Friday, April 18, 2008

Viral Marketing Case study (OboPay)

ok, I stumbled upon a company called Obopay today. They are essentially a "paypal for your mobile phone" start-up. Upon completion of signing up, they CORRECTLY ask/offer for me to invite any of my friends to sign-up. The entire process is so far smooth... And the product seems good enough (and harmless enough) that I decided I will use it as an experiment in marketing.

Now I have thousands of contacts in Outlook, but close to 500 in my LinkedIn network. Since Obopay has a limit of 500 friends in their invite system, I sent the first batch of invites to my LinkedIn friends.

I do not know if OboPay will want to be involved in this study on a formal basis, however if they do I will be able to get much better info. to explore their Viral campaign and further a/b test different suggestions for this funnel.

If you want to participate, and / or see the results when done please send me an email to andy (at) with "obopay study" in the subject line ... I will follow up with a few brief questions .

*******FIRST UPDATE ************

1) Obopay problem #1... I just received this automated email from Obopay after I sent their offer to LinkedIn friends using their system:

"Hi Andrew,
Thank you for your referrals. We have sent invitations for your friends to sign up for Obopay.
When the following people accept your invitation to join and successfully sign up within the next 30 days, you will receive $5 in your Obopay account for each referral:"

So what's wrong with this? ...I use Outlook, and have ZERO spam filters that I run. Regardless, I just happened to have received their email to me in my JUNKMAIL folder (Outlook does this by default). Lesson here for fellow marketers .... Your very first communication via email to your customers should strongly suggest that they white list your @domain name ...this way they will be certain to receive your future communications.

Campaign comment #1:

I sent an invite to myself, so that I could see what my LinkedIn list was receiving. My initial thoughts are *kudos* to the Obopay marketing team. Note in the following screen shot of the email invite, how simple, and straight to the point the offer is ...

Who sent it (should it include my last name, or just "Andrew" as it is?).
What is Obopay
List of benefits (not features)
Text link to join
Call to action button to join

Note to fellow marketers. KEEP IT SIMPLE (KISS)

** Final Update **

OK, I have received zero help from Obopay on this, zero input from my LinkedIn network (thanks guys) and so regretfully will not be able to follow up... To bad, would have made a few thousand for charity, Obopay would have gained ten's of thousands of dollars worth of free market research, and marketers would have had a solid case study to learn from.

My only take is that by not putting the referrers FULL name in the offer email, the offer becomes spam. Note to Obopay - you really need to disclose a referrers full name, not just "john sent this...".

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Learning from LinkedIns' (Mistakes)

OK, first off disclaimer (in the event my advice comes across the wrong way);

I love LinkedIn, I believe them to be one of the most successful web 2.0 services, They are the REAL pioneers of Social Networks and they obviously know what they are doing.

Now my rant... I have often felt (still do) that LinkedIn (maybe YOUR company also?) was missing something in their pricing structure. Ok, free is nice (what I currently use), but IMO they are missing a crucial price point. The Price Point can be the difference between a $200M company, or a $2B company - Make no mistake about it, it is that important. A link to LinkedIn's Premium accounts sign-up page, shows the following options:

Should you not be able to read it in the image above, they jump from free to an immediate $20 per month (or offered for $199 per year). Now as much as I love their service, I simply can not justify $200 for the amount/type of networking I do. I am also certain that I am not alone here, and more then likely I am in the *sweet-spot* of what an average user would pay (besides free). My personal choice would be for some sort of a limited (small biz?) price point that I would bet would work best at $49.99 [ As an aside, and I will post about this in more detail latter, but this is an EXCELLENT example of how/when and why to do A/B testing - (yes, even on pricing!!), but who knows...maybe the magic number will end up being $39, or $29....

The second mistake LinkedIn makes regarding PRo Vs. Free users ? Their sales funnel!!! Without driving down into sub page, after sub page let's simply look at the top half of their front page first:

Where the heck is any offer to upgrade, any mention of a PRO account??? OK, let's now look at the bottom half of their homepage:

Careful, you might miss it!! There is is, buried underneath the Google Adwords!!! To, the right of the word "Premium", where it states "Upgrade Your Account". Now this is only the very first stage of their sales funnel, however it is usually the most important, and also the number one rule in Sales; ASK FOR THE ORDER ... and for Gods sake, ask for it where a user can find/see it!!!