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Is this coupon code promotional technique spammy?


I built a self hosted project management app called Duet (duetapp.com). I’ve been struggling to think of good ways to market the app. I recently had someone tell me my site/demo wasn’t ‘sticky’ enough, so I’ve been trying to think of ways to get people to come back to the site after their first visit. Here’s an idea that I came up with.

  1. When a user is viewing the demo, they will see a popup offering them
    10% off of their purchase. They will need to receive the coupon code
    via email.
  2. If the user enters their email address, I immediately send them a
    coupon code.
  3. If the user hasn’t used the coupon code in a week, I send them a
    reminder email.
  4. If the user hasn’t used the coupon code three weeks after I
    initially sent it, I send them one last reminder email.

Both reminder emails will have the option to stop receiving future emails, but I’m not sure if this qualifies as spam since the user technically will only have agreed to one email, not three. What do you guys think? Is this spammy? Does it sound like a good idea?


I think it’s a good idea, as long as you have easy opt-out, I don’t think it strays far at all from what they signed up for.

It’s actually helpful! People forget about stuff. If they asked for the coupon, they’re saying they want to make the purchase (since it’s a one-time sale), so a reminder or two is perfectly justified.


I agree with @SDMattG. I don’t think it’s spammy, and may actually be a welcome reminder (especially if the coupon has an expiration date or works as a limited time offer).


I just picked up a license.

Duet is exactly the type of thing I would have built for our back-office.

At $49, it’s a no-brainer. You might want to consider raising your price.


I don’t think that is spammy at all.

Also really like the look of Duet - we don’t do client work now but back in the day we switched from Basecamp to Active Collab as we wanted a self hosted replacement for Basecamp. They are currently charging $499 for their self hosted version https://www.activecollab.com/pricing.html

Great to see another self-hosted PHP project on the forums!


I didn’t notice it was on-premise, awesome! Your price is WAY too low. Jack it up. You might also want to consider per user pricing which will make you substantially more money. So $49 per user one time for example. You’re still easily comparable on price to other big players. 5 users for $250 still saves them money after just 6 months of Basecamp or whatever.

I’d also test removing that installation info from the homepage. Coders thing about installation, people with project management issues don’t care. Everyone has PHP so it’s a non-issue. You can put that in the docs of course, but it’s not really a selling feature. That they can host it themselves securely and have unlimited space and projects, that’s what people want to buy.


Just a thought - as you are selling to a similar audience as us. We’ve had good success advertising on podcasts. We get a lot of new customers from ads on http://unfinished.bz/ for example, so that might be worth trying for you.


That’s interesting Rachel… any numbers you are willing to share? :wink:


Probably - I keep intending to write this stuff up with some figures. I’m currently moving house (and business as we work from home) so I’m not going to get to it for a while.


That would be a great read I’m sure, keep us posted :slight_smile:


Indeed. Your low price might actually be hurting your credibility, which will reduce your conversion rate.


Wow. This is awesome. I didn’t expect to get so many people to chime in :smile:

@SDMattG @andrey rachelandrew Thanks. It sounds like I should move forward with this idea and see how it works. I need to write some code for gumroad to get it all set up, but I’ll report back after a couple of weeks and let everyone know how it went.


@Andy @ian I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about the price and most people say that I should raise it. I will probably add 2 higher price points and leave the $49 price point intact. I want to make sure Duet is accessible to as many people as possible, regardless of how much money they have. Especially since the reason that I built my first project management app was because I had just started freelancing and I couldn’t afford Active Collab.


@rachelandrew Thanks for the suggestion. I got a free mention on a 5by5 podcast about a month ago. I didn’t even know they were going to talk about it until I saw all of the traffic coming from their site. It was a really great source of customers, so I think you’re right about advertising on podcasts.


It’s not accessible if you go out of business :smile:

I know what you mean though. That’s why I thought per person pricing might work for you as a company with 1 pays $49, but if they have 5 employees that means they’re probably doing enough revenue to justify $250.

Also now that we’re way off topic anyway it looks like you don’t have any recurring revenue stream. You should probably have some kind of yearly support or something. Recurring revenue is so critical, it makes up a big chunk of UserScape’s yearly revenue.


@ian That’s true. User based pricing might be a good approach. I’m not sure how I would pull that off since the source is open and it would be trivial to hack the code to add as many users as you want. How do you handle that with HelpSpot?

For recurring revenue - I’m definitely planning on charging for “premium support”. Also, customers will have to purchase a new license every year if they want to continue to receive updates. The $49 only buys you updates for one year…


@ttWalnut our product doesn’t have encrypted source either and our way of having recurring revenue is that customers buy a license per website they run Perch on. At first we were pretty worried about people hacking the source, and I’m sure some do - but those people were not really customers anyway. It is one reason why we don’t have a downloadable trial however - at the moment people still have to buy one copy - which is a reasonable barrier to people who don’t see why they should pay for software.

Most people are honest in our experience and if they like the product willing to pay to see it succeed. I prefer to concentrate on those people rather than spending my time worrying about dishonest folk.


I love the way your question about promotion actually turned out to be a good promotion in itself…I’ll now take a look at the product to see if I should buy it before the inevitable price rise… :smile:


This looks (conceptually) very much like something I wrote back in 2006 to run my own consulting projects. Only it appears to be much better than my rickety little internal tool. Nice piece of work, sir!

User based pricing might be a good approach. I’m not sure how I would pull that off since the source is open and it would be trivial to hack the code to add as many users as you want. How do you handle that with HelpSpot?

I’m not sure how you PHP boys do it, but in the ASP world I’d probably bake the user-management bits into a .dll file.

Now, to address the OP:

When a user is viewing the demo, they will see a popup offering them 10% off of their purchase.

Emphasis mine.

The instant that popup opened I’d close the demo and be done as a prospect, no matter how good the product looks. In my mind, pop-ups are, by definition, spammy, even if I’m on your website, looking at your demo.

Maybe I’m just a hypersensitive asshole (me? never!) whose values & priorities don’t represent an average purchaser.

Now, the e-mail coupon - I’d be 100% on board with that, because it’s an opt-in. Totally different than being ambushed with a pop-up.

Duet looks like a great product and I hope you’re able to make it big! I agree wholeheartedly that you need to charge more.


I’ll have to agree. Even if I’m on a website whose product I love, the moment I see a popup, I close it.

Popups are irritating. They work by interrupting me and forcing me to press a button to get rid of them. If you must offer a discount, it might be better to do it in a non-intrusive way, like offer a coupon at the bottom.