How I captured 2,778 subscribers in 4 months

In June of 2016, my friend Yu-kai Chou approached me with a challenge he had:

What can I do to exponentially improve my business right now?

“What is your long term vision?” I asked.

“I want to build an educational platform that helps people improve their personal and professional lives through the teachings of Octalysis.” Yu-kai proudly stated. “The business model will be a monthly subscription.”

What follows is a detailed analysis of how I helped Yu-kai build a self-sustaining acquisition and activation engine that will hopefully lead to a very successful educational business.

Results from my work with Yu-kai:

  • Captured 2,778 emails in 4 months
  • 39.5% email open rate
  • 6.9% click rate
  • Grew the Facebook Group from 400 members to 1,544 members in 4 months

Let’s start with the proof

subscribers-to-the-course

open-and-click-through-rate

facebook-members

Here’s how I did it

1. We leveraged an existing site with a healthy base of organic traffic

Check out the stats for yukaichou.com from June 1, 2016 – September 30, 2016.

Note: we had a slight error with Google Analytics tracking during the last week of September.

yukaichou-stats

As you can see, Yu-kai has a healthy base of traffic. I had to find a way to capture and provide value to this traffic.

2. I created an email course

Email is still the most powerful way to capture leads. Normally, online marketers recommend to offer value in exchange for the email:

Get my tips for how to do X, Y, and Z right now!

I hate doing things mediocre; so does Yu-kai.

Instead of doing the same thing that everyone else does, we decided to create an email course that would separate Yu-kai from all of his competitors: we created the 21-day Gamification Course.

Every weekday, subscribers receive a new email teaching them about Octalysis and Gamification.

21-day-course

It was no easy task, but together, we created a fun, engaging, educational course that will teach people about Octalysis and leave them wanting more.

(btw, we use Mailchimp for our email automation platform).

3. Capture subscribers to the course

There are many options for capturing subscribers: HelloBar and SumoMe are amongst the most used by marketers.

After a lot of thorough research, I decided to go with OptinMonster for the following reasons:

  • It had one template that I thought was quite nice
  • I have full control for when people see the opt-in form: device, time on site, action taken
  • Most importantly, I can push people to a Group within a Mailchimp list

Here are the stats for our OptinMonster:

optinmonster-stats

We also used Unbounce to create a landing page for the 21-day Gamification Course. We use the Unbounce landing page as a link to send people to our opt-in form: check out the landing page here.

Here are the stats for Unbounce:

unbounce-conversion

4. Improve engagement and retention

Not only did we build an engine that acquires new users, but more importantly, we’ve built an engine that engages and retains users.

Just check out the quantity and quality of the discussion on the Octalysis Explorers Facebook Group.

We accomplished this be having concrete next steps at the end of each email in the course:

next-step-example

Here it is in action:

next-step-results-in-action

5. Add a little fun and unpredictability to the equation

Following the teachings of Octalysis, we wanted to bring an element of fun and unpredictability to the 21-day Gamification Course.

We therefore created a fun scavenger hunt: at the end of each email, we’d leave a clue for the location of the next secret code.

If a subscriber collects all the secret codes, then they get a special prize at the end.

Here is an example of a clue:

secret-code-example

So far, only 25 people have been able complete this challenging quest!


Let me know if you have any questions or comments about our methodology. I’m happy to help you achieve greatness for your business as well.

Special thanks to Yu-kai Chou for his willingness to be open and transparent with his business numbers.

Published by

Jun Loayza

Jun Loayza is the Chief Growth Officer at Bunny Inc. In his startup experience, he has sold 2 technology companies and raised $1M in angel funding. Jun lives in San Francisco, CA with his wife Kim.

One thought on “How I captured 2,778 subscribers in 4 months”

  1. Congratulations on such a successful way of increasing your subscribers and extending your reach. I really do enjoy the course itself and it started the fire under me to read up on Octalysis and Gamification as much as I could.
    Also, thank you for featuring my FB post 😀

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