We’re really excited to have officially launched our platform just over two weeks ago. Our launch borrower batch is seeking around $200K in loan capital from their extended networks and our lender network. Half of our borrowers have already reached their minimum targets, ensuring that both current and future pledges will become funded loans. Another quarter of our borrowers have already passed the halfway mark to their minimums, with nearly two weeks still remaining for this current batch to fund. Below, we’ve highlighted a few thoughts and lessons learned from our launch.
Think about launch traffic sources
We were featured in Product Hunt and TechCrunch during our launch, and we shared this with our existing networks using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and direct email. Of these, Product Hunt was the largest source of traffic, representing more than half of all new users in the first week after launch, even though our feature came 5 days after launch (versus the TechCrunch article, which came out the morning of the launch). However, both TechCrunch and Product Hunt produced a substantial number of qualified leads, and it’s important to remember that articles with paragraphs of content like our feature in TechCrunch give potential customers much more information about your product compared to services like Product Hunt and Hacker News, which primarily direct users to your site for more information. A new site visitor who has read an article about you will be of different value than one who is reading about you for the first time on your website. Make sure your site is prepared to offer a good experience for both! And of course, make sure you have Google Analytics or other services installed so you can observe traffic sources and play up the channels where you’re doing well.
Create a list of contacts for direct outreach prior to launch
Getting attention and buzz at launch is very important. We made a list of people close to us, both personally and professionally, to share the news of our launch, which was critical in kickstarting the conversation about our platform within our networks (and led to more sharing beyond our networks). Seeding this initial conversation for our networks to share was incredibly important, similar to how we encourage our own borrowers to seed excitement, support, and pledges from the closest people in their networks.
Be as responsive and flexible as possible during the initial launch
Our ability to be responsive during the launch period was critical. While we had laid the foundation to make our public launch newsworthy, there was uncertainty around when different channels would take off and which coverage would have the most traction. Therefore, we kept our schedules flexible to be able to respond to important inbound e-mails and messages.
For example, Product Hunt picked us up several days after we were originally submitted, on a Sunday. Interested PH followers began asking questions about the platform and we made ourselves available throughout the day to respond and keep the conversation going.
Leverage social media as much as possible
Using social media goes beyond posting a link to a TechCrunch article on our Facebook page or tweeting a link to our Product Hunt feature. We had to think about ways to engage people to share, not just consume. Given the importance of social media and social sharing of our platform, we encouraged our borrowers to use our launch press as tools to further engage their own networks on their listings.
Seek opportunities to piggyback on the launch in the coming weeks
The launch in TechCrunch and Product Hunt brought us a huge increase in traffic and inbound interest to borrow and lend on our platform. While that initial bump in traffic is temporary, we continue to seek creative opportunities to use enthusiasm around our launch to enhance future announcements, including the final days of our current listings and the launch of our next batch.