Iqbal meets Matthew Slight of LoveTea, a gourmet Tea subscription service. Matthew describes the evolution and execution of the concept.
Part 3) covers Tips and support networksTranscript: Matthew Slight of Love Tea: Part 2)
IQBAL: If I was going to do something like LoveCoffee which I think is a really good idea, how would I get my first customer? I’m going to go home this weekend and hck together this website LoveCoffee.
How would I go about getting my first batch of first customers? Yeah, I can spam my friends. I can probably put it on Facebook and stuff. After that what would you suggest I do?
MATTHEW: Ok, so first of all you need to be in a position where you can execute. Everyone can sit down and have an idea.
I can sit down and say I’m going to start selling lemonade. You can sit down and say you can do anything. It doesn’t have to be complex. It can be complex. It can be simple. You need to be able to execute on that.
So if you say you are going to go out and build a tea or coffee subscription service, then you need to be able to build the software that’s going to cater to that.
You need to very quickly build in suggestions for what your customers are asking for
IQBAL: I’m going to keep pressing you on the customer thing. I want to get customers. Where do I go for customers? Should I open up a Facebook account. Should I open up a Twitter account? ‘Hey guys this is LoveTea‘. Where did you find your customers?
MATTHEW: Our first approach was we initially went out and started talking to people who were avid tea drinkers. People who knew their gourmet teas. And we actually found that wasn’t our market, so the market that we thought we were …
IQBAL: So how did you find these avid tea drinkers?IQBAL: and say ‘hey we need some feedback, we’ve a few ideas’MATTHEW: yeah, I sent out a Tweet on Twitter that literally just said ”Wow. Gourmet Teas Monthly” with the url. That was it.
IQBAL: So you used the social side of things. Also you went out and used Google for Forums and LinkedIn groups and one-to-one chat to find out who your ideal customer was.It was a very short message. It was a very short value proposition. People saw that link and clicked on it. And they saw the website. The website had a very clear and simple message. People understood that and re-tweeted that. And then that’s how we got our first bit of exposure.
So now you know your ideal customer isn’t possibly a gourmet tea drinker but he’s buying teabags and it should be loose tea.
How are you going to find more of those customers?
MATTHEW: Ok, so our first batch of customers told us something quite obvious, which we had considered but effectively people wanted to buy LoveTea subscriptions as a gift.
They said look I’d really love to buy this for my father for Father’s Day or my wife would love this or my mother-in-law would love this.
So the first thing we did was build in Gift Subscription options. It’s a very similar offering to what we had, but we offered three, six (month) and annual subscriptions for gourmet teas. We iterated on that very quickly and then we were able to get instant feedback on that from our customers.
You’ve asked us for Tea subscriptions, we’ve built in Tea subscriptions, is this what you were thinking of. And then we’ll get feedback.
Some people said I’d like to be able to specify not only the length of time but the amount of tea so we had to tweak a little bit. But once you’ve got a few customers on board you can tap into those customers.
IQBAL: I’m guessing, correct me if I’m wrong but you don’t have much of a process. There aren’t many tools. It’s just have something where we can keep hacking and iterating as quick as possible rather than build some …
MATTHEW: In a sense you have to use the right tools for the job. i have a methodology I work towards. Everyone has their own ways of working.
One thing you need to be able to do is to process a large amount of feedback and act on it. You can do that in a number of ways. YOu can either set up a simple surveymonkey or GoogleDocs to collect feedback. And then act on that feedback. If you’re going to be collecting feedback by emails then make sure you get some sort of coherent format, or you could spend some time blitzing through looking at what that feedback is. I’ve got 9 out of 10 say they like that option and one out 10 saying this, then we go with the 9 out of 10.