I’m still wrapping my head around everything that happened this past month, but thankfully, not much has changed for me personally. Being under quarantine is certainly…different. But I’m incredibly lucky to already be working from home, in an industry less affected by the virus than most, with skills that are in high demand. And I’m doubly lucky that Fantasy Congress is fairly impervious to the COVID-19 rollercoaster.
- $267 total revenue
- 21 paying members
- 119 registered players
- 18 leagues
I was expecting a lot of churn in March and no new customers since I haven’t had the chance to do any marketing. To my surprise, I acquired one new customer in March and only had one customer churn. I actually made $10 more than February because the customer who churned had a discount, while my new customer signed up at full price. Suffice to say, I have no idea what to expect for April. Trying to predict the future feels pointless given the current circumstances.
Some things I tried this month:
- I created a "promoted tweet” which cost $50 (that was the starting price!) and is still under review. Meaning, twitter took my money and isn’t showing it to anyone. Looks like there’s no way to cancel or get a refund, so, super cool.
- Watched this free ahrefs course about SEO. As someone new to SEO, I’ve been totally overwhelmed by the amount of information available on the subject. This course did a great job of explaining what to prioritize and why.
- Moved my email contacts from Sendgrid’s legacy marketing campaigns to it’s new platform. Working with Sendgird frustrates me to no end. I’ve researched alternative solutions several times, but they’re still the cheapest option for marketing and transactional emails. Begrudgingly, I’m sticking with them…for now.
Look into decline of open emails
I didn’t find any solid evidence as to what caused February's sudden drop in opened emails. Looking at google postmaster, my IP reputation went from “high” to “medium” in February but my domain reputation and spam rate stayed as consistent as always. At the advice of others, I decided to prune my email list to only those who had opened an email since July (when I launched legislators on the website). This reduced my list from 1900 emails to roughly 1200. I also removed my custom contact form from the website, which received tons of spam (even with a honeypot) and sent the messages directly to my inbox as an email from the Fantasy Congress domain. These inevitably ended up in my spam folder, which made me wonder if the fantasy congress domain was getting docked because I was emailing spam to myself. 😩 I’m now using Netlify to process my form, which is working great so far.
Track my hours
I logged roughly 27 hours for Fantasy Congress in march which is 6.75 hours per week. This seems pretty pitiful, considering the entire country is under quarantine and there’s nothing better to do. Unfortunately we had a big release to finish for my day job that sucked up extra hours (and my energy) the first half of the month. Then I had a very nasty cold the third week of March which I’m pretty sure was COVID-19 (but I couldn’t get tested so, who knows). In an ideal world, I’d average at least 20 hours per week on Fantasy Congress. In reality, I think 10 is more doable.
Reach out to current members for feedback
Every time I talk to customers I get so scared, but I’m always met with excitement for Fantasy Congress. This time was no exception. As an added bonus, I also got some great quotes to use as testimonials for the website!
Start work on features for educators
This didn’t happen in March. Not having the educator features available during the pandemic feels like a huge missed opportunity (since most of the schools have moved to online learning). But these features will take two to three months to complete, and it takes at least one month to run a “season”. I realized having the educator features ready for this semester was a wash, so I opted instead to fix a bunch of bugs.
Create a basic marketing strategy
Content marketing seems like the best strategy given the constraints Fantasy Congress currently operates under. Unfortunately, this strategy takes the longest to kick in. I have a lot of ideas, but first, I’m moving the pages for each legislator to my main domain. These currently live on a subdomain, behind an SPA, and I originally hoped google would index them as is (spoiler: Google pretty much ignores subdomains and content behind SPAs). Moving them to the main domain is low hanging fruit. Hopefully these will start getting indexed while I prepare my other content marketing ideas.
- Finish moving legislator pages to main domain.
- Start on features for educators.
- Average 10 hours per week for Fantasy Congress.
- Quarantine has messed up my daily routine, so I’d like to get back into that as well.
COVID-19 has made this a weird time for all of us. Fantasy Congress and I are weathering the storm, but I wonder if this is just the calm before the real weather hits.