058: Recurpost Founder – Optimizing Your Social Media Presence to Increase Sales (w/ Dinesh Agarwal)
Dinesh Agarwal is the founder of Recurpost, a social scheduler that lets people recycle their best updates on social platforms. It is the only “one click, share all” social media system that seeks out content with the highest “like-and-share-me” power, attracts highly-qualified leads, and inspires sales calls that practically close themselves. Dinesh holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science and had initially created Recurpost to help his start-ups build a strong online presence but as his clientele grew, he choose to provide Recurpost to them and it became a huge hit.
Period in full-time business
When he was an undergraduate, he started a software company with his fellow students through which they developed different software for local businesses and it worked very well but after undergraduate he went to a master’s program and had to stop doing the software work. He knew that he wanted to be an entrepreneur but didn’t realise it until he went into the Ph.D. program.
At one point, a former school mate approached him about a software idea and Dinesh developed the required algorithm immediately. Dinesh used to attend a lot of events in Atlanta based on startups and he realised that most of them had great software ideas but didn’t know any IT people who could develop them affordably and reliably. Dinesh saw an opportunity in that and once he graduated from the Ph.D. program, he went back to India and started a company offering the development services to people who had ideas.
The first project his company worked on doesn’t exist anymore because they couldn’t get users to use it so they had to shut it down. He says that over 30 projects they worked on ended up failing.
Tip: If you are working on an idea and it fails, don’t feel bad about it, just move on to the next failure. You only need one successful idea
Reason for failed projects
He says there are many things that cause failures. They now don’t work on ideas that are not properly defined in terms of the target market and other criteria, Dinesh also says he does not invest in online marketplace ideas.
Tip 1: If you want to get into your software idea then be ready for a lot of expensive marketing or work with someone who knows exactly what needs to be done
Tip 2: If you are getting into an idea with someone who will not be able to contribute a lot of time, the chances of failure are high. You should work with people who are passionate about what they are doing.
Importance of technical founder Vs. outsourcing
Dinesh says that there are 2 problems to outsourcing and they include; the person is not married to the idea, they are more concerned about the money they will make. They may be good people and do good work, they will not be there to handle all the technical issues that will definitely come up. He gave an example of how once they had someone buy a domain for them and the person forgot to renew it so it expired and the client’s website went down and affected his business.
He says that his company works with its clients on a partnership/equity basis where the client doesn’t pay them for their time but instead gives up equity in the idea. The client only pays for any required freelancers and pays a small amount for the overhead costs of Dinesh’s company. Therefore, the company only works on projects that have future value. They never work on more than 4 projects at a time.
Right now, Dinesh says they have some projects that are making them money like Recurpost. Recurpost is making them enough money to pay the bills. One of the projects they just started is about to get funded and he hopes that it will be a great success. The project is based on replacing ERP software from the manufacturing industry. Manufacturers are not highly tech savvy people so they don’t want software that increases their work load or requires them to hire more people to operate it. They need something that is simple to set up and use, and that’s what Dinesh is working on.
Targeting businesses rather than consumers
He says B2B is easier to work in because one doesn’t have to target billions of people. One only needs to target a few businesses and if successful, it’s much easier. B2C is difficult because one has to have strong marketing and product development skills and resources. Dinesh usually prefers B2B based projects over to B2C.
Dinesh built Recurpost because for every project, they had a challenge getting the word out about each project. The startups didn’t have money to spend on ads for the projects so they had to use different avenues like posting guest posts on people’s blogs, leaving comments on people’s blogs where it was relevant, or getting the word out through social media. Social media marketing was much easier especially because most people are on social media. So they decided to develop something based on social media and that’s how Recurpost was conceived.
Recurpost allows people to create their social updates, the ones they want to share on their on multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Twitter. A user starts by creating different libraries which are like categories for example “funny posts category” or “product tutorials. After that, the user sets up a schedule for each category for example “post one funny post every afternoon on all my social media accounts or just one social media account”. The post will be reposted every time based on the schedule.
Recurpost Vs. other scheduling tools
Other schedulers do not offer the option of repurposing content, you have to go in every time to reschedule the post after it has posted out but Recurpost allows you to same the post or content multiple times and on different platforms.
Dinesh says that there is no one-size fits all when it comes to their service packages because people are based in different industries with different audiences. For example, some people need to do one tweet a day while others need to do 5 tweets a day. He says weekdays are better for B2Bs while weekends are better for B2Cs.
He says Recurpost has ensured increased traffic of about 30 to 40% for all projects they have worked on. To maximize the benefit of Recurpost, they usually chose their exact landing page and how they are going to convert customers.
Being in start-up stage with Recurpost, they don’t write blogs but they share good articles from others. They also tell people the benefits of Recurpost and pitch its exact features so that people can sign up for the free trial. They currently have a 60 to 70% conversion rate.
Dinesh uses Google Analytics to track customer and revenue levels then they match what they get with some customer parameters that they have.
Philosophies around free trials and paid plans
Dinesh says that they never considered the philosophies when they were developing their plans because the most important thing for them was to give small businesses a level playing field with the bigger businesses. They developed Recurpost for businesses that cannot afford a social media manager or that cannot afford to pay for highly priced software.
When they were starting out, their competition was charging at least $80 per month. Since new start-ups only need to post few updates a day, the free plan was built for them.
Knowing Recurpost would work
Dinesh had seen a site that was doing something similar but he realised that people were complaining about the site not having a feature they needed. He discovered that the site was more marketing focused than development focused, and so was not delivering on their customers’ needs while charging them a lot of money.
Dinesh already had something similar that they were using internally so they just tweaked it and released it to the market.
Growth strategy now
They are first of all using Recurpost to grow themselves. They are then using social media heavily to get customers to visit the Recurpost site so they can be able to convert them. They are also working with social media influencers on different platforms to have them test out Recurpost then recommend it to their followers.
Encouraging free plan users to upgrade to paid plans
Dinesh says one of the features the free plan doesn’t have is video uploads so when they need to upload videos customers have to convert to paid plan. People also keep adding stuff to their library and Recurpost only allows 100 recurring updates for the free plans so to get more they have to upgrade to a paid plan. The third reason people updrage from free to paid is also because they get to experience first-hand how beneficial Recurpost is.
Recurpost according to Dinesh is on platforms like Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. They are not on YouTube yet parlty because they don’t consider it a social media platform.
Dinesh says that they are currently hitting $100,000 per year and their yearly goal is to get that to about $150,000 and $200,000.
He says he launched Recurpost in August 2016 and his team consists of two developers, one designer, one customer support person and then him.
Budget for those starting out with their tech idea
He says the amount depends on what kind of developers and designers one will need. From his experience, he says on average, one needs $2,000 to $2,500 per month. The idea may take one to two months to build up for beta testing.
The same apply regardless of whether one needs a website or mobile application. For those who need both, the price may be higher than the normal average. That is because there are different developers for apps and different ones for websites.
Dinesh says there is a lot of money to be made in the app space. He says that the same apps they have built for the average budget, companies in the US will charge between $100,000 and $120,000 to develop.
An example of a successful app they built is ZonedIn App at www.zonedinapp.com which now has over 50,000 with the users being very addicted to it. The app teaches kids how to skateboard. It’s like kids’ favourite skateboarding video game but in real life. Top users of the app have been funded by giant companies in terms of sponsorship deals. One such is someone that comes from a small US town of 600 people and he is the number one user on the app. He recently got sponsored by one of the biggest skateboarding companies.
Dinesh says the revenue model for the ZonedIn App is built around allowing companies to pay them every month so they can host a minigame for them which people play in. Every time someone finishes that minigame, Dinesh’s company sends a coupon to that person. Dinesh’s company also gives those companies access to those who play their games so they can communicate with them.
Dinesh says that the app is currently breaking even though not making a lot of money but they are getting new users through word of mouth. They don’t spend anything on marketing. To turn the fortunes around, they will need money to invest in marketing through the right channels. He says they don’t believe in charging their users. Once a person downloads the app, they are required to sign up and in the process Dinesh’s company gets their email address.
Educational and professional background
Dinesh did his P.h.D at Georgia State University in Atlanta. In total, he took his undergrad for 4 years, Masters for 2 years and 4.5 years for the P.h.D. After the P.h.D, he never went for a job because he knew he wanted to start a business. He only worked after his Masters.
Fear of failure and moment of real failure
During his P.h.D., he started testing things out with Google Adsense, created some projects, and he figured out how to rank websites. That enabled him to properly rank his website which earned him up to $200,000 by the time he was done with his P.h.D. He saved that money and it helped him as he was launching his company in India. He generated most of the money from ads.
Other income generating projects
Other than Recurpost, Dinesh’s company has several other projects including the ERP software; a project called ClickNation, a Cricket-based app; and the Flippiness app which finds online opportunities to make money. They are all doing very well.
Biggest breakthrough in business
In 2011, they started developing an app called FanHarvest and it did very well in the market. They even got invited to big events where they met prospective investors who were interested in investing in the app. One morning, Dinesh got an email from Facebook’s lawyers saying that he had to shut down the app. For him, that was a breakthrough because it proved to him that no matter how small their company they still found a way to make a splash in a large industry.
Lowest moment when building Recurpost
This was when they were offering unlimited updates under all their plans both free and paid. People misused that feature and started spamming around. Some were sharing about 1,000 tweets a day and when Twitter noticed it, they threatened to block Recurpost but Dinesh was able to calm them down by making major changes to the software.
Dinesh has one mentor, a good friend that he met while looking for a solution to a problem he had. He used Stack Overflow to advertise that he needed that support and the friend was the one who responded to that ad. Dinesh started reading his blogs and listening to his advice. Other than that, he doesn’t invest in any mentors.
Book recommendation for entrepreneurs:
Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload – Daniel J. Levitin
To be remembered as a guy who started out without any kind of support or inheritance, and built everything on his own with the core goal being to help others – Dinesh
Best way to connect: firstname.lastname@example.org – Dinesh’s Business Email
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