For BLANQ, I recently converted a free customer to a paying one and learned a few things from the entire process.
One of the ways I figured out early was to invest and focus on design. I came to that conclusion after playing around with competing services. Most of them have far more features than mine but offer terrible design and UX.
Since I am not a designer, I bought a premium Bootstrap theme, customized it, and focused on every tiny detail I could - starting from icons to typography to colors.
This has helped Blanq to stand out from the rest. I have got a tonne of appreciation feedback on the design which makes it all worth it.
Gain the trust of your customers by being reliable which includes 100% uptime of your service, no major bugs, and smooth deployments. Nobody likes to be on a platform that does not have these.
To achieve this, I release small changes to production, have set up monitoring alerts that ping me on slack, and proactively scale up whenever necessary. The public status page also helps build trust and openness.
I increased the price from $5 to $19 and in a week I landed my first customer which has ensured I almost cover my hosting costs.
When customers love using your products, they do not mind paying a premium for the quality you are offering.
You can have a tonne of features during launch but there is no guarantee you will gain a paying customer. I think it is a good idea to launch with a minimum and grow organically.
There are plenty of features that I can build right now but it is hard to determine if there is a need for one. So, for me, waiting and listening to current customers is the way to go.
What did you learn from your sales? Would love to hear your take.