This post is a case study of my latest project. The resultant product is a pair of websites designed for new Bitcoin (a crypto-currency) users. I laid the ground work of inbound marketing in September (3 months ago) along with market research and planning. It is not until recently I started the design and development in anticipation of a full rollout planned in the coming year 2014. The websites, bitcoin-tw and bitcoin-en, are partially live and open to the public as of this writing.
The strategy I use here is market-driven focus which hopefully leads to a product people want to use. This product is to be created based on a market need, not because I think it is a good idea. The strategy can be further broken down into:
This product caters to a population with a majority of people still not knowing what Bitcoin is. Bitcoin started gaining awareness in early 2013, and its acceptance is growing worldwide. Bitcoin has the potential of becoming an essential part of people's life (as indicated by charts below).
Recently, a Bitcoin exchange in China (BTCChina) topped trading volume. The news prompted me to separate the trend analysis of English speaking target audience (using keyword "bitcoin") from the trend analysis of Chinese speaking target audience (using keyword "比特幣"). The analysis turned out that the keyword "Bitcoin" is trending up. At the same time, though the keyword "Bitcoin" in Chinese ("比特幣") it is also trending up with a little bit lag time of a few months:
Trend of "Bitcoin" keyword on Google
Trend of "比特幣" keyword on Google
As indicated by the above market analysis, Bitcoin is increasingly researched upon online by both people in English and Chinese speaking regions worldwide. In order to better position with competitive advantages, I'd narrow down my product scope to put resources into a specific market that is potentially underserved and overlooked. As Bitcoin buzz grows among venture investors despite risks, Taiwan stands out (as seen in the chart above) as a market that is not English speaking region, not part of China, and has up-swing potential as indicated by Google trend. During product development, though I'll be delivering a pair of websites for both English and non-English (Chinese) speaking markets, extra attention toward the non-English speaking market in Taiwan will be stressed upon. Since a full fledged website for new Bitcoin users will not debut until next year, the execution strategy is to quickly put out a minimum viable product to start gathering market data.
A good inbound marketing is critical to kick off this project. About 3 months prior to doing market sensing, I spent great effort writing an article on the topic of Bitcoin and published the article online. To date, this inbound marketing article is already indexed by most major search engines. The article was syndicated to a news site which I had distribution agreement with. I'm pleased with the fact that the Chinese version of the article ranked #5 in Google for the keyword. I knew it would play a key role when it comes to marketing sensing.
Between 11/19 and 11/29, there were 439 unique visitors read the inbound marketing article I put out:
In order to generate knowledge about customers, I designed communications and the conversion funnel that enables customers to give their suggestions:
To kick it off, I needed to pump traffic to the landing page in place and watch it converts. I edited the inbound marketing article I wrote by adding a link to the article. The link is highly relevant to the content and was designed to take readers to my experimental new site on which the above mentioned landing page is presented to visitors. I was looking forward to collecting enough data and act on the data gathered.
As a result, between 11/19 and 11/29, there were 267 unique visitors landed on the designed landing page. Because the landing page is so new, so it is reasonable to assume all visitors landed on the page came from the inbound marketing article.
Other matrix were collected too. In summary, for the period between 11/19 and 11/29:
Because the conversion rate was strong in all conversion stages shown above, I'm confident to carry on the rest of product execution according to the PRD.
The golden color is the primary color throughout the user experience. When an user lands on the site, the color theme will be consistent throughout the whole experience. On the landing page, users will see a large Bitcoin image so they know they are on a site about Bitcoin. Right under the bitcoin image, the main purpose of the landing page is to convert first-time visitors into subscribers to the email list. The landing page is clear with its single purpose of getting subscribers. To encourage such conversion, 3 main reasons why a person should join the email list is listed out clearly, in addition to a ticker of real-time exchange rate, and a link (or an image) to further explain what Bitcoin is all about.
If a user decided to sign up our email list, the confirmation page he/she saw is made more like part of the signup process in hoping the subscriber is more likely to fill it out. In fact, this confirmation page was actually a questionnaire page designed with 4 simple questions:
#1 through #3 are part of marketing sensing I'll cover later. #4 of asking subscriber's email address which I already collected on the landing page is no duplicate. It is mainly to make sure I have the most serious users filling out the questionnaires. It is the quality of data collected I value the most.
On submit (after #4), the user will be taken directly to the forum section where previously submitted common questions and answers are already available for visitors to browse through. Over time, forum administrator will post more legit questions collected from the online questionnaires to the forum, and their corresponding answers.
Every time an answer is posted, a notification is also sent to the person who asked the question in the first place. This is how I bring all elements together by closing the loop. Below is a list of main elements that I built into the experimental sites (Bitcoin-tw and Bitcoin-en).
You can click on the image to see details:
Product Requirement Document (PRD)
The purpose of this document is to provide understanding of the requirements and scope to build a website for new Bitcoin users.
A brief list of high level requirements:
Market analysis indicates a strong up-trend of people researching online using the keyword of "bitcoin" and its Chinese translation ("比特幣").
People who know nothing or little about Bitcoin crypto-currency, which is currently the majority of population worldwide potentially researching online using keyword "bitcoin" and/or "比特幣".
Story #1: Know Bitcoin
Story #2: Use Bitcoin
Story #3: Trade Bitcoin
Story #4: Mine Bitcoin
Launch & Execution
To date, the followings are steps of launch sequence performed in a chronicle order:
I'm excited to learn from the market while continuing to shape the products to fit the market. I'll proceed to roll out better product according to the Product Requirement Documentation (PRD). Though these requirements are far from complete and are always subject to change according to the collected market data. For those of you who want to follow my progress of this project, feel free to visit bitcoin-tw and bitcoin-en and sign up, or leave your comments and suggestions below.