When we originally built the TogetherLetters app, we just hacked together an email templating solution. That was a huge mistake. We have now transitioned over to a standardized version using an add-on that lets us put some of the generic logic into our email templates. This should help us moving forward in implementing features much more easily and making sure emails reflect the proper information to the correct audiences.
In addition, we're now including fields that tell people about the group they are getting emails for and potentially what kinds of updates are being solicited. They also know when the deadline is for their updates but hopefully, this causes a sense of urgency to click and provide an update instead of letting people procrastinate. Time will tell on this!
We redesigned the website for TogetherLetters with the hopes that we better explain how and why someone should use the service. In the process we moved to Webflow for the front end and think we'll be able to better react and make changes to the marketing site when we add future features to the app.
Ten days after we were ready for revenue, we've achieved our first dollar (five dollars to be exact!) of revenue. It's true that the adage "if you build it, they will come" doesn't work and instead it should be "if you build it, then talk about it relentlessly, eventually they'll try and come to buy". Well we did the first two parts and eventually they have started coming and started buying. Looking forward to more customers coming and buying in the near future!
We just launched a version of the app that now allows us to collect money from users if they want to upgrade their groups. This has been requested by a number of users who we don't know and hopefully that means it won't be too long before these users convert into paying members.
I look forward to doing another post (soon!) to declare we've gotten our first dollar of revenue!
After a week or so of work, we've finally launched a responsive interface for the TogetherLetters app. We added some features but overall we're now at the point where I'm no longer embarrassed by what the app looks like. It's fairly modern looking and appears relatively streamlined.
Along with this we've updated our website to reflect the same look and feel as the app. It's a much lighter look whereas the previous version tended to be very dark.
Based on user feedback we've finally implemented something that we knew we needed since we launched TogetherLetters - multiple timeframes for newsletters. We launched biweekly, monthly, and quarterly newsletters. Users of the free service can choose from any of these and have pretty granular selections for the monthly and quarterly newsletters in order to control exactly when newsletters are sent for their group.
In addition we now let users set the time of day that newsletters send (previously it was randomly selected). Along with this we had to implement time zone settings to properly reflect the correct times in email reminders as well as making sure we send at the group owner's selected time regardless of crazy things like daylight savings time. It seems like we've got this nailed but time (hah!) will tell.
It was a disappointing week in terms of weekly active users. We basically maintained a flat usage rate from last week (we had two new active users). We're looking into what we can do to encourage users to be more active and provide responses to the lists that they are subscribed to. Unofficial stats seem to show that only about 1/3 of the users who have either signed up or been invited and approved their membership have contributed this week. So we have a lot of room for improvement.
Apparently in 2021 people expect any text field they can type in to support emojis. Unfortunately, we couldn't support emojis in any field. We uncovered a database issue with conflicting character sets and interpretations. So we've now converted the database and the app now supports emojis when user's respond. This seems like it should be an obvious thing but default database configurations don't support emojis. Lesson learned - we won't let that happen again.
We just created our own explainer video using Toonly, and are happy with the results! Writing the script was the most important part for sure, and took a bit of time. After that, we did the voiceover using Audacity, and built out the animation. Total investment was about a half a day, and $164 (look for deals for the software on Google).
Check it out here: https://youtu.be/fchshufnXgQ
We just scored the initial $1k credits from AWS Activate. This is a nice cushion so we can continue to build and scale so that hopefully we can get to revenue very soon and start building a bank balance before we need to start paying for our overhead expenses.
A lot of people don't share everything on social media and using email would allow for more open and honest communication. Plus email is universal and doesn't require users to create yet another account.