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Our journey from idea to ProductHunt

We're live on ProductHunt today!

In the spirit of building in public, we wanted to share our journey taking Kbee from idea to Product Hunt launch over the last three months.During this time, our product has gone through multiple iterations and yielded a ton of learnings for us. We hope this timeline provides some insight into what the product development process looks like for our small two-person team!

In 2019, our B2B SaaS product (our first company)was growing and we needed a help center. We quickly put together a Google Doc that we published to the web. It was ugly and hacky, but it worked! This started falling apart as our product grew, so we bit the bullet and moved to a professional help center solution.

This worked for a while but came with it’s own limitations. The biggest issue was the lack of collaboration. As a remote team, we love using Google Docs to work together to make content. We found ourselves creating content in Drive and then manually moving it over to our help center. Neither of us looked forward to doing this, and always dreaded the process of updating our help center.

In November 2020, I finally got so fed up with the process that I passionately petitioned my cofounder for a better way. We were already using Google Docs/Drive to create content so why not directly publish it to our help center? We hashed out the details for what we would need to make this work for us. A week later, we put together a very rough (oversimplification) MVP that worked! We were super pumped with the results and started using it immediately.

November 12th, 2020

  • We finalized our MVP plan
    our plan

Nov 17th, 2020

  • MVP complete
  • Super basic and embarrassing dashboard
    MVP V1.0
  • Testing begins

After testing out the initial product, we figured others may also enjoy using what we had built and launched Kbee to a few small select channels. We decided it would be best to give the product for free to our earliest users in exchange for their feedback and partnership in building out a great product. In order to externalize this product, we first needed a landing page which we quickly finished by the end of November.

November 25th, 2020

  • Landing page goes live
    Landing Page v1.0

We found a great list of places to submit new product ideas to and got to work posting Kbee all over the internet. This became the first of a series of “launches” that we are still adhering to today. Our first launch was on December 4th and yielded some interesting results:

Subreddits:

  • r/advancedentrepreneur - 11 upvotes 3 comments
  • r/alphaandbetausers - removed for spam (ironic)
  • r/design_critique - 2 upvotes
  • r/SideProject - 40 upvotes 32 comments and a handful of early signups!

IndieHackers:

Total users acquired: 5

  • Here's an example of what we posted
    reddit post

Over the next two weeks, we continued to experience a steady drip of sign ups coming in from these posts. At this point, we started reaching out to Indie hackers who ran their own newsletters and asked to be featured in them. This brought us even more traffic and started surfacing the right kind of customer we wanted to serve.

On December 10th, we realized we must be doing something right because we received our first positive customer testimonial completely unasked
happy customer!

This left us feeling like we were on top of the world.

We decided to start augmenting some of this traffic with traffic from ads. Unfortunately, three days later, we realized we had made our first big mistake. A large majority of our web traffic was coming from folks way outside our target persona. They were signing up but not using the product at all, costing us a lot of money in Google Ads spend! We realized that we needed to fix this and hold ourselves more accountable to the right goals by which to measure our success.

After discovering our mistake, we set our geography filters to US/Europe and really focused on specific keyowords and copy. Our traffic dropped along with our sign ups. However, the quality of sign-ups went up significantly. We started getting more users who had a problem they needed solved and were willing to pay to solve it.

  • our Landing page traffic:
    peaks and valleys!

The audience that was signing up was also very open to providing us with feedback which led us to our first major update to our product dashboard a few days later. We also launched our pricing page for the first time to start gauging what our potential customers seemed to gravitate towards.

  • Launched some major changes to our dashboard
    MVP 2.0

  • Launched our pricing page on our landing page
    Kbee Pricing Page 1.0

At this point, our billing system was not live but we wanted to see which tier folks would be most interested in signing up for.

We also discovered that while people were signing up, they weren’t always completing the onboarding flow. So we released an onboarding checklist to help folks get through the onboarding process
Our first onboarding checklist

We also started analyzing our ad data and learned more searches were being made for “wiki” than “KB software”. We didn’t realize it then but this should have been a major wake-up call for us to double down our focus on defining ourselves as a “Wiki” tool.
search terms

Luckily for us, we were too distracted with new users coming in and using the product to really bother paying attention to this. The steady flow of new customers and feedback lead us to completely redesign our dashboard AGAIN to provide a more intuitive product experience. We launched the new experience on December 27th and started looking more and more like a professional product!

  • Redesigned our dashboard
    MVP3.0

December ended on a slightly lower note than it started with traffic seeming to almost fizzle out between Christmas and New Years. Little did we know what January had in store for us…

On January 3rd, we were tweeted about by BetaList and we saw another pop in our daily traffic and our sign ups.

  • Betalist tweeted about us
    Betalist tweet

  • Our landing page traffic for January
    LP traffic

A little under two weeks later, we got our first paid subscriber to Kbee Business! The subscriber was someone who had signed up for our product at the very beginning but who had refrained from really setting up their full account until the product was further along. Between them signing up and becoming a subscriber, we sent two product update emails to showcase our progress. This was a super encouraging sign and continued to enforce that we were on the right track.

This was a major learning moment for us. We realized that our MVP was market ready and now we needed to focus on figuring out the right distribution channels to get our product into the hands of our customers. With this learning fresh in mind, we decided to first refine our ad strategy to increase our paid performance.

Along with this, we started discussing the possibility of providing an annual deal on a platform like AppSumo or Pitchgrounds. We figured our ideal customers were already frequenting these channels and that it would be easier to reach them on one of these platforms than to try and drive them to our site. We also knew that we wanted to launch on ProductHunt and figured launching on a platform like Appsumo or Pitchgrounds would be good practice for ProductHunt.

We ultimately decided to go with Pitchgrounds and reached out to the team there to see what we needed to do. When we first spoke to the PG team, we were told that we likely were not a good candidate for their community and that it would be better to provide a freebie first. At first we balked at this idea but soon realized that the free marketing we would get from the Pitchground team would give us a good understanding of what level of effort it would take to consistently drive traffic to our site.

We decided to move forward with the Pitchgrounds team on February 1st and were slated to appear on their live webinar two weeks later on February 16th. For the next two weeks, we focused on putting together a great presentation that we felt would properly tell our story to the Pitchgrounds community. On February 16th, we went live with Pitchgrounds and have steadily seen both our landing page traffic and our user base grow. Even today, we are still experiencing a lift in our traffic from the great work that the Pitchgrounds team did in promoting our product. We also learned that we needed to lean heavier into marketing if we wanted to properly find, attract, and grow our customer base. With this learning in mind, we now have a few ideas that we will be executing on over the next three months.

In a period of three months:

  1. We ideated and built an MVP for an idea
  2. Acquired new users for our product
  3. Rebuilt our product dashboard three times
  4. Successfully sold our subscriptions to our highest pricing tier without having to talk to a single customer
  5. Uncovered channels and growth tactics that we will need to execute on to continue growing our user base.
  6. Made a TON of mistakes around ads, pricing, features, and more!

Today you can find Kbee on ProductHunt! We’re super excited to showcase what we’ve built and would love if you’d join and contribute to the conversation on our ProductHunt page.

The last three months have been a blur and we can’t wait to see what the next three months have in store. If you’re in need of a wiki solution that just works, check out Kbee!

  1. 2

    Wow, that is an awesome write-up! The road is long, but as I see it, the most important thing is to enjoy the ride ... wherever the road might take you ;) Contratz!

  2. 1

    Hi,
    As you're using google drive restricted scopes for permissions. Did google ask for security assessment fees ($15K-$75K range)?

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