…and that’s why you always ask for an email

Had a great time launching Firesize over the weekend, which was built by the community on Assembly. We were well received on HackerNews and ProductHunt, which lead to a bunch of really great feedback and a decent bit of traffic. Here’s what almost 12,000 sessions in our Google Analytics account looks like.

It seemed like people really liked the idea and that it fit a real need. But, as I was watching visits come in, barely any of them we’re converting into signups. Out of the 10,000 users that visited firesize.com, we only had 40 Heroku accounts try out the addon. I knew something was wrong, and quickly realized the mistake. We launched only as a Heroku add-on, without our own signup form. In efforts to cut scope and ship as soon as possible, I lowered the priority of the signup and login forms in favor of just being an addon.

First, I’d like to point out that being a Heroku add-on is great. It’s the perfect distribution channel for developer services. Users don’t have to type in their payment details for yet another subscription service. And, we don’t have to worry about account signups or payments. But launching only as a Heroku add-on was a problem for a lot of potential users. They wanted to use our service, but couldn’t. I watched over 20 emails come through our Helpful inbox, all asking for access. Here were the two main reasons:

  1. They weren’t Heroku users.
  2. They used Heroku in the EU region (we were only available in the US)

Ok so that was a failed experiment. Tough lesson learned. We should have spent time building our own login and subscription handling code or at least made the add-on available in Europe.

But what’s worse is that now, even if we do add our own signup form, we have no way re-engaging people who wanted to use our product but bailed once they realized they had to be a Heroku user. If 20 users took the time and effort to send me an email asking for access, I’m guessing we lost at least 200 potential signups.

So, no matter what you’re launching, always let people give you their email address. Never turn away interested users.

Oh and if were one of those bummed-out, non-Heroku users, I added a signup form to Firesize just for you. So, go signup and check it out!

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