Founder Stories: William Wadsworth On Building Exam Study Expert
In today’s Founder Story, we feature William Wadsworth, Founder of Exam Study Expert!
Read on for lessons he has learned from launching and marketing his company.
1. Please introduce your business and share your role.
Exam Study Expert helps students study smarter, not harder, through masterful application of the science of learning. Less overwhelmed, less overworked, more overjoyed when the results come through!
We’re now trusted by over a million students every year who follow our leading blog or podcast or work with in our coaching programs, workshops, and courses.
Our definition of a “student” is pretty broad, spanning anyone who has exams to prepare for. That’s high school, college, and university of course, but also plenty of professionals taking exams as part of their careers in finance or medicine.
2. How did you prepare for, and go about your launch?
We have two different sets of customers – B2C (students themselves and their parents), and B2B (offering services to schools and institutions). We took a different approach to each.
For B2C, in the early days and since, it’s been all about incredible-quality content marketing: blogging and podcasting.
We put a lot of thought and care into highly impactful and well-SEO-ed blog articles to rapidly build traffic to the website (now c. 100k+ visits/month).
On the podcast side, our effort went into finding amazing guests and creating incredibly helpful solo episodes, even when we had little to no audience. In the words of one of our guests, we strove to be “so good they couldn’t ignore us”, and after a little “seeding” the audience by pushing it out there to relevant groups (e.g. on FB, Reddit), the listenership grew pretty organically.
For our B2B work – speaking, workshops, and courses for schools and institutions – we built initial relationships and credibility by running a massive survey
3. Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain customers?
For B2C, it’s the same as always – keep making amazing blogs and (especially) podcast content.
On the B2B side, we’ve spread our wings in different directions. Conferences have been great for us recently.
For nurturing warm B2B leads – maybe they heard us at a conference, or joined our mailing list via the blog, or enquired about services in the past but never booked – we’ve had a lot of success with physical mailouts. We aimed to cut through the “noise” and really stand out with a carefully thought-out bundle including a copy of our books, as well as a custom-designed mug and bookmark.
Each item was chosen strategically: for example, mugs may go on to live in the school staff room and be seen daily by multiple members of staff. The custom hand-drawn design creates intrigue, brings a smile, and subtly articulates both our expertise and the transformation we help to create.
4. What have been the most influential brands for your business? Whose branding and marketing do you aspire to and why?
When we’ve worked on the website in the past, we’ve found the likes of Brené Brown and Simon Sinek very helpful reference points.
5. What are your favorite marketing platforms/tools?
Podcasting has been our favorite – you just can’t beat the depth of relationships and trust you can build with regular listeners if you can genuinely help them with their struggles.
6. Looking ahead, what are you most excited about?
Continuing to build our little team (currently 3 of us).
Continuing to reach and help more people.
7. Who or what inspires and motivates you?
Our students. We’re driven by the opportunity to help them transform their study habits and get their best results in big exams, with less stress and overwork.
Hearing those success stories from coaching clients or podcast listeners… it’s what makes it all worthwhile.
8. What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with entrepreneurs hoping to launch or who have just launched?
Sell before you create.
In other words, don’t write your book or your course, don’t build your software tool, don’t write your workshop presentation until you’ve sold it to someone.
So many people talk about it, so few actually DO it well.
Listen to the brilliant Rebel Entrepreneur podcast on this.
9. What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? And what makes a team successful?
Having the patience to persevere, the courage to adapt, and the wisdom to know when it’s time to persevere or adapt.
10. Let us know where we can go to learn more!
Check out all things Exam Study Expert has to offer (from free resources to our premium services) on our website.
You can also find the podcast by tapping “Exam Study Expert” into the search bar wherever you listen to your podcasts – the show will pop right up in your player. Episode 66 is a great place to start.