Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Back from San Fran

I’m back from San Francisco after exploring some really exiting business opportunities, and meeting some very cool people.

Silicon valley is the obvious place for any tech start-up – the stats in favour of setting up out in California are crazy! However….. I think for the time being at least ZodBod and myself will be staying in the UK. We have a great team of people helping us out here and at present I can’t bear to drag myself away from our ridiculous weather and whinging ways 🙂

I just wanted to thanks everyone who I met out in the valley and particular thanks go to Saji who was incredibly welcoming and is an awesome businessman/entrepreneur.

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Newsletter, 6 weeks since launch

I thought it would be good to include the newsletters I send out in this blog so here’s the latest issue:

Hello everyone!

So, we’ve been live for about 6 weeks so I thought it’s been more that long enough to fill you all in on how things are going.

As part of the marketing I was personally going to start a 100 day transformation and personally do some PR both in the UK and US. Unfortunately a couple of days before launch I slipped a disk in my back whilst training and I’ve been more or less bed-bound since. I’ve still been managing to work (just) but I haven’t been able to push the site anywhere near as much as I’d have liked. Thankfully Dave (our Health and fitness pro) has stepped up and has started his catalog of exercise demos and workout guides. Also Ralph (our senior web developer) is back from a week in Germany and he’s getting stuck in on some really neat little additions to the site so keep your eyes peeled.

In terms of marketing here’s a little insight on what we’ve done so far and the results we’ve achieved. We launched an Adword campaign targeting plan creation, as well as targeting plan sales. The initial results didn’t produce great results which wasn’t wholly unexpected and we’re anticipating that more ‘real world’ tactics will be most beneficial in getting more plans on the site.

It’s my personal belief that having a large number of plans on the site is the key to the success of ZodBod. It will mean that anyone can come onto the site and find the right mentor which is the essence of the site.

The main marketing tool that ZodBod has at its disposal is virality (basically word of mouth). We need to tweak the way the site works so that this is the driving force behind getting numbers on the site. We’re making our tracking tools free which will be great and is a step I’m really happy with and we have lots of great ideas in the pipeline that will ultimately lead to the growth we’re looking for, so we can reward all our plan creators for their hard work, and help out as many people as possible.

For some interesting reading on virality (if you’re a bit of a geek) then check out this link. It refers to the way facebook apps can go viral but the crossover to websites is pretty obvious:

http://framethink.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/the-four-viral-app-objectives-aka-social-network-application-virality-101/

One last point on virality is the example of bebo.com. When they launched they sent out 1000 e-mails and through viral growth alone have grown to over 8 million active users!! not bad for never spending a cent/penny/rand on marketing.

We’ve also got plans to hook up with some bigger brands in the fitness and diet world so we can include their videos on the site which should drive traffic and numbers for those of you with downloadable plans.

Pricing of the plans

In time (the next couple of months with any luck) I think it would make sense to give you guys control of the price of the plans. In the meantime I’ve taken the decision to drop the price of the plans right down to encourage impulse purchases and to help with the virality of the site. Check out this article if you want to know a little more about the reasons for this decision:

http://mooseyard.com/Jens/2008/03/the-beauty-of-99%C2%A2-iphone-apps/

One last thing, and on a personal note. The ZodBod project – putting the information on diet and fitness back into the hands of the people is something I’m very committed to. Realistically we’re a very small company and it may take alot of time for us to be able to compete with our much, much bigger rivals. I believe though that the team we have in place are great at what they do and I’m confident over time ZodBod will be a force for good for everyone involved.

If you have any feedback, questions or comments you can e-mail me on xxxxx (removed to avoid spambots!) and I’ll be happy to discuss anything.

Thanks for being a part of ZodBod and I’ll be in touch again soon with more news!

Luke

ZodBod is now LIVE!!!

We’ve finally opened the front doors and ZodBod is now open!!

The development has been top class (well done Ralph!!) and the site is looking great so now I can’t wait to get the first few customers on board buying plans, following the great set of mentors on the site.

I launched the ZodBod Facebook Group too so feel free to join or just go take a look 🙂

Today I’ll be having a tentative dip into the paid advertising for the site. I say tentative as I think the premise of ZodBod requires a certain number of plans of the site, and we’re not there yet but it’ll be interesting to see what happens, and if indeed I can get any sort of ROI at this early stage.

I think there will be a few well deserved beers tonight before getting back on with the task at hand!

A letter from a member & some business info

I received an e-mail from a member called Karen and thought I’d post it here as it gives a real insight as to why we’re doing ZodBod and what we hope our site will achieve:

“I believe that health, weight loss, and fitness all starts in the mind. For many of these woman, it’s not only a body or physical issue when they embark on a weight loss program, but rather it begins in the mind and consciously making that mental shift to choosing to lead a healthy and fit lifestyle.
These woman need guidance for the mental transition from being just “interested in losing weight” to making a “conscious decision” and dedicated choice to become strong, healthy and fit. These woman need to stop wishing for weight loss and start to think with conviction and become armed with knowledge. ”

I think this is one of the key things that is lacking in today’s ‘diet and fitness’ industry (for want of a better word). Everyone tends to talk about calories, and exercise techniques which is really important but they fail to touch upon the most important thing – how to train your mind to want to do these things.

On ZodBod we give people the platform to share information about how the mentally overcame obstacles, as well as letting them share the specific eating and exercise habits they used.

On the business front:

We’ve received the tracking tools back from a third party developer which is great and hopefully will have them ‘plugged in’ by the end of the day. Also our payments system is now virtually finished, and once these two bits are done then there’s no stopping us.

We’ve also hooked up with a local PPC marking business who will be taking charge of our online marketing campaign. I’ve also got a contract back from the solicitors assigning the IP rights of the code and design to ZodBod which is a really important step for anyone setting up a website. Especially if one day you plan on selling it.

Another thing I hope to resolve today is creating a structure for share options within the business. As a start-up we’ve got to be extra careful with the funds we have at our disposal so paying employees with shares in the business is a great motivator for them as they’ll be sharing in our (fingers crossed) success, whilst saving us capital in the here and now.

Thanks for reading!

Luke

First ZodBod blog :)

Hi, I’m Luke and I’m MD and founder of ZodBod.com

The aim of this blog is to share the experience of starting a web based business and being an internet entrepreneur. As I mentioned I’m founder and MD but the genius behind developing the site to where it is today is Ralph (the main…and only developer). All the details of how I came to be in this position will come out over the next few posts but just to fill you in on some news today – Met some great PR guys who I think will the ones we’ll go with although got a meeting with another PR company in half an hours so we’ll see 🙂