What is RocketBolt?
For my 150 hour experience, I interned with a Duke startup called RocketBolt, a email tracking/lead monitoring software; it helps businesses determine the best time to reach out to potential sales leads as well as the content to market to these clients. As part of the company, I worked in sales, marketing, and social media to help with growth hacking.
At the time RocketBolt was a small startup with only 3 full time employees (the founders). During my internship, we were working on two aspects of the company: the full platform and the Google Chrome plugin. The full platform is a website integration, email tracking, social media monitoring tool all rolled into one.
When a potential sales lead is tagged, that lead can be monitored while exploring the company website. For example, if the lead looks at the “pricing” page of the website, the RocketBolt user (which was our customer) can see this and can send targeted emails to the lead talking about prices for products. Similarly, public social media posts made by the lead can also be monitored so that personal relationships can be established.
Artifact 1: This is the dashboard which our customers would see upon logging into their RocketBolt accounts; from here, sales leads and client information can be monitored. For example, the center graphs show some statistics including the number of emails tracked, the CRMs used, project sales folders (for organizing leads), etc. On the left panel are menu options to navigate to other aspects of RocketBolt. “Activity feeds” shows sales lead activity such as social media posts and online activity like when they visit the company website.
The plugin was an application that connected to your Gmail account; it was an email tracking software that allows you to see when your recipient opens the email you sent them.
When I first joined RocketBolt for the summer, they had just launched their Chrome plugin and needed to acquire users. By using a variety of tools and growth hacks, I helped the increase the number of users increased almost ten-fold by the time I finished my internship. Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Reddit, even Instagram were all valid and powerful tools to promote RocketBolt.
Artifact 1: The number of users who have downloaded the RocketBolt Chrome plugin over the summer. I joined RocketBolt in the middle of May, when there were only about 1000 users. By the time I left in early August, the number of users climbed to almost 10,000. This graph definitely helps me see the result of all the work I’ve contributed to growing RocketBolt as a company. For a software company like RocketBolt, the number of users is vital to the survival and success of the business.
My choice to work in marketing for a software company seems a bit bizarre for my goals with the I&E program: It doesn’t deal with health/medicine, and it’s not research based to help me learn engineering skills. However I appreciated that this experience was different from anything I’d done in the past. I don’t want to be a stereotypical inventor, creating tools in a garage that nobody will ever use. Having marketing and sales experience complements an engineering background, allowing me to not only create medical tools in the future, but also to be able to bring onto the market and out to the world.
Reflections on my RocketBolt Experience:
This was by far the most tedious task of my internship. The tweets sent out were seemingly random articles and bits of advice, but it worked to acquire customers! Other users would message us and follow us for the great content. Sometimes you just have to throw yourself out there to attract attention.
A creative idea to selectively pitch to investors is to send targeted Facebook and email ads linked to their email accounts. Even if they don’t click the ads, they will see the name “RocketBolt” and it will be on their radar!
Quora is a great growth hacking tool for startups, especially software startups. There is a demand for B2B, CRM, and other sales tools. Answering a question on Quora is static; it will always remain there for other users to see in the future! During my time working on the Quora project, I actually ran into other companies attempting to mine Quora for users as well. Looks like it’s a rather popular idea!
Social media is a great tool for promotional content. Interacting with the online community provides a large number of potential users to enter the customer acquisition funnel. This experience will be helpful in the future if I need to work with more social media marketing.
As I attended more networking events, I became more comfortable with meeting and talking to fellow entrepreneurs. This is definitely a versatile skill that is useful for all walks of life. Life pro tip: If you want someone’s business card, the best way to get it is to offer your own first.
The Big Takeaways:
■As you can see from the somewhat rag-tag collection of projects I worked on, start-up life is often unstructured. To grow the company, sometimes you have to improvise.
■When acquiring customers and users, you don’t need a home-run to win the entrepreneurship game. Slowly and surely, a collection of singles will grow the business into a success as well.
■Some of these jobs are tedious daily chores, but you have to get through them for sustained growth.