How I'd grow Hokali

January 11, 2023

Hokali is a website that helps people find, book, and manage sports lessons.

Or at least it was - until not long ago.

Apparently, they’re now shifting their positioning.

At its core Hokali is a website where coaches can find customers online

Their new positioning is as a platform designed for schools to organize extracurricular activities for kids.

Essentially, they’re pivoting from B2C to B2B.

This makes a lot of sense because just by signing one school, they can increase their lesson volume

A good example of how a product can stay the same, but changing the positioning will make it completely different

Some sections on the website are confusing because they retained aspects of their old positioning that no longer make sense.

Why can I still book lessons as an individual? Why are there deals?

You need to commit to a positioning change with your messaging because staying somewhere in between will just confuse visitors

The B2B buying process requires significantly more trust than B2C.

Imagine planning the whole after-school tennis season vs. buying a single tennis lesson.

The Hokali website feels too light and needs to be more detailed.

The whole website is essentially made up of a few text-only pages, which isn’t enough to build trust in the type of market they now target

A few things I’d consider adding:

- Case studies with videos of successful after-school programs
- A demo video showing how the platform works
- Social proof and testimonials from school principals
- An About page with the founder's story and credentials

And so on.

One of their biggest selling points is being an all-in-one solution, so not letting visitors take a deeper look is a missed opportunity

A great way for Hokali to improve its landing page would be to conduct customer interviews with its new target audience.

The goal is to discover their inner “yes but,” i.e., the hidden obstacles that get in the way of their decision to buy.

Once they understand the objections, they can strategically create detailed sections on the landing page to address the objection and decrease friction.

A potential “yes but” could be: “How are the kids’ coaches vetted"? Hokali could create an in-depth explanation and address it on the landing page

I find it a bit strange that the website is completely dedicated to the demand side (schools), but there’s nothing for supply (coaches).

They need a dedicated page for coaches.

If a coach discovers Hokali, they don’t have any information to help them evaluate the platform.

The only thing dedicated to coaches on the website is an application form

Hokali needs to consider that in every specific sports niche, most coaches know and speak with each other.

It could be a good idea to leverage a referral program and improve word of mouth.

A coach who successfully finds clients with Hokali will happily onboard a peer, given an incentive to do so.

For example, “Know a great coach in your niche? Refer them to us, and we’ll charge zero commission fees for your next client!”

When it comes to growing demand, the first step is to identify what the school decision-makers search for online. Then, create a content strategy around the search terms.

Hokali already has a blog but, since their target audience changed, it’s useless. School principals don’t go on Google to look for the best places to surf.

One of the risks of creating content before you have product/market fit is that it might be wasted if you pivot

Pro tip: Google Autocomplete can be a great starting point when you don’t know much about your target audience’s searches.

Just use your imagination and type a few words.

Then plug the keyword ideas into a keyword planner to check their search volume, discover related keyword ideas, and build a strategy from there.

Let’s see what keeps school principals up at night

When creating a content strategy, it’s easier to find ideas once you establish a few core pillars. In Hokali’s case, the content pillars could be:

- School
- Sports
- Kids

For example, the articles could be: “The Benefits of Sports on Children’s Cognitive Performance,” “How to Create After-School Sports Programs for Disabled Kids,” etc.

Reading other blogs in adjacent niches can help you find new ideas for your posts

Search as a channel has a few limitations in this case. Not only it will take time to start getting traffic, but the search volume is also low.

Hokali needs to go all in on social media. However, their strategy needs to change because of the pivot.

Their first step should be to cut their social presence to a few relevant channels, and then go all in on them instead of spreading themselves too thin

Considering Hokali’s new target audience, channels like Instagram and TikTok probably won’t be relevant anymore.

Where do school executives and decision-makers spend their time online?

My guess would be LinkedIn (and maybe Twitter). Once they verify the channel’s viability, they should create a strategy to build a solid presence and get on decision-makers’ radars.

Unfortunately, Hokali needs to rethink its social media strategy from the ground up

Another benefit of LinkedIn for Hokali is its advertising platform, which allows them to target decision-makers by industry, job title, etc.

(It’d be hard to reach an ideal customer profile as niche as school principals on other platforms.)

LinkedIn ads are usually pretty expensive, but signing an entire school for a year would make up for it.

It’s easy to see if a company is running ads on LinkedIn, and Hokali isn’t running any at the moment

To run ads profitably, Hokali needs a robust retargeting strategy.

In fact, when you target a small audience, the algorithm will exhaust it quickly. Then, it’ll keep showing the same ad, people will ignore it, and the costs will rise.

On the other hand, retargeting them with multiple creatives that hit different angles is the key to preventing ad fatigue.

The first ad could be an explainer video, the second ad could be a case study, the third ad could be a testimonial, etc.

Learn marketing from case studies

Every month I pick a new website and write a marketing case study explaining exactly how I’d grow it