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Feature Upvote - 2 months after launch


#1

Two months ago I announced the launch of Feature Upvote on this forum.

Here’s an update:

tl;dr We’ve had enough people find us, sign up for the trial, and use us regularly to make this product viable in the long term.

Marketing

  • I forgot just how demotivating it is to release a brand new product, starting with zero customers and zero traffic (my company’s other product is almost ten years old.) I’ve come to realise that the first months are, more than anything, about getting traffic.
  • Getting traffic, and then trial customers, and then paid customers is a slow, hard grind. I’ve tempered my initial expectations.
  • Nevertheless, Google has started delivering trial users to us. A few things I did 6 months before launch (create landing page, add a link to it on my profile on various websites, add a link to our company website) in preparation probably helped.
  • We’ve got high quality leads from a couple of answers on Quora that propose our product as an alternative to our big, absurdly expensive competitor that, ahem, gives a voice to the user.
  • Announcements on reddit “here’s my startup” lists were worse than a waste of time; they attracted attention from people who wanted to sell us something.
  • Writing personally to each new trial customer has been helpful. A good percentage of them respond.
  • Some signups we’ve been getting are way different to my preconceived target audience. In one case I can’t share, amusingly so.
  • We’re going all in with content marketing for the next six months. We’re slowly putting together blog posts, case studies, and competitor comparisons we can use for this.

Product Development

  • One of our users has a product that has taken off big time. Their Feature Upvote product page has become extremely active. As a consequence, they’ve become our first power user. We’ve been lucky to get excellent feedback from them on the pain points in Feature Upvote.
  • We conducted some usability tests. They were well worth the time. They revealed some awkward aspects of our product that we have improved. I’d like to keep to doing usability tests every couple of months.
  • We release updates each week with small improvements. This is good for morale and for having something to post on Facebook and Twitter.
  • We’re trying to be disciplined to not just work on the product all the time, but to also work on marketing.
  • With a tiny customer base, when a potential customer says, “I’d use it if it just did X”, it’s very tempting to add that feature. It is difficult knowing when to do so.

Pricing

We initially had a classic SaaS 3-tier pricing model. However, inspired by the approach of @pjc , we’ve changed our pricing to a simple, low model. One price per product, and that gets you everything. No upsells, no tiers. For the time being, at least, that makes life for us much simpler.

As argued by @cliffordoravec, there is no point in building a payment system if you can’t get any people to actually find you and sign up for a trial. So we launched without a payment system in place. As people reach the end of their trial period, we’ve been simply extending it. We are finally adding a payment system, two months in.

Plans from here

I aim to grow our traffic modestly each month, to improve our product a little each month, to increase trial signups each month, and to improve our marketing each month. By “modestly”, I mean we should have 10% or so more customers each month. Like I said earlier, it is a slow, hard grind!


Feature Upvote - 4 months after launch
Answering questions on Quora to drive traffic and users?
#2

Love the idea. I have a few questions:

  1. How are you differentiating yourself from User Voice and all of the other feature upvote software out there?
  2. How does the growth trajectory of paying customers look for it?

Thanks!


#3

“We’re similar to UserVoice but with a better pricing model”. Read: “…without the absurdly high price.”

And all those other feature upvote software out there? We’ll mostly ignore them, and instead concentrate on positioning ourselves as the product you want if you don’t like UV’s pricing.

I wish I knew… :slight_smile:


#4

@Steve,

I subscribed to Feature Upvote but somehow couldn’t force any of our existing (paying) customers to start using it. They still prefer emails. I have a theory that emails feel more “close and personal” to them. We tend to respond to emails almost immediately and they tend to include confidential information in the emails. Just a food for thought.


#5

There’s a potential feature there: allow people to send e-mail in addition to adding/voting for features.

That way it would be more generic “get feedback from user” product vs. strict “feature voting”.


#6

Oh yes…

In my experience, they always are. But still very few people do them.

A good way to test their commitment, assuming the feature fits with your vision of the product, is to ask them what it would be worth to them and then offer to built it for some percentage of that. You will often find its not actually that important, or they were never going to buy anyway.


#7

Nice post.

Could it be the subreddit you posted to? Some perform better than others. By the way, did you post to Producthunt and Hackernews?


#8

I’m aiming to announce on Producthunt in some months. I’ve heard mixed reports - some people say they got high quality leads, and others say it was mostly other product developers checking out the competition. :slight_smile:


#9

I would guess that Product Hunt could work better for you that some other products as many of the people who frequent there will be natural customers (other app developers!)


#10

After submitting the product to PH, you can also answer to the questions about “feature request voting” in their new “Ask” section which is similar to Quora. I bet some questions can start ranking for long-tail keywords due to PH’s domain authority.


#11

I appreciate you trying out Feature Upvote! It is good to get feedback like this, as we try to work out exactly who our target audience should be.