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Feature Upvote - 4 months after launch


#1

Following on from my launch announcement and 2 month follow up:

tl;dr The slow, hard grind continues. Got first paid accounts and renewals. Tiny but growing site traffic. Unclear marketing strategy.

Sales

  • Last month we activated our Stripe-based payment system, and got our first sales. Woot!
  • This month, we’ve had our first renewals and increased monthly recurring revenue (MRR). Double woot!
  • Total sales are still tiny. I’m earning enough to fund my caffeine addiction, although coffee is cheap here in Barcelona. There’s a long, long way to go until this product is financially viable on its own. I’m estimating late 2019.
  • Site traffic has increased at about 25% per month since I started tracking. I spend way too much time extrapolating this in a spreadsheet to project some completely unlikely future.

Product Development

  • Potential customers keep asking for new features. Must. Resist. Urge. To add. Every. Requested. Feature. Luckily I have a pretty good way of finding out the most popular suggestions. :slight_smile:
  • I’ve been adding new features too quickly because coding is more enjoyable that marketing. I’m forcing myself to spend more time on sales & marketing and less on product development. This month I’m not doing any active development.

Marketing

  • Quora has been our main source of sales. I don’t think there is much scope to scale up this channel.
  • I’m concentrating on SEO and content marketing. Neither is giving me any ROI yet.
  • Content marketing: Our early customers are in diverse industries. I expected to mostly have small software companies as customers. So far, that’s not been the case. This is causing me to rethink my content marketing strategy. Our blog is gaining readers but very few seem to click through to our marketing site. Maybe I need to change my content strategy, or maybe I just need to be patient and persistent.
  • SEO: I’ve created some site content optimised for certain Google searches. Google has started indexing the content. Google traffic is tiny but growing. I haven’t yet worked out what keywords I should be targeting.

I’m happy to answer questions and to receive advice!


#2

I had a look at https://featureupvote.com/ the concept is sound, but it is missing that polish that your rivals have. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the colours and design say meh.Its functional but not exciting or slick. The video is not very enticing. It’s factual but not emotional if that does not sound like hippy nonsense.

Steve, you have given me some excellent advice on this forum, and I really appreciate it. I don’t like being negative, just giving my honest opinion as a potential user.

https://www.uservoice.com does look pretty slick. I think a few hours with a good designer would add some of the magic pixie dust you need. I would go for a different colour instead of the teal and lose the shadows on the screenshots.

Can I be the first to say everything I say to you I am guilty of in my own sites. I also do the voiceovers on my business videos. I need to up my game on my own software marketing. It is always easier to give advice than take it :wink:


#3

Thanks for the feedback. I’ve been meaning to spend a lot more time on the video, and to add professional voiceover. I’ll bump up the priority on that.


#4

I agree with Brian, just adding a blurred photo or a modern color gradient instead of the teal background and increasing vertical spacing in the navbar could significantly modernize the look.

Maybe check out palette collections like http://www.colorhunt.co/


#5

I wouldn’t focus on the look and feel unless you get the feeling that your conversion rates are way too low. Having a polished product is great but it’s useless if there’s not enough growth.


#6

It’s really tricky. Even if you’re only getting a small amount of traffic you don’t want to turn those people off because the UI isn’t slick. If it’s only going to take a “few hours” with a graphic designer then I would say go for it, it will also give you more confidence in your own product.


#7

This is a really good point. Conversion rates are pretty good already, although I shouldn’t really be concluding that with such low traffic.


#8

Thanks, I appreciate hearing this. When you see the same screen day after day you become quite blind to its flaws.

I try not to micromanage my graphic designer, but if multiple people are telling me the design needs improvement then I may need to have a little discussion with him.


#9

Oh, then I’d recommend to find another designer. I thought you did everything by yourself but a professional designer should be much more obsessive with details like spacing and keep up with the trends.

You can also improve it by yourself by copying elements from some expensive polished site. I mean not the design itself but spacings between elements, pieces of layout, font families and sizes. I like to copy from Stripe because they have many differently styled pages with unusual layouts.

I think paying for designer nowadays should bring results much better than a $20 template from ThemeForest.


#10

I also think that you really need to do a much better design, especially since you are targeting software companies, they really care about details. Here are some designs I really like, maybe you can get inspired from them:
https://frontapp.com/, http://versites.com, https://storyheap.com/, https://lattice.com/, https://vitally.io

I’m also targeting software companies and it’s not an easy market, especially since the product is not something most of them can’t live without. In order to reaching a decent MRR when selling to software companies, I think we need to have at minimum $100 ARPU or at least $1000 CLTV because the market is quite small and just a small % of it are actual potential customers.

I’m not trying to discourage you, but both of us might struggle to hit the MRR goals in a short time, especially since we have a low priced product.

That’s why I’m working on an ecommerce version of my product, where is more competition but the market is also 100x times bigger. I’ll be selling both version, but with different pricing.

Maybe it’s a good idea to see on what markets you can expand and if it you need changes to the core of the product or you’ll able to do that after the product is polished.


#11

I am with ivmI thought you were doing the design yourself.

Virgil thanks for the links, good inspiration for my new site.


#12

(Oh-oh! Someone has just lost his job…)


#13

Love the product idea. Some thoughts:

  1. add a “changelog” feature. For the “features” that have made it into the product. (basically query the same DB with a different WHERE). Then offer a tiny js-widget people can add into their web-apps that will notify user of new features. We coded something like this ourselves… If i’m not mistaking, you said you use FastSpring, right? They use something like this in their new dashboard, just steal it… (update: after digging through HTML source, looks like they use https://headwayapp.co/ ) sell as anti-retention feature

  2. add an API and start doing “integration marketing”. The product can be a nice addition to help desk apps (including ours, heheh :wink: )


#14

Hi Steve
I tweeted about feature upvote to see if people would provide extra feedback. There’s been one good responder worth reading. See thread here:

hope that helps.


#15

That explains the uptick in traffic from Twitter yesterday! Thanks!


#16

Thanks!

I like this idea very much. Checking out FastSpring’s example now…

That’s very much my intention. Hearing the founder of a help-desk product make the suggestion enforces this intention. We use Jira for issue tracking for our desktop product, Poker Copilot, so we’re intending to start with an integration between Feature Upvote and Jira. It will let Feature Upvote customers create and link a Jira issue to a Feature Upvote suggestion.

How would you see an integration between, say, Feature Upvote and JitBit working? A support ticket could be converted into a suggestion? Or a new suggestion gets automatically added to JitBit? I’d be very grateful for any further thoughts you have on this, either here on this topic or privately.


#17

Yes, exactly. Ticket -> feature

As much as I would love you to start coding integration with our app, I’d suggest you look at Zapier integration first (can’t beleive I’m saying this :slight_smile: ) since you only have 2 hands and Zapier opens 500+ apps for integration for the same amount of work.