There aren’t many startups that get it and I mean really get it when it comes to that initial hook. I don’t know how many startups I’ve seen offer great prizes, rewards and special perks for users to join their service. Some of them even go so far as to say “I will give you money to sign-up” but if there is one company that entirely just nailed it when it comes to getting the hook it’s “Meporter“. Meporter is the new social solution newspapers. Forget getting your news from a newspaper the next day, forget getting it crammed into 140 (inaccurate) characters on Twitter and get it live from the scene as it happens.
But enough about what they are, let’s get back to that hook! Think of it like fishing, as a startup you want to attract and catch as many fish as possible, you need three things, your bait (advertising/promotions), your fishing rod (your product/service) and your hook (the key feature that hooks people in). When it comes to meporter they were baiting us in with cash prizes. To quote TechCrunches coverage of Meporter:
“Meporter is giving away over $28,000 in cash prizes to the first 1 million users who sign up and share the app with their friends”
But even after the bait they need the hook, something so that once I eat the worm I can’t turn around and go swimming off to the next service that’s offering me a worm. For meporter it’s their simple product setup. You see the way meporter works is you load up the app on your smartphone and can report geo-located news as it happens, as well as post stories, take pictures, or check-in as an eye-witness to further the story. As you share the news you earn badges, badges which you can then cash in for fun owl covered paraphernalia at the store.
It’s rather cool that I can earn badges, I do love to gloat – it’s even cooler when I can use those badges to get myself all sorts of free swag – I really really love swag! But, perhaps the best part about the meporter model is that every time I put it down, I feel like I’m missing something important. What if something just happened? What if some really cool impromptu thing is going on across town! Well damn better check meposter again; and there it is they have me hooked!
Meposter is a great model because they get you from all angles, they give you free stuff, they give you pride-filled badges, they let you become the star columnist and they keep you in the loop with everyone else who has the same mentality. Once you get a taste of what’s going on you don’t really want to let go – and that’s where Meporter got it right, not in how they branded, not in their awesome owl covered free swag, but in the solution their service provided. It tells you what is happening now. Live. You can be there – you can make history. Damn..now I have to check Meporter again.