Dorothy Lin

Building Bonjournal

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Bonjournal: A simple travel journal app

My husband (and co-founder) and I recently spent a year traveling the world. During our travels, we struggled to find the right tool to document and share all the wonderful things we saw. So a year ago, we decided to create a journaling app ourselves — one that we would want to use — and Bonjournal was born.

Since then, we’ve built a mobile-friendly website that looks and works just like our upcoming app. We’re planning to release our app this spring, so I’m ready to learn as much as I can from Seth’s course!

Also, I’d love to meet others taking this class, so feel free to reach out if you have questions or need feedback on your own projects: @doodilin.

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11 Questions

What is Marketing for?

We are marketing to grow our user base, which includes 1) authors - those recording and sharing their travels and 2) readers - those reading the content created by our authors.

What are we allowed to touch?

Anything and everything.

What can we measure?

Number of sign ups

Number of unique visitors to site

Average time spent on site/app

What can we change?

We started Bonjournal because we wanted an easy way to document our travel experiences, as we were traveling.

What should we promise? (to our people and to our customers)

To our team: we promise to focus on creating something that does one thing (travel journaling) really well, instead of being distracted by noise (extraneous features, short-lived design fads).

To our customers: we promise that for the time you spend creating your journals, you will be rewarded with the value of lasting memories of your travels.

What is the hard part?

Most people use Facebook and Instagram to document and share their travels. The hardest part is convincing them that it’s worth adding Bonjournal into the mix.

Should we make trends or follow them?

We are following the trend of the personal narrative — sites like Medium make it very easy for people to create, share and explore beautifully formatted visual essays and stories.

Where is the risk?

Risk to myself: none that I can think of.

Risk to brand: perhaps limiting ourselves to travel journals is too focused?

Risk to customer: TBD

Who is in charge here?

I am in charge.

What is the money for?

We haven’t spent any money on marketing yet, only on development of our product. In the near future, I am considering making a promotional video that tackles question #6 above (the hard part), by showing people how Bonjournal helps them capture more than mere “snapshots” of their travels. My goal is to spend as little money as possible on marketing, which is going to force me to get VERY creative.

What’s the most important way to spend my time?

My time should be spent acquiring users. I understand that Bonjournal may only appeal to a niche market (out of people who travel, how many of those actually spend the time to jot down notes?), so I should focus on pinpointing and reaching out to this select audience.

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XY Chart

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“P” Words

Placement -- We’re working to create solid IG and Tumblr presences, as we consider ourselves to be a Tumblr for travel experiences.

Public relations -- Our story of taking time off to travel the world deeply resonates with others, especially prospective users.

Persistence -- We’re pursuing slow, organic growth, by maintaining a consistently high standard of usability and design.

People like us -- We hope to connect with the wanderlusters out there, who not only want to travel, but also want to cherish their experiences. We want to inspire others to go out and explore the world.

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