Digital

10 reasons why you should (or should not) use ProductHunt's Ship

Launching a new product on Product Hunt's Ship?

Here are the top 10 reviews I received when I asked the question on a few Facebook groups.

Thought I'd share it with others who might find it helpful.

Thanks everyone who helped me with making a decision. FYI: I just signed up.

(Probably the most comprehensive answer came from Kaloyan Yankulov - no. 10)

  1. Galina Divakova If your product is relevant to community, it might be worth it. We collected 300 emails when using it.
  2. Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré using it for my book but haven't fully taken advantage of everything you can do on it, so I don't feel I have a lot of feedback to share yet. I do however feel like it's super useful for pre-launch initiatives, and pre-launch IMO is everything.
  3. Omer Molad Helped us build momentum when we launched our expert community, and really turbocharged our assessment library.
  4. Joshua Bradley I have used Ship - the tools are pretty solid along with some good messaging options, including importing your own lists. Perhaps the most valuable feature when paid for is being able to schedule your launch on PH
  5. Arthur Tkachenko it works if you have a community. also great idea to save time and don't set up another landing page.
  6. Saravana Kumar we are using Ship, the promoted upcoming page is quite useful. Even though the impact is not exactly like PH launch, it's there and we see few signups here and there. The other advantage I see is when someone subscribes you can see the number of followers for them in PH, this will help to build the relationship and when you are launching you can reach out to them.
  7. Annie Gherini We are using it right now at Affinity. So far it has been great. Helps you get everything ready for the upcoming launch. The team has been super helpful too.
  8. Alexey Chernikov Yes, used, and I would say yes, it's worth paying for as long as you're planning to work with your community closely. Pro plan offers you a very useful Survey tool to collect & validate data from your subscribers.
  9. Bruce Kraft Jr. Ship opens possibilities. But if you don't have an infrastructure in place to maximize on ship, you'll just get lost in the "upcoming" crowd
  10. Kaloyan Yankulov I see a lot of positive comments and reviews here, so here is the contrarian position about Ship. While we love ProductHunt, Ship wasn't really up to par with the usual spirit and standards of the platform.

Here are a few things that you should consider before paying:

  1. Getting listed in the Upcoming directory takes longer than you would expect. You can't be certain when exactly the guys will publish your listing, which makes marketing preparation and planning difficult. I appreciate the PH team is reviewing every product manually, but usually, when you pay a premium, you expect to be up and running quickly. (Only Pro and Super Pro Ship subscribers get listed on Upcoming)
  2. As Bruce mentioned, unless you have the marketing system in place, you'll just get lost. I.e., don't rely on Ship to get subscribers organically. I see most of the positive reviews are from Ship beta users. Maybe back then there was more organic exposure, but it seems now it's just another crowded channel and you should rely only on your own muscles to make it work.
  3. When you look at Ship from a purely technical point for $79/mo you get:

        - non-customizable basic landing page

        - basic email service provider

        - basic surveys and polls.

This set of features sounds reasonable at first, but when you draw the line, it's much cheaper to use a full-fledged landing page/site builder (like Simvoly.com - $7/mo) + a robust email service provider (like ActiveCampaign - $29/mo) + GoogleForms/Typeform which are free. This is $36 in total for up to 1000 subscribers. For half the price of Ship, you get a solid stack of apps to do your pre-launch.

Even then you can still pre-launch on Product Hunt by regularly submitting a product with a "pre-launch" status.

Now where things got really ugly with Ship:

Since Ship wasn't working out for us, 15 days into our Pro subscription we requested a cancellation. To our surprise, our **monthly** Pro plan was canceled, and with that, we lost all pro features, access to our subscribers and our place on the upcoming page.

On the planet I live on, a monthly subscription means a 30-day subscription. Apparently, it's not so for PH — when we kindly asked to have our premium features back for the time we've been billed for PH rejected us.

This treatment doesn't reflect the community values PH shares..at least in my books.

I love PH and will continue pre-launching products via the regular submission, but I won't be using Ship in the near future.

Over the past 11 years, I've learned something new everyday

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Raj Anand, Goodman Lantern

Over the past 11 years, I've learned something new everyday.

Over the past 11 years, I’ve learned something new everyday. Some days I’d find a great new tool, some days I’d learn a new technique. It’s important to me to keep up-to-date. Every business person needs to evolve with the pack or be left behind.

Over the past three years, a wave of new SaaS products have become available. It's hard for newcomers to find the best ones. Often, there just isn’t time to familiarise yourself with all the options out there. I’ve managed to test a lot of them and find my favourites. 

I’ve got some great videos that cover my 100 top tools that I've used on my way to 7-figure revenue. Check them out here and let me know what you think. https://www.goodmanlantern.com/seminar-videos
 

SAAS Metrics - Easy When You Know How

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Raj Anand, Goodman Lantern

Highs and lows in business are normal aspects of everyday operations. Do you waste time by investigating every fluctuation in your metrics? If you focus, you can have far better benchmarking.

 

So Much Data, So Few Insights?

Natural fluctuations in your key SaaS metrics will happen. It’s vital to know what “normal” looks like for your business. Most startups struggle with this.

Knowing what figures to expect from your SAAS Metrics on a normal day can be a challenge.  Analyse how you arrived at the numbers you’re benchmarking against.

Be honest - have you done the math or are you visually judging your figures?

Guesswork is no way to run a business. Especially when there’s a super-simple way to benchmark your results.

Easy Benchmarks

Take 20 minutes out of your day to do some easy calculations. It’s good to know your averages, but that’s not enough. The “normal” range of figures for your company will fall on your average line, as well as above and below it. Next, you can begin by analyzing the numbers that fall outside of your “normal” range.

Doing the (Easy) Math

You'll need some calculations. You need to understand your Median, and your Standard Deviation.

- Median: This is the number in the middle of your data set. To find it, arrange your data from the largest to the smallest number. If you have an even number of entries, find the average between the two middle numbers.

- Standard Deviation: This measures the range of your data. It helps to figure out if your data is pretty consistent, or generally differs a lot. If your data is widespread, you need to have a wider “normal” zone.

A note on Averages: These don’t work for making business decisions. Outlying data can reduce accuracy, resulting in misleading results.

Scoring 10,000 Hyper-Targeted Visitors in 3 Weeks

It's tricky to develop the best possible content strategy. Getting the attention of heads of department is a real challenge. Modernweb was struggling with this, and went to Grow & Convert in search of a breakthrough. Modernweb connects businesses with top software development talent.

At first glance, their content was far too technical. They were attracting other developers, but not the department decision makers. Grow & Convert proposed an approach that focussed the content on the customer you want to reach.

Step 1: User Research

The process began with identifying past clients and the types of projects required. Grow & Convert found that decision makers often have little to no coding experience. As a result, there was a communication barrier in the language they were using. The content strategy was shifted to target executives within technology companies.

Step 2: Pain Points

The next step was understanding the difficulties these execs face, so that Modernweb could approach them with a solution. The issues identified included:

- Sourcing & retaining the best talent.

- Getting executives & boards to opt in.

- Staying ahead of the curve with technology.

- Understanding the risks of changes.

- Benchmarking against competitor's strategies.

 

Step 3: Develop Content Strategy

Grow & Convert have seen success with creating original content, instead of repeating what is already available. The decision was made to tell stories that are relevant to the industry. Decision makers are motivated to learn about the decisions other companies are making. Playing on that interest is a great way to get their attention.

Step 4: Spreading the Word

Research was conducted to find the community members most likely to share Modernweb's content, and searching for influencers to assist in the process. Embracing these new tactics led to over 9,500 unique page views, with each user spending more than 9 minutes on the page.

Grow & Convert follow the usual tactics of promoting articles on social media, but take it a step further. They approach online communities and publications that tech executives might visit. Pre-promotion is an important part of the process and includes joining Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ groups, and collecting press contacts. These journalists and publications received pitches and descriptions that match the social media presence.

Grammarly’s Growth Strategy

Grammarly is the most convenient way to check your spelling and grammar. Their browser plug-in helps you make changes across a wide range of platforms, and uses machine learning capabilities to better understand language.

Grammarly knows how to drive interest. With no venture capital input for the first 8 years, they’ve still managed to grow to 6.9 million daily users. Their digital marketing is on point!

Content Marketing

Grammarly have a powerful content marketing strategy. They’ve added a CTA labelled “Get Grammarly” on the top right corner of their website. It leads you to the download page for their plug-in. They have a blog-post containing more than 2000 blog posts.

Social Media

Social Media has become a necessity for businesses. Growing their visibility pulls in different types of users. They’ve taken a lighter approach to grammar and spelling, using humor to show why you need their services.

 

Youtube

Youtube shows the best traffic returns for Grammarly. 54.43% of their social media traffic comes from YouTube. Their channel is small but effective. Their ads show how useful their tool is, using everyday situations. Adding a CTA into the videos boosts traffic to their download page as well.

Facebook

Grammarly’s Facebook page has very little content about their actual services. They create content that will appeal to their audience. They understand that building a connection with your audience is vital.

Quora

Quora pushes 40k monthly visitors to Grammarly’s site. They have 23k followers and 150 questions relating to their profile. The odd thing is - Grammarly’s plug-in doesn’t support Quora. Their success on this platform is also due to their ads.

Twitter

Grammarly posts about 7.5 tweets every day. More importantly, 88.7% of these get retweeted by their followers, and 91.5% of their tweets are retweeted. Twitter generates 16k site visitors monthly.

WhatsApp Web

WhatsApp Web is the desktop version of the popular mobile app. It’s easy to connect using the handy QR code. Grammarly’s plug-in works with WhatsApp Web, correcting people’s texts in real-time. The plug-in offers a link to an explanation of why your grammar is being corrected. Clicking on the link drives more traffic to their website.

SEO

Grammarly generates 31 million visitors per month. While a large number of these are from plug-in users, it’s difficult to know exactly how many. Their bounce rate is great too, with 1 in every 2 visitors sticking around on the website.

Direct Response Marketing

Grammarly have made the effort to research challenges that people encounter every day. Their communications offer solutions and guidance. Their blog is angled to offer real-world help.

Backlink Profile

There are growing number of sites and services that backlink to Grammarly. They’ve positioned their service to be attractive to schools and government institutions. These institutions also need grammar and spelling checks. Grammarly has cross-linked with highly sought-after .edu and .gov sites. These improve their Google rankings substantially.

Google Ads

Grammarly has 540k monthly users from Google Ads. They get these awesome results by bidding on up to 20k keywords, with 25% US-based and 6% in Australia.

User Conversion

Grammarly offer a paid upgrade to their free offering. It includes better results and deeper plagiarism checks. The free version catches mistakes, but not all of them. This strategy helps to convert free users into paying clients.

The Best Sales Prospecting Tool Ever

Five years ago, I was newly married and taking 220 flights a year. I hardly saw my wife and spent all my time jetting off to meet clients.

I accepted a job finding insurance companies in Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK. I had to close sales and that meant meeting as many prospects as possible. Once I’d located them, I had to convert them into paying customers. Having no database to start from, I ended up buying lists. They were awful. I tried hiring interns to make lists. That method failed too. That’s why I was sitting on so many flights.

By 2014, I realized I needed to make a change. I needed to find a better way to work. Armed with my degree in Computer Science and AI, but with no real research experience, I started up my own market research company. My main aim was to automate the list-making process.

It took me three years to figure out all the ins and outs. By the end of it, I knew I could build the fastest and most comprehensive sales prospecting tool. This is my brainchild: GoPinLeads. The tool combines AI and many data sources to decide on relevant results.

The biggest advantage of the tool is that it saves time. Sales professionals spend days researching leads. They might even spend tons of money on hiring staff and interns. The biggest advantage is that it makes sales professionals independent.

The tool has the ability to collect thousands of leads from any location in the world. It locates physical businesses and tells you everything about them. You receive their names, numbers, and addresses.

Social Media is a modern kind of engagement. Making a database of social media accounts takes forever. Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter accounts are hard to find. You need to put in loads of manual hours of research. GoPinLeads finds you these accounts and gives you all that information at the click of a button.

Today the tool is in the hands of our early adopters. It’s saving hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars for sales professionals in Auckland (NZ), Houston (US), Leeds (UK), Istanbul (Turkey), and elsewhere. You won’t need to hire interns, outsource, or buy leads. Install the Chrome Extension and you can start producing your own leads anywhere around the world.

Download the Chrome Extension (www.gopinleads.com) and use your 100 free credits. When you are ready to get started, use the discount coupon SMDISCOUNT1111 to get a free XS account for one month.

 

Happy prospecting!

PR that actually works: FOUNDER-LED PR

As business people, we find ourselves navigating a somewhat unfamiliar landscape of disruption. The rise of digital media and social networks has us all clamouring for new (and better) ways to turn ideas into successes. In this new age, PR is crucial not only to your start-up but to your professional image as well.

In my information scouting ventures I found a great video published by Stanford Online, in which Sharon Pope, Head of Programs and Marketing at YC Continuity, gives a great walkthrough on how to think about PR and work with the press. (You’ll find the video on Youtube)

We all know how important PR is. We also know that PR and product innovation go hand in hand. While it’s entirely possible to drum up media hype and score some interviews in prominent magazines and on popular websites, this content isn’t going to guarantee your eventual success if your product isn’t “amazing” enough to warrant that kind of hype. Having faith in your product is the first step in a powerful PR program.

Start-up founders are quick to search for outside services, and PR is no different. Founder-led PR, however, is a better way for start-ups to create a PR program that packs the right amount of punch. While it’s true that PR firms know their way around what’s relevant in the news, as a founder, you have something the media wants: the real inside scoop. Reporters want to hear from founders; this is the end-spokesperson for them. Establish a direct line with reporters and you’ll find them coming to you further down the line when they need a subject matter expert in your domain. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. They can be your voice in the media and you can be their fountain of niche information when they need it.

Hiring an outside PR firm can deprive you of the process of defining your own business and simplifying your message. This is the foundation of your brand identity, and tackling the process internally will be invaluable in every aspect of running your business. Building up an internal PR team that knows your message is a more effective and affordable way to connect with the media. You could pay tens of thousands of dollars in monthly retainers to outside PR firms before getting a single story out there; which isn’t necessarily the best use of start-up funds.

 

Here are 5 simple steps you can focus on to make your founder-led PR program a success:
 

1. Develop Your Company Identity

- What do you do?

- Who is your ideal customer?

- What primary problem are you solving for your customer?

- What is your KPI? How is it growing?

- Do you know who your competitors are?

- What makes your product better than that of your competitor(s)?

- What are your plans for the next year?

- What made you uniquely qualified to start your company?
 

2. Define Your Business Goals and Discover Your Audience

-  Do you want to finance growth?

- Do you want to recruit the best talent?

- Do you want to land strategic partnerships to foster growth?

- Do you want to drive product trials?

- Do you want to secure a research grant?

- Is your audience investors, potential customers, or potential partners?

- How does your priority audience get their news?
 

3. Discover Where You Want Your News to Be Read

- Which top 5 reporters write articles that gel well with your image?

- What stories do your top 5 reporters write?

- What angle pushed these reporters to write?

- What angle are you looking for?

- Can you find a connection to them? Is there a way for you to get an introduction through someone?
 

4. Know What to Say and Where to Say It

- Do you want to share news about your product launches, fundraising, metrics, big hiring announcements, or stunts?

- Do you want to share insights on non-company related news such as politics, new market innovations, contextualizing other company announcements, or general entertainment?

- Do you have a way to contact reporters to pitch your ideas?

- Do you have a blog for reporters to click through for reference (don’t add email attachments)

- Do you want to give a particular reporter an exclusive scoop for their eyes only?

- Are you taking an embargo approach and contacting several reporters with a pre-brief?
 

5. Be a Valuable Source of Information

- Are you keeping an eye on Google Alerts and RSS Feeds for news?

- Are you watching HARO (Help a Reporter Out) for potential news stories?

- Are you searching Twitter for #journorequests and #PRrequests?

- Are you participating by sharing your opinion on articles that interest you?

- Are you giving your real thoughts instead of shameless self-promotion?

- Are you participating in Q&A sessions on Quora and Reddit?

- Are you creating your own content on platforms like Medium or your own blog?

 

Developing your own PR strategy is an important part of establishing your brand. When you break them down, these 5 steps are completely achievable. It’s all about taking the right steps and being thorough in your approach.

8 Scarcity Techniques to Gain Users and Grow Signups by 450%

When doing a cold outreach and getting people to sign up to your application, we know a simple outreach doesn't work. Here are some tips on using scarcity to gain users and grow signups by 450%: 

1. The “Waiting in Line” Approach
While walking down the street, have you ever seen a line of people waiting outside a store, concert hall, etc? Your immediate response is to crane your neck to see why there's such a long queue. Generally, what’s going on in the back of your mind is, “That’s a lot of people, whatever is going on must be cool. What am I missing out on?”

By announcing that your app has a waiting list, you create a sense of popularity. When there is only standing room left, people feel almost desperate to get in now.


2. The “Limited Supply” Approach
Reward attendees that sign up first. After all, they're going to be spreading some positive vibes about any  special treatment they receive. A particularly smart move is to allow people to pre-register for items or services that will only be available in limited supply.

For example, when planning its launch strategy, Connect.me allowed users who signed up early to pre-register usernames instead of merely giving an email address.
 

3. The “Make Money from Scarcity” Approach
Why not validate your idea and make some extra cash at the same time? You may find success in selling beta versions of your product at a discount. If you have a product that's ready to go, that is. Allowing a select few people into your beta - in exchange for immediate payment - you gain a significant amount of monetary validation for your idea. 

4. The “Countdown” Approach
When the clock is ticking, a sense of urgency leads people to make decisions faster. Use this approach when you have cemented a specific launch time. Be sure that your timer counts down to the very second of your launch. By putting a countdown on your landing page, you promote the idea that people need to sign up soon or forever lose out.

5. The “$1*Buyers Per Sale” Approach
This approach to creating a sense of urgency is highly effective. In this approach, buyer #1 pays $1 for the product, buyer #2  would then pay $2, and so on. Simply add on $1 for every 1 buyer and you've created a ripple effect that keeps new buyers coming in for more. The first buyer walks away on top of the world with the best possible deal. The last buyer feels comforted by the belief that the product is worth every penny, if only because so many people have made a purchase before them. 

As the price goes up, people are compelled to 'buy now' to avoid paying more and more as each new buyer causes the price to increase.

6.  The “Refer for Earlier Access” Approach
This approach is an offshoot of the “Waiting in Line” approach. If you want to project the idea that your app has more traction than it does, try an approach where you don't need to inform people of where they are in the queue or how many others are in line with them. Essentially, when someone pre-registers, they are motivated to share a referral link with their contacts. The more referrals they have under their belt, the closer they'll move to the front of the line.

Forkly.com made this particular method quite popular during one of their own launches. 

7. The “Social Contest” Approach
This is another approach that rewards people for referrals. There are several different ways to do this. You may be successful in combining it with the approach above, and making each pre-signup worth a specific number of entries into your contest. Be sure to give away something related to your product - the end goal is promotion of your brand, after all. Give away something like a lifetime membership, as this will guarantee the use of your product and a spin-off of referrals as well.

8. The “Your Friends Like Us and So Should You” Approach
Think of this as the "birds of a feather" approach. It's generally much easier to convince a person to sign up if their friends have signed up too. Using Twitter or Facebook logins to accept pre-signups makes this approach even easier.

10 tools to make you look bigger and a global brand

Being a small company has its upsides, you're agile and fast, and you don't have endless red tape and bureaucracy. Although, being big has one advantage: increased credibility in the eyes of many consumers. So how can a small company appear bigger than it is, here are 10 great tools which will make you appear much bigger. Part of fake it till you make it: 

  1. Answeramerica.com : Phone answering service based in the US but you can forward calls from all across the world. Only costs $1/call and no monthly fee
  2. Skype.com Number: Get local numbers for most countries. Forward the number to AnswerAmerica.com if you can't answer them. 
  3. Freeconferencecall.com: Free conference call facility with dial in numbers for most destinations. Why pay $15/month on conference call facility if you can get it for free? 
  4. Webpagetest.org: Big companies have faster websites. Website Speed tester allows you to check how quickly your site loads up. 
  5. Cloudflare.com: We expect big companies to have their website online at all times. Now you can do this by using Cloudflare, which keeps (a cached copy of) your website online even it's down. 
  6. Google Pagespeed : Allows you to find ways to optimise your website and loading speed
  7. Canva.com: Design is the first thing your customers see when they visit your website. Canva makes the process of designing web and print effortless.               
  8. Squarespace.com: Developing quality websites, which look fantastic, mobile ready and completely hosted. 
  9. GoPinLeads: To get more sales you need to connect with people in your industry. Effortlessly creates local leads of physical businesses. Full disclosure: We developed this tool. 
  10. Commissioncrowd.com: A global commission only sales force           

The Piggy Back Hack📱: 4 Guaranteed User Acquisition Techniques for Apps

How did Snapchat, YouTube, Airbnb, Instagram and WhatsApp ‘piggy-backed’ acquisition of new customers?


These days, it seems like some tech companies go from zero to a million users overnight. The growth of these firms like Snapchat and YouTube can seem magical… but it’s not. 
Did you know a small tweak within the platform can make all the difference between being a million or a billion $ company? 

This the ‘piggy-back’ growth hack to gain users, We call this the ‘piggy-back’ hack, as these platforms rode on someone's shoulders to grow their user base.


4. YouTube’s Embed Code Hack
Back in 2005 - 2006 YouTube chose to focus on MySpace as a means of reaching its target audience. At the time, in 2005, with nearly 25 million unique users, MySpace was the top social network, particularly for bands and their fans, but sharing videos on the site was next to impossible.

Other video sites like YouTube had avoided allowing blogs and other sites to embed videos on their sites. To avoid paying substantial hosting costs associated with supporting traffic to other people’s sites. Instead, YouTube shouldered the cost in exchange for a huge boost in brand recognition and grew average users to nearly 20 million visitors per month. That initial traction helped it grow into the powerhouse it is today, with over a billion users. 


3.  Instagram’s Cross-Posting to multi-platform
Launched in October 2010 it quickly became a fast, beautiful and fun way to share life with friends and family through a series of pictures, beautified using filters. Instagram took the platform hack to another level. They made it quick and easy for users to cross-post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and more by push of a button. 

This was undeniably good for users, who struggled to post mobile photos to Facebook in those early days, but it was also good for Instagram, whose distinct-looking photos started popping up across various social platforms, serving as a free advertisement for the app.

2. Airbnb’s Craigslist Cross-Posting
Yet another example of a platform hack is a simple yet brilliant tool within Airbnb, which allowed users listing their properties on the app to cross-post them to Craigslist in one click. They asked the user to post their home that they wanted to rent out by filling a pre-filled form. It made it simple for the user to cross post their listing to Craigslist. (Image: https://www.quora.com/How-did-Airbnb-avoid-liability-when-they-implemented-their-growth-hack-with-craigslist-1)

Taking advantage of Craigslist’s well-established user base not only allowed Airbnb to get its name in front of as many new users as possible, but it also helped to ensure that the properties they listed for rent were booked more often—making listing with them more lucrative for users.


1. Snapchat’s Snapcode
Snapchat launched Snapcodes in early 2015 after they purchased a QR code company called Scan.me. While brands and marketers attempted to make QR codes hip for years, it was Snapchat who ultimately turned them into influencer currency. Snapchatters could then easily add friends by taking a snap of their profile picture. 

Also, By changing a Twitter profile picture to a Snaptag, users were able to encourage their Twitter following to add them on the new instant messaging platform.

Using Digital Content

At the end of 2015, 76% of recruiters said that the biggest challenge they faced was locating candidates with skillsets which matched the criteria their clients were looking for. In an industry that is heavily shifting towards a more marketing-centric approach, challenges like these (among others) can only be overcome by adapting to new techniques and tactics, most of which revolve around online marketing and digital content.

Moving on up with Digital Swag Bags

We recently did a post about event goodie bags and how they need to be adapted for a better attendee experience. Virtual event bags are a step up from the traditional, physical “swag bag”, and marketing gurus predict that these may be the way forward. We are smack bang in the middle of the Digital Age, after all – why not use this to your advantage? What is a Digital Event Bag?

Digital event bags help sponsors and exhibitors connect to attendees through a more modern version the classic tool we’ve all become accustomed to over the years. It’s finally time to kiss printed materials goodbye and opt for a more user friendly, eco-friendly, and experience friendly approach.

People love digital content that makes them tick. There is always a market for great content that people can relate to, connect with, and share with their friends and peers. The possibilities for creating digital goodie bags are virtually endless – it all depends on the audience you want to reach and the impact you want to make. It’s a revolutionary marketing tool that packs a serious punch.

Attendees can open their virtual bags from their smartphones and tablets via text messages or emails that link to the event organiser’s website or app. Once opened, guests have access to discount codes, free offers, contests, surveys, video content, articles, and so much more. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of marketing opportunities in one handy little package – and there’s no chance of attendees forgetting this particular goodie back under their seats once the event is over.

Popular Perks for Organisers and Marketers

Perhaps the greatest perk of handing out digital goodie bags instead of the traditional, tactile version, is the fact that sponsors have the ability to track useful consumer behaviour. Whenever coupons are used or content is viewed, sponsors can track the information in order to better their own marketing campaigns in the future. Trackable data, in this industry, is pure gold.

Of course, it certainly helps that putting together a virtual event bag is much more economical than the traditional version. There’s absolutely zero waste, and sponsors are guaranteed to connect with attendees on a more substantial level.

 

Snapchat Finds its Footing in the Event World

Snapchat_Logo_Goodman Lantern Blog Social media continues to take the world by storm. Despite the fact that it may feel as though the current “big bosses” in social media are the only ones that matter, the fact is that social media really is in its infancy. It will continue to grow and evolve at a remarkable rate - after all, that’s the nature of the concept in its entirety.

Whenever a new social media platform is established, it is adopted by younger, more techno-savvy users. As the user base expands to include previous generations, these new brands begin to dip their toes into the realms of highly competitive B2C marketing. At this point, influencers, celebs, and advertisers throw themselves into the mix; and then its just a matter of time before event organisers find a way to get in on the ground floor of the action.

This is where Snapchat is at the moment. At the precipice of popularity.

What is Snapchat? Is it Just for Kids?

Until recently, teens have been the epicentre of the user-adoption rate for Snapchat. The messenger aspect of the app seems to be its biggest selling point. It’s all about image-sharing kicked up to a new level. The instant messaging aspect of the app is also what attracts teens, like AIM did a generation ago.

Snapchat messages disappear after 24 hours. This ghost-message effect is what put marketers off the app initially, and it is probably responsible for the app’s slow growth over the last few years. Quite obviously, marketers want their messages to stick around for a good while - after all, that’s the entire point of engaging with your audience, right? Well, perhaps marketers could find a way to spin this ghostly feature in their favour.

Don’t Fall Behind

Employing the FOMO (fear of missing out) tactic is something that event organisers have been doing for decades. In essence, Snapchat uses FOMO to create somewhat of an addiction. Users crave the knowledge of trending news and posts that won’t be around forever. There’s a delightful edginess to it that other social media apps are lacking.

Most social media platforms are a constant stream of identical calls-to-action. Users are beginning to find these constant ads fairly tiresome - there’s nothing new to keep their curiosity piqued. There is a growing cynicism that prevents users from developing an interest in event posts that they have seen a hundred times and will continue to see a hundred more.

Event professionals need to market the most exciting aspect of their industry: the fact that it’s all temporary. If you only have one chance to view content before it disappears or attend an event before it’s all over, chances are you’re going to invest more of your time and interest. This is the magic that apps like Snapchat are able to capture.

Virtual Event Trends and Livestreaming

Virtual events are growing in popularity for so many reasons. In addition to reducing overhead costs, virtual and livestreaming events are the epitome of efficiency, enabling organisers to repurpose content whilst reaching a much broader audience. Frankly, what’s not to like? It’s all about bringing people together without the pitfalls of a traditional, live event. What Counts as “Virtual”?

There seems to be a misconception regarding the relative “age” of the virtual event. Truthfully, the concept has been around since long before Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg hopped on the bandwagon. Event organisers have been toying with various degrees of varying degrees of virtual reality for years. The only difference between then and now, is the fact that we are rapidly overcoming any boundaries that may have existed before.

Livestreaming, similarly, isn’t such a new concept either. It’s been almost a decade since Netflix was launched - somewhat of a shocker in most peoples’ personal timelines. Since 2007, so many other companies have joined in on the streaming and livestreaming action, proving the popularity of the concept. In fact, there is a growing number of people who are cancelling their TV subscriptions in favour of Netflix and similar services.

In order to keep up with the trends, mobile companies have had no choice but to ensure that all mobile phone users have the opportunity to connect to any stream of their choice, irrespective of their location. People seem to have a need to be connected to the action in some way, for fear of missing out on the action.

Using the available technology to create more entertaining and interactive events is of the utmost importance - particularly when considering the fact that bloggers and influencers are using the same technology to share their opinions of events while they are in attendance. It’s all live, all the time.

Hosting a Truly Interactive Event

Event organisers may be a little sceptical about hosting a fully interactive event because it denotes a certain loosening of the reins. In order for attendees to have a real immersive experience, they need to be given the freedom to do so… and there’s no denying the fact that that does make the entire process a little more uncertain than the usual stuffy, rigid conference vibe. Perhaps that’s what makes interactive events that much more enjoyable. There are a few simple tips that make planning an interactive event less stressful for organisers who need to feel as though they have all their bases covered.

Professional Moderators are a Must

If you want your event to go off without a hitch, hire a professional moderator. There’s no way around it. You want a sense of freedom for attendees, not a full-blown descent into chaos. A skilled moderator is there to guide attendees on their event journey and entertain them along the way – think of it a bit like an adventure cruise. Every ship needs a captain.

Use Outside-the-Box Presentation Formats

Conferences would be nothing without speakers. Keynote speakers are the foundation of a good event. Without the appropriate tools, these talks would fall flat. Instead of the usual 45-minute talk, consider having an interactive Q&A session. As an organiser, the worst thing you can do is limit your speakers to a rigid presentation format. Spend some time asking them how much time they need for their “talk” and ask them how they would prefer to interact with attendees.

Use Digital Engagement Tools

A Q&A session is great when there’s enough involvement. In some cases, however, you do run the risk of these falling flat if audience engagement is low. In the Digital Age, people tend to feel more comfortable submitting their thoughts, questions, and opinions in a more “anonymous” format. Consider implementing digital tools that allow for this sort of interaction. Attendees seem to really enjoy submitting feedback via their Smartphones, for example, and you may find a more successful result by taking on a modernized approach.

Wearable Technology Trends to Look Out For

According to Statista, 2014 was hailed by many tech publications and experts as the “Year of the Wearable". The burning question, at this point, is whether or not the trend will continue to grow or whether it will begin to slowly fizzle out in the same way that many similar gimmicks have in the last few decades. Here's the astounding prediction: The global wearables market is expected to reach a value of 19 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.

Healthcare is the Step Up from Sports and Fitness

Currently, the most popular wearable technology is focused on fitness. Over the next few years, however, the focus will shift towards healthcare. According to information detailed in a report by Aditya Kaul,  "Advanced sensor technology, miniaturization of hardware, and smart artificial intelligence algorithms will help bring wearables into the forefront of the fight against chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Expect to have your smart watch warn you about a stroke or heart attack, days in advance, which is when wearables will start to be taken much more seriously."

This is great news for businesses in the health sector, who wish to get the edge on their competitors.

SleepTech is About to Take Off

While not necessarily a "wearable" item, the Nuyu Sleep System only works when a user is lying directly on top of it. So, in a similar manner to all other wearables, direct contact must be maintained in order for the device to work.

The premise behind the device is the fact that our bodies struggle to fall asleep due to the constant exposure to wireless technology. The Nuyu Sleep System retails at roughly $500, and claims to help people“fall asleep and stay asleep” by enabling users to “get back in touch with their body’s natural rhythm so they can sleep comfortably.”

Imagine the possibility of launching an interactive spa simulation where event goers are enticed by technology-driven relaxation.

Visual-Based Wearables

For a while, it seemed as though smartglasses and similar devices were seriously lagging behind smartwatches. The advent of technology like Oculus Rift proves otherwise. We are rapidly approaching a time when consumers can completely immerse themselves in virtual reality and augmented reality experiences - something that event marketers are already beginning to use in their planning processes.