When Pandas Attack
Ankur is a music producer. The Guardian described his music as ‘Downtempo music makes for a welcome break from manic city life’. He is putting the finishing touches on his first album.
He has no plans for the release. I wanted to help. I am no marketing expert, but any plan is better than no plan.
We had two weeks and no money.
We started with an idea for a sticker that people could use to cover the apple logo onto their MacBooks. Something we could give people to say thank you for helping with the launch.
The idea was to narrow in on 100 people we knew and ask them to sign up to our Thunderclap page. Thunderclap is an online platform that works much like Kickstarter. Instead of supporting projects with money you donate your social influence.
We had no logo for the sticker. No album cover. No write up for the Thunderclap page. Ankur still hadn’t finished his album.
I started playing around with different ideas for the logo for the sticker.
This is what we finally decided on:
Ankur worked on putting together the album cover:
Having our own website, instead of directing people to thunderclap meant that we had some control over people’s first impression. We also wanted to give people the option to sign up for future updates.
We used strikingly for a responsive single page website. Patterns instead of pictures. We embedded sound cloud for music, a simple contact form and a link to a tiny letter mailing list. Most importantly, lots of testimonials.
Now we had a website, a logo, a mailing list, a thunderclap campaign and an almost complete album.
We put together a list of email and Facebook contacts that we could personally write to. These were our closest friends. We wrote to each person individually, told them what we are up to and how they could help. No spam, no sign up here and join this while you help out with that. Just one clear request: Join the Thunderclap campaign.
We made a 4-part email chain that built up to launch day. We put together a list of thirty pieces of micro-content to share on Facebook and Twitter. These included b-side releases, the making of the logo, links to silly panda videos and other entertaining panda related nonsense. The idea was to build noise around the issue with little jabs of micro-content and then release the emails every few days to stir engagement.
We managed to get just over 100 people to sign up to the campaign by the end of it. 100 people might not sound like much, but they ended up reaching over half a million people, and it cost nothing. We got mentioned in local music blogs. The website got showcased on strikingly’s favourite websites blog.
The money we made in album donations covered the cost of the stickers. Writing this a year later, we still get Paypal updates about people donating a dollar or two every few days.
If I had to redo things today, the first I would do differently is search engine optimisation. I knew nothing about SEO at the time. Knowing what I know now, I would have written the content to focus on specific keywords.
I would have also made the tweets more shareable. The wording sounded a bit gimmicky. Something more neutral would have allowed people who are not into electronic music to share it.
I also think we should have written a final email, one to end things off after the launch, to thank people and let them know what to expect next.
If you are launching something soon, and you have very little time and money, please use this project as a template. Let me know how you did things better.
Tools and Resources
Thunderclap: An online platform that works much like Kickstarter. Instead of supporting projects with money you donate your social influence.
Strikingly : Single page website builder.
Mini Email Campaign : An archive of the 4-part emails series we sent out for the launch (scroll to the bottom).
Search Engine Optimisation: Everything I know now.
The Pattern Library : Great royalty-free patterns
The album was called ‘Thing Pass By’, you can listen to it here.
You can also check out the final website here.