The Founder of SpareRoom is Marketing his Product by Using his Product

Ghosts, bears & a disco lounge. Three things every marketing campaign needs.

Before we get into that though, SpareRoom is a site that connects potential roommates with property owners and tenants looking to fill empty rooms. I used it to find my current place in South London and I highly recommend it.

It solves a very specific problem, which is probably why it’s grown so organically via word-of-mouth. I say this as an assumption, as I’ve never seen any remarkable marketing come from them in the past — apart from their “win a month of free rent” viral contest.

Which is why, when my teammates here at Seraph Science pointed out that Rupert (the founder of SpareRoom) was looking for housemates for as little as £1 a month, my attention was piqued.

They linked me to Rupert’s listing and I clicked through. The first thing I saw was this very attention-grabbing video.

Video content, yay! We all love a bit of video content.

This video blends the lines between your traditional explainer video and entertaining content. He makes a few jokes and stages a ghost sighting during the nighttime.

The video also encapsulates his “reason why”. Right from the beginning, he talks about how important it is to live with the right people. As someone who fits the SpareRoom demographic, this resonates with me.

It’s a fun video to watch, and it certainly does sell you on living with him and the property in general.

Check out the listing here and give the copy a read. Here are the takeaways:

First of all, he’s offering a “pay what you can afford” pricing plan (for lack of a better word).

He drew you in with his documentary-series style video (the first of many), and now here’s an amazing offer.

If you’re volunteering and can only afford £100, then that’s all you pay. It’s a huge hook that’s likely going to generate a spike of new users.

Secondly, he’s recording his journey.

He’s taken storytelling principles and applied it to his marketing. His story is one we, his ideal audience, can relate to.

I live with some awesome people, in an awesome house. These were the two most important aspects of finding a new home when I was hunting. The environment and those I share that environment with are important to me.

Finally, there’s now a personality behind the brand

SpareRoom has been a pretty vanilla service to me in the past. I went there to find a room when I needed one. Their UX could do with some work, but I got what I needed from them.

Now I kinda feel like it’s on my team. The guy behind the service believes in the same things I believe in and the emotional response this elicits, for me personally, solidifies that.

One thing I do find surprising is that I haven’t received any emails about this. It would be so easy to get my attention and inspire me to click through and check it out.

If I saw an email from “Rupert from SpareRoom”, with a subject line along the lines of “live with me?” or “Join me in my journey”, I’d totally open that.

I look forward to seeing the rest of the documentary series, and the dramatic conclusion to who or what this mysterious ghost is…

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