I’m sorry. I lied. I don’t know how to street team. But I do have an amazing resource that gives some practical information on how to recruit a team, gather materials, and execute.
The resource is a short lecture given by Sonny Mayugba, Co-founder of Requested in the latter half of This Week In Startups Episode 599 (starts at 27:40; the first half is good too, featuring Marco Zappacosta the founder of Thumbtack).
This article will explain the street team strategies that Mayugba’s used to grow his app . The latter part will give some context to my app Munday and the unique circumstances it faces.
I will be putting some of the given strategies to the test by implementing relevant suggestions for my own app. In a follow up article I will compare and contrast the strategies I used to gain traction.
Step One: Develop an Unpaid Marketing Internship Program
Mayugba’s street team recruitment strategy revolves around recruiting college students and putting them to work as interns.
The program should look like any other marketing coordinator job, and be sure to clearly define the role. The interns are going to be out in public interacting with potential users; you don’t want a meek or introverted personality type.
It is important to get the program approved by the respective university because then the interns will receive college credit. Without the college credit the internship will be less valuable to the intern (especially if your doing unpaid). So go find the University Career Center and talk to the internship manager. If your start up is legit, it should be approved. And if you can afford it, make the program paid.
Based on his experience, Mayugba stresses that the internship should last 90 days and be 12 hours per week. This helps ensure that committed interns are recruited. He also suggests to make the interns part of your DNA. They should be just as knowledgeable about your product as you are.
Step two: Assemble Marketing Materials
Mayugba suggests PsPrint to make 4x6, full color, both sides, and glossy postcards for your interns to hand out. The cards should explain your service/product in a few sentences and have a picture of what it is about. He bought 8000 cards for 3.7 cents each — so around $320.
Requested is a marketplace. They need to build a network of restaurants and then get people to book reservations through the app. Mayugba made sales kits and coupons or ‘promo biz cards’ that give some monetary incentive which helps on-board the user.
Requested is using a similar monetary incentive strategy as PayPal, Uber, and others. During PayPal’s inception, the company paid its users 10 dollars to sign up; Uber pays out money to users for getting referrals. The important take away is to provide the user some kind of incentive to try out your service.
Mayugba emphasis the importance of buying quality shirts; he references the article here on Medium, Your $4 t-shirt is costing you millions by Joshua Baer.
If possible, try working with a local screen printer. It keeps the money local, and if an event pops up the local printer can deliver shirts faster than a far off print shop.
The final marketing material suggested is a spinning wheel. It needs to be dry erase so the values can be changed. Here is what Mayugba has to say about them:
“[Spinning wheels] totally attract attention. Everybody — I don’t care if your the coolest hipster in the world — everyone wants to spin a spinning wheel. They love the clicking sound, it makes the dopamine rush — I don’t know what it is, but spinning wheels make people happy.”
They are around 80–150 dollars and can be found on Amazon. (Although I cannot find the exact one in the picture.)
If you choose to do this, be creative with the rewards, try to make them laugh or happy in some way. Notice some of the prizes the Requested team used. (“You deserve a nice compliment”—or a simple high five.)
These are potential users your interacting with, creating a fun first impression will help persuade them to try the service/product out.
Execution with a street team is about engaging your customer in meaningful ways for purposes of building long term emotional connections with your brand.
There is not any one way to engage the user. And the problems and circumstances one company has are not the same for another. But there is a logical thought process that anyone can go through to solve their own unique tasks.
The first task to think about is where the street team should be dispatched.
Figure out where people commonly commute in your target area. It could be hot restaurant sectors or some special iconic place.
Identify specific places or single locations that receive a lot of traffic. Examples of this could can be a street corner, bus station, or train station.
Take advantage of any kind of special party, festival, concert, or annual event that draws a lot people out. Requested capitalized on the Apple’s September 25th release of the iPhone 6s by handing out hundreds of $15 coupon cards.
If nothing is going on then hold your own party. Requested throws parties at the restaurants incorporated with their app in order to get the word out and educate people about it. Representatives casually dressed inform customers that $15 is removed off their check if they register with them.
Mayugba suggests giving the interns specific time parameters to work, objectives to accomplish, and an opening script. For example, have them show up at [insert location] and work it from 11 am to 1 pm. For Requested, their objective was to educate people on what their service is and see if they could get them to download the app and make a booking.
A challenge Requested has is building up a network of restaurants to incorporate the app. It is a time consuming process because it requires hand-to-hand interaction with each restaurant. This was how they tackle the problem:
“We sent the team out on a total battle map up and down these streets and said, ‘I want these [sales kits] in the hands of every general manager and every owner of every restaurant, bar, and cafe on every single street in these three neighborhoods in Sacramento.’ ”
With this strategy they receive twelve leads a day with three warm leads and one close.
For some more information check out their PowerPoint Presentation.
To give some context, I have been developing a media sharing app called Munday for the past year.
The problem that it helps solves is gaining influence, audience, or presence in both a local and greater geographical area. The app does this by providing a platform without a follower/following dynamic and instead relies on the user’s location.
The point is the user does not need to build up a following like in Instagram or Twitter, they are instantly plugged into the people around them. Their content is voted on by the community through an up-vote/down-vote system. I consider it a synthesis of Instagram and Reddit because the focus is on sharing images, videos, and links.
We are re-releasing the app tomorrow (1/22/16) with major changes being implemented. A transition from development into user acquisition is occurring. So a lot of what Mayugba said is relevant to my position.
My starting environment is different from Mayugba. I am a senior at Florida State University and will gaining users in the Tallahassee area.
The bars, gyms, and campuses are my target areas. A strategy is to get a hold of business owners and work out a deal. It could be five dollars off the customers tab if they download the app, or a free smoothie at the gym.
My plan to recruit interns and spread the word by giving short presentations before as many classes as I can at FSU. The university center may also play a role in recruiting interns. But I am not actually sure if it is possible to hire students as interns as a student.
Regardless, I’ll be doing a follow up post of the strategies I used to grow the user base of the Munday app.