Last friday, I posted my private beta test of CorpQNA on Seattle Tech Startups list. I've been on this list for many years, and even though I no longer live in Seattle, I feel like it is one of the most supportive and valuable startup resources I've experienced.
A couple of people were interested to know in how this offer was received by the community. I'm just quickly sharing a few stats in case you are thinking of sending an "early beta" product announcement of your own via STS. Hopefully you can learn something.
I feel like real numbers are valuable. Because I am bootstrapping this on my own, I don't have to ask anyone if I can share these numbers. :)
50-100 clicked to CorpQNA's home page. (I don't have exact metrics here, since I didn't put a tracking code on the link)
10 people clicked on the "offer link"
6 signed up for the beta
5 people emailed offline with feedback
0 people accused me of spamming the list. :)
I feel pretty good about these numbers. Most of those people have engaged with the product at least once or twice over the past week.
Overall, I've got about 15-20 companies signed up at this point. Half of those were just people who signed up and haven't come back. The other half are marginally interested. A couple are decently engaged.
Some other learnings I've had:
Spending face to face time with potential users is more valuable than online channels.
If you can pitch someone directly, they will just go to your site and signup. You won't have to worry about a great landing page yet. This especially important when you are still validating your MVP and don't want to spend a lot of time building marketing collateral that may not matter.
Enterpreneurs are generally more supportive
They are willing to try new products, compared to "normal people". I think part of that is because they know how hard it is to get started, part of that is they are very curious about what's new in the market. Though they don't necessarily represent your target market segment, they are really valuable early adopters.
Adwords can be a challenging channel to get beta users.
It costs $15/click in adwords to bid on "collaboration software".
They have a lot of very immediate "bounce quality" metrics and will turn off your keywords if they are not creating a good user experience. I haven't focused too much on that landing page experience and it doesn't perform well on its own yet. If you aren't polished enough, your ad won't perform. And if you spend time polishing your ad too much, you aren't working on your product. If you are entering an established space., you also either have to pick keywords that are highly qualified (which are expensive), cheap (which are not going to convert) , or undiscovered (which means low volume)
The adwords interface can also be a bit overwhelming for a new user. It's a "dashboard" designed for SEM professionals who spend all day managing keyword spend.Facebook is a little bit easier
Facebook has a "technology early adopter" segment in their ad tool. This is a nice shortcut and feels like it's designed for beta tests. But, If you are going to use Facebook to show ads, don't put an ugly logo up there. Put a picture of a person instead. Make sure you have a call to action. Your CPM rates change dramatically based on clickthrough and this stuff helps.
If there's some stats that you want me to share, or questions/suggestions you've got about CorpQNA, please let me know (via email, twitter