unlock depending on the number of referrals you have.

I can’t describe how much I wanted these socks:

I think that just by looking on this page with the number of referrals and the gifts acts a superbly strong call-to-action for sharing more and more. This is the greatest trick of all.

The Hustle is very much aware of it. That’s why every now and then, their emails aim to lure you back to that page.

People are full of doubts. We’re constantly afraid that we’ll fail (which, btw, is very natural and you should probably get used to it). Fear could discourage people from sharing, due to their low expectations for the outcome.

That’s why the page also includes tips on how to share for more referrals, along with some stories of how some top ambassadors made it. You can find more stories like that in the Hustle’s FAQ page.

Winning a prize

Let’s say you unlocked the prize you wanted; what happens next?

First, after you reach each milestone you get an email (of course) informing you about your moment of glory. You are given the option to cash out or keep your referrals for a bigger prize.

If your choice is to cash out, you’ll have the postman knocking on your door after a few days. Your prize will be enclosed in a branded package, along with some extra goodies and a handwritten card.

This alone is worth sharing, and that’s exactly what someone did:

Are you thinking of building a milestone referral like the Hustle did?

I know that stories like the Hustle’s fascinate you- that’s why you read everything so far. I also know that you consider building your own milestone referral program.

That’s great!

You don’t need any coding skills or to hire a developer. We got your back.

Recently, we created a tool, to help you build a milestone referral in 20 seconds. Seriously; 20 seconds.

But before you start building it, let’s recap the things that will help you nail it:

  1. Use extraordinary copywriting. It’s your chance to shine like a diamond among coals.
  2. Build a community for your ‘tribe’. An engaged community is priceless. It might take a lot of time, engaging, posting and approving people, but it’s totally worth it.
  3. Offer prizes that align with your company’s brand identity. The Hustle is all about having swag; that’s why they offer swag.
  4. Incentivize people to come back to their referral page.
  5. Help people to get more referrals. I told you, people are full of doubts.

Now, you are truly ready to build your own milestone referral program. Give it your best, and who knows?

Maybe my next story will be about how your ambassador program knocked my socks off.

Cheers 🙂

Note: Puggy recently started spreading her knowledge on Referral Marketing, so 👉 Push the "Send to Messenger" button below to grab her exclusive content 🐶

July 3, 2017 - No Comments!

Which are the best startup prelaunch pages?

As Artyom mentions below, the prelaunch referral campaign of Harry’s is one of the best case studies out there—so I’d like to double down a bit.

Harry’s is a New York-based grooming brand that manufactures and sells shaving equipment via mail order.

The idea for the campaign was built by Jeff Raider & Andy Katz-Mayfield, Harry’s founders. Their belief that the most powerful and effective way to launch their grooming brand was through a credible referral. Thus, they focused on building a campaign that helped people to spread the word to their friends—and not just spending a ton of money on Google and Facebook.

They managed to gather 100,000 emails in a single week.

The website of the campaign was something really simple, yet catchy and effective, 2-page microsite. It was built on the concept of a milestone referral program.

1. When people landed to Harry’s landing page, they were asked to give their email in order to participate to the campaign. Some notes on their landing page:

  • A big bold image making it clear to people what Harry’s is all about in the first 5 seconds.
  • Nice tagline to tell people that Harry’s is launching soon and will disrupt the industry (respecting the face and wallet since like…right now)
  • They could also allow people to join the campaign with Facebook login—this would give them more data and also increase conversions. Younger people may not have an email at all or not checking it constantly.
Which are the best startup prelaunch pages?

Harry’s landing page

2. After giving your email, people had to invite their friends to get the prizes. Harry’s followed the concept of a “Milestone Referral Campaign,” meaning that when people reached a specific number of referrals (milestone) they instantly win the corresponding prize.

Notes on their invite page:

  • Clear messaging: Invite friends to earn product
  • On hover of each milestone, you could see the product’s image—if they had a design with the image to be displayed by default, they could have higher conversions.
  • Getting a prize was super doable—who hasn’t 5 or 10 guys that shave?
Which are the best startup prelaunch pages?

Harry’s invite page

They also used a great series of emails to re-engage the people participated in the campaign and keep inviting friends to get to the next milestone.

According to Jeff Raider, the referral mechanics were amazing. 77% of the emails were collected via referral, meaning about 20K people referred about 65K friends. This means referrers, on average, referred more than 3 friends.

Yet there were a lot of people who referred well above that average: More than 200 participants referred more than 50 of their friends, achieving the highest tier reward.

You can easily understand the concept and build the backbone of your campaign with this free tool:

How To Build A Harry’s Prelaunch Referral Program In 4 Simple Steps

July 3, 2017 - No Comments!

Viral Marketing: What is the best way to promote a survey online?

From my experience, I haven’t seen a lot surveys to take advantage or viral and referral marketing.

You can run a double-sided program in which the referrer and the invitee are rewarded—attribution of successful referral—when the invitee completes the survey.

Alternatively, you can apply the concept of the Leaderboard Competition like Developer Economics does, with Viral Loops.

Developer Economics runs one of the biggest international surveys to understand technology trends. Their surveys reach 16,500+ developers across 150+ countries.

After finishing the survey, you are asked to join the referral program, in which the Top 50 referrers win bitcoins or money.

The more friends you invite that complete the survey, the higher you climb up the leaderboard.

People can share, tweet, mail or even post their personal referral link on reddit.

Viral Marketing: What is the best way to promote a survey online?

After the sharing step, you get access to your personal dashboard. From there, you may choose any of the pre-populated tweets as you can see below.

This gives users the chance to tweet as much as they want, without having to think of how to write a new tweet. It makes their lives easier and increases shares by 5x.

Viral Marketing: What is the best way to promote a survey online?

Furthermore, from this dashboard you can see your position (I was at 573 🙂 along with your ‘Successful Referrals’ and some extra information of how to get a higher position in the Referral Program and win Prizes.

Viral Marketing: What is the best way to promote a survey online?

As you scroll down, you are able to check the Referral Prizes for all positions and also the full Leaderboard as you can see below:

Viral Marketing: What is the best way to promote a survey online?

Hope that helps 🙂