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Finding the right customer segment for my new SaaS


#1

Hey guys,

I’ve been working on this side-project for a while and I have a dilemma. The product is not launched yet, the presentation website is far from being ready, but it works. Let’s say it’s in an early private beta stage.

Anyway, the thing that bothers me is that I’m not sure which customers should I target. Like my other projects, I started by solving my own problem:

Sending quick surveys to customer during the conversation(live chat) instead of the usual way, asking the same questions over and over again than spending time to enter the answers from the live chat to excel or sending links to google forms which breaks the conversation.

Initially I wanted to build a live chat widget with forms functionality, but I realized that live chat widgets works better for quick support rather than having an engaged conversation for feedback purpose, for example. So I build the live chat widget inside a separate page, which also looks great and you have enough space to have both the forms and chat in the same view.

After talking with some people, I found that this can be useful in other areas than SaaS feedback, especially when you can link to the chat page with a specific form enabled by default, not only during conversation. Basically everywhere you want to gather information(polls,survey) and you also want to respond live or chat.
For example:

  • getting feedback for any kind of product - send the feedback form and ask further questions based on the data submitted. Later you can export or see the feedback submissions in graphical charts for analysis.
  • research of any kind
  • hiring - HR departments can pre-sreen the applicants(having a form enabled before that chat) than start conversation right away after submission with ones that fit their criteria
  • lead generation - include the link to the chat page on other websites or email as an alternative to phone calls/skype. During chat you can set an address form or other fields to save the lead data. Later you can export the data to your CRM
  • a way for agencies to communicate with clients - they can send project related surveys and chat at the same time
  • even traditional support

Personally, I use it for on-boarding and feedback on my other projects(included the chat page link on welcome email or feedback request email)

With so many use cases, which should I pick or how to find the best use case to zoom in the product?

When I sketched the website I thought to start general and see which customers stick, but I don’t think that’s such a good strategy.

Oh, here’s the website, you can sign up for free and give some feedback :slight_smile: If you click on Chat with us you can start a chat with me(if I’m online). Again, the website needs a lot of work and the admin side also needs improvements and bug fixes, but it’s usable.


#2

Hi Virgil,

Lots of competition in this space. But I do think there is still room. Interesting spin by having it embedded and tied to some sort of feedback form.

I don’t think it would work for my particular business because my biggest problem is simply getting leads to reply on the website. Am embedded widget and a form wouldn’t do me any favors (is my thinking). I just recently canceled Zopim (live chat) after trying triggers, headhunting visitors, etc. It just doesn’t work well enough. I think its largely due to my audience - event professionals - who are not interested in engaging in feedback like how we are.

I would maybe consider cutting out your live chat feature and piggy backing on another company’s API (zopim, intercom, or whoever) and embed the forms somehow into those conversations. That could be a great customer acquisition channel because you could piggyback on the reputation and client base of established companies

Jeff


#3

I think you have two options:

  1. Get out there and find customers from some of the verticals you think could be your niche and try to get them to use the tool. Ask questions to find what this would be worth to them monthly and what the problem is they need solvoing. Focus on those who have a need you can satisfy and are willing to pay a price which will be enough to justify you working on it. Hopefully you can find a group of people with similar issues, willing to pay real money for a solution and who you can work towards finding in a repeatable fashion
  2. Try to get it out there to as many people as possible (product hunt, post to reddit, whatever) and set up calls with everyone who tries it out. Try to do the same as the above, but this way (if it works) you get a bug bunch of people in and can see if there is a group it really resonates with.

In short, I think you need to talk to people to work out where to focus.

Good luck!


#4

Thanks Jeff for your thoughts.

Yes, there’s a lot of competition in the live chat widget space.However, I’m trying to avoid competing with these guys since the product is not a in-site widget and I’m focusing more on providing a more engaged conversation to build a relationship and gather useful information, rather than quick support.

As I found out by myself, live chat widgets are not really good for feedback as the user is distracted and you are stopping the user from browsing or using your tool. That’s why I use it myself more as a more comfortable alternative to Skype chat, than a live-chat widget.

Many of the on-boarding emails I get from different products include things like “let’s have a call to …” . I would rather do a chat instead of a phone call initially(probably is not just me). With this tool you can insert in the welcome email a chat link + forms(or other content like videos) if you need more information or feedback.

Anyway, your idea of integrated with current live-chat solution is really good for customer acquisition, I’ve thought about it, but I’m limited to their API and this becomes an extension of a live-chat widget, I’m not sure how this woild be better.


#5

Thanks.

  1. Yea, I just started doing this. It’s not that easy as I thought. My other projects are in a market I know pretty well and it was so easy to launch products there…this is totally new and somehow exciting.

  2. This was my initial strategy. If I can’t find anything good with (1) I’ll get back to this.


#6

I went to the website and it wasn’t clear to me how it worked or what made it unique/different.

I was heavily distracted at the time, as many of your users are.
I was just reading that the average attention span is 8 seconds (shorter than a goldfish, 9 seconds)

For me, having a very simple pictorial explanation would have helped.

One thing you could do is make the page very very simple (so that it can be read in 20 seconds). Then have two options:
Signup
Learn More

That will give you a microconversion to tell you whether they are engaged (b/c they clicked to go “deeper” but essentially provides a “vote” on whether they need more information.

Learn more could simply expand the page.,

See what I did at:
http://www.BungalowSoftware.com

-Clay


#7

Thanks for checking it out.

I don’t know if you saw the old content or the new one. Now on the heading there is a Learn more button after telling about the problem.

I decided to choose the outbound lead-generation route. So i could integrate with outbound email automation tools like reply, outreach, quickmail etc and tap into their customer base. Basically my tool provides an alternative way of communicating, faster than email and less obstrusive than phone calls together with the option to create lead gen forms and close leads during conversation.

I started talking with a few guys about integrating into sales tools, including exporting data to CRMs. I also bought the chatpage.io domain, which I think is better than .co.

When I presented it as a live-chat tool everyone thought about intercom, zopim and started to compare with them. I want to avoid to be perceived in that market since is so saturated.

Presenting it as a lead generation tool it’s much easier than explaining why is different than zopim or 1000 others.


#8

Just a quick update:

I got featured in betalist 2 days ago. Got a couple of signups and talked with a lot of guys. Initially I thought to focus on just one feature and sell it around that, but from my discussions I found out the people want to use it for multiple things, not just lead generation…including live support or private client communication.

I also found out that many SaaS guys are interested, so you should take a look and give a try if you have a SaaS.

I can’t emphasize how import talking with potential users is. I realized a lot of things that i haven’t thought before.

Regarding to the main thread topic, I’m going on the all-in-one route…a tool that can help you in multiple areas. After seeing how people use the tool I will focus on different features if necessary.

Thanks to all who took a look and gave me feedback


#9

+1 for talking to customers. So easy to forget how useful it is.

Be careful of trying to do everything for everyone that walks in the door. They may not be a statistically valid sample. In my experience, they were people who weren’t good at finding solutionss and happened upon us. They became our squeeky wheel. I had to learn to ignore what they said and dig deeper into WHY they said it. I.e., they may be asking for features but not truly understand WHY they need them.

Suggestion: your popup “why are you leaving” chat uses non standard english:
Hey, why do you leave so soon?

standard english would be more like: "Hey, why are you leaving so soon?"
Or more colloquial: “Hey, is it something we said?” (a bit humorous)


#10

OH, and here’s more on the “getting to why”.

It’s call the 5 Whys
It came from Toyota.


#11

Thanks again Clay.

You are right about the WHY thing. I must admit I haven’t dug deeper into why they need the features they were asking. They told me that they want to be able to do that and they got excited that it can do the other thing as well.

For example,they wanted to include the link to the chat page in their email campaigns to let people switch from email to live chat within a click, but they also liked that you can link to the chat page from you contact page.

For me it looks as an improvement that I no longer get questions like “why is this better than intercom”, i see that people usually get it, that’s an outbound chat tool, more like an email address and phone number which can be included anywhere.

However, the main issue is that I have no idea where to start promoting it. Betalist people don’t stick, on general Facebook groups I get “love the app, the concept” but they don’t sign up even if it’s free.

It’s like I’m building a new market… on usual live chat tools it’s easy because the market is established and people know what they are looking for, but the competition is huge.

Any suggestions for promotion?


#12

I think you need to start asking them this question, or similar ones. To understand why they aren’t going with one of the competitor solutions. And to clarify who is willing to pay (a premium?) for the solution they need. That can hopefully turn up a niche you can focus on. I think that will then help define where you need to go to get more people. Having a solution which can be used in lots of situations is fine, but it’s probably easier if you still focus on one use case for now and try to do that 10x better than other solutions out there.

If for example you find that it is particularly useful for inside sales teams wanting to offer live chat to leads they are talking to you then need to find where those people hang out and target ads/content at them there. “5 ways to use live chat to increase your conversion rate” blog posts etc. promotion on linkedin (those guys live on linkedIn researching their leads) etc. etc. etc.

But I think (just my 2p) you need to pick a niche to focus on and then knowing where and how to promote it should become a lot more obvious. Maybe email all those you’ve talked to and ask them what alternatives they have tried? and why they think your solution could be better? Assuming you can infer from that their desire to pay (ie the alternatives are paid, and price isn’t their objection) you might find out what you need to know.


#13

Maybe they haven’t heard of the competitors, or don’t care? Not everyone sits there analysing every thing product on the market, not if they have better things to do! :slightly_smiling:

@Virgil I can’t give you any advice, except that it takes a loooooooong time, with lots of false paths. And you just have to walk down those paths to realise they were false.

Yes, and that’s why you stay away from those places. Try other methods, like content marketing, creating tiny but useful free products related to your main product etc. Like I said, loooong road, lots of tears.


#14

Thank you guys, I appreciate your help.

I’m going back and forth…and I know that I change things too fast, but I think I’m getting closer.

I changed back to sales tool with a few changes.

I dropped completely the customer service market, it’s crowded, people compare me with other chat tools from the start, the price would be lower.

I will stay in the sales and client communication market, if it doesn’t work here I won’t even bother to try on customer support.

From the feedback I got, the product value is more clear and higher in the sales market. Sales guys can see the value right away, they include the link to the chat page into their sales funnel(email or website) and if they sell more amazing, if not they drop it. In customer service the value is seen over time not right away so is harder to sell.

Here’s my headline now:

Private chat for sales and client communication
Close leads that you wouldn’t close using only emails and phone calls. Speed up the sales process with our real-time lead generation and qualification features.

vs old one

Engage your audience from anywhere, at the right time
Real-time lead generation. Instant customer support and feedback. Live client communication. ALL from ONE awesome tool.


#15

Love it Virgil. Great little niche. Particularly liked the “how is this different from chat widgets” section.

Who will you be reaching out to, to sell it?


#16

Thanks Kalen.

Agencies and small-medium SaaS with an inside sales team. There is interest in that niche, the only issue is I need to prove them that it works.

I found that even though people are interested, many forget about it. Many say…yes, tomorrow will send it with the first email batch but I don’t hear from them again, they don’t even try it or do like they said. I know that it’s normal to happen, but the rate is very high.

I’m trying currently to give 25% discount if they get 10 chats in the first week, just to on-board them.


#17

Nice. Yeah there’s always a big difference between people that will say “cool” and people that will give you a credit card.

Until you have the credit card there are still objections in their mind.

You gotta figure out what those are.

My objection would be that I wouldn’t be exactly sure whether this would work better than email or chat.

So maybe if you had a pricing model where you took a credit card up front but only charged on the basis of how many non trivial chat sessions went through - that might make it more of a no brainer.

Also do you have any results yet?

And the nice thing about this product is that you should very much be able to dog food it yourself.

So you should be getting good results with it yourself already?


#18

Yea, big difference…I remember the first startup of Dan Norris, founder of WPcurve, he got stuck for a year on a product that everyone said it’s amazing, but very few actually paid.

So far it works nicely, I still need more data to make it statistically significant for a case study. In some industries works better in some doesn’t work.

The main issue is to make people actually use the link in their campaign. It won’t hurt their conversions for sure, the account can be set up in 2-3 minutes… but like you said, they don’t know if it works or not…so it’s a big trust issue since it’s a new concept without any proof records.


#19

@Virgil
How did chatpage.io fare? Did you get paying customers?