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New website, product launch


#1

So, after being told repeatedly to just launch my product already, I came up with a proper website and opened up contabulo to new user signups (It’s a B2B SaaS).

Still trying to figure out the messaging on this. I’ve started writing some blog posts which I believe help explain the concept better. The latest is here

I’ve had a grand total of TWO (2) trial sign-ups so far - and one doesn’t really count because it’s a personal acquaintance :slight_smile: But I haven’t been doing any advertising (outside of my inner circle) yet either, so maybe that’s the next step. Anyone have any ideas on B2B marketing for a total know-nothing such as myself?


#2

Not me. :frowning: So I’ll just throw some approaches I’d take in your shoes.

I would manage the product development in the product itself and made it public. Milestones and whatnot. Even if it is not a real use (some details are not smart to publish) it would offer a live example.

I’d made a couple of example project sites (R/O) for well-known projects, even if fictitious. Greeks sieging Troy, following up SpaceX promises and deliveries, etc. If a project is something of interest for you, it would come naturally. And if doesn’t maybe the product needs some changes.

I’d try and lure some clueless :slight_smile: free projects (not necessary software, but anything including bridge club meetings) into placing their stuff into the product. For both feedback and community proof. How and where to find them? I don’t know, but I bet there are a lot of places online where people are trying to organize their things with unfitting tools such as forums. Import their notes into the product and suggest them to use it from now on. It would be a weird first contact moment, but some of them may stick.

But first and foremost I’d change the name. I have already said that last time, and I got to repeat it again - the name is just awful. It is hard to remember and creates a mental gap between user and founder where the user thinks of founder as of a too smart person of wishing to pass for one. “Cover with boards”? Fine, even CoverWithBoards.com is better. I’m sure you can find an English-derived name that conveys a similar meaning. Especially since board (en), bord (fr), das Board (de) and el bordo (es) mean the same thing which can help with international SEO, and contabulo had a few million users in Roman Empire, but they are all dead by now.


#3

Thanks, I feel like I just need to get a few good-sized customers using it. I have a long list of features I want to implement, but having real customers will definitely help me prioritize. And if a certain use case proves popular, that could definitely drive my product direction.

I was hoping to get customers I don’t know, but I’ll probably just have to work up the confidence to reach out to some of the management-types I have in my network to see if they’d be interested in trying it out :slight_smile:

On the name… well, I haven’t gotten any negative feedback on it (other than yourself, of course). Though, I probably couldn’t see it it was a problem, of course I have no problem recalling or pronouncing my own product’s name :smiley: If I hear too many more people mispronouncing it badly (like the woman at the local tax office), I might have to think about it. And, well, there’s definitely a trend for picking non-real-words as SaaS product names, anyway.


#4

OK, that might mean that it is only me, good if so.

On the other hand, it could just mean other people around you are too polite, and me, being Russian, is not, so I’m telling you it as it is.


#5

Knowledge management has a huge potential, but it is very hard for Businesses to understand (or trust) an outside solution for that. They usually use JIRA for it, but I’ve observed a catastrophic usage in two organizations where I’ve been - the written company wisdom, know-how, etc., gets obsolete day by day and one day new employees end up reading useless articles in the company knowledge system …

Can you help them with this ?


#6

Congrats on being brave enough to launch!

In a word, content.

Who is your target audience? Individuals? Small teams? Large companies? Companies in a specific industry? Choose one and target it with a laser focus. It is counterintuitive, but the more narrow your marketing focus, the most likely you are to find customers.

Focusing on a specific target audience may mean getting rid of some of your pricing options. Speaking of pricing, consider removing the free and $6.99/month pricing plans. Pricing sends a signal, and the signal these pricing plans send is that you are aimed at consumers, not enterprises. You can’t make a B2B SaaS work out financially at $6.99, anyway. The free plan will just cause you headaches as the bad people on the Internet find you and try to abuse your product in ways you haven’t yet imagined.

Once you know your target audience, imagine a specific individual in that audience. Rewrite the content on your homepage so that it speaks to that person.

Write a couple of articles aimed at your target audience. Aim for specific google search phrases. Learn the SEO basics if you don’t know them yet. A great starting point is https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo. Apply the SEO basics to these articles.

Nobody on the Internet is currently searching for “What can Contabulo boards do?”. They might be searching for “alternative to Trello” or “wiki for small teams”. It is hard to know what will work out for you, so write a few articles, each quite different, and then measure using Google Search Console which ones do best. This could take some months to find out. When you do, improve the articles that work, and add similar ones. Get rid of the underperforming articles.

While waiting for this process to take off, answer relevant questions on Quora. Boldly suggest your product as an answer to questions. Make sure your answers are detailed and include screenshots. Add your product to relevant Quora wiki answers.

I haven’t been doing any advertising, so maybe that’s the next step.

Probably not. For a new product for which you are still trying to find your marketing message, advertising is equivalent to setting your money on fire. Wait until you get some early traction and hone your marketing before paying for advertising.


#7

Knowledge management has a huge potential, but it is very hard for Businesses to understand (or trust) an outside solution for that. They usually use JIRA for it, but I’ve observed a catastrophic usage in two organizations where I’ve been - the written company wisdom, know-how, etc., gets obsolete day by day and one day new employees end up reading useless articles in the company knowledge system …

Can you help them with this ?

I know what you mean, and I’ve seen the same thing. Part of the problem, I think, is that your KMS is usually a completely different piece of software (e.g., MediaWiki) from all of the other tools you use as part of your workflow. I used to hate having to login into MediaWiki and deal with the interface, WikiText (esp.), just to update something like a ‘dev environment setup’ article, etc. It would totally kill my normal workflow.

With Contabulo I was trying to make something simple and flexible, that I wouldn’t hate using (to a point, all engineers hate writing documentation), that can be used for other things as well, such that it would already be integrated into my normal workflow.

Basically, I remember thinking “I hate KMS tools, Confluence, MediaWiki, Liferay, etc., but if I’m forced to use such a tool, what would I want it to be like? Simple, something I already use for other things, something unobtrusive that can I can get in, do what I need to do, and then leave and get back to my real work (so many enterprise solutions in this space seemed to be designed like a Walmart (or perhaps an Ikea) - you just need one or two things but you end up having to walk all over the store, dealing with crowds and rude employees and it takes way more time than it should). It also needs a good search function, so I can find anything later, and so that I don’t have to think too hard about where to put/categorize things, etc.”

So, I’m trying to make knowledge management suck less, I guess you could say.


#8

Thank you for the detailed response! I definitely will remove the Free plan from my pricing page. I was always planning to start enforcing some time limit on it at some point anyway. The personal plan - I’m very much considering getting rid of. I remember thinking that the $7 plans aren’t really going to help me much in terms of profit. Ideally, I’d prefer to sell self-hosted “Enterprise” plans if I can (because I wouldn’t need too many of those to have a viable business), with the SaaS offering targeted more at smallish businesses (or larger businesses just trying it out with a few teams).

Marketing is going to be like real work :open_mouth:


#9

At the start, they may help to get more users and feedback from paying customers. With this info you can make your product better and get rid of cheap plans at some point.

For the web site itself, I’d suggest putting more screenshots/videos, just to see how the product looks before signing up. I didn’t like the scrolling slideshow in the main page. While I was looking at the picture, it just moved on to the next one :frowning:


#10

Hi, don’t know if you’re looking for feedback on your site but here is one thing that stuck out at me:

I think your site could benefit from cleaning up the screenshots. In each screenshot the app has a full-bleed, detailed photographic background image. This adds a lot of noise to the page, and to the screenshots themselves. I didn’t get a sense of calm and organization from your site as a result. I would retake the screenshots with a solid background or a simple gradient.

Best of luck!


#11

Interesting. I only placed backgrounds on those boards in an effort to pretty them up for the screenshots. The default is a drab grey.

Perhaps I should use some more “subdued” backgrounds.