How I'd grow Virtually

September 9, 2020

Virtually is a platform that allows anyone to create an online school by unifying live conferencing, payment processing and student management in a central hub.

Teachers can schedule live classes, send announcements and message students without handling multiple tools.

At the moment, Virtually’s positioning is generic. In the beginning, your first instinct is to maximize your market and include everyone.

But niching down has many pros: if you speak to a specific target audience, you can address their exact pain points and increase conversions.

It could be positioned as a tool for offline activities that need to go digital. In this case, I’d stress how easy it is to use.

Or it could be positioned for digital creators who want to monetize their audience. In this case, I’d highlight how it helps creators make money.

Pro tip: don’t focus on people who don’t convert. Double down on the ones who do.

Look at your first customers, talk to them, try to spot a pattern and continually adjust your positioning and your copy to resonate with that specific audience even more.

Visuals are important to make people immediately understand what your product is, but there isn’t a single image on Virtually’s website.

This is exactly the type of product that could use a short and to-the-point explainer video on the homepage.

Giving visitors the option to try a live demo with no signup required would be even better than an explainer video.

A product tour that clearly shows how user friendly and easy it is to set up your own school would definitely help remove friction.

If we positioned Virtually as a tool for creators, I’d get first customers by targeting people who are already selling online classes.

I’d brainstorm niches, and then I’d google terms like “online cooking classes,” and compile a giant list of potential leads.

I’d then reach out through email with a live demo link, so they can try it out (no one wants to ”jump on a quick call”).

3 golden rules for cold email replies:

- Keep it short (get straight to the point)
- Make it about them (not you)
- Personalize it (no templates)

Next up, go after creators who are monetizing by selling online courses to their audience, but haven’t started teaching online classes yet.

The goal: convince them that adding online live classes to the mix would increase their engagement and revenue.

First step: make a list of places where course creators hang out online (subreddits, Facebook groups, communities, etc.).

After participating in the community to understand what resonates, they should craft a storytelling post explaining how they came up with the idea.

After this launch post, I’d implement monthly case studies for these groups with the behind the scenes of how real Virtually customers make money.

Seeing how other content creators are making money will resonate with them, and they’ll want to do the same.

These case studies could also be repurposed for social media, considering that the solo founder behind Virtually likely don't have the resources to create tons of different content.

I think they’d work great as threads on Twitter. With the right angle, they could get a lot of traction.

I’d also post them to Facebook, but Virtually would need sponsored posts - there’s no organic reach left. FB is pay to play.

I’d avoid the traffic objective and use the conversion objective to push the algorithm to make it appear in front of spenders and not browsers.

I’d also consider a side marketing project to build awareness for Virtually and attract targeted traffic.

Find an idea that has the potential for horizontal word of mouth, something that a creator would recommend to others even long after the project has been launched.

In my experience, the most popular projects fall under the “useful resources” category.

E.g. It could be something like a giant directory of all available tools for creators that can be filtered by parameters like pricing for each tool type.

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