February was an excellent month. I launched Startup Cemetery which meant a big boost in traffic. The newsletter grew a lot and social networks got lots of new followers. Revenue kept similar to January but I received lots of collaboration and sponsorship opportunities.
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Another great month for Failory which was even better than January. Revenue stayed similar, but there was a big bump in traffic and email subscribers.
Lots of people got to know the site because of Startup Cemetery’s launch and many businesses contacted me asking for collaboration and sponsorship opportunities.
Moreover, Failory’s team grew to 5! I hired 3 apprentices and one guy who will be hosting the podcast interviews (more about this below!).
Now let’s get into a detailed report of the main things I did this month. But wait! This a really long article (+3,000 words). If you want to read a summary about it, you can do it here.
One of the objectives I set for 2019 was to improve the click and open rate of the newsletter. That’s why I decided to build a quick sequence every time a user subscribes to the list.
A few months ago I bought Sendy, which I’m using as my newsletter tool. The first thing I needed to do was to set up the forms on the website so that every time someone subscribes on them, their email is added to the list on Sendy.
After this, I changed the list on Sendy to double-opt-in, which meant that every time someone subscribed to the newsletter through the forms on the website, they received an email asking for a confirmation.
Now it was time to customize the email and re-directions. I started by building the subscription success page. Now, every time someone subscribed to the newsletter, they were re-directed to a “Thank You” page where I basically thanked the user for joining the list and told them to check their email inbox.
But the confirmation email was quite ugly, so I re-designed it and changed the text a bit. This is how it looks now:
The problem now was that the original “Confirm here!” button re-directed the subscribers to a really ugly page. That’s why I decided to take advantage of this email and built a “You are In” page where I talk a bit more about me, Failory and share some interesting content of the website.
And at the same time, the subscriber receives an email with an introduction about me and a few questions I ask to them. This is performing really well and I’m getting to know a lot of the subscribers, their demographics, interests, and obstacles (which can help me a lot when creating content or looking for interviewees).
I haven’t seen a great increase in open and click rates yet, but I will definitely analyze this in the future.
One cool thing I did a few weeks ago was to change the structure of the domains of the interviews.
The interviews with failed startup founders were the only section of Failory when I launched the project. That was why I decided to put all interviews under /interview/.
However, when I added the interviews with successful entrepreneurs to the site, I didn’t want to put them under the same folder so I put all of them under /mistakes/. This was because this interviewes are mainly orientated to the mistakes committed by the entrepreneurs.
What I didn’t realize was that this was going to bring some problems with some businesses who weren’t willing to be shown in a site called Failory under the section mistakes.
A few weeks ago, I decided to move all the success interviews to /interview/. This process involved:
Now everything is working correctly and SEO rankings are starting to recover again.
At the beginning of February, I added a small pop-up in the corner with a link to a survey on whether I should build or not a podcast. The response was really great. I got 89 responses. 75 (84.3%) said they would listen to the Failory podcast.
Since I launched Failory I’ve been requested to build a podcast. My English and time have prevented me build this during all this month. But in mid-February, after analyzing the survey results, I started thinking about a podcast more and decided to look for someone to host the interviews so that I only had to publish and promote them.
My original idea was a podcast of interviews with failed startup founders. But then I found some similar ones and decided to transform the idea a little bit: interviews with entrepreneurs who had a failed business but now run a successful one. This way, they can identify the mistakes they made and the reasons why their new startup is successful.
I posted this idea on some podcasting forums and some freelancing platforms, saying that I was looking for someone to host the interviews. I got many interested freelancers/podcasters but I found particularly interesting one of them. He enjoys and knows a lot about podcasting, he is really interested in businesses and he has the equipment to record the episodes and edit them.
I had a few calls with him and quickly came with an agreement. For a fixed price per episode, he will record the interviews and edit the episodes.
After agreeing to work on this project together, I quickly build a landing page to acquire some emails of potential listeners of the podcast. You can visit it here.
We are now starting to work on this. If you are interested in being interview, please fill this form.
But the podcast guy has not only been the unique person to join the Failory team. After many weeks of thinking about the idea, I finally decided to hire 3 apprentices on Genm to help me with digital marketing.
At the beginning of February, I started contacting some apprentices through Genm’s platform and had some calls with 5 of them. I was looking to hire someone to help me with social networks, which I don’t have much time to spend in right now, and content creation and SEO.
Before hiring anyone, I set up everything for teamwork. First of all, I created a customized email for every apprentice I decided to hire. Then, I created a Slack workspace for Failory team which I customized and divided into many channels and then invited the apprentices. After this, I built a workspace in Notion so as to share documents and manage tasks. Finally, I shared with them some important Google documents, sheets, and calendars.
The first apprentice to join the Failory team was a guy called Addisson who is now the community manager of the site. During these three months, he is trying to achieve the following goals:
The second apprentice that joined the team was Ricardo. He is working on content creation and SEO optimization of the site. Along with the third apprentice, they are working really hard on improving the blog’s articles that sucked the most.
When launching Failory, I hired a freelancer to write some 800 articles about some startup topics. Two of these articles are performing really well - the rest suck a lot. That’s why I have the goal of boosting the blog and bringing a consistent great amount of monthly users from Google.
Ricardo is adding a lot of words, keywords, links, images, and videos to the current articles. After this, he will start working on boosting the SEO rankings for these same articles by building links and writing guest-posts.
The same happens with Caleb, who is the third apprentice that joined the team. He is working on content marketing and SEO as well.
The three of the apprentices are doing it really well and are really enthusiastic about this project.
I have finally launched this amazing project!!!
It took me more than 6 months to build it and leave the panic of launching it to the public. But I can happily say I’ve finally launched it (and it went amazingly!).
The first thing I needed to do was to finish the last features of the project. I wanted to add some space for sponsorships, a newsletter form, a “Surprise Me” button, and some more cool additions. I had a big list of things that I wanted to build before launching but decided to prioritize a few of them.
Once the project was finished, I decided that, to avoid postponing the launch, even more, set up a Product Hunt launch day with Kevin William David, the #1 hunter on PH.
But then I realized I only had 3 weeks to find, contact, negotiate and agree two/three sponsorships. I spent an entire day looking for potential sponsorships on websites, podcasts, and newsletters like Failory and tools that had a quite similar audience.
I then spent like a whole day researching for the best person in the company to contact. I wanted to avoid contacting people under titles like “Sponsorship Manager”, but sometimes I couldn’t find someone better to contact as emailing the CEO of the company would definitely mean no response back.
Once I had all the data from the people I wanted to contact (which were like 100-105), I created some template emails to reach these businesses. But, just before start sending them, I decided to build something to differentiate from other publishers looking for sponsors.
A few weeks ago, took this great course from GetSponsorships in which Jason Zook talked about how to find and contact sponsorships for a project. On one of the lessons, Jason talked about how he got a $20,000 sponsorship from TreeHouse by filming a customized video. This inspired me to create a customized screenshot for each of the 105 businesses I wanted to reach showing them how the AD on the project would look like if they sponsored the site.
This thing that can seem really quick and easy to build took me like 4-5 hours more. I needed to download all the images of the businesses from their social networks (and in some cases customize them a bit to fit that space) and extract a one/two sentence description for the AD.
When I had all the images, it was already quite late so I decided to contact the businesses the next day (I think it was a Monday).
The next day, I sent all the email. This didn’t take me a lot of time. I use Streak CRM on my Gmail. This allowed me to set up a keyword that when I wrote it on the email creator, it showed the entire email I wanted to send to the company. I just needed to customize the name of the person, the company’s name and add the screenshot of the AD. This is how the email looked like:
Btw, make sure to check out Grow & Convert’s blog, they are amazing!
To track the 105 businesses, I used Streak’s pipelines. I created a box for each of the businesses I contact in which I added the stage of the opportunity. Here is a picture of how this pipeline looked like:
Seriously, Streak CRM made all the job much easier. I was also able to set up notifiers so as to follow-up the businesses after one week.
1 week later, I send the first follow-up and the next week (only a few days before the launch!) I sent the second follow-up to those businesses that haven’t answered.
Results? 0 sponsorships. It sucked a lot to do all this job and get 0 sponsorships. There were some people interested but they couldn’t spend their budget on a sponsorship like this. There also were some businesses that told me to carry out a CPC campaign or a referral one. I accepted in two cases, but it wasn’t really beneficial.
I know think that I should have added Carbon Ads or something similar in that space. I’m pretty sure I would have earned some hundreds of dollars.
As I was looking for sponsorships, I started creating some documents for the launch of the project. First of all, I built and wrote all the assets I needed for the PH launch campaign. One cool thing I do was to create the following GIF which caught a lot more the attention of PH users.
I then also listed all the communities, websites and social networks I wanted to share the project in. With each of these links, I added the exact title, description, images, etc that I would use. I use the same descriptions for many of the places where I shared Startup Cemetery, but I tried to make it as customized as possible.
Finally, I sat down on my room and carried out a quick brainstorming session in which I came with many cool strange strategies I would use to promote the site. I didn’t have time to carry them out during the launch day, but I’m currently working on them.
After 3 weeks of excitement, it finally was launch time!
I launched Startup Cemetery on Monday, February 25. I kept until 5:00 am waiting for Product Hunt’s update on products. When the Startup Cemetery was live, I sent the link to a few friends and tweeted about it. Pat Walls (thanks Pat!) re-tweeted my post which meant some more likes and RT.
In just a few minutes, the Startup Cemetery was the product with the biggest amount of upvotes, but in the third position. So I went to sleep happily.
The next day, when I woke up, I picked my computer and checked PH. It remained in the same position but with a few hundreds of upvotes. there were over 50 users on the site, I had lots of emails and a lot of people were tweeting about the project.
I started posting the project on some more places. I thought it was going to do it well on Hacker News (which would have been a complete success), but it didn’t do it. Anyway, on all the other communities and social networks, people loved it and the feedback was incredible.
I got hundreds of emails of people who loved the project. I get a lot of feedback on how to improve and monetize this. And I even get some collaboration and sponsorship opportunities.
Let’s divide this into four categories.
During the launch day, the Cemetery pages (landing page and business pages) received 19,987 page views and over the week, they received a total of 49,251.
Over that week, the entire site received 63,877 page views with an average time on each page of 1:30 minutes and a bounce rate of 51.44%. This were the most visited pages:
As for acquisition, the traffic came mostly directly and from referrals (Product Hunt especially).
What was quite impressive to me was the big number of people who visited the project coming from social networks. Facebook performed really well but Twitter did also bring a lot of traffic.
As I told before, the project turned quite viral on Twitter which meant a lot of visits to the site coming from this social network.
But I also see a boast in Failory’s account numbers. I got 75 new followers, 93 mentions and 494 profile visits. Webflow’s Twitter account tweeted about the project and got lots of re-tweets and upvotes too!
Startup Cemetery ended up the day with the biggest amount of upvotes but in position #3. It was quite annoying but that’s how PH algorithm works. But it also ended up in position #2 for the week which is really cool.
The project right now has +1,100 upvotes and a lot of comments.
Nothing! This is quite sad as I didn’t take advantage of the launch campaign.
But I’m pretty sure I will be able to monetize this in the future. I keep giving value so that in the future, people want to join a community or a membership site...
I will start with the money. In total, I made $755.12.
This came from:
At the beginning of February, I tweeted that I have finally reached the $1,000 in monthly revenue. I had sold one sponsorship for the content pages of Failory to a Twitter growth tool. But at mid-February, they told me that they weren’t really happy with the ongoing results and requested a refund.
This was quite devastating - it was the first time I had to make a refund, but at least it made me realize I only need to look and accept sponsorships from businesses that really fit Failory’s audience.
As for page views, the site got 71,781 with an enormous spike as the end. There were 24,284 users in 29,806 sessions which stayed in the site an average time of 2:19 minutes and had a bounce rate of 60.42%.
I acquired 8,112 users directly, 6,956 from organic searches, 5,981 from referral sources and 3,135 from social networks.
Finally, these were the most-visited pages:
Thanks a lot for reading this huge article. I hope you’ve liked it and enjoyed it ;) I will keep posting these monthly reports if I see people enjoy them.
Have a great month and see you in April!
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