New project: maths, emails, and an empty ISA

Please note: this is an old post. I have been blogging for a really long time: since my childhood, in fact. Bear in mind that any opinions stated may have changed, any code snippets may no longer be considered safe or secure, and my personal circumstances are almost certainly different to what's contained herein. You have been warned...

What do you do when you try and find a site that allows the re-sale of preloved cloth nappies but the only one that did exist has closed down operations?

You buy the site of course.

used nappies-02As briefly alluded to in the last post, I’ve bought into a new project which I’m hoping will give me an increase in passive income in the long term, but in the short term is a great way of shifting several hundred pounds worth of cloth nappies: UsedNappies.co.uk

The purchase/takeover has not been without issues. The software the site was running on was massively out of date with a ton of potential security issues. The upgrade to the latest version was both a) expensive and b) complicated by poor documentation. Seriously, PHPProBid is one of the worst documented things I’ve ever had the misfortune to use. That said, version 7 is worlds apart from version 6 and it’s growing on me, so there is hope.

I took the decision to restart the site from scratch after I bodged the upgrade and I didn’t want to waste too much time on a rebuild when the site data was a few years old anyway. In the world of nappies, a few years is enough time for someone to finish with and get rid of their stash, rendering the user data useless.

Once the new version of the site was up and running, I created an email to advise the 15,000+ existing users that they needed to re-register. I send my mass mails with Campaign Monitor (because they’re awesome) but the 15k emails went over my limit with them, so I had to get approval on this. I explained the bodged site upgrade situation but they said that the data was too old to be marketed to as-is and I needed to run my list through a 3rd party verification service (more expense). That done, and 12k approved emails back in the system, I actually sent the mail (++expense).

At this point I begin to wonder how email marketeers make any money, because out of over 12,000 emails I had a 43.94% open rate with 3.84% unsubscribing — despite me clearly stating in the mail it was strictly one off to notify them their account was gone — and only 1.61% clicked the bloody website link.

ONE POINT SIX ONE PERCENT.

A third of that 1.61% have since re-registered on the site, giving me a current cost per user (adding up purchase price, software, add-ons, branding, etc) at approximately £23.43.

My ISA is currently barely above empty and I’m shitting bricks in case any big expenses come my way, but I’m crossing my fingers that the risk will pay off in the long term. Of course, you can help a girl out and give me some like / follow / share love if you like:

And if you know someone who uses, or is thinking about using cloth nappies? Tell them about the site of course :)

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6 comments so far

  1. Meggan said:
    On March 23, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    OMG I am dying a little inside at 1.61% click rate. I have a bunch of email marketing questions I could ask but none of them would be helpful at this point since it’s already been sent.

    I am also dying inside at your cost per user. Eeek! I think you are right though, that the intervening time is enough that many people may have already offloaded their stash or aren’t looking for diapers at the moment, so your best bet is probably new users.

    Side note: I need this for the US, haha! I’m nearing the end of my diapering children days and I have a TON of diapers I need to offload, but they’re… very well-loved. I want to sell them in a couple of lots (good condition, poor condition) but egads, the time and effort. Blecch.

    Best of luck on the cloth nappies site!

    Reply
  2. Chantelle said:
    On March 27, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    You’ve had a difficult start, but I hope the site takes off. I’m wishing you good luck and a lot of new users.

    Reply
  3. Andy Parkes said:
    On April 8, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Ah very cool! We’ve got a stash of nappies we don’t know what to do with!

    Having just moved house it would be great to not just put them straight in the loft :-)

    Reply

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