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16 Comments

From 10-hour Smoke Test to 4,500+ Emails: How I validated a SaaS project.

EDIT August 2021: Here is the project https://textspot.io/

In April of 2019, I built a stupid simple no-code SMS scheduling web app in less than 10 hours that is now making over $500/month.

It happened after my wife complained about not being able to find a simple, free application online that would allow her to schedule a hand full of text messages as reminders for a work project.

I got curious and decided to try to build it myself without code (I know WordPress + plugins, and HTML & CSS really well and that's about it).

Almost 2 years later and maybe an hour or two a month of SEO work, I have over 4,500 accounts created.

The tech stack:

  • WordPress
  • Formidable Forms
  • Twilio
  • Stripe

I run an SEO agency for a living, so I did a little strategic work around the domain name I purchased and the initial content I wrote.

We're now ranking on page 1 of Google for 157 keywords that:

  • Bring in about 3,000+ new visitors per month.
  • Have a traffic value (in PPC) of over $6,000/month.
  • Provide about a 12% conversion rate.

After a few months of leaving it up, I started getting a sign-up or two a week.

Fast forward to Fall 2020 and I tested a simple paid version (pretty much just allowing you to send more texts because I was paying the Twilio fees for the free accounts, which are limited to 20 texts/month).

People started signing up for the paid accounts and we're now getting about 100 free account sign-ups per week.

Now I've got a couple of developer friends building a legitimate web app and I'm excited to continue to share the story of how it goes right here.

We'll be re-launching the new platform and I'll be sharing the domain shortly.

  1. 5

    This is a great story! I love how it all started with just solving a small pain and then let it run. With traction, then you scale it up! It also proves how magical SEO is :)

    Thanks for sharing Lance!

    1. 1

      It's a great way to test the market. It's also incredibly important to remember that being discoverable is just as if not more important than the product itself. The reality is, there are a ton of SMS web apps out there. But the first one someone finds is an incredible advantage - even if you have an inferior product.

  2. 1

    Congratulations! Best of luck!

  3. 1

    Oh yes, we are observing exactly the same in Mailist which we left untouched for ~1,5 years. Now we get 3-5 signups per day coming from the organic traffic. (We'd invested in couple of blog articles, targeting easy keywords a year ago).

    Well done with the monetization!

  4. 1

    Wonderful story. Identifying a pain point and solving it immediately - Great stuff.

  5. 1

    This is awesome, Lance. Thanks for sharing.

  6. 1

    idea is nothing but execution is everything. As you mentioned there are lot of sms tools out there. The issue is not build the tool but to acquire traffic. congrats to your seo skills! Can we hire you for upcoming projects for seo?

    1. 1

      Thanks @ergins You can visit my agency and our team might be able to help: avalanchegr.com

  7. 1

    This is great! Love how this became a thing. So encouraging to hear how people are actually making money off of problem-solving for themselves but building it so others can use it too!

    Can't wait to see the breakdown.

  8. 1

    This is awesome! I love how this started.

  9. 1

    Come on! Don't tease us! Tell us what your strategy for the domain name was and how you brought 157(!) keywords to the first place of the organic(?) search results:)

  10. 1

    you said you did it with no code tools or low code tools
    what did you use to actually "scheduling" the SMS ?
    i mean time zones and dates and time of the day

    1. 1

      Great question. With Formidable Forms, you can allow the user to set a date/time, and then you can use that data to schedule when the message is sent via Twilio. For time zones, I did have a friend write a simple PHP script for managing those.

  11. 1

    Nice progress and story! Congrats.

    Where can we find out more about your product?

    1. 0

      As soon as it re-launches, I'll update this post!

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