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How We Turned 200 Hours Effort Into Zero Revenue and 22 Subscribers (everydaydreamholiday.com)
57 points by JacobAldridge on Jan 16, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 26 comments

Sharing this information and your thought processes is great, so thanks for doing that. Looking at your website, it's still not clear to me why I would want to sign up - there's no call to action on the homepage saying what I'd be signing up for, just a tagline, a slidehow with a cryptic headline and a find out more, and an advert (and some blog links below the fold).

Why not put "spend 10 minutes, everyday, being taken on a journey around the world" front and centre on the homepage? (I found that text on the why sign up page only after the slideshow got to the last slide, then it moved, then I found the buttons to get back to that slide, etc etc, gah!)

I like the concept, although I'm not sure I want to read 1000 words a day on a random location – on the one hand, 1000 words can be skim-read (and the pretty pictures admired) in ~5 minutes; on the other, if it was a little longer and did take ten minutes, would I want to read it every day? Probably not, and if I'm not going to read it I probably don't want it in my e-mail inbox.

The advantage of a weekly digest is that I can read the ones that I'm interested in. I really look forward to my Quora digest for example. Daily engagement is something I give to my wife, not a travel blog.

Not everyone wants to go around the world and experience everything, but most people would be interested in, say, 10-30% of your destinations. I think your target audience of people who want to go everywhere and experience everything is too small and I almost wonder if its (not trying to be rude here, but can't think of a better word for it) snobbery on your part - I'm guessing you have all travelled a lot and see a lot of value in experiencing things from other cultures and places, even if they are not to your taste. Most people aren't like that.

Thanks for your time and input Robin, greatly appreciated.

Re: Call to action, I've made a minor tweak so the slide you mentioned is now front and centre. It can be improved, and will be - super valuable suggestion.

We can definitely do something differently around your "read 1000 words a day" thoughts. The emails are generally 3-4 photos and 150 words, which can be clicked through to the long article by the fraction of readers specifically interested in that location (or bored that day). That fact isn't clear from the site, and may be putting people off.

Your snobbery point is well made. I don't feel we're targeting people who want to go everywhere - more people who are entertained by varied travel stories, even if the story merely confirms that they never want to do that themselves.

Lastly - if we end up changing the whole business model from daily to weekly, I'm voting for Daily engagement is something I give to my wife, not a travel blog. to be the new company tagline. Thanks again.

Here is something I wrote to help startups write a good call to action. Hope you find it valuable. Its from my Marketing Bits series.


Ah, I hadn't signed up for the e-mail I'm afraid so I hadn't seen the daily e-mail is just a section of the blog entry. That makes more sense and does enable the sort of filtering I was thinking of.

Best of luck, glad the input was helpful – I should get on with some real work now :)

Just throwing in my vote as another person who doesn't want this daily but would happily receive it weekly. I have enough happening in my inbox without adding another message every day - but once a week would be fine.

Thanks for taking the time to write this all down - Jacob and I really appreciate the feedback.

I absolutely agree with your points about the call to action - it's funny how often you can't see something that you've built from a different perspective when you've spent hours working on it.

We've also been given a lot of feedback about providing a weekly digest option, and that's something we're planning to put in place.

Once again, my thanks!

Author and OP here - I'm one of the co-founders with kerno

I had some insightful feedback on Part 1 from swombat about it being too 'us centric' and not clear about what's in it for the reader. He was right, and Part 2 is hopefully slightly better in that regard (they were written together and split for length); but we really do believe there's value in laying it all on the table.

To that end, I'm also happy to answer any other questions anybody has.

I had a look on the first page and had no idea what I get as a customer other than an email a day about a place.

I looked further and it looks like youre monetising by hooking people up with travel guides?

Be really clear about what your value proposition is for your customer, why would they sign up now?

"Be really clear about what your value proposition is for your customer" - This is the key learning I've had from the feedback so far.

And just to clarify - the monetisation plan doesn't involve connecting people with travel guides. Maybe it should?

Our pre-launch survey gave us some great feedback about 'we want local insight', and there was also some strong feeling about 'give us an experience, not a guided tour'. So monetisation will (in current plans) involve advertising, possibly embedded into the daily experience (cafes, destinations, maybe even guides) - although we have yet to determine how we do that openly and without including any awful places.

Also be careful of what people #tell# you they want and what they actually want (ie pull a credit card out).

Try and figure out how to align the needs of the advertisers and your customers and it will make things easier.

IMHO I like the concept but your "travel post" could use a visual refresh. I think the top of the post could have a google map showing start location to end location. It sounds really stupid but many people cant connect the location to its place in the world. I think the key to success for your site will be in revamping the posts to feel less like blog posts with massive blocks of info.

Contact me for some help on doing this if you want. I have a day job but could be an "intern" of sorts. I am sending you an email so you can have mine.

Maps were something in the original plan, and they're now back on the agenda! Thanks Rylan - I'll be checking emails shortly.

Looks very nice but as per some of the other comments, there is not enough "grab" or focus for me-it seems very generic. How about adding a forum? Countries/Places/Ideas/Wants/help required/local contacts etc. - If you take a look at Pistonheads.com (cars) - the forums make that site work and visitors returning.

Some great ideas Spants, so thank you for sharing. One month in, we're certainly focused on the initial offering (daily entertaining email) more than some of the other features you suggest. There's plenty of competition in the sector, so we don't want to try and be all things to all people.

As a user, I'm really happy with the forums at TripAdvisor and ThornTree - any thoughts on how they could be advanced or improved upon would be welcome.

Forum's are very hard to do well. The bulk of their utility is in their userbase. 22 subscribers is not even close to enough. There tends to be dominant forums for a particular hobby. The thing they almost all have in common is age. Growing a forum today needs a core group of dedicated and knowledgeable people to produce meaningful content to discuss. It's hard work!

Thanks tgrass, good find and a REALLY interesting question.

The first thing I do when I go to your site is look to see if there is a city guide for a place I've been to, but none are available and I am just prompted to sign up for a newsletter, which is clearly not what I want. The daily destinations seems like a very generic travel blog. I think there is opportunity in interactive city guide, and I'd gladly pay for one if it was somehow and everyway tailored to me. Wallpaper city guides are pretty good [1], but they are kind of one dimensional.

[1] http://uk.phaidon.com/travel/

Thanks Draggner. If it's city guides you want, we can suggest everything from Lonely Planet Encounter Guides ($5-$10 each) to the newly launched WikiVoyage - and really, they're great! We have no intention with competing with them.

I agree there's an opportunity in the market for an interactive city guide - it was something we discussed, but aren't intending to focus on for now. Why?

Because we believe in email. We'd rather be called an entertaining travel blog than a generic one, of course, and your insight has revealed how we probably aren't being clear enough about our website v our emails. Thanks.

Ultimately we'd rather be known for entertaining emails than a comprehensive travel website. That's the choice we've made - it's not right or wrong, and you may see us in the interactive city guide market one day. Or someone else may seize it - and then we'd all be happier!

Love it! I signed up but I guard my inbox like a fortress so will probably make these skip the inbox then set a weekly reminder to read over them (alternatively, you could offer a weekly digest :) )

Those posts to Reddit, especially the meme post, are ineffective because they scream spam. Most users of those subreddits will see right through your intentions of creating artificial discussion.

Yes, all part of learning our way around a new community. Aiming to add relevent content (ie, not just submit every story to /r/travel), and learn from the karma feedback system when we're doing that and when we're not.

Less than ten hours per subscriber is not bad. In-house enterprise software can get to hundreds of dollars in development costs per user click before getting cancelled.

I think the difference is that enterprise software eventually nets you a $200,000 contract, while the OP company distributes free email and makes money through affiliate links.

Yes. While I'll take any compliments or acknowledgements, comparing us to enterprise software is a long bow. Although if it's long bow comparisons we're looking for, it is worth noting that we have more Twitter followers than the first 37 Presidents combined.

"take control and make 10 minutes of your day truly yours."

I read that and immediately signed up, but to echo Robin_message, I am not sure I want to be told about places I probably won't go. There has to be other ways you can make this 10 minutes work for me. I'll be waiting.

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