This story is about how I created a profitable SaaS project from scratch and brought it to the income of $1000 per month. It has nothing to do with multibillion-dollar start-UPS from Silicon Valley, I just describe my experience of developing a useful, reliable, and profitable tool to do that every. This service is designed for the Russian market, so I translated everything into English and dollars. However, this experience is universal and can be applied anywhere.
It all started with another of my SaaS project, called Postio. I did it to help people find and publish content to your social accounts and communities. As part of the marketing strategy, I booked and published on the blog of the service a dozen articles on different topics, aimed at his audience to get more traffic from search engines.
Then, quite suddenly, Postio began to receive a relatively large flow of visitors from Google and Yandex for keywords that have no relation to the Postio. Statistics in Google Analytics on daily organic traffic. It is here that the fun begins.
It became clear that people had a real problem with this menu. A little research revealed that many administrators of community in “Vkontakte” use graphical menu attached to the top of the group, which helps to redirect visitors to the most important sections of the community, such as reviews, pricelist and order form. This kind of Call To Action at the top of the group. It usually looks menu.
Community in this social network gradually became a sort shops that many use to start your business without having to create your own website. So its not just a set of random groups about kittens (though there was definitely a lot and such), but the real small company with a specific pain that can be solved more or less automatically. It is obvious that they really needed a solution that they are very frequently searched on Google. And heres the fun part.
To make such a menu, you had to create it in a graphics editor, cut and then assemble with wiki-markup. Its definitely too difficult for many administrators, so they often charge someone a job in exchange for a small fee — about $ 20. Usually the process of creating the menu looked so.
Not bad, huh. Now lets see what we can do to alleviate the problem. First I had to explore the possibilities of social network API to determine what actions can be automated and to what extent.
It turned out that with the API you could do what I needed, in addition to committing a record. But this is too much for MVP, so I got rid of these functions. So basically all I need to do is the image generator and loader.
That was after two or three days of development. The main screen. Not like the prototype johnny Ive, you know. But it was enough to check whether users are willing to pay for this automated solution.
The dialog menu also was, um, quite imperfect. The menu. Yes, I was a perfectionist. Now I bring the projects to production.
In my case it was relatively easy because I started with the traffic that I already had. All I had to do was to put a few buttons here and there in the article and wait for visitors. Heres how it looked.
The first ten days of this work. Even though the sales statistics, we can see that users were quite interested in the service. Keep in mind, this was the only traffic from the “Hey-do-you-have-problem-and-I – got-a-solution” that came with the curve of the landing page based on a free template.
And heres some raw data straight from the database. Turnover and replenishment in USD. This can hardly be called a resounding success, but the service worked, and users were willing to pay for it. Although there were many unfinished and unpaid for the menu (menus_created and menus_paid), however, is just a (very rough) MVP.
As we can judge by statistics, I experimented a bit with the price, changing it from six to four dollars over the menu, trying to get closer to more efficient pricing. Because now we realized that MVP is viable, its time to figure out what price the users are willing to pay for our service. And the output should be based on statistics and not on guesses.
Let me take a step back and explain why I decided to charge for every menu, not to introduce a monthly subscription as usual. API “Vkontakte” quite unstable lately, so a subscription model would be a nightmare because I constantly had to return money to users who have suffered because of bugs in the API. Back to price.
Split testing is the easiest way to determine the best price, comfortable for users. Essentially, I set a random price for each user after registration, and then track each action associated with this price. Price grid looked like this (Yes, I also added the price for the upgrade menu, and a variety of functions like fine-tuning menu items). The layout of the grid — array(creation_price, update_price).
I also removed email from the registration form and made it one click to get more registrations (and statistics) from users. A month later or so I received the following. What do the statistics.
Pretty cool stuff. Despite the fact that the price of $2 is much less hassle for the same level of revenue, I decided to stay at one dollar because I want the user to create as many menus as they want, as each of them concluded small viral mechanism. Yes, the subscription model would be perfect here — if you pay monthly, users would create a menu for all your groups, not only for key.
Still dirty and damp, but with their work service job. And under the hood it was nothing fantastic, just PHP and Imagemagick. I spent two nights, and the process was interesting, because even from a young age I was fascinated with creating images. I still remember the sleepless nights spent studying ray tracing and 3D programming in Delphi.
Ah, the good old days. At first I wanted to use something with which this web service was started — the existing SEO traffic from articles. Its already been done, actually, so I just need a little boost CTA-button and make it more visible. This simple action brought me around 150 daily visits.
But when I did, I noticed that the service itself began to attract the attention of search engines, so that the total traffic has reached 200 visitors a day, which would bring an average of 100 daily signups. But enough boring text, heres the final statistics for November 2016.
Please keep in mind that the target Users simply reflects the number of users who have registered on this day and not the total number of users who have made some actions in the service. The latter is just much more due to the repetitive actions existing users. Can we call it a Grand success. With difficulty — but I hope that this story will be useful to someone who ponders the creation of something small and profitable that will provide him or her carefree life somewhere in Bali.
And remember, perfection without completion is a curse.