Ryan tells us about how he pivoted a screenwriting software company into a content marketplace, his methodology for e-mail marketing, and how he raised over $14 million.
Today’s guest, Ryan Buckley, is a serial entrepreneur who has started (and folded) several companies. He is co-founder and Head of Partnerships at Scripted.com, a marketplace for writing and original content focused on helping marketing and sales teams run faster and more efficiently.
Ryan’s first startup was Scripped, a screenwriting software product. He was warned that screenwriters were a bad market and that they didn’t buy things, and it turns out those people were right. The business started to shift when Scripped began holding screenwriting competitions, which people did paid for.
Eventually, Scripped had a pool of 80,000 writers contributing to these competitions – and an early system of ranking and stratification emerged from the competitions. Ryan then realized that he had a new product: not screenwriting software, but crowd-sourced writers.
Levi’s approached Ryan looking to crowd source a writing project, and the Scripted service was born.
We’re going to learn how Ryan pivoted his business, turned his former customers into Scripted’s content supply, designed hugely successful e-mail marketing campaigns, and calculated his customer acquisition costs and lifetime value (which you can see below) that led to raising more than $14 million in venture capital.
“(Starting a company)…it’s the highest highs, and the lowest lows.” (click to tweet)
In this episode, you’ll learn from Ryan:
- How he pivoted from a failing business towards a successful one
- Correct and incorrect strategies for identifying viable markets
- Challenges in pivoting from a SaaS business model to a market, or how to turn your customers into your supply
- The huge benefit of a good e-mail list, and strategies to build it – including the tool Ryan built, Toofr
- How to scrape data to build contacts
- Strategies for directing an email campaign
- Methodology for valuing the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign and calculating your customer acquisition cost and lifetime value
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Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Percolate.com (37:30)
- Towerdata (formerly Rap Leaf)
Answers to Quickfire Q&A:
- If you could chat with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
- “I would want to chat with Miles Davis, and ask him what he was thinking when he made the album Kinda Blue … I think the epitome of the Flow state is the album Kinda Blue“
- Name a tool, app, or website that you can’t live without and why.
- “I’m a late adopter to Spotify, but now that they have the Beatles catalog, all this past week I have not been able to live without Spotify”
- Tell us something unique and interesting about you that not many may know.
- I’m a pretty good guitar player. I’ve been playing for 20-something years now. I don’t record – I’m not on SoundCloud – but I play every day for my daughter.
- What are the top three skills or characteristics that you look for in people you work with?
- Grit – probably the hardest thing to identify in the interview process. It’s the idea, “is this person going to get down into the trenches, when you really need someone to hunker down with you?”
- What is something you believe, but few others agree with you?
- Facebook doesn’t make any sense. I just have a hard time understanding it. It doesn’t feel like I’m connecting with people when I’m on there.
How to contact Ryan:
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