Weirdly Noobs: Sarah and Bridget join the squad

Man, as if smashing out #growthsprint related sales goals and product features wasn’t enough excitement, we had two newbies join the team in the past couple of weeks.

We’re pretty excited to have these two onboard and are working really hard to not just stand around all day, open-mouthed at the magic they’re both spinning already.

Since we don’t have official team photos ready yet, I’ve randomly selected a gif to represent each of them. You’re welcome guys.

Shirley temple tapdance

Sarah O’Leary

Customer Success

Can tap dance in snowboarding boots 

Sarah has had a really interesting journey to the tech start-up world. Another Hawkes Bay girl (we’re taking over), she cut her teeth in retail, where she took turns wearing Buyer and Management hats. She also wore a lot of snowboard hats. Mainly while she was yelling “hang ten!” and doing some gnarly-as carve jumps. Just kidding Sarah, I know you probably said Cowabunga.

Anyway, Sarah joined Vend a couple of years ago and helped build their globally award winning Customer Success team. She’s a legend among customer success managers and we feel incredibly lucky to have snagged her for our very own. If you’re a Weirdly user, you’ll start seeing and hearing more of Sarah – she’ll be there to help make sure you’re squeezing as much value out of our software, as you possibly can.

Dirty Dancing gif

Bridget Robbins

Front End Development

Went on family bird-watching trips as a kid

Bridget is a bit of a travel junkie. From South Africa, she trained and worked as a designer before chucking it in to go explore the world. Well, ‘chuck it in’ is probably a bit strong, but she decided she’s expand her horizons – both professionally and geographically. Starting with a stint manning (womanning?) Super Yachts, she worked her way around the playgrounds of the rich and famous – The Bahamas, St Tropez and some island where pigs swim up to eat food scraps off your boat. Eventually, ready to stretch her designer-legs again, she jumped into web design and taught herself to code, using those skills to adventure around Europe, the US and parts of South East Asia.

Luckily for us, Bridget made her way to NZ and decided to settle in – maybe it was the pineapple lumps? Maybe it was all the weird birds we have here. Either way, she’s here. Just in time to tag in as Seb leaves us. Seriously guys, in her first week she’s already bashed out tweaks and improvements to our candidate ranking display – can’t wait to see what she’s got up her sleeve for next week.

 

Keen to know how you can get Bridget magicking your recruitment and Sarah dedicated to your hiring success? Sign up for a free Weirdly trial today.

Weirdly quiz sign up now

 

 

 

Leaving the nest: Seb goes to Princeton

About 6months ago our resident boy-wonder, Seb, joined our posse, but now he’s off on the next adventure – to Princeton. Take note of this name everyone, this guy will run the world one day:

My name is Sebastian Hallum Clarke, and I’m one of the developers here at Weirdly. I joined the team in late January, straight out of high school. Over the past six months, I’ve had the privilege of working with a fantastic, top-notch team to build some amazing features for our users. From our complete re-imagining of the system for Weirdly 2.0, to third-party integrations (Trade Me Jobs and embeddable quizzes), to the quiz generator and quiz report, the product team has been full steam ahead!

Sebastian Hallum Clarke at Weirdly

Turning 18 on Bastille Day at Weirdly calls for Tequila Shots and Croissants.

One thing I find frightening is the thought that I very nearly didn’t take the job at Weirdly. I was initially brought onboard for a specific project to build a custom quiz template for one of Weirdly’s clients. (Basically, I received a static picture of what the final quiz was supposed to look like, and it was my job to build a real-life, actual working website that candidates could use to apply for the client’s graduate recruitment programme.)

I had fairly substantial software development experience (I’d been building Mac apps for a number of years), and I thought I had decent web development chops. Unfortunately, once I received the brief for the custom quiz template, I quickly felt out of my depth. I feared I wouldn’t be able to complete the task, and I struggled to make heads or tails of the code that had been started by another developer.

I was sitting on my bed at home, trying to see if I’d be up to the job. What’s the difference between padding and a margin? How do I tilt things 35°? I was throwing up Javascript syntax errors left and right, and not getting very far at all.

Feeling defeated, I called my mum at work and told her of my frustration. Was I actually a good enough developer? Loving and sympathetic though she was, she was unable to actually help solve any of the problems I was facing. Gah. I toyed with the idea of writing back to the folks at Weirdly saying that I wouldn’t be able to take on the project – no contract had been signed at this point.

I kept trying, and eventually – somehow – things started coming together. I worked out how to use jQuery to get things to move around the page. Gradually my code began to look more and more like the design I’d been given, and shortly before dinner, I was feeling confident enough to write back and confirm my acceptance of the project.

A couple of weeks later and after dozens of revisions of the code, the website was done! I felt really proud, and the client ended up receiving over 400 job applications through the custom site I built. Weirdly hired me on a more long-term basis, my remit expanded, and the rest is history!

I’ll always remember how close I was to giving up – how close I was to passing on what has been an incredibly transformational, educational, and exciting six months. I’m so thankful that I persevered, and for everything that has come since.

Stay weird, weirdos. 🚀

Sebastian leaves Weirdly at the end of this week to begin his undergraduate study at Princeton University, where he plans to study computer science and finance. One day, he hopes to found his own startup. You can learn more about Sebastian’s journey on his personal website, and follow his adventures on Twitter as @sebthedev.

Weirdly #growthsprint: Our analytics reports just went full noise

So here’s the thing guys, I’m starting to run out of ways to intro posts about big, huge feature roll-outs. This #growthsprint has us dropping so many hits, we’re like Motown in the 60’s. I’m all “look out – it’s the Jackson 5! Oh whaaa? There go The Supremes! Get outta town daddy-o, is that my man, Marvin Gaye?”.

And here we are, again. With another BIG ONE.

Last week we intro’d you to the woopty line thing, now we’re dropping the full noise analytics report on you.

If you’re on a paid plan, this thing is going to be a gold-mine of insights about how people are completing your quizzes, which ads or sourcing channels are sending you the best quality applicants, and when and where people are getting stuck.

If you’re not on a paid plan, here’s where you can upgrade and get access to your own quiz data.

Before we go any further, you can find your report by jumping into your job/quiz and clicking on the graph icon. See it sitting there next to the envelope, all full of scientific promise?

Weirdly report icons

For the viewers at home, here’s a sneaky-peek at SOME of the stuff you can see in these new reports:

Overview:

Weirdly report overview

This gives you a snapshot view of how your quiz is performing. One key thing to note here: Unlike other recruiting tools you may be familiar with (I’m looking at you, psychometric-guy), don’t automatically assume a longer “Average completion time” is a bad thing. If you have a few free-text questions that are asking your applicants to really think hard or creatively, they’ll take a little longer to answer. This can actually be a positive thing, depending on the person you’re looking for and the questions they’re taking ages over. One of our developers, Dan, takes like 25minutes to answer a simple question about lunch. That agonising consideration is what makes him so brilliantly awesome at his job.

Referral report:

Weirdly report referral channels

This where you find out what advertising channels are actually working for you. You can see how many applicants are coming through job board ads (like TradeMe or Seek), or via your website or social media platforms. The real gold? You can also see what quality of candidates you’re getting from those places. So you might find you’re getting heaps of candidates from Seek, but actually the ones who come via Twitter are scoring WAY higher so maybe you should be focussing your advertising spend there instead.

Individual question breakdown:

Weirdly report woopty line thing

Not only can you see the woopty line thing on these reports, you can also see how long each question is taking to answer (on average) and how where people are dropping off. We actually used this the other day to analyse a client’s live quiz. We saw applicants were dropping off at an important (but tricky) free text question that was sitting near the start of the quiz. We moved it down the end and, low and behold, the drop-off rates reduced heaps.

Beautiful graphs and things:

Weirdly report graph

There are a stack of graphs that will show you useful things like what time of day people are clicking into the quiz, and when they’re actually responding (completing questions). Handy for timing advertising campaigns. You can also see the spread by date and week – particularly useful for those general “do you want to work with us” talent pool quizzes.

So whether you’re reporting to your boss, your team or just like graphs a lot, this new feature is going to make your Weirdly experience heaps richer and way more fun.

If you’re on a free plan and want to learn more about upgrading to get these fancy Weirdly analytics features, click here.

If you AREN’T a weirdly user (what?), you can check us out with a free trial by clicking the button below:

Weirdly quiz sign up now

 

Weirdly #growthsprint Week Two: Best month ever

Your eyes are not deceiving you – that IS a cake in the shape of R2D2 wearing a wonderwoman crown.

We worked hard at keeping the #growthsprint energy high this week – with new people starting, lots of exciting media stuff happening, launches out the wazoo and Dale’s birthday to wrap it all up.

In short, we didn’t quite make our sales goal this week and that was pretty gutting. But we’re feeling good about a couple of biggies that should allow us to catch up. We’re also stoked about the new analytics features we’re rolling out (one last week and one in the week coming) that will make Weirdly even more valuable for our users.

And best of all, according to our final tally, July was our best month EVER. Naturally, we had a confetti explosion to celebrate.

Weirdly #growthsprint celebration

So what happened this week?

Sales and Marketing:

Highlights were launching an awesome new graduate recruitment campaign for Fletcher Building this week. This entire campaign (their annual uni grad recruitment drive) is designed to be blind. That means the details that make it easy to tell an applicant’s gender, age, racial profile and other personal information are hidden. It’s a really awesome move by one of NZ’s biggest employers to try and tackle the issue of unconscious bias. It’s a challenge we feel really strongly about and, while it’s immensely complicated issue, we reckon this is a really exciting step in the right direction.

Another highlight this week was getting our new Customer Success Manager – Sarah O’Leary up to speed on all things Weirdly. She’s come to us after heading up the CS-APAC team at Vend. One of the hardest things about growing fast is working out when to bring new people into the team, and then finding the time to actually induct them into your squad. It’s a battle, but one that’s worth fighting. Especially now that we have a whole person who can do all that ringing new sign-ups we struggled to do last week!

Otherwise, it’s been the usual barrage of balancing big clients with the smaller ones and drumming up lots of excitement about Weirdly in the market.

Product:

We released the first stage of our analytics offering last week. This has been a long time in the works so we’re really excited to be sharing it with our users. This is a paid-subscription feature that’s well worth upgrading for. You can read a bit more about it here.

So off we go! Diving into a huge week three, ready to smash the targets this time.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn a bit more about how Weirdly could help streamline your recruitment. Click here for a free trial. 

Weirdly quiz sign up now

Weirdly #growthsprint: Did someone say ANALYTICS? (part one)

So we’ve just released our Weirdly #growthsprint Week2 feature and it’s a two part-er. Spoiler alert: Get your nerd glasses ready because both parts involve some jazzy analytics.

We’ve had over 10,000 unique applicants come through Weirdly quizzes so far (WHAAAAT!!?) and 681 job-quizzes created. As you can imagine, that means we’ve amassed a fair amount of data.

Our new 30sec Weirdly Quiz builder was the first outcome of that data. We now know which questions work best for measuring certain characteristics so we’re helping you build quizzes heaps faster.

The next thing we’re doing with that rich information is applying it to the development of some quiz reporting. It’s a big job, so we’re doing it in stages:

 

Phase One: Individual response comparisons (I know, it’s snappy)

Launching: TODAY!

What is it? Dale and Keren refer to this as the “woopty line thingy”. But what it’s called is way less impressive than what it does. If you’re on a paid subscription and you’ve clicked into an applicant response, you’ll notice a wavy line sitting behind Slider answers.

Weirdly slider analytics

And next to Ordered List answers, you’ll see an extra set of answers in a pale grey box.

Weirdly Ordered List analytics

These are showing you how that applicant’s answer tracks compared to all the other responses you’ve had on that particular quiz. That’s really useful if you’re testing your quiz on your internal team and using those responses to set your “ideal answer”.

Here’s the important thing to note: Often, the most effective questions for uncovering real, honest insights about your applicant are the ones with the flattest line. This indicates you’re getting a really varied selection of answers – your question doesn’t have an obvious “correct” answer.

 

Phase Two: Full Quiz Reports

Launching: Next week

What is it? It’s basically what it says on the box – a fuller report on your quiz. You’ll be able to see how and when people are completing your quiz, as well as which sourcing methods (places you’ve shared the link) are most effective at driving applicants. You’ll also be able to see a full break down of how people are interacting with each question – how long they’re taking to answer, when and where people are dropping off. It’s all really useful stuff for reporting to bosses or tweaking your quiz or your sourcing/marketing.

 

Phase Three: Crazy Insane Things You Won’t Believe

Launching: TBC

What is it? We’re still working on the “what’s possible” questions here, but we want to give you some easy insight into the attributes you’re measuring, and perhaps some “at a glance” insight into free text questions.

We’re really interested in what YOU would like us to measure. Let us know and we’ll set the brainiacs a-puzzling.

 

If you’re on a free plan and want to learn more about upgrading to get these fancy Weirdly analytics features, click here.

If you AREN’T a weirdly user (what?), you can check us out with a free trial by clicking the button below:

Weirdly quiz sign up now

Weirdly #growthsprint Week One: Living the startup hustle and feeling the love

So we kicked off our #growthsprint with a hiss and a roar last week.

Having a the whole team pushing toward a (seemingly impossible) target is really exciting. It’s not like we’ve been lacking that startup hustle vibe before now, but last Monday felt different – everyone slightly nervous as we lined up along the cliff and dived off together.

And that excitement wasn’t just limited to our internal team. It’s been really cool to see clients, friends and family jump on board with the big mission.

To help keep you guys, our support team and internet-friends, in the loop, we’re going to post an update each weekend for the next six weeks so you can track our progress. Hopefully if you’re our mates, this’ll help you see the impact your support is having. If you’re a startup looking to do your own #growthsprint, we can share the things that are working and point out some rocks and pitfalls to avoid on your own journey.

TL;DR summary:

Growthsprint-week1-summary

What’s happened this week:

Sales and Marketing:

First off, despite a very promising start to the week, we didn’t quite hit our goal of two new subscriptions per day. Disappointing, but then again, we’re this close to signing off some clients that’ll more than catch us up so we’re feeling optimistic. Also, it was totally still our best week ever!

Marketing-wise, we really ramped up the content marketing. We’ve moved up to three blog posts per week, and started seeding out content on our new Medium profile.

At some point we want to implement a clever concept that’ll tie-in with our AskNicely NPS survey and help give the users who want to refer us, a simple and interesting way to do that. In the meantime, we’re asking those people to help with #growthsprint by sharing about Weirdly on their own blogs or social profiles. While heaps of people are keen to do this (they love us, they really love us!), it takes AAAAAGES to actually get it done. The impact is worth it though. We had a pretty significant spike in traffic this week and a few sign-ups directly off the back of a small mention in this article – posted by one of our most awesome users.

We spent loads of sales time in meetings last week. This ended up being good and bad. Good, because we’re this close now to getting two really big clients across the line. Bad because it meant we really struggled to find time to ring all our new sign-ups.

Like heaps of fresh new startups, our best conversions come as a direct result of calling every signup and having a chat about their business. This gives us the opportunity to help them understand how to get the most out of Weirdly, or, in some cases, prevent them from wasting too much time if we can’t actually deliver the service they’re looking for.

We simply didn’t have time to ring people last week. It’s something we’re trying to remedy next week – partly by rescheduling all meetings that aren’t 80% likely to result in a close, and partly by upping our man(lady)-power. Which leads us nicely to our next section:

The team:

We signed up a new three-day-a-week team member, starting on Tuesday.

Sarah is an awesome, amazing customer success manager and she’s going to do all that ringing people we couldn’t get to last week. If you’re a Weirdly user, Sarah’s going to be your best friend. She’ll answer all your questions and generally help make sure our software is actually working well for you.

Product updates:

Dan was away for most of last week but that didn’t stop Seb from churning out one of our most exciting updates yet; the new Weirdly 30second quiz generator. Seriously, this thing is awesome and we weren’t alone in thinking it. We even got this totally unsolicited, unbiased feedback from on of our adoring fans.

Seriously though, it’s cool and it garnered us heaps of signups. Great joint UX-effort by the whole team but it’s not the end; We’re launching stage one of another HUGE feature this week too so stay tuned!

And that’s it. One week down, five more to go! Click below if you want to check out Weirdly for yourself.

Weirdly quiz sign up now

 

The brand new, 30sec Weirdly Quiz Generator: It’s automagical.

So, keeping with the theme of #growthsprint, we’ve turned our treadmills up to 10. Or 100? How fast do treadmills go?

Eitherway, the point is, we’re going fast.

And in that spirit, we’ve built something that’ll mean you can go heaps faster too.

Introducing, the new Weirdly Quick Generator. No-more having to plan and think and write questions for your quiz. You can now pick up to six characteristics from our easy table and the system will build you a quiz in the time it takes you to say “holy crap, this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!”.

Seriously, I’ve timed it and you can read this article four times in the time it takes you to build a Weirdly Quiz now.

 

So how does it work?

Step 1. Well, basically, the first step is picking 3-6 characteristics your ideal candidate will have. We’ve made this SUPER easy – just click and move on.

Weirdly Quiz Generator UI

Step 2. Tell us how weird you’re feeling. We’ll adjust the wording of your quiz to be more or less conservative, depending on the position you pick on this scale. So if your brand needs a slightly more professional tone of voice, we’ll make sure the questions aren’t too whackadoodle.

Choose your weirdness level

Step 3. Tell us what position you’re wanting to fill. This is what the candidate will see at the top of their quiz so it’s a good idea to make it something recognizable like, “Retail Manager”.

It’ll look like this to the applicant (the “Weirdly: Reloaded” part is where your business name will go):

Weirdly Quiz job title

Step 4. Sit back and have a 4-second relax while we pillage our question bank to build you a quiz. We’ve used data captured from over 9000 applicants to choose the best questions for your characteristics. All in less time than it takes you to read this sentence.

Step 5. Run through your new quiz. Check you’re happy with all the questions and the image. You’ll see handy little Weirdly edit spanner badges next to everything. Just click on any of these and you’ll be fired through to the Build tab, where you can edit anything on your quiz (including uploading new images).

 

Step 6. When you’re happy. Click through to the Distribute tab and press blast-off! From here, you can share your quiz on a whole heap of social media sites and job boards (including via our fancy integration with Trade Me Jobs). You can also embed your quiz into your own company careers page or website.

 

If you want some more ideas for where to share your quiz and attract awesome people, read this 10-Handy Sourcing Tips blog we wrote a while ago.

Interested to see if a Weirdly quiz could help streamline your recruitment? Click the button below for a free trial today.

Weirdly quiz sign up now

Weirdly #growthsprint: Our boots are on, we’ve got the ball and we’re ready to run.

As anyone who has ever run a startup (or actually, any business) knows, you periodically hit strategic crossroads that require a big leap of faith.

We hit one about six months ago – around the time we raised some pre-seed investment.

At the time, we were getting lots of advice to focus on enterprise clients. And by ‘lots’, I mean a resounding chorus singing in perfect unison.

“It’s where the money is”.

“That market doesn’t need any educating”.

“Get the big brands on board and everyone else will follow”.

“IT’S WHERE THE MONEY IS”.

We disagree. Obviously, they had a point. But our goal isn’t limited to building a widget and selling it for heaps. We want to make an impact. We want to change the world. We’re business hippies.

And we believe we would have most impact by focusing on middle-size businesses, the ones who have between 15 and 150 staff.

We revised and rebuilt our product roadmap around these guys. We amended our pricing structure to work for these businesses.

Basically, we put all our eggs in one basket and now the time has come to prove our focus was correct.

See, the key difference between running a tech startup and any other kind of business is that you don’t have the luxury of spreading your risk.

There’s no, 70:20:10 rule. There’s the 100% rule. Pick a direction, throw everything you’ve got behind it, then run as fast as you possibly can.

We used to play touch rugby as kids. I was never very good, but the kids that were, man, they were magic to watch. Running hard at an opposing horde they’d spot an opportunity and change gear – picking up legs and speed, flying toward a gap only they could see. Sometimes they’d get through. Sometimes the gap would close and they’d pivot. Fast. Without ever losing stride or slowing at all, they’d spin and plant a foot and fly again toward another, equally invisible gap.

To win in this tech startup game, you’ve got to be like those kids. Committed. Fast. Agile. Prepared to put everything you’ve got into one path, trusting your own sense of direction implicitly and time after time, finding new gears you didn’t know you had.

This is our time to find that next gear and start flying now.

We’ve re-structured our model and product for scalability, we’ve tweaked and redesigned to squeeze out the maximum value for our users. More importantly, we’ve spent the last six months listening to businesses – understanding what their challenges are, working out how our solution can be a better one for them.

Through a series of product sprints, we believe we’ve created a solution that will not only help those businesses recruit better, but also begin to help people look at the concept of work in a different light. So this next sprint is going to be different – it’s not just the devs this time, the whole business is sprinting. It’s a #growthsprint that’s been months in the making.

We’re at D-day. All our eggs are packed in that basket. We’ve got our rugby shorts on and we’re throwing metaphors around like there’s nothing to lose.

We’re giving ourselves six weeks to make it work, this way.

We need to sign two new subscriptions every day for the next six weeks in order to hit the goal posts. It’s ambitious. Crazy even.

What happens after that six weeks?

Well, we take investment and level up. We start building the next stage of what we believe is a tool that could change the way people think about employment forever.

So here we are. Ready to run, months of prep leading up to this chance, staring down the opposition.

Ready for the whistle.

 

Interested to see if Weirdly could help streamline your recruitment? Click the button below for a free trial today.

Weirdly quiz sign up now

Startup Life: Keeping the faith at 2am (candidates love Weirdly, they really love us!)

We’ve all been there. It’s 2am, you wake up in cold sweats and start doubting your job, your business, the decisions you made that seemed so smart the day before.

“Am I doing the right thing? Do people really want this service? I believe in it, but does anyone else?”

When you’re running a startup, it’s an almost nightly occurrence. And man, it’s easy to let this doubt take hold so it’s really important to give the wins and external validation equal air-time on your late night brain-radio (braidio?).

For Weirdly, this positive stuff comes in the form of new clients signing up every day but it’s the feedback on our candidate experience that’s getting us REALLY excited.

We’ve had some big, exciting companies sign up to use us in their hiring process. We’ve also had heaps of smaller, equally exciting ones come onboard and we’re continuing to see users trickle in from overseas.

There’s momentum happening there, which is exciting, but it’s important for us to remember who we really designed Weirdly for, way back when.

Our focus has always been on the people who are applying for your jobs.

We think people should work in jobs they love, and for companies they believe in. And for that, they need a better recruitment process.

Earlier this week we were digging through our analytics and realised, we’re not far off a huge milestone – 10,000 candidates through the system.

That’s almost ten thousand people who’ve had an awesome, fun candidate experience. Ten thousand people who have had the chance to assess (and be assessed) on how well they’ll fit the culture of the company they’re applying to.

We get heaps of feedback from candidates who are applying through Weirdly. Sometimes it comes directly over twitter, sometimes it’s fed back through clients and occasionally, someone actually takes the time to hunt us out on the google-machine and email us directly.

It’s always overwhelmingly positive but yesterday, we got a particularly great one that had us in full celebration-mode and reminding us all why we do this.

It went a little something like this:

 

“Hi guys, absolutely LOVE your quiz! Just did it for the [awesome client who will remain nameless] job.

It pushes you to think what you’re looking for in a career and at the same time gives you a great indication of what the brand you’re applying for might be like.

To be honest the whole job hunting process is quite disenchanting, it’s a big life move and it should be exciting but yet every job description and recruitment interview feels bland and templated. You guys stimulate thought which is great but you also ignite inspiration.

Please keep it up and do you post all ‘Weirdly’ jobs on your twitter account? If so I think I’ll use that instead of [job boards].”

 

That’s big bikkies to us. It’s super-awesome to hear that candidates love Weirdly – it’s encouraging to the whole team and I’m pretty sure it’ll stave off the cold sweats for another night.

Stuff we’ve learned: How to get the most out of trade shows and exhibition booths

This week we’ve been over the ditch at one of Australasia’s biggest recruitment and HR conferences. We were there for all the usual reasons – listening to some brilliant speakers, schmoozing, panic-eating the insane mini cheescakes. But this year we were also exhibiting with our own shiny trade booth where we could live-demo the Weirdly software and let prospective clients have a play.

It went really, really well and we’re stoked with the positive feedback we got (on both our stand AND the software!). Like anything though, there were some things we’ll do a bit differently next time we exhibit at a conference like this. And since setting up a demo booth is a fairly common occurrence during the average startup journey, we figured we’d share the stuff we’ve learned:

 

  1. Get a really good position – I can not emphasise this enough. We had the stand right next to the entrance to the main conference hall, the food and the “milling around” zone. It gave us a HUGE advantage over the poor guys at the back of the exhibition hall who were really fighting to get anyone to visit their booths. It also meant we were subconciously exposing people to our branding all day long, inching our logo into people’s RAS and making all our other marketing and sales activity more powerful.

 

  1. You don’t need to spend big to get noticed – We knew some people would be spending upwards of 20K on their booths. Our budget didn’t quite reach 2K. So we had to be smarter. Keeping in perspective what you’re trying to achieve is important: We needed to look lively and interesting. Hiring plants and furniture was pretty exhorbitant so instead we bought a few blow-up palm trees and a cactus and created that liveliness by totally owning the fun, slightly-strange feeling of our brand. We needed a big screen to run demos and show off our dashboard. Hiring a TV for two days cost just over $800. Buying one cost around $400 and then we had something awesome to give away as a prize on the last day. Win/win/bonus/win.

We needed something that would engage people and draw them to our stand.

We did a combo of things to make the biggest splash with our tiny cash;

  • A fun product demo. The best thing we did was creating a fun, conference-specific Weirdly quiz that people could do on their phones over the three days. We tweeted this out, and actually got people to do it live during our talk. This was particularly awesome because it got people interacting with and learning about our product, and meant they all wanted to visit our stand to find out how they’d scored. It also meant we got names and contact details from heaps of people, straight off the bat.
  • Awesome merch. We made t-shirts and hats that people actually wanted to wear, then we made it kinda hard for people to win them. This was magic because it meant people went away talking about them. They also kept coming back to learn more about us and think about how they would convice their bosses to sign up to our product so they could get one. When we finally gave them all away on the final afternoon, the people who got one were extra keen to find a way to integrate Weirdly into their business.
  • An interactive gimmick. We got an artist to sit at our booth and draw caricatures of anyone who wanted one (read: everyone at the conference). To top it off, we had heavy card flyers printed with info about Weirdly on one side and a blank page with a subtle Weirdly logo at the bottom. Our artist drew on the blank side of these so people when people stuck them up at their desk or on their fridge at home, we were right there too.
  • A strong finish – we gave away everything. To make a big, memorable impression and collect more names and contact details we announced we were giving away everything from our stand. Everything. News spread like wildfire. People came to the stand to write the item they wanted on their business card, and throw it in a bowl. We announced winners on Twitter and generated that last memorable bit of buzz. Best yet we got lots of extra booth visitors who wanted to learn more about us.

Tweet the crap out of your exhibition giveaways

 

  1. Be approachable. Obvious right? You’d be surprised how many people don’t do it. It basically comes down to these two things:
  • Don’t sit down.
  • Laugh and smile a lot.

It’s not rocket science. If you don’t look energetic, friendly and fun no-one will want to talk to you. There was a particular booth at this conference (that will remain nameless) with had a grumpy-looking lady doing work on her phone the whole time. Her booth was beautiful, but she didn’t get many visitors.

 

  1. Get interactive with your demo. We know people love Weirdly once they use it. That’s why our entire focus was to get as many people playing with the product as possible, especially in ways that highlighted our key selling points. Alongside our conference-specific quiz (which let them see it from a candidate’s perspective), we let people click around in the client dashboard. This reinforced how easy it was to use.

 

  1. Sort the technology properly beforehand. We needed people to play with the software, but internet connection was a big challenge here. Conference wifi is almost always a bit crap, so we requested an ethernet cable to keep our load speed feeling good. Still, we spent a huge proportion of the time with our phones tethered so the bills aren’t going to be pretty. Next time, we’ll definitely investigate back-up connection options. Even if it’s just buying a super-boosted phone data plan in advance.

 

  1. Get friendly with your neighbours. There were periods where most conference delegates were in the main hall listening to speakers. Rather than spending this time answering emails or writing blog posts (which to be fair, we really NEEDED to do sometimes), we made sure we took time to get to know the people manning the booths near us. Aside from discovering some cool products, we also ended up signing a few onto subsciptions and scheduling a few follow-on discussions about possible integrations. We also found that these chats turned people into advocates. They spread the word about our competitions and caricatures. And even better, told conference delegates about how cool we are and how well we could work with their own product. They were like some kind of sales opportunity/referral marketing hybrid.

 

  1. Never go it alone. We were only going to send one person over for this and man, are we glad we didn’t. Manning an exhibition booth while also conducting sales meetings and demos is exhausting. Also, your busy rushes are BUSY. For us, this was lunchtime and breaks. One person simply wouldn’t have been able to service the demos and questions by themselves. The key though is make sure you pick someone you can happily spend 12-15 hours a day with. And if it’s at all possible, get two rooms. You’ll need a break, even if you’re good mates. We found awesome deals on last minute websites (and serviced apartments were heaps cheaper than two hotel rooms).

 

  1. Eat well. Drink lots of water. After our first day, we were so tired we just grabbed whatever we could find from the local corner shop for dinner. Basically, instant noodles and chocolate bars. TERRIBLE MOVE. Don’t do that. We were double-tired the next day as our bodies tried to battle sleep deprivation, jet-lag and poor nutriton. Here’s what you need to consider. You are running a marathon. You will not stop talking for 12 hours. Your energy needs to be high the whole time. Your feet will not get a rest. You’ll be snatching whatever food is left on the buffet after you’ve spent the lunch break running demos with conference delegates. If you want to keep your voice and stay sharp till the end of the exhibition, make sure you’re hydrated and looking after yourself. Also, going out on a bender can be good for networking, but it means you’re basically useless the next day. So, yeah. Take it easy on the booze.

 

  1. Fly in the night before. We definitely did this wrong. We arrived on the day we were presenting thinking we’d pack it full of sales meetings before the conference kicked off that evening. This meant a 16hr day of sales meetings, culminating in our speaking spot. It was a terrible idea. Arrive the night before and make sure you kick off the big event nice and fresh.

 

  1. Bring everything with you. We had some stuff (masking tape, every possible Mac connector, dongle and cord we could possibly need) but we still had to borrow a stanley knife and a screwdriver from a friendly tradie. Treat this like you’re going on a day trip with a two-year old: pack everything. Then also pack a spare change of clothes. You never know what could hit (you just know it’ll probably involve you needing new pants and some double-sided tape).

 

  1. Wear comfortable shoes. Ever tried to stand in high heels for 12 hours straight? It’s not so great. Also, chances are you’ll be running a TV up and down three flights of stairs at some point so make sure you’re wearing shoes you can feel comfy in.

 

Even though it costs a lot of time and energy, exhibiting was really worth it for us and we’ll definitely be doing it again. There’s nothing quite like talking face to face with people and letting them experience your product first-hand. As a SaaS business, this also throws up really useful insight into how real people (ie. not-techy people) are using your software. So all in all, exhibiting = awesome, eating only noodles for dinner = not awesome.

 

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