December 16, 2019

Real Talk Time

Jon Yongfook @yongfook

It's been a while since I updated my milestones on IH so this one will be a big one!

It'll also be a real one. Got some good and bad things to report.

Although I currently have 2 products under the mojosaas banner, I've really only been focused on one for the last month, which is Previewmojo. And I really, really want to make it succeed - it solves a pain point I've felt countless times, and it does it quite well, and it's in a space that I personally find very interesting (automated design).

https://www.previewmojo.com

First, lets talk about the good.

  1. Stronger Focus

In the last month I've refocused Previewmojo towards higher tier clients. My target is websites that have 100+ pages. If you're managing a site of that size, open graph image creation and management becomes a real issue. So it's been a positive thing to be able to visualize who my target customers are (publications, ecommerce sites) and to recognize who it isn't (small sites, e.g. startups) at least from a paying client perspective.

  1. Shopify integration

I've spent a good bit of time over the last couple of weeks getting the product compliant for the Shopify App Store, which went live last week. I see ecommerce sites as one of the primary use cases for Previewmojo, so the closer I can align with large pockets of those types of users the better.

https://www.previewmojo.com/resources/shopify-and-wordpress-plugins-launched/

  1. Healthy sign up rate and great feedback

I've been pretty happy with the sign up rate. I'm getting a good conversion of new users (< 10 per day) on a trickle of traffic from a few different sources, based on a homepage that I haven't touched since launch (some work to do there!). In addition, I've had some really awesome feedback, feature requests, general back-and-forth from early users with genuine use cases (e.g. managing a site with lots of pages). So that's been really positive to experience.

Now lets talk about the not so good...

I'm not going to hit my end of year goal of $1k MRR.

Previewmojo hasn't had any new paying customers in 3 weeks. Part of that is because the product is new and I'm not getting a critical mass of new users signing up. Part of that is because I've raised my prices and I still need to realign my marketing efforts around targeting those higher value customers.

In startup parlance, I'm struggling with product market fit. Hardcore marketers understand what open graph images are, but the idea that they can be created on-the-fly based on page data is, I think, quite a tech-geek concept to grasp. It doesn't sound like a real thing. So I'm having a double-whammy problem of finding those hardcore marketers, plus difficulty in communicating the core value proposition.

So where do I go from here?

Well first of all, I need to realign towards my North Star again.

The North Star is your ultimate vision for where you want your product to go, and the ultimate vision of the value you want to deliver to your customers.

For me, I want Previewmojo to generate the most insanely awesome looking open graph image designs. So awesome, that other people ask "wow who does your design for these OG images?" and one of my customers replies "it's done automatically by previewmojo!".

That's the North Star.

In order to get there, I am going to have to do a whole bunch of work that looks nothing like the work I've been doing for the last 3 weeks. Lately I've been focused on distribution - building the shopify app, the wordpress plugin, the referral programme. None of that has anything to do with design. So up next is some hardcore focus on adding more designs to the theme catalogue. Currently there's about... 7. There should be 70.

Secondly, I'm going to need to branch out into related areas that my customer base will more easily understand. On-the-fly open graph image generation is awesome once you grok it... but not many non-tech people grok it. However, there's a reason I didn't call my app "opengraphmojo". From the start I intended the app to create multiple types of graphic asset, based on your website page data. FB ad banners, IG stories - there's a lot of potential parallel use cases. I'm going to be exploring that space.

Thirdly, today I launched a referral programme. For a while I've been banging the drum of "don't price your product too cheaply" and "don't target other indie hackers" - which I still firmly believe, for paid accounts. That said, lots of successful SaaS startups will target higher end clients for paid accounts... but generate some sort of marketing value from free accounts. Well duh Jon, that's called Freemium.

So now there's a 100% free plan on Previewmojo, that you can "top up" by referring other users. It'll be an interesting experiment at the very least!

https://www.previewmojo.com/the-free-plan/

This has been my biggest IH post ever. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for an early Christmas drink or two!

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