A year after it launched, Supermama decided to venture into offline events
in Egypt- a new move for the first Arabic online parenting community. To do
so, founders Zeinab Samir and Yasmine El-Mehairy hired a PR
company and tested the possibilities, in hopes of getting the word
out to an offline community of mothers.
The startup, which offers advice on health, cooking, pregnancy, parenting and careers, all in Arabic, had recently celebrated its first anniversary, releasing a mascot and a new video feature.
After their event, however, Supermama decided to refocus on their new video feature, concluding that marketing online was best for their audience. Here, El-Mehairy shares some of her thoughts on the disadvantages of wandering away from the online world as a digital startup, in hopes that it helps others determine the right way to present their offline presence.
- Remember that offine events don't convert directly to online
traffic. They do create a buzz, but this kind of buzz may take a
while to materialize into something tangible.
- Be sure you have the budget- offline events are expensive. A
venue and catering (even if its just a coffee break) are the
obvious costs, but then giveaways, service tips (which are
unavoidable in the Middle East), and equipment rental add up (most
venues charge extra for microphones, projectors and such).
- Don't expect the majority of those who signed up to attend. We
actually had closer to 30% show up, after registration and phone
- Getting press coverage is also something to budget and plan
- Be sure to pick a venue that suits your users best. For
Supermama, middle-class housewives need a location that their
husbands approve of.
- Offline events have a very long term effect. To create
consistency and see an effect, you need to keep spending on events
and PR for several months before it pays off.
- Consider several offline mediums. For instance, how does being covered in a magazine convert into increased website visitors? Think outside of the event box.
One thing their offline event did help the Supermama
team do was determine how best to allocate their resources. In
their new video series, they've released seven different
installations, each of which offers a quick 2-3 minute "do it
yourself" tutorial showcasing interviews with pediatrics and
general doctors, or discussing activities for moms and children to
do during vacations.
Supermama opted for video because busy mothers in the Arab world can assimilate visual and audio presentation faster than text while multitasking, and also because "video spreads like fire on social media", says El-Mehairy.
In the first three weeks, their video series has
registered 56,000 views, 12% from Saudi Arabia, which their offline
event could not have helped them reach; it pays to test and pivot
in order to scale at a healthy pace.
Disclosure: Wamda Capital has invested in SuperMama.