On the 1st of November, I set out to build a platform to empower indie hackers and content creators to connect with their audiences using Facebook Messenger. Here's how it went.
First of all, don't get me wrong: I love email, it's a great platform and I think it will never be dethroned.
However, I am also of the opinion that there's a right tool for each job, and some audiences just don't engage or even use email that much and that's where Feedbeaver comes in.
By allowing you to create 1-click widgets to collect subscribers to your list and then promote your content directly to their Facebook Messenger inbox, you can easily achieve open rates of 80% and a CTR of 4 to 10 times higher than your traditional email CTR.
I've had a number of small side projects over the years, some made me some beer money, others failed miserably, but I've never attempted to build a real startup.
I had no audience, no real marketing expertise and my design sense is definitely not the best.
What I do have is a strong CS background, having worked professionally in this space for a number of years and I am eager to build something that achieves a small scale success by investing my own time and money to develop and learn how to market Feedbeaver.
During this first month I managed to put together a reliable MVP, which is lacking some features but I'm hoping is enough to help me find product-market fit through iteration on top of it.
I built a small audience of ~100 subscribers on my Product Hunt Ship page.
I went through the trouble of manually importing everyone into a CRM and I'm personally contacting everyone that showed interest.
Out of those 100 subscribers, I onboarded a dozen or so people into the early access version. If you're on top of your math game you should've figured out that my subscribers to free beta signup ratio is just over 10%, which is not great. I will be following up with everyone that didn't get back to me and see if that will help drive more sign-ups to the app.
I've paid for some services to help me get an audience, namely a Pro subscription to Product Hunt Ship and also an expedited submission on BetaList. I can't tell exactly how many subscribers I got from each platform, but I got a decent amount of traffic to my landing page. Out of all 100 subscribers I got, I'd estimate that 40 or so were driven by Product Hunt's own promotion that you get if you subscribe to Pro and another 40 were driven by BetaList.
Feedbeaver also got it's integration with Embed.ly approved, which means you can now easily use the widget in your Medium posts. Check out an example of this integration: https://medium.com/feedbeaver/feedbeaver-integrates-with-embed-ly-f0c01ffffc2c
Goals for December
My goal in December is to implement some features that the beta testers have been asking about and others I think will make the experience of using Feedbeaver a much more pleasant one, including:
- More customization options for the widgets
- CTR tracking + UTM tags
- Basic subscriber analytics
- Email Service Provider Integration, starting with Mailchimp
- .csv data export
Feature-wise, that should put Feedbeaver in a good position to conclude the beta and officially launch the product.
I will also try to create a case study on Messenger Marketing vs. Email Marketing that I can use to better understand all the nuances of both strategies. If you run a blog or product and you'd like to be part of the case study, just hit me up at email@example.com and we'll work something out!
If Messenger Marketing sounds like something you'd like to try in your blog or product, I'm actively looking for beta testers. Just sign up for early access at feedbeaver.com and I'll personally contact you within 24 hours of your sign up to onboard you into the beta!