This post is recap on some of the highlights from a how-to created by Ken Johnson, CEO of Manpacks.com. I feature some of the most impressive startup strategies we encounter at StartupPlays and share them free, here at business2community.com. Enjoy.
Manpacks sells mens essentials (underwear, razors, shampoo) in a subscription based, delivered to your door monthly business model. Here are some methods they use for spearheading your way into a somewhat know, or new market by engaging with the right influencers, creating limited (not deeply entrenched) partnerships, and proving hypotheses with “Minimum Viable Tweets”. Manpacks.com uses this process to build many of it’s content and affiliate partnerships, it has led them to build some well established deals with high converting “Life Coach” customers who are looking for ways to make their custome’s lives easier.
The “Minimum Viable Tweet”
There is something to be said about the lean startup movement and the concept of the minimum viable product: “Has just those features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more. The product is typically deployed to a subset of possible customers, such as early adopters that are thought to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype or marketing information.”
This concept makes a lot of sense for startup business development. You’re looking for a ton of “small wins” not deeply entrenched bets on 1 or 2 partners. Ken gave us a great story about a potential partnership he looked at with the famous comedian Red Green. Red has over 400k Facebook fans who are self identified “manly men”. Red was interested in partnering because he loved manpacks, so Ken got him to do a Facebook status status that told his fans to simply”check it out”. It went out at 6am, and Ken hustled to get on his website’s live chat. The traffic not only did not convert, but visitors were using the chat to simply joke around thinking Red (the comedian) had linked them to a “joke”. Ken decided a partnership opportunity wouldn’t work with Red Green.
Moral is, test potential partnerships with a simple tweet or a Facebook status. Brand audience’s are rarely the same and finding out where there is the most overlap is very important when looking for small wins.
Great Hacks for finding someone online
Doing your research about a potential partner is very important. It helps when the time comes to seal the deal, but also allows you to find out what leverage you may have.
Google your Contact: See if you can pull up a personal blog or website. This is the best place to start. Understanding a potential partner’s history and what topics shape his/her thought process are important.
Visit their LinkedIn: Go to LinkedIn People Search to find your target contact. The individual might have their email publicly available along with their resume, however the most important thing about the linke din profile is understanding your potential partners history. Look for Academic Institutions, employment history, extra curricular and more…
Use this Google Hack for finding their online profiles.
Find an email: There are many ways to find someones email. If they have it publicly available ten you’ll have little problem getting in contact with them. If you need to get more creative here are two great methods for finding someone’s email.
- Find the domain of the company your target contact operates from. Use Google to search for the contacts name + the company domain, a search would look like this: “firstname lastname + example.com”
- Go to Gravatar Checker and use a similar method of entering the target’s company domain substituting variations of the prefix. ex -”firstname.lastname@example.org”, “email@example.com, “firstname.lastname@example.org” etc… If they have a registered gravatar, you’ll know when you’ve hit their email when their face pops up.
Tool’s that make you appear all knowing
Rival Metrics - Get weekly reports on the twitter activity of influencers and competitors including their retweets, follower fluctuations, and impact.
Hootsuite Streams - Keyword streams in Hootsuite (still the most powerful way to find conversations in your space)
Rapportive - Social Networking embedded in gmail. This is a great tool for following a person on all their social channels from within gmail during email back and forths. There are a few custom applets you can install to enhance the service, our favorite is the angel list applet that shows how you are connected to the person in your social graph.
Yesware - Find out when your sent emails are opened, and what device the recipient was using. This app is very powerful for gauging a contacts interest in the partnership.