My name is Andy and I’m one of the two founders at Postaga.
This is me.
I am the one on the left.
And this is my co-founder, Sam.
We met as suitemates freshman year of college (2005), living in the same residence hall, and we have been working together professionally since 2012.
If this is your first step onto our website – this is the blog for our product, Postaga. It is an all-in-one tool to help you build links and get traffic to your website.
This blog post, my “founder’s journal” / “founder’s journey”, is an experiment.
I am using this space to be honest and open with you about Postaga’s development as a business.
I’ll talk about what’s going on behind the scenes in our development and growth, our successes and failures.
I am also going to use this space to share some insights I’ve gained along the way to hopefully help you out in your endeavors as well.
I’ll talk about things like:
- Launching a project
- Bootstrapping a business
- Marketing on a budget
While I love being candid and open about my opinions on marketing and business, I have never been so transparent about the inner workings of my business before.
I’m a little nervous about it…
But hopefully you find it interesting, join us along for this ride, and maybe even use Postaga. That’s the overarching goal, anyway.
So, where are we with Postaga?
As of today, at Postaga we are currently in beta with our product, on the precipice of our “big launch.”
And there is a lot that can go wrong…
This week, on Tuesday May 19th, we’re planning to share Postaga with the world on Product Hunt.
(This is a preview of the page we scheduled to go live on Tuesday).
Hopefully all of our friends and colleagues, and the fine people on Product Hunt will give us a bunch of upvotes and our product will be one of the top-ranked products of the day.
That would mean we get featured in their newsletter, and exposure to even more people.
And then maybe we become the top project of the week, and get seen by even more people.
That would give us a big introduction to the product and tech universe, maybe some media coverage, and hopefully a ton of new users.
How We Got Here
Sam and I started working on Postaga last year. Sam came up with the idea.
In trying to promote some blog posts for another business of ours, Offsprout, I was expressing frustration at the very manual, labor and time-intensive process of researching and doing outreach to different websites to build links and traffic.
Sam wondered why there wasn’t any tool that could streamline all of that, and do it quickly.
Though there were plenty of tools out there for sending email sequences or finding contacts or doing research, none seemed to tie it all together.
After doing some market research, and getting excited replies from potential customers to validate the idea, we got to work.
Sam’s the tech, I am all the non-tech: marketing, sales, product testing, and all that.
Sam got to coding.
I got to testing out his code and working on content marketing.
And here we are today.
Launching on Product Hunt
I am typing this entry on Sunday morning as we are putting some finishing touches on Postaga and our website.
Later, I will revisit this and share a longer in-depth post on all that we had to get ready for this launch.
Originally I was hoping we would launch in early January, but then after catching a big issue that could have derailed our entire launch and some months spent fixing, we’re back and ready this time.
But, right now there’s no time to get into that. We have two days left!
Before this launch, we have a bunch left to do:
- Tweaks to the copy on our website
- Some minor changes to the onboarding workflow (making it easier to understand)
- Testing out our latest update (we added a “Skyscraper Technique” campaign)
After all that, we’ll have to test everything so the platform doesn’t crash when it gets traffic from Product Hunt.
Meanwhile, I am working on touching up some of our content for Product Hunt.
When we launch on Product Hunt, we will need to share our Product Hunt launch with our networks to get them to vote for us.
We have to share it with our email lists, social feeds, and communities, and get them to upvote us so we can be in the Top 5 of the day so we can stay visible on the site, make it to Product Hunt’s email newsletter the following day, and get that traffic.
I am also working on building up a community of link building and SEO professionals on Facebook – Grow Together: SEO, Link Building, and Outreach.
It’s a new group, but it’s coming along well and I’m excited for what it can be.
For this Product Hunt launch, we are expecting a big boost in traffic to our website, so we have to:
- Make sure we can handle the traffic; and
- Capitalize on that traffic by getting people to sign up for Postaga, or at least get on our mailing list
Sam had the good idea that we should have an “exit intent” form, basically a pop-up in case people come to the website and try to leave without signing up.
With this pop-up, we can at least get visitors’ email addresses and add them to our email list if they aren’t ready to sign up for our app yet.
Except, for some reason, it wasn’t working.
We installed the code correctly, so the form showed up.
But form submissions just weren’t going to our CRM…
Troubleshooting it was a pain, I had to review everything.
It turns out…
Someone didn’t read the instructions and the form connection to our CRM was not set up properly.
But, one small edit later, and we’re back in business!
As long as Postaga has been usable, I have been using it.
First, I was testing it out.
Then I was sending out campaigns to promote my content.
Lately, I have been using Postaga a lot to do cold outreach campaigns to share Postaga with potential users who have never heard of us before.
And, overall, the feedback has been great.
I’ve done a lot of demos, and people have been very enthusiastic about it.
But, every so often, there is a less than enthusiastic response.
“STOP SENDING ME EMAILS.”
“I will never ever do biz with you now. Ever. Fuck you.”
These are things people have said to me.
I don’t think my messaging is offensive or deceptive. After all, I am trying to get people to use the app that I am using to reach them.
And I try not to take it personally.
Sam tells me to look at it from the perspective of, “If you’re not getting some negative responses, you’re not sending out enough emails.”
Which I believe is true.
Nonetheless, it’s a challenge to overcome.
“What Do You Mean Free?”
Another challenge we’ve had to overcome is the fact that our messaging notes that our product is free.
Trying to give something away for free that is actually valuable is harder than it looks…
Yes, Postaga is completely free to use.
There are no restrictions or limits.
This is because:
- We are in beta right now trying to get more feedback from our eventual paying customers
- We haven’t yet finished building the paid tier
- We always want to have a basic free tier in a freemium model
I know that it is probably suspicious that we haven’t built the paid tier yet.
People seem to suspect that if they sign up and get through the onboarding, they will suddenly be limited to like 1 campaign, or be asked to pay for advanced features.
We actually had to add a pricing page to the website with a free tier and a “to be added later” tier because people just simply did not trust that Postaga is free to use.
But, I get it.
People have been burned before.
With “free” products, there is usually a catch.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
One email response I got to a cold email the other day was very honest. It basically said, “I read your email and I am doubtful that it is free. I was going to just delete your email, but I wanted to respond. So, explain this to me.”
So, we have to work on that, and I’ve been doing that more on our demo calls, and I have to revise some of my email copy.
Telling people “We’re in beta,” seems to lower suspicions about our app being free.
Telling people, “We haven’t built our paid tier yet,” does not resonate as well.
The thing is, if people don’t like Postaga at all, it won’t be worth the effort to continue building. So, let’s at least confirm that people really want to use this before we invest a lot more in building out the rest.
We need to do a better job to set expectations:
- Maybe add a “Beta” tag on the website somewhere
- Add to website and email outreach messaging that we are in beta now, and while we are in beta, our platform is completely free to use
- Make it known more visibly that when we are out of beta we will have paid tiers and a free tier with more limited functionality
This is something I have to get fixed ASAP before Product Hunt on Tuesday.
So, our more immediate to-dos are:
- Finish getting ready for our Product Hunt launch
- Revise our “this is completely free” messaging on our website and emails
And one longer-term to-do:
- Don’t take rejection personally
Last thing: I have a question to ask you:
Is this blog post interesting to you?
Should I continue with these founder’s journal/journey posts?
I have a hunch that other business founders would appreciate these insights, maybe find the narrative interesting as well.
But, I don’t know. I don’t want to put all the effort into a series like this if it’s just not resonating. So, your input is appreciated. Leave a comment below, let me know in the Facebook group, or send me an email at my first name (Andy) at postaga.
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