March 17th 2015
Today we hit 5000 signups and downloads of the Meeting Facilitators Canvas.
These are 5000 individuals who filled a short form, got an email, clicked the link contained in the email and downloaded the PDF, Word template or sample word document – even all three. I think this is the perfect time to share this jaw-dropping milestone and our beautiful journey.
The story so far
I created the Meeting Facilitators Canvas in November 2014 as part of a workshop to help my clients experience better conversations. My intention was to offer a simple, open sourced tactile tool that people could use to design better meetings.
My offering was a simple PDF that meeting organizers can download, print and work through to create a one page meeting plan and shared record that all meeting participants could collaborate on.
Throughout December, I tweeted and tried to create some awareness on LinkedIn about the presence of the the Canvas. My friends and professional network were great in spreading the word and downloading the Canvas – which gave a small morale and growth boost.
I had tried to build multiple startups – all by myself and self funded. I knew the pains of such a approach well. This time I was determined to get help earlier.
Enter The Social Media Maven
Violeta Nedkova is a force of nature – her enthusiasm and seemingly endless curiosity is infectious. I initially came across her blog from a retweet a couple of years ago and was really impressed with her style.
We had tried to launch something together early in 2014. So when I needed help with hustling on Amazemeet – Violeta was my first thought. I approached her initially with some freelance work and I’m glad that she agreed!
We got to work – creating content, exploring the market segments and tuning our strategy. We collaborated so well and with such ease that it wasn’t long before I was convinced that Violeta was the right person to become my co-founder. I asked, she said yes and the party was about to get funky!
Prepared for slow growth
By the middle of February , downloads of the Canvas had doubled but still only about 200 but growing. Our Twitter following had grown from zero to over 1200 followers – and not the dodgy kind either.
Overall though, interest was still pretty low. We used this time to put in place a delivery mechanism using Sendgrid and MailChimp to automate the registration and downloading of the Canvas. Coupled with Google Analytics, we had a great setup to get info-rich data about where the signups were coming from and when.
From March 2nd, the automation we had in place was going nuts.
Hundreds of people everyday were signing up.
- Google was showing how many were signing up and getting the ‘Thank you ‘ page.
- MailChimp was showing that similar numbers were getting the welcome email and clicking the download links.
- Finally the download tracking on our WordPress site were confirming that similar numbers were actually downloading the Canvas.
Rocket #1: We got Product Hunted
Violeta: OMG!!! We got listed on Product Hunt
Me: Huh? Product Hunt – it’s not connected with our customer segment [LinkedIn]?
Violeta: Well it isn’t, but it is an awesome community of passionate people I’m in that shares cool products.
This is just one of many times that I’m grateful that Violeta is my co-founder. Her conviction that Product Hunt was a community we needed to be part of was absolutely spot on.
Violeta does what she does best – she engaged openly, sincerely and with curious wonder. The support and comradeship that the Product Hunt community showed us was spectacular.
Rocket #2: The Next Web Facebooked us
We believed Product Hunt alone was the reason for such traffic – until I took a look at the analytics we were getting from Google.
Sure, there was significant traffic from Product Hunt referrals but almost double that was from Facebook. Yes – FACEBOOK!!!
I was puzzled – Facebook wasn’t even in our customer segment and frankly we didn’t really want it to be. But the data was the data. We thought someone from Product Hunt had cross posted on to Facebook. But with over 4000 visits so far from Facebook – that was some cross post!
So we looked and there it was. The Next Web – one of the internet’s most influential technology publications had posted a simple post on their Facebook page. They hadn’t written about us – simply posted and the flood began.
It is still going on – in 2 weeks since all this started we have gone from 248 signups (from December 16th 2014) to 5000 today. And climbing.
A Real Platform for Engagement
So now we have 5000 sign ups. But what does this really mean?
It means we have a great platform to start to talk with the people who signed up and really understand what their experiences of organising, attending and surviving meetings are.
It means we can begin to learn how to be useful and valuable to our users. This is exciting beyond words and it has already started.
Product Hunt – We are deeply grateful to this amazing community for their openness and support. Please go check them out, you will discover and support many startups and meet some really amazing people.
The Next Web – we are still in awe at the power of a simple post by the influential press. We are so grateful that we somehow earned their blessing.
We think we have something that genuinely helps people, so over the coming days we will be releasing an online app to help the people who signed up to use the Canvas faster and more conveniently. We will also be sharing our journey of building this start up.