There’s a paradigm shift happening in how brands engage with consumers, including the dark arts of so-called ‘influencers’. As with any major market change, there are risks and booby traps and charlatans to be wary of; from fake followers, to fake festivals, to celebrity influencer backlashes. This is a messy and mysterious new market, still finding its feet.
Studies show that the highest value marketing impressions come from peers, either as user-generated content or word of mouth. But recruiting, and working with authentic influencers can be messy. There are significant trust and transparency issues for brands to overcome, and ROI can be hard to predict; many companies dabbling in this area are playing a ‘spray and pray’ game with their budgets.
Innovative tech newcomer DoubleTapp brings with its smart new tools and technology to make this new medium work better for brands, shifting focus away from celebrities to real customers, while ensuring accountability on all the metrics. They make it easy to work with nano-influencers, but in a completely different way. Double Tapp recruits passionate Instagram users and rewards them for sharing positive messages about products, services or experiences they genuinely like. Micro-influencers qualify for free tickets, free meals, and free yoga classes, for example, by responding to opportunities on the app, and following through with simple actions. This cleverly qualifies influencers as actual customers, and marries costs with success. Influence and qualifying rewards are all tracked seamlessly. Social media users are encouraged to communicate authentic enthusiasm, with brands offering an appropriate and tangible thank you in return.
The app brings verified people and consumer brands together for quick, measurable, and proportionate wins. It is possible to reach a multi-million audience this way, for less cost, and to manage innovative social media campaigns at scale. Ash Staines is the impassioned Founder behind it. A former Goldman Sachs trader, his vision is to make social media content marketing better for businesses, for consumers (of course) and for content creators.
This new model has worked well in the hospitality and entertainment sectors for launch, with thousands of nano-influencers able to reach mass audiences in aggregation. Restaurants can say thank you to their fans with a complimentary meal for example, and raise mass awareness among target demographics without advertising. User-generated content is both cheaper and more persuasive than advertising if done right. Tangible rewards for this build brand loyalty too, while the numbers stack up handsomely for both sides.
Brands can now work more intelligently with influencers; managing campaigns online, and measuring the effects, with verification that an influencer’s reach is relevant. These are key benefits of DoubleTapp, which has ambitions to scale up aggressively after a successful 2019 launch.
As you might expect of a former trader, founder Ash Staines, knows the numbers inside out. DoubeTapp calculates the marketing cost, (whether gifting a glass of wine, a fitness class or a meal as a reward), benchmarking against the equivalent reach on PPC or paid-for impressions on Facebook. Everything is measured. There’s a typical 4X increase in exposure per pound invested for DoubleTapp campaigns, according to Ash. A £10 reward to customers can cost the business just £2.50, so there’s leverage of value. Ash sees big opportunities for online fashion retailers in particular with this model, as they can now easily incentivise customers to post high-quality pictures of themselves in their new outfit.
Inspiration for launching this business has come from Ash’s exposure to successful tech ventures on the investor side. Through his work at tech-focussed Hedge Fund Bradbury Capital, he was fortunate to meet leaders at unicorn ventures pre-IPO; “this contact with very successful tech entrepreneurs made it seem accessible to start a tech business. It was inspiring”. Quitting a high-flying career to pursue his vision, Ash has had to climb the steep learning curve as a solo first-time Founder, now raising money for his own business, while carrying all the responsibility for success.
Fundraising with SeedLegals, Ash was able to raise when and where he needed to push his business forward by embracing ‘agile funding’. Within a month, he raised an initial £75k at a £400k valuation, closing his round to develop his proof of concept and foster early traction. To take Double Tapp to the next stage by generating a few users and client metrics and a seed round, Ash quickly raised another £75k at an £800k valuation using Instant Investments. “I didn’t have to wait for every single investor to be ready to close the round.”
Instant Investments are a time-saving tool pioneered by SeedLegals whereby a startup can sign online with a new investor, as-and-when a new investor is ready. There is no ‘round’ to fill before closing. New cash can come in instantly, on the same terms as other investors, without any delay or legal friction.
“I could raise simply and cost-effectively, focusing on growing the business and minimising dilution.”
Because the process is digital and much of it automated, “the cap table allows you to understand what is going to happen in certain scenarios like this – it is not simple maths for an individual to do” notes Ash, impressed with the way the Cap Table can be played with, in advance of raising more money. Investment transactions are made simpler and much more predictable.
“With SeedLegals, the UX is incredibly simple, and the support is awesome. They’ve taken so much time to consider who they are dealing with as a customer. There is no lawyer spiel.” Founders are effectively coached through the process, with hands-on assistance available on chat/email/phone when needed.
The time-saving and the cost certainty were major drivers for DoubleTapp choosing SeedLegals, as it bootstrapped through its first round of funding. “Prior to using SeedLegals I had had a very standard and basic employment contract looked over just once by a lawyer, and it cost me £1,500 for this. But, I’ve now raised funding through SeedLegals, drafted up all the docs, and had numerous conversations with their team about all this, and got the whole deal completed, for roughly the same cost. It is just incredible. Ironically we’re re-doing that expensive employment contract now, on SeedLegals”. Key business documents like Employment Contracts, NDAs, and Advisors Agreements are available for a simple £19/month subscription.
“I would say on time-saving, it cuts the time down by over ten times. On a cost basis, by comparison, I would say it costs something like five times less than working with a corporate lawyer”.
These are the very same qualities he hopes to deliver at scale with DoubleTapp, making marketing investments smart through cloud technology, the process streamlined, and the results much more predictable. Tech businesses like SeedLegals and DoubleTapp are finding innovative ways to deliver value for a fraction of the normal cost. Bad news for expensive lawyers and ad men in the middle, but very good news indeed for investors and entrepreneurs focused on getting results, and ROI.