We’ve covered a lot of ground in the past few weeks and our fourth prototype is nearly complete. This has caused the unsettling (but exciting) realization that we better start trying to actually sell these kites. We’ve discussed some of our demand generation strategies, but it appears that offering free 1hr lessons is the most attractive hook. With barely any marketing effort we’ve had over 70 people share their emails and express interest in free lessons. From our conversations with other kite lesson providers we know that the conversion rate for paid lessons is about ~75%. While we would certainly expect a lower rate, even a 20-30% conversion would cover our first batch of kites. This assumes they choose to buy Engine brand, but again our conversations with over 50 kite surfers have indicated that instructor recommendation is a huge factor in the buying habits of new kiters.
We see our website with wind conditions as a way to maintain this customer base and keep them involved in our company. If/when we gain momentum and establish some brand credibility we will phase out the free lessons for paid ones and also hope to divert traffic to the website rather than direct sales in an effort to scale. That’s longer term though, for now we are playing scrappy and trying to survive.
As a sidenote: kiteboarder, VC and Angel investor and founder of MaiTai Kite Camp, Bill Tai has agreed to meet with us. Hope to gain some insight from his experience.