Arranging waitresses, waiters and other flexible workers is a pain for restaurants, bars, hotels, events and other hospitality industry. It is often hard to get motivated people and even more harder to get them on the right time (so when it is busy in the “shop”). On the other side flexible workers in the hospitality industry may be more appreciated. Appreciation comes by motivation. Motivation can increase if you can work when it fits to you and for example if you are better trained by someone who is not the manager.

Waitress-flexible
Credits picture: Huffington Post: Four Steps to Workplace Flexibility and Smart Scheduling

In The Netherlands there is company called Flexbook, the are traditional staffing company for the hospitality industry. But Flexbook is using an app to organize the flexible workers (see also my post: 6 marketplaces as an alternative for a staffing office #FreelancersTakeOverWorld).

But why not remove the traditional staffing stuff and organize flexible workers without an central organisation?
Probably because most experienced people (from the staffing industry), will tell you that it doesn’t work if nobody is in between it.

So that is what we are going to find out by experimenting and use #GrowthHacking and #Traction to speed up the process on- and offline as well.

If we use the Javelin Experiment Board it can be defined as follows:

Customer/Problem Hypothesis:
From restaurant side (the riskier side):
Restaurants often need quality flex workers but it is not always predictable when.

Solution Hypothesis:
In this case the solution is made for the ChildCare industry. The software is on the way to a Product-Market fit. For we will use the standard software.

Core assumptions:

  • Restaurants have a serious problem finding flex workers
  • Restaurants have a serious problem finding flex workers that speak English and are trained well
  • Restaurants want to pay a (small) fee
  • Flex workers are using smart phones
  • Flex workers like to work (and earn) when it fits them
  • Flex workers like to have a community where they can gain knowledge and coaching
  • Restaurants are willing to corporate but not invest time
  • Community of flex workers can be build in a viral way (via Facebook)
  • Follow the money principle, if restaurants are willing to pay, people are willing to work

The next steps is brainstorm about experiments we can test. As input for the brainstorm for experiments we will use the cook book for #GrowthHacking and prioritize the hacks for flex workers and restaurant managers. We also may use the framework of #Traction. And last but not least we use the tips for #GrowthHacking inspired by Sean Ellis.

In this case we need to find a Customer-Problem fit first so the hacks will be less focused on growth with an solution that reached product market fit.

The hacks to experiment for growth in flex workers:

  1. Click on “share” button to get a bonus for bringing in another flex worker
  2. Referral – make it super easy for users to refer new users via email/Facebook message/give them links. Examples »
  3. Make it possible for your customers to create something and publish it on social media.
  4. Always put the URL of your product website in the short description of Facebook fan page / profile. More on that »
  5. Use your recruitment process as a growth hack. Example (in Polish) » (needs to be checked)
  6. Ask to take a picture with the restaurant they are working with a #hashtag or other sign and share it on Facebook.
  7. Use your tool as a gateway to another tool. In this case use job sites to find waitresses (for example who speak English well)
  8. “Cut the hair of all the pretty girls for free”. More » (btw not sure how but we will find a way)

For restaurants

  1. Call new signups or visit the restaurants. More »
  2. Create a maillist by asking every an email address from restaurant visited
  3. Once user registers, put him on a path of direct emails. We have several different paths depending on what stage user is at. (google lead nurturing)
  4. Send as personalized emails if you can
  5. For early feedback: call every single customer you have and ask for feedback.
  6. Provide example contracts in PDF marked with your logo, URL and such
  7. In B2B great way to engage users in a conversation is “request a demo”. See desk.com. Use the semo visiting the restaurants.
  8. Try to motivate restaurants to test the service by free X months. To get feedback on the user experience.
  9. Remind users about your service once in a while. Cases »
  10. Firstly establish trust, sell second. In case of SaaS, do not mention costs at first sight. Instead give something for free, e.g. “free trial”.

General:

  1. Reply to emails quickly. (As fast as you can 2-3min, customers love it)
  2. Send a personal, hand-written message (or even a cake!) to the most engaged (or first, or paying) customers. An investment in something as simple as thank you cards, with a hand-written message, can go a long way in keeping your customers passionate about your product and there’s no better marketing than word of mouth.
  3. Short landing pages work better for “free signup”; longer when you require money to use your product
  4. Distinctive “Call to action” button is almost always a must. It is better if placed at the top of the page so the visitors don’t need to scroll down.
  5. Pre-fill forms for users.
  6. Use html title tag to encourage people to revisit your website. Example »
  7. For newsletters: use GIFs for animations. Old school, but works.
  8. If you want your customers to see an important picture in your newsletter, you can use inline images that will open automatically, without clicking “display images”. Note that some email clients (older versions of outlook) can not display those pictures correctly.
  9. Encourage newsletter subscribers to share your content. Example »
  10. When calling the user to action, instead of the vague words (like submit/next/continue), use brief but meaningful link text that explains what the link or button offers. Don’t rush commitment – Most people are commitment-averse. The bigger the commitment that is being asked, the less likely people will go for it. It is better to say “Add to cart” rather than “Buy now”. Add benefits – You should have a good sales copy before the CTA, but since people don’t read, you should communicate some value also next to the call to action itself.
  11. Have a great unsubscribe page. Check out this example from HubSpot »
  12. If you have a piece of high quality content (blog post, infographic) that has proven to be popular and frequently read, use Social Locker or http://www.paywithatweet.com/ or http://clickandsave.eu/ (made by guys from Krakow) to require people to share it in order to access it.
  13. Don’t decide without testing. You may have your feeling, but your customers may act totally different
  14. Your website should make visitors to do the action you want them to do. Define the actions before.
  15. Use call-to-action button in your e-mails. “Upgrade your Account”, “Visit site”.
  16. Call to action buttons work better with » at the end (but test your case; on OS X this » can be typed with Alt+Shift+\)
  17. Social proof goes a long way. Have testimonials on your website
  18. Social proof and testimonials work much better if you include logos, personal pictures or high profile clients.
  19. A/B test with Google Experiments – fast and easy
  20. Use mixpanel.com or kissmetrics.com to reveal what your users actually do.
  21. Referral – add “read more” link to copied text from your WordPress. Every copied text will be pasted with source link. Read more
  22. Try to avoid brown and orange colors at your web page. According to research those are the most hated colors by both men and women.
  23. By Neil Patel: “Your success is only partially dictated by how much traffic you get. The other half of the equation is the quality of your traffic. (…) Imagine you run a mechanic shop. Who would you rather talk to: 100 people who own cars… or 10 people whose cars are broken down on the side of the road right now?”
  24. Hack your links in a way that they show photo/video preview when shared over social networks. Examples »
  25. The easiest way to increase your conversion rate is eliminating unsuitable traffic sources which just mess your statistics. (are we really concerned about statistics though? more traffic cannot harm, hosting / transfer cost is negligible)
  26. If your product/users link to other sites try to ping them back using blog-like pingback mechanism. Examples »

SEO hacks (more long term):

  • Monitor queries that flex workers use to enter your landing page and create separate mini-landing page for that query. That can also work with support requests. Make a FAQ list of it.
  • Create content pages (blog) about the niche of looking for flex workers in the hospitality industry and attach them to your footer
  • Have content pages (stories of flex workers) written by different people (flex workers) to avoid duplicates
  • Monitor queries that managers from restaurants use to enter your landing page and create separate mini-landing page for that query. That can also work with support requests. Make a FAQ list of it.
  • Look at your competitors, what techniques are they using? However, don’t follow them, be step ahead.
  • SEO tip: maps on the website boosts your SEO position. Use maps with references from restaurants.
  • Monitor how much traffic you get from each keyword and how it converts. Find ways to improve (i.e. write articles about the topic or hire seo agency).
  • Long tailing – Instead competitive & costly generic keywords try using more specific, cheaper keywords. Use lines that you would type in search bar. Your customers will find exactly what they’re looking for and you won’t spend too much on SEO.
  • To get a lot of content marketing insight, scrape any blog to find out about most popular titles, authors, social media channels etc. How-to guide >>here<<

Later:

  • If media don’t want to talk about you yet, just talk about yourself in media. Youtube, article sharing websites, social networks, Facebook are great places to promote your product.
  • Journalists are lazy. When sending a press news about your startup remember to include: backgrounder about your company, logo in PNG & vector format, screenshots and – of course – full text of the article in both Word and PDF formats. Never send them links.
  • Crowdfunding: build custom landing for influential supporters. In stead of crowdfunding more a franchise idea.
  • We found out that our clients use this other site. We took time and see how we can reach them. Turns out there is public URL, company email and more info is embedded in this page source code. The rest is history.
  • Run re-marketing campaigns (details and cases). Check what to do in Facebook.
  • Retention in mobile apps: update in App Store/Google Play + mailing about it = ultra effective
  • Use events to track users who abandon your registration form.
  • Adding testimonials increase your conversion. Examples »
  • Dealing with churn: down selling, suspending subscriptions, etc. Examples »
  • Add URLs to copied text. Examples »
  • Your company blog is a place where you can instantly appreciate your customers – tell their story, good case study or simply post a thank-you note. This will make a good PR for them and let you get a loyal customer.
  • Use Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your company name across the web. Also track your competitors. Or mention.com
  • Use Rapportive to guess emails of people you’re reaching out to (i.e. bloggers). Example
  • Add an Emoticon / Symbol to a Emails Subject line… Make sure its visible in mobile and is in context. (possible duplicate of #91)
  • Split your offer when giving your customers a credit . For example give them 30$ to use in your application, but only 10$ a month. This way you will engage your client and if he decides to leave after one month, he will only use 10$ from the offer.
  • Easiest way to show your customers how your product works and why do they need it is a whiteboard-style animation or explainer video. Creating such video doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Try using software like Videoscribe.
  • After you convince your user to sign-up for a newsletter (or anything else) give them a little to-do list (FB like, Twitter follow) in exchange for some additional, fancy piece of content. Check it how Noah Kagan dodoes it.es it. (broken link – anyone got an update?)
  • Search for blog listicles about products in your space. If there are products listed that don’t exist anymore, email author telling them that X product no longer exists. If your brave enough, suggest replacing X product with your product and provide brief description and link.
  • Email complementary products in your space about swapping tweets/fbposts/etc. These complementary products have overlap in your target audience and its a quick way to generate some free traffic.
  • If you want to have your Android application high in the Google Play ranking for a particular phrase, just add that phrase to the application title.
  • If you have a SaaS product, try to partner with people who do complementary products. Then offer bundle on your pricing page or free discount code. Maybe partner with platforms like SalesForce
  • See what your competitors are doing on Social Media using a monitoring tool like Sociota.
  • Personal Branding- Create Proper Linkdin Profile
  • Become a twitter Influencer in your niche. Here is the science and practices

If you have more advices for #GrowthHacks then let me know by dropping a comment.

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