How to Hit 100% Conversion

The Story Behind UserMuse’s Most Successful Campaign Ever

Would you be happy if 95% of the guests you invited to a party didn’t show up?

Probably not. Yet a 5% response rate in the world of advertising is a summer of ’98-sized home run.

We love software and product people at UserMuse — that’s our thing. Running ads, not so much. For us, advertising is like getting on the treadmill or eating kale. We know it’s good for us, but we’re not jazzed about it. And to be honest, we’ve felt like suckers paying for 95 out of every 100 people to not visit our site.

So we changed the game. Here’s how.

Step 1: Set ad budget to zero…

Operation 100%

The problem, we at last realized, was putting our message in front of tens of thousands of new people every day. We had forgotten that startups win with focus. What if we focused on a smaller audience — like much smaller?

As we focused, re-focused, and then focused some more, it seemed like we’d practically have to throw our entire ad budget at a single person to reach a 100% conversion rate.

So we did.

Her name is Lacey Volk.

And we spent our entire Facebook ad budget for today on just her.

Why pay ad servers and middlemen when you can give cash?

Advertising to a single person created exciting new opportunities for audience interaction. For example, why use an impersonal display ad at all? It was much more direct to just give Lacey cash. Within seconds, the money was in her PayPal account and we were basking in the warm afterglow of innovation.

How were we so sure Lacey would come to UserMuse? Get ready for innovation #2 — she was already a customer.

Sometimes, winning is about saying “no.” For us, it took saying no to the entire rest of the market and advertising to the people who had already said yes.

After the campaign ended came the moment of truth: Lacey was still a registered user — just as we predicted!

Here’s what Lacey herself had to say after receiving the $238.48 we would have otherwise spent on Facebook ads today:

“Yes, this really happened. The marketer in me wants to say, ‘UserMuse makes it so easy to earn extra cash for real user feedback that they’re literally giving away free money!’ But the real me is like, ‘Wait, really?’ I don’t even have a big social media following they can leverage.” — Lacey Volk

Happy customer? Check. Revolutionary direct-to-customer advertising model? Check. 100% conversion rate? Check.

Bring on the champagne!

As thrilling as the ride to 100% has been, we must admit that the road was a little bumpy at times. However, with focus and steely ruthlessness, we believe any business can replicate our results.

Change Is Hard — Don’t Give Up!

It sounds crazy now, but there was a fierce debate when our marketing team learned that we’d be targeting a single existing customer today instead of tens of thousands of potential new users.

You too can say no — all the way to the top!

Reaction #1: “There’s no business logic to support this.”

Reaction #2: “You don’t understand how advertising works.”

Reaction #3: “I don’t think you understand how contests work, either.”

And on and on and on…I mean, save it for the dinosaurs on Madison Avenue, you know?

Surely you can see why we had to terminate the entire marketing department. Sadly, you’ve gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet, and this omelet contains fresh ideas only.

With the marketers jettisoned (and their NDAs in place), there was nothing in our way. But how could we be so sure our audacious plan would work? One word: research.

The Science of 100%

UserMuse’s mission is helping product people figure out what the market wants, so we don’t fool around when it comes to market research.

For starters, our study showed that over 98% of individuals strongly prefer fistfuls of sweet, sweet cash to other incentives.

With such encouraging results, we brought in the heavyweights for even more proof.

In a double-blind study run jointly* with Yale University, a whopping 99.2% of subjects reported increased happiness after being given a wad of free money by an Internet startup in exchange for doing nothing. Meanwhile, the control group’s happiness barely budged.

(*View the full study results)

Science: 1. Ads: 0. UserMuse: 1,000

As you can see, it was practically a scientific fact that our “Audience of One” (Ao1) strategy was going to pay off big time.

Game. Set. Match.

What Does this Mean for the Future of Advertising?

Now that we’ve demonstrated the superiority of our approach, it’s fair to ask: Does the advertising business model have a future?

The answer is no. All of those companies are toast.

We realize this includes some of the largest companies in America, along with beloved startups such as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google/Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL)— both of which, by some measures, are even more successful than UserMuse.

Yes, it’s true that UserMuse, Google, and Facebook have a combined market cap of $999.6B as of today. Still, we trust that discerning investors will see where the real value is.

Of course, we didn’t set out to shake the economic foundation of the Internet to its core. But when an idea gets rolling, sometimes the only thing you can do is get out of the way.

You can find much more on this here.

Covering Your Legal Bases

It turns out that running any kind of contest or sweepstakes requires a lot of legal help and careful planning to stay out of hot water with the Feds. So we mostly skipped that part.

  1. Was this a contest or sweepstakes? Nope. As it happens, the law has little to say about a company randomly giving its money away to a customer without any warning or strings attached whatsoever. What a country!
  2. Will UserMuse be doing this on a regular basis? It’s important to be clear on this point — we might. Or not. Our users might convince us to do it again, or maybe they won’t. We wouldn’t rule it out though.

Lastly, it takes guts to run a promotion without telling anyone until it’s over. Hats off again to our [former] marketing team. You’ll land on your feet.

About UserMuse

UserMuse is a market research service for product managers, designers, and marketers in the B2B software field. We recruit expert panels to help them better understand their target buyers and users and validate their product ideas.

Anyone can become an expert-for-hire on UserMuse by specifying the software tools they use at work. And assuming marketing still exists after today’s shock waves, we have over 2,200 marketing tools in our database to choose from, among many other categories.

We reserve the right to make it rain on our experts without warning.

Update: See part 2 of this story.