About 6 weeks ago we began sending out a weekly newsletter documenting some of the interesting things we’ve been up to. The purpose was really to keep interested people involved, but it’s also turned out to be a great way to spur conversation amongst a lot of our mentors and advisors!
Below is our most recent newsletter, with a quick recap of last week’s as well. If any of you (readers) are interested in being added to the mailing list or want to catch up on previous newsletters, please email us: [email protected], thanks!
Once again, Happy Holidays! We hope everyone enjoyed the start of 2012. Apologies for the lengthy newsletter this time around but we had some technical issues with sending out the newsletter to everyone last week. For that reason, we’ll start with a quick recap, then get into this week’s updates:
- Interns from Tufts University are getting started this week and next. Doug is interested in Marketing, Social Media, and Campus Outreach; Alex wants to gain sales and account management experience; Vincenzo wants to help with HTML, CSS, and JQuery.
- We made a contact with a board member of the Massachusetts Rental Housing Association (MRHA) who wants to help us by publishing an article about us in a newsletter in the near future. We will explore making contact with individuals through other states’ Rental Housing Associations as well.
- Our feedback loop lives on, as we are continually evaluating our various conversion funnels and other metrics gauging our site functionality and effectiveness. We are concentrating on student registration, landlord registration, and the creation of new listings. We have made slight alterations and split-tests of our pages and processes to see what is best. Our most recent change being with the landlord registration funnel.
This week, we have officially decided it’s time to experiment with an “outside-in” model. We will launch a version of the site for any students and landlords in the area, without any explicit partnerships. In addition to trying out a slightly different approach to gaining users and content, we’re also experimenting with a different revenue model: pay-per-lead. This model would allow landlords to create and advertise their properties on the site for free, and simply charge them for each inquiry they want to view. We hope that this has the desired effect of demonstrating value and establishing long-term relationships with landlords who might not have registered on our site had we charged them a monthly listing fee with no guarantees of any inquiries.
Students registering will now be able to choose their school from a list of our partners, or enter in their own. This will also serve as a lead generation tool for us when deciding about new schools we want to approach. Most important is how we will get users on the site since we’re forgoing the partnership channel. To do so, we will be experimenting with different advertising strategies, such as Google Ad Words. At the very least, it will be a good exercise in determining the cost of acquisition of our users which we have been unable to determine definitively to date.
That being said, next week will mark the beginning of the new sales cycle for the traditional model of targeting universities. Wish us luck!
All the best,
Mark & Kyle