January 15, 2020

First Annual Plan subscriber... Getting there!

Jayber Tan @simplisticallysimple

What a roller-coaster ride it has been so far!

I'm not one of those cool guys who put out an MVP and then get to $1,000 MRR in a month and $200k ARR in a year. I can honestly say, in the past year that I've been trying to start side projects and get them off the ground, I've had some good days, and some bad months. Yes, it's that bad.

But today is one of those good days.

A customer came in from the ether (not sure where he came from), started using my product on a daily basis (with a use case I wouldn't have expected/foreseen), maximized his 14-day free trial, never needed customer support whatsoever, and then on the last day of his free trial upgraded to the annual plan ($89.99/yr).

What have I learned?

  1. Just add an annual plan if you haven't. I added it just a week ago because I was building an affiliate program, and I wanted to pay my affiliates more meaningfully with fatter margins (hence the higher-ticket annual plan), but surprise surprise users opt for it even before I could set up my affiliate program. Score!

  2. Nurture your trial users with a drip campaign. I don't have the data (haven't looked into it yet), but I suspect my 10-email drip marketing campaign for my trial users highlighting how my app can solve their problems and also how we're thoroughly differentiated from the competition led to more engagement. I even included screenshots/animated GIFs. Since I'm hacky, I wrote a cronjob to send these emails out daily instead of using an email marketing service (for now).

  3. Focus on your active trial users. They're the ones who have made it through the entire gauntlet of discovering you, getting to your landing page, being convinced enough to sign up for an account, getting engaged and excited enough to use your product regularly. They're way more likely to convert to a paying customer than some random new traffic. Talk to them, nurture them, cater to them, study them and see how they use your product. Aside from actual paying customers, these are the users who should be your topmost priority.

  4. Patience. MRR is a VERY lagging indicator. Users are only starting to use on a daily basis my app that I wrote almost half a year ago. Just because you aren't getting traction right away doesn't mean your product is doomed. Keep grinding, and magic tends to happen if you keep putting in the work. A corollary to that is that just because your product has initial traction doesn't mean it's destined to take off, so never let complacency set in either. Bottom line: if you take care of the input, the output tends to take care of itself.

Hope this post has been helpful!

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