The second month after launch. Charging more, learning about UX/UI and analyzing your competitors as a solo founder.

Published December 26th , 2018 by Domingo Mancera

December is the second month since I launched Tuemilio. Like the previous month, my main struggle and as every other founder has been to find and attract new customers. I haven't got any new customer this month, but I have managed to get constant traffic to my site and keep weekly retention. In this post, I'll explain what I've learned working on Tuemilio regarding marketing, competitors and UX/UI. 

Audience overview for Tuemilio on December.

Audience overview for Tuemilio on December.

Competitors Analysis

One common advice in the indie maker community is not to pay attention to your competitors. Which can make a lot of sense, you want to find out what your users' problems are and not what your competitors are offering. Following your users' needs will lead you to develop new solutions and markets. Following your competitors will make you a copy of them.

In Spanish, we have a saying that says something like "Nobody learns in somebody else's head" which means you'll make those mistakes you were advised. So I decided to analyze my competitors because I am feeling lost and need some inspiration. I compared all their features and pricing. I registered to all of them and used their dashboards. This is what I found:

Pricing and Plans

I first priced Tuemilio for $4.99/m without thinking that much about it. I was afraid of not getting any sales for being too expensive. After comparing all the other services, my main conclusion was that I was way too cheap. The prices range from $17/m to $79/m, all on the monthly plans. That includes all the competitors, from the biggest ones to the more unprofessional looking. I logged into my Stripe account and increased the plan from $4.99/m to $19/m. No questions asked. I kept my old users to the old pricing though.

Furthermore, it's mind-blowing how the cost of a product can alter the perceived value of it. I don't want to make a potential customer think, why are these guys so cheap?

All my competitors offer a cheaper yearly subscription, which I don't. I've also seen advised many times that an annual subscription works well regarding revenue. So I added that on my TODO list.

Onboarding

It surprised me how difficult it was to understand some dashboards. I've developed a similar product. I know very well what things need to be set by the user and how the information should be grouped and categorized. But I struggled to understand some flows I encountered. That can only mean two things.

  1. My way of seeing things are very different from the rest of the world or
  2. I managed well how to organize something complex and display it smoothly.

In both cases, I need to address some problems on my user onboarding.

On the first month, I realized that new users registered, but didn't create any campaign. Their interaction with the product was zero. I fixed that prompting the user to create a campaign right after the registration. But now I am stuck on the second pain point. The user signs up, creates a list, but no emails are collected. I discovered on my competitors' drip campaigns that this problem is common for everybody.

Cohort analysis for November and December

Cohort analysis for November and December

Copying a code snipped from a third party service and pasting it on your website causes so much friction that most user journeys dies there. 

I have a few ideas to solve that:

  • Sending per email the snipped code to the users, if they don't manage to get it working on the first day.
  • Create a private landing with the HTML and JS already implemented. Letting the user test and play around with their waitlists without having to do any coding.
  • Add a progress bar on the dashboard that doesn't complete until the code is up and running on their websites. I took this idea from Mailchimp dashboard.
  • Add dummy data to the panels. Empty dashboards aren't that exciting! I want to show to the user the value they can get from the product right after they sign up. More info about this in this amazing Growth Guide from Julian Shapiro.

Marketing

Drip campaigns are prominent in this sector. After signing up for all the services, I started to get all kind of marketing emails. The strongest one has sent so far 20 emails in 15 days, and it keeps going. I pointed this out to one of the founders on Twitter. He replied that this was working for them with a 40% open rate and a good conversion rate. Not bad, right?

When you don't mind sending multiple marketing emails per day.

When you don't mind sending multiple marketing emails per day.

Since I've never run an email campaign, I haven't unsubscribed to any of them. I am observing what type of content I am receiving. 

A few of them sent me the snipped code the day after I signed up. This was the Aha moment. I added this "hack" to my TODO list. The rest of the emails weren't that clever and were reused content.

Things Learned on UX/UI

I always ignored UX/UI a lot. I thought it was an old buzzword and only applied to products with high traffic/usage. I am getting less than 1000 visits a month, it didn't feel enough data to extract conclusions. When I read about this topic, it looks to theoretic and too tricky to apply in reality. 

This mentality changed when I started video recording user interactions with Hotjar. I am not affiliated with them. With a few recordings, I could see some problems and improvements that I've never thought about before.

When your CTA isn't working. Blog and Pricing pages being the most visited.

When your CTA isn't working. Blog and Pricing pages being the most visited.

The Pricing Page

I've been using Google Analytics since the beginning. But it wasn't until I saw the videos that I realized that the second most visited page is the pricing page. I can verify that on Google Analytics too. It is obvious, but I never thought of putting more attention to it. I had a simple card with a simple list of the main features. So I decided to add all the features the product has with some explanations and an FAQ section at the bottom. This practice is quite common and increases the average time on page. You can see it on almost every big SaaS. It also helped me to order all the implemented features and the ones that are missing. 

Landing

I discovered that most the users ignore some parts of my landing. Even the CTA is pretty ignored. Moreover, I don't like how it looks anymore. I want to simplify it, communicate better the value proposition and add interaction.

Mobile

In a landing I've done where I compare all the waitlist services, it happens that on mobile the first column width matched with the width of the table. The user didn't know there was information on the right of the table and missing the whole point of the page. I changed the structure of the table. Now there is a hint for the user to scroll on the x-axis, and I can bear it out in the videos recorded after the changes.

Before and after. Now it's clearer there is more info on the right.

Before and after. Now it's clearer there is more info on the right.

Marketing strategies

I have a working product. I have five customers. How can I grow this? I am ditching paid channels for now. I want to bootstrap all I can.

Cold Emailing

I've been emailing makers of apps and services I found on Reddit that were sharing their landings. I've got some responses, but no sales. I see educational the exercise of finding leads and emailing them, but for $19/m the amount of work needed is not worth it. 

Content marketing

I'm giving this a go for the first time. Blogging about my progress and how to get value out of Tuemilio.

Making unique content like the waitlist tools list I mentioned before. I want to make the content more shareable and entertaining displaying it differently. Here are some metrics of that:

Traffic peak for the viral waitlist tools: the complete list.

Traffic peak for the viral waitlist tools: the complete list.

And the pessimistic user behavior flow of that:

Behavior Flow: That 0% conversion rate.

Behavior Flow: That 0% conversion rate.

Newsletter

Sharing new content and new features with the users. I started a newsletter you can join registering to Tuemilio or filling the form on the bottom of this article.

Data for the first newsletter ever sent.

Data for the first newsletter ever sent.

You can check the first newsletter here. It's quite simple, nothing fancy.

New Apps

I have a few product ideas that could make some sense to implement one day. So why not to use Tuemilio to validate these ideas and at the same time promote Tuemilio as the engine powering all the referral system? I need to pick up one of those ideas, make a landing, choose a reward for each referred user and launch it on PH. I am curious to see the metrics for Tuemilio and the new ideas. I'll share them here once I have them.

Side Product Apps

I could also create related apps to Tuemilio and host them in the same domain. The point is not to monetize them, but to attract qualified traffic. These could be other services on top of the waitlist, a calculator or an info app. Some ideas are a ping service for the users' landing, a small and easy-to-use database from the browser or a typing fingerprinting with email addresses. I'll share the results of these here too.

New Features and Improvements

To finish this post I would like to mention all the new and incredible features I added to Tuemilio this month:

  • MailChimp's integration: I finally implemented one of the most requested features.
MailChimp integration page.

MailChimp integration page.

  • Performance of social sources: know how your social channels are performing. Now it is also possible to order the incoming traffic by performance.
Social sources.

Social sources.

  • Automatic tagging of bad subscribers. Displaying blocked emails due to, disposable addresses or submitted by a subscriber rigging the game. Enhanced user data for Gmail accounts.
Hello Jordan!

Hello Jordan!

  • Github Login and beautiful illustrations. Get your free illustrations here.
That looks awesome!

That looks awesome!

If you made it so far, thanks for reading! If you would like to read more about my progress, please subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Twitter.

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Domingo Mancera

Electronics engineer and creator of Tuemilio.

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