The Poirot app went live at the beginning of March of this year. Being a developer with little to no marketing skills I haven't worked on detailed launch plans and only did what most developers do, publish an announcement on IndieHackers, ProductHunt, Facebook, BetaList, some Reddit groups, and similar sites. I got some initial traffic to my website and few visitors created a free account and started using my app.
In those first days, I tracked usage of the app and although the free account users have a small number of lookup credits available, they were hard to convert to paying customers after the free credits were spent and were complaining about the high monthly price of $49 for the lowest plan. When I initially set the pricing tiers, I compared a number of tools providing similar services and determined pricing based on Poirot features and quality of results. Because I needed a larger initial userbase, there were a few things I could try to get them without an advertising budget.
Instead, I applied for the AppSumo marketplace and added Poirot there with the one-year access for the low one-time payment. This was a bad idea because the AppSumo userbase is almost completely looking for lifetime deals and although I got few customers paying for a yearly license this number was insignificant.
About that time I was approached by the guys from SaasMantra (the AppSumo contender) and asked whether I want to do an LTD with them. Now, as a solo developer and requiring some financial return from the project I spent so much time on, I started looking on at LTD's as a way to sell your product as a software used to sell before the monthly/yearly subscription model emerged. You sell a license to your software for a fixed price and proceed to the next customer.
The team from SaasMantra performed flawlessly, we figured out the way the coupon stacking works, determined required changes, and agreed on a 50/50 profit split for customers they onboard. The launch date was set to June the 2nd, and everything was prepared accordingly. I was a bit skeptical at first but fast forward to today it was the best decision I made for the product.
More than 500 customers created the free account, 300+ coupons were sold which generated a revenue of $12.000 in only a little bit more than 2 and half months. The users started asking for features and upgrades quickly and I managed to shortlist what is really important to be done next. Also, some UX-related problems and bugs emerged I had to resolve quickly.
Poirot got its initial userbase, I received a decent income from the app, and what's more important a proof of concept that someone is really going to pay for the service. Also, the feedback is great and the application got excellent reviews on the SassMantra deals page. https://saasmantra.com/deals/poirot#discussions
The room for improvement is huge. I'm releasing a bulk usage feature in the upcoming days (I completely reworked bulk code twice...). Chrome extension is in the works. I need to work on some additional posts and materials for the website and do some SEO-related work (I haven't done any). Some advertising-related stuff is also planned in near future.
After all, the SaasMantra LTD is still active and I'm very pleased with how it's still performing.