MONTREAL -- A week ago in this space, I laid out how we hope to reach people who've never heard of us, most of which had to do with expanding specific social media initiatives through a plan put together by Hunter Homistek and Chris Benson.
This week, it'll be about converting that outreach into actual readers.
And this is quite the week to discuss that since, as of 11:59 p.m. Friday and the conclusion of our unprecedented three-quarters-off sale to attract new subscribers, we wound up with a record four-day total of 310 sales!
Yeah, I know. Trust me, we didn't see it coming either. But it did, and let's just say it made for quite the uplifting day for all of us, especially in the always-dismal context of January/February misery for any business. Because, as much as we appreciate -- and demonstrate -- how grateful we are for our existing subscribers, including when they extend, there's always something extra-validating about continually acquiring a new, fresh stream. It makes what we're doing feel fresh, feel vital, if you know what I mean.
How did this happen?
Well, if we knew that with precision, we probably wouldn't have been as surprised by the result as we are. But the safest explanation is that we tried a lot of different things, tried them all at the same time, monitored what was working and what wasn't, reallocated investments from one to the next ... then held our breath as the fourth day, Friday, was going to tell us whether it would be a winner.
The sale was Hunter's idea, and it was doing fine on its own. But Friday around noon, my wife Dali additionally blasted out an email to former subscribers, alerting them to the sale, and that's when this really took off. I mean took off. Tons and tons of these were rolling through. And as they did, a lot of those people spoke with pride on social media about joining, which seemed to only beget more activity. New subscribers, old subscribers, back and forth ... right through to midnight.
Along the way, we all got involved. Matt Sunday and Chris Carter jumped in early on social, answering prospective buyers' questions on social media. I included my personal email address in the email blast and addressed absolutely everything that came my way, helping in any way I could. (At least when I wasn't flying here to Montreal.) And once others' work schedules lightened a little, everyone was in on this. Hunter added a couple other strategic money boosts -- modest -- and it kept coming.
So, what's this mean?
Obviously, we can't and won't have a sale like this often. Or at all again this year. But lessons can be taken and applied in different forms. Several readers who reached out to me personally spoke of hardships that kept them from subscribing or re-subscribing. I took that hard. I don't ever want someone wanting to read this site who can't. I'd love to think of a way to solve that. Several other readers simply spoke of looking for a carrot, an incentive to come in. We'll all try to think about that one.
For now, I'm certain of this: We're grateful. To all 310 of you, thank you so much! Welcome aboard, welcome back, whichever it is, but welcome!
THE INSTAGRAM BREAK
We've been pushing for a long while to break through 10,000 followers on Instagram, and we did that Tuesday night. It wasn't just some arbitrary goal. Once you achieve five figures there, you're able to add direct links to content within IG stories. Hunter's been having fun doing that all week, actually, and we'll have plenty more.
That might sound like a terribly little thing. It isn't around here.
CHASING 1,000 DOWNLOADS
Our ongoing goal is generating 1,000 new app installs by March 28, Major League Baseball's opening day, and we're going to top that one way, way early with 952 already, including 135 in the past week. Probably need to double this goal. Here's where to get yours:
THE COLLEGE VIBE
Our friends at Rivals, the country's preeminent home for college sports coverage, reached out to extend an offer to all our current subscribers: Six free months to any site on their network. That's a $50 value, given that their annual subscriptions are $99.95. The offer expires April 1. So go now to their sign-up page and apply the following code: DKRivals6FREE
• Several readers complained when we dropped the complete subscriber count a couple months ago. I explained back then that, because we'd changed payment platforms so many times, we could only estimate what that was. Well, since our current platform offers us extensive data, here's a compromise: We'll list all our NEW subscribers for 2019, both here in Site Stuff and in our daily ticker at the bottom of the laptop/tablet platforms. Ideally, that hits 3,000 this year.
• Readers hate crashing apps. Anyone would. I waited a while before sharing this -- just to make sure it was real -- but our updates a couple months ago appear to have more than addressed the issue. In the past week alone, our Apple app was 99.1 percent crash-free, and our Android app, which used to be the worst for this, was 99.4 percent crash-free. Doesn't mean it'll never happen — I had one Wednesday myself — but it's very much within industry norms.
• We'll hear occasionally from readers who miss our extensive podcast content. To that end, we're making a more concerted effort to arrange that all of our various radio appearances are collected and delivered here. Keep an eye on the Multimedia section of the home page for those, as well as our WPXI-TV appearances.
• Remember when Benstonium content was seen here regularly? Well, buckle up.
BACK TO BUSINESS
• Our daily active app users, averaged out over the past week, are at 12,484, broken down as 9,757 on Apple, 2,727 on Android. That total's plus-182 from the previous week. This figure will always fluctuate with the seasons and the news, so the goal is a steady, gradual increase, initially to 15,000, a number we've never achieved.
• Our daily page views, averaged out over the past month, are at 72,626. That's plus-5,643 over the same rolling figure from a week ago. The goal with this figure is also about a steady, gradual increase, first to 100,000, a number we've achieved only during Stanley Cup runs.
• Our most-hit article of the past week -- exempting live files -- was my column from the Penguins' outdoor game in Philadelphia at 15,660. The Penguins accounted for 185,116 of our page views, the Steelers 58,282, the Pirates 52,466.
• We're at 29,735 (+125) page likes on Facebook, we're at 30,240 (+100) followers on Twitter, we're at 10,031 (+114) followers on Instagram, and we're at 738 (+15) followers on YouTube. These figures are just for our official company account on each platform, not for us as individuals.
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