To avoid losing potential customers at your paywall, get emails instead of payments and then nurture every lead while they're on the waiting list.
Gregg Blanchard of PeakFeed ($1,000/mo) converts between 7% and 20% of his traffic to his waiting list, and 10% of these convert to paying customers. He doesn't allow anyone to just sign up and pay him money; they can only give him their email address. This makes it less likely that people who are on the fence will walk away, and it allows him to capture emails of everyone who is interested in the product. Once he has that, he emails them every day: day one includes a link to actually sign up; day two includes an offer to get a free account if three of their friends sign up; and days three through five focus on the product and features to convince people to sign up.
This tactic works best for products without a free version and Blanchard says it might not work for mature products, but for his small app which is constantly releasing new features, it works well. It even allows him to reduce churn because he can delay new user signups when bugs are present.
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