Raising your visibility seed round


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Louis Gray's been in Paris, and presented at Le Camping to talk about the role early adopters and press can play in accelerating your business. In the presentation I used examples from its own blog and services he has liked, including +feedly, TweetDeck, Google Reader, FriendFeed, Toluu, Backtype, Socialmedian and others.

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Raising your visibility seed round

  1. 1. Raising YourVisibility Seed Round 1535 - 1625h - La Seine B
  2. 2. Raising Your Visibility Seed Round Louis Gray Google @louisgray 27 au 29 mars 2013
  3. 3. Louis Gray Googler, Blogger, Dad of 3 ●Manager of Google Developers Live ●Live streaming video platform for Googlers to interact with developers globally ●Resume: ●VP of Marketing at my6sense ●Director of Corporate Marketing at BlueArc ●Author of louisgray.com ●Advisor to MyLikes, Teens In Tech, SocialToo ●Graduate, UC Berkeley (Poli Sci, Mass Comm) ●Dad of 3 kids age 4 and under
  4. 4. Raising Your Visibility Seed Round The Role of Early Adopters and Finding Them Succeeding With the Right Press Outlets Making Your Service and Story Shareable
  5. 5. Early Adopters and Press: When? 27 au 29 mars 2013
  6. 6. Critical Points in a Product Cycle Idea! First Code Beta Invites Public Launch! Whiteboard Closed Alpha Enhancements
  7. 7. Critical Points in a Product Cycle Idea! First Code Beta Invites Public Launch! Whiteboard Closed Alpha EnhancementsEarly adopters can be part of your development cycle. Invite thetrusted ones into your closed alpha, and encourage them to help asyou send beta invites. Theyll find people much like them.
  8. 8. Critical Points in a Product Cycle Idea! First Code Beta Invites Public Launch! Whiteboard Closed Alpha EnhancementsThe smartest companies use each phase of development as apotential press cycle - from invites to launch to regular iterations. Ifyoure interesting, people will cover you, increasing velocity.
  9. 9. First Up: Early Adopters 27 au 29 mars 2013
  10. 10. The Early Adopter: Defined Early adopters are risk takers and recruiters. The best ones act as partners to the developer, and can act as informal marketing or PR, working to find new users, and highlighting aspects of the product to a wider audience. Early adopters are compensated not by money, but through early access to ideas and people, and having a channel for their own voice to impact the product.
  11. 11. What to Expect from Early Adopters To Act as Initial Users and See Future The ideal early adopter can visualise, with your help, what a product will look like with a larger community, or more features, and not be limited by what is there today. To Find Bugs and Request Features Early adopters will stress test your system and use it in a way that you do not, and they should regularly tell you about what they find. To Use Their Network to Help You Early adopters will use their blogs, their social streams and real life networks to help promote your story, and become part of the story themselves.
  12. 12. 5 Stages of Early Adopter Behavior Discovery Collaboration and partnership. Launch phase. Promotion Followup pushes for virality, and public praise. Engagement Vindication and use. Entitlement Nitpicking and elitism. Migration Source: http://goo.gl/Zz0jB Moving on and recruiting others.
  13. 13. Finding Product Advocates Know Your Own Product and Its Market The better you can define your product, the more narrowly you can discover the experts. Know Your Competitors and the Space Initial users, advocates and press covering your competition or tangential products are more likely to be interested in your story than generic press. Check All the Social Streams Blogs are great, but Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Google+ and other venues are where people are talking.
  14. 14. Some Products I Helped Debut Backtype (acq. by Twitter) Beluga (acq. by Facebook) Feedly FlickChart Friendly (iPad app) Gumroad LazyFeed MightyText ReadBurner SocialMedian (acq. by Xing) TweetDeck (acq. by Twitter)
  15. 15. Other Products Evangelized Early ●Cadmus ●Fitbit ●Flipboard ●FriendFeed ●Google Reader ●my6sense ●Siri ●Spotify
  16. 16. Case Study: Feedly Feedly, a start page/RSS reader, was referred to me from an entrepreneur whose products I had previously covered. After four months of incubation and early use, I reviewed their product and helped provide ongoing visibility. Now they are seen as leader to replace Google Reader with 500k+ subscribers last week.
  17. 17. Case Study: FriendFeed The lifestreaming aggregation service launched at the end of 2007, founded by ex-Googlers. After 4-5 mo. of minimal growth, the company sparked to high visibility and traffic in early 08. By 2009, they were part of Facebook, acquired for tens of millions in pre-IPO shares. How?
  18. 18. Case Study: FriendFeed "What’s FriendFeed’s secret? How did it pull off what thousands of other online services dream about? Is FriendFeed simply a solid service in the right place at the right time? Are its executives particularly tech savvy or connected enough to get key people to try FriendFeed? Did it hire a kick-ass PR firm? Another thesis is FriendFeed was lucky to have found a real evangelist. Perhaps the key piece in this puzzle is Louis Gray, a blogger based in Silicon Valley, who quickly fell in love with FriendFeed, and created a hailstorm of attention yesterday..." -- Mark Evans, "Whats the Caramilk Secret?" (http://goo.gl/SahrX)
  19. 19. Case Study: TweetDeck I bumped into the TweetDeck app on Twitter before it had launched. After trading emails with the entrepreneur, I wrote the first post and was "tipped" to knew updates the day before they launched over the next two years, giving two separate news cycles.
  20. 20. Case Study: TweetDeck TweetDeck Founder Iain Dodsworth: "The blog post you wrote on July 4th and the resulting mayhem essentially forced the private beta wide open and TweetDeck went public." Source: http://goo.gl/wEKsZ
  21. 21. Five Ways to Attract These Early Adopters1. Correctly target based on their existing activity and previous work.2. Explain up front the stage of your product and whether this is something you want them to keep private or can share right away.3. Give them an explicit action or request, be it to open up an account, or give the product a test.4. Ensure the discussion is two-way, and make yourself the primary recipient of feedback, so their voice is heard.5. Provide a timeline of when you expect to launch, so they understand the urgency.
  22. 22. Finding Your Way to First Press 27 au 29 mars 2013
  23. 23. First Press: What Are The Goals?● There are many reasons to get initial press, including funding, recruiting, developers and users.● To gain users, one should target publications that know the market, and speak in terms that make sense to the end users.● It never makes sense to bring the same story to each publication, as they are all different.
  24. 24. What to Expect from Initial Press To Summarize Your Product & Opportunity Most press authors, especially in tech blogs, write more than one story a day, and dont have time to know your product especially well. They can, however, highlight how you position yourself. To Give Users a Call to Action Even short articles covering your news will tell users what to do next, be it to download your application, go to your website, or to accept an invite to get on a waiting list. No Bold Announcements, Some Skeptics Press are typically gunshy about pronouncing winners on first sight, and skepticism, barring record of success, is expected.
  25. 25. Five Storylines Making It Easier to Get Press 1. If you have a person of note participating in your company, with a track record of success, or if the team members came from a company with a successful exit. 2. If you have a top VC company participating, or came from a well- covered incubator class, like YCombinator. 3. Piggybacking on a major trend that has already gotten press. 4. Doing something incredibly disruptive and magical. 5. Making an existing popular product even better.
  26. 26. Selling Your Story to the Right Press Prepare Up Front Getting your story right from the very beginning is an important stage, so picking targets and your message shouldnt be taken lightly. Research targets and pick your top 5-10. Give Yourself Some Time Pick a date to launch, and make the reporters research and interviews part of that time. Give yourself time for followup emails, and more massages to the product from feedback. Personalize the Message If there is a personal connection to the reporter, thats the best start, even if its your network and you can cite a referral. If not, use previous coverage and talk directly, not generically.
  27. 27. Case Study: my6sense Launch on Android In Sept. 2010, my6sense brought their app from iOS to Android. Coverage was received in practically every top publication. Why? Application was made available in advance for testing by reporters, execs were available for interviews ahead, and a specific time was set to go live. No bulk emails required.
  28. 28. What Does a Good Pitch Look Like? A good pitch is personal and relevant. It can provide an update on the product, whats requested and timing as well.
  29. 29. What Does a Good Pitch Look Like? Given email and pitch volume, a clear subject line and smart intro with tips for the author makes an action clear. Note headline, timing and screenshots.
  30. 30. Easy Mistakes to Avoid Sending it to the Wrong Person or Blog Spam is spam, even if you have good intentions. Updating gadget geeks on health tips or mommy blogs on CRM modules is unprofessional, but it happens. Spellcheck. Reread. Confirm. Good products can fail with bad PR and marketing. Make sure you communicate well, professionally, you address the person by the correct name. Conveying a Lack of Prep or Interest Sending a note to many people at once, when they are BCCd or worse, CCd and you see everyone else, is just asking for trouble. Dont give so little attention to this critical piece.
  31. 31. Giving Your Story Legs 27 au 29 mars 2013
  32. 32. The First Day is Just the Beginning Enable Users to Spread the Word If product access is limited, provide a way for users to send invites to friends, by email, or through invites via social services. If contents shareable, make it easy to +1, Tweet & Like. Continue With Fast Iteration The launch of your app or service wont be the last time you make news. With consistent high quality iterations, the original adopters and press will follow on with new stories and it also provides you with an option to tailor pitches to those who missed out. Keep the Service Up, Avoid Mistakes With luck, youll have increasing demand. Make sure your system can manage anticipated user load, press spikes. Dont make news for the wrong reasons.
  33. 33. Early Adopters & Press Accelerate You Business Takes More than Ideas and Money Not every great product succeeds, and money doesnt yet buy happiness, even lots of it. While infrastructure is set up for seed funding and follow-on rounds, users and press are also critical. Your Users Are Often Your Best Asset The story goes that unhappy users tell more people than do happy ones, but smart customer service and partnerships with evangelists can bring your positive story to hundreds or thousands, via press and social outlets. There Are No Shortcuts Working with press and users requires flexibility and acute listening and coding skills. Effort and planning pays off.
  34. 34. Closing Time Q&A Time - Open Forum Reach Me Directly:google.com/+LouisGraylouisgray@gmail.com blog.louisgray.com @louisgray Also: Many royalty free images in the presentation are paid for from Dreamstime.com.