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Poolside FM’s Monetization Strategy? Thousands of Fake Sunscreen Execs.

Poolside FM’s Monetization Strategy? Thousands of Fake Sunscreen Execs.
Written by publishing team

I recently got a job as a mug manager at a tiki bar. I got the party going by clicking shuffle on a random job title generator hosted by vacation, a new sunscreen brand created by retro internet radio station Swimming Pool FM.

The online generator had offered me “chief golf cart consultant,” “hammock inspector,” and “ice cream buffet organizer,” but I kept stumbling until I found my favorite nickname. Once it showed up, all I had to do to claim it – and get a commemorative social media sharing business card – was hand over my cell phone number.

More than 12,000 other people handed in their numbers as well.

Photo: Poolside FM Vacation

virus interactive content The campaign, which was launched last month, was a way for the company to raise awareness of its new sunscreen products without having to spend a single cent on paid advertising.

More importantly, in the long run, the campaign may have allowed the company to attract numbers of thousands of consumers, with whom it now has a direct line.

ReadCommunity-led growth is taking technology by storm

Why would a radio station go into sunscreen

Poolside FM is a web radio service that plays summertime pop tunes and synchronizes. Its pastel-colored facade features early Microsoft icons and a video feed of beloved home movies from the ’80s, harkening back to the era of big hair and shorts.

Available as an iPhone app in 2020, Poolside FM features a curated selection of stations to choose from, including “Indie Summer,” “Tokyo Nightclub,” and “Friday Nite Heat.”

Tech entrepreneur Marty Bell created the nostalgic music player in 2014, initially envisioning it as a Soundcloud stream. Since then, it has developed a following, with a listener base that has swelled to 700 or 800,000 people contributing to more than 1 million hearings annually, Bell told Built In.

All of this growth has occurred despite Bill Poolside FM being considered a side project, devoting the bulk of his focus to it. His startup Nude: A UK-based financial technology company that helps consumers save for their first-time home purchases. As Poolside FM grew, Bell said it became too big to manage – especially since he didn’t have a clear monetization strategy (Poolside FM merchandise store was the only revenue source so far).

“It’s kind of a constant joke that Poolside FM doesn’t make money, it loses money all the time,” Bell said.

Over the years, investors and potential business partners have contacted Bell with suggestions on how to effectively monetize the Poolside FM community. A beer brand was mentioned at one point, as was a swimwear line. But for Bill, these brand extensions felt he would elevate the Poolside FM name on completely mismatched things. He spent seven years building Brand property rightsAnd he didn’t want to squander it on a possible error.

Bell eventually reached out to entrepreneurs Lash Hole and Dakota Green, who were already developing sunscreen. Together they put together the idea of ​​expanding the Poolside FM brand into a range of products under the Vacation name. They’ll start with a scented, scented sunscreen, which they sell directly to consumers.

Why sunscreen? Bill finds this uniquely nostalgic. There’s just something about a tube of creamy, coconut-scented SPF 30 Lotion rings that matches Poolside FM’s fun summer vibe—the essence of other suggested brands of extensions that just fell short of pickup.

“[Vacation] Designed for those people who absolutely love what we’ve been building on and iterating on [with] “Poolside FM for seven years now,” Bell said. “The purpose of the campaign was specifically to show the audience of Poolside FM that we built something for it. With them. “

Reduce CAC with a viral campaign

Building a direct-to-consumer CPG brand from scratch and bringing it to market is expensive, and usually involves a lot of paid ad spend (think of all the Instagram ads for skin care products you see).

to growth hack On its way to lowering customer acquisition costs, Vacation Trojan has outfitted a sunscreen pre-order page within a naturally talkable experience.

First, the job title creator shared with his existing audience: Poolside FM listeners were prompted to visit Vacation’s landing page when opening the app or booting up the site. There, they were given an opportunity to claim an honorary role for themselves (and receive privileges) in exchange for their names and numbers.

The campaign has been calibrated for organic discovery as well, attracting people who were previously unfamiliar with Poolside FM. Hall said thousands of digital business cards engraved with honorary titles — from Jacuzzi checking officer to champagne dip head — have been shared across Twitter and Instagram. Some people have updated their LinkedIn profiles with their new honorary Vacation roles.

The company said that within 24 hours the campaign resulted in the collection of thousands of mobile phone numbers. (She declined to share how many sunscreen pre-orders were eventually made.)

“Our whole approach to marketing this business is to…reduce the cost of acquisition, offset the paid media costs that are becoming too expensive, [with] Hall said. “We managed to get twelve and a half thousand people into this spread.”

Hall added that the campaign was about “capturing data.” “Now we have a very interesting way to interact with the community one-on-one.”

To wit: After punching in my number, I received an a Text message From Vacation’s Regional Sales Director Ray Smith (probably not a real person), who welcomed me warmly into the company. Ray provided me with a referral link (if three people use it to buy Vacation sunscreen, I get a free tube) and directed me to the Vacation Instagram account, which the company told me had over 4,000 followers on launch day.

Read4 ways to get your customers to do the marketing for you

Generating income and mobilizing communities

“Audience regulation is an involved process with long-term benefits and short-term headaches,” brand investor and advisor Web Smith books for 2PM in 2019. “Marketing managers have long underestimated the value of this approach to community development and marketing.”

Vacation Marketing by Poolside FM is designed to create a series of “buzzworthy points” to move people from the top of the funnel down into what Hall calls “static communities”.

These sticky communities include the Poolside FM iPhone app, company newsletter subscribers and the “Honorary Employee CRM Program” (made up of individuals gathered through the job title generator).

Once users are in these communities, Hall said, “we can interact with them over time, and we have a better chance of selling their products and increasing [lifetime customer value]. “

The sunscreen was only the first of many physical products that Vacation put into its roadmap. It dropped its sunscreen-scented line, “Vacation,” from Vacation, just this week. And it’s not hard to imagine a future in which Vacation will launch additional branded products.

When it does, it will have a five-digit list of SMS contacts that can push ads and promotions towards them, potentially saving the company a lot of money that it would have spent on acquiring users through search and social ads. It’s a strategy for sustainable growth and customer retention, built on the back of the long-brewing Poolside FM community.

And it’s not just customers in Vacation’s database. It is also a workforce of brand ambassadors willing to play alongside and use the company’s honorary employees. positive word To help the brand grow.

There are plans to use the SMS list to send interactive stories to users, encouraging them to engage more with the brand and rise to their roles as honorary employees of the company. There are tentative plans for a community space Where these individuals can talk to each other.

“This is our dream, to build an entertainment business that everyone feels a part of,” Bell said.


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