As a startup, you often need to think outside the box in terms of how to grow your business. MVP's (minimum viable product) take time to build and product market fit is difficult to establish. Especially when you're dealing with a rapidly changing market and limited financial resources.
Long story short, we put this into practice over the summer while we built a business platform behind the scenes. We figured that since we're an event platform, we should start hosting events to spread the word, generate revenue, and gather feedback. Among startups, this is often referred to as dog fooding.
Fortunately, we generated some success from these events and a ton of fun along the way. In total, we hosted 14 events, generated about $80k in revenue, and signed up over a 1,000 new users. More importantly, we accomplished this with zero dollars in marketing spend. This article's going to share what we did and how we did it.
What we did
In sum, we did what many other millennials do every weekend. We organized party buses. Specifically, we organized party buses to Red Rocks transporting hundreds of young, urban music-lovers to shows. In total, we organized about 50 party buses and we tried to create a fun, easy going experience while keeping everything super easy to manage. After all, we still had a software company to run. Thus, our strategy was simple:
- Organize the events & collect payments via Myhub
- Partner with pick-up / drop-off locations
- Partner with specific bus companies
- Partner with beer / liquor companies
- Promote the events via social media
- Leverage Myhub's built-in referral system
- Leverage Myhub's built-in social layer
- Book the buses based on the volume
- Keep the logistics consistent
- Be a great host
Finally, to help understand the strengths and weaknesses of Myhub, we did everything as if we were a new user meaning we created the Myhub Party Bus account, planned the events, and built a following - all from scratch. Doing this also helped us build a brand and following around the events that we could re-market to in the future.
What we learned
In general, the event series was a great learning experience for us as event planners and as a software platform.
As organizers, we realized that transporting 300 people to and from a concert can be challenging. And, we also became familiar with the last-minute attendance spike and how to prepare for it (#FOMO).
As a software platform, we discovered some of the pain points on Myhub and how to make them better. For instance, the Myhub Party Bus account had built a following of 800+ people, however the organizer still needed to go through and manually invite each person. Or, after sending an invite, we didn't have a way to send a reminder to folks that hadn't RSVPd.
On the flip-side, we also discovered some of the things that really worked well on Myhub. For instance, the Myhub Party Bus had built a following of 800 people which made it super easy to reach them in the future. Because of this, we had a ton of repeat customers and established a loyal following for future events.
We also saw a ton of chatter via the comments section in each event. This made it easy for guests to ask questions, exchange information, and post updates for everyone to see.
Finally, the social layer we'd built into Myhub helped us maximize registrations via word-of-mouth / viral marketing. In total, we estimate that Myhub's social layer brought in about 35% additional registrations for our events which we were able to track via the number of invites, referrals, and social connections among our attendees.
In sum, the Myhub Party Bus experiment was a resounding success and it helped bridge the gap while we built the business platform behind the scenes. At the same time, it was a great learning experience that's helped fuel product development since then.
The key takeaway is that Myhub made the organizing process easy, fun and efficient to manage. I say this because we had 1-person managing the entire process alongside their other responsibilities at Myhub.
The other key takeaway is the potential of this event series. While we managed 14 events and focused exclusively on Denver <> Red Rocks transportation, Red Rocks easily has 70+ shows every season where this would work and one could easily expand to Boulder as well. We'll hold off on any decisions about that for now :)
The truth is anyone could do the above (or something similar) with a little bit of determination while still keeping their head on straight. You've just gotta commit to a single platform vs jumping across multiple platforms to get your friends together (:face palm:). And, given what we've learned and shown, Myhub's the best place to make that happen.
Big thanks to all our sponsors for making this year's Myhub Party Bus series possible. We appreciate everyone's support and love the great work that all of you do :)