What’s Worked, What Hasn’t
Marketing, Messaging, Testing & Conversion Rates
Since launching Bliss 2 months ago, we’ve tested different home pages, landing pages and marketing messages.
We still need a lot of work as the marketing message hasn’t been perfected and our sign-up conversion percentages are average at best. We’ll stay the course— testing different looks and messages as quickly as possible and I’m confident we’ll improve!
Below is a look at everything we’ve done to date, including our sign-up conversion support. By providing a look at our strategy I hope other newly-launched startups can gain some insight and put any lessons learned towards their own process and ultimately realize better performing numbers.
Home Page Header #1— kept it too simple
The first problem with the above home page was the header. “Understand code” was confusing people. Some visitors thought our product was going to teach them how to code, while others found themselves completely confused in general.
Another big reason for poor performance, which we learned through outsider feedback, was the lack of a product screen shot. While there were images on the page, they were below the break and many never made it that far.
This page resulted in 2.49% of unique visitors signing up for Bliss.
I excluded the two days that we sent emails directly to people who signed up on our ‘coming soon’ LaunchRock page as those sign-ups were not first time visitors.
Home Page Header #2— show off product
As mentioned above, we needed imagery! Getting a product hero shot up on the home page header was a top priority for the second iteration.
The tagline “track ROI on software development” came from our Twitter followers. Visitors were so confused about what “understand code, instantly” meant, that a few of our followers actually came up with this description on their own to help them better understand our product!
Because of the success seen on Twitter with this messaging, we promptly made it our main tagline on the home page header.
Along with this header and product image we tested two call-to-action (CTA) buttons. The above image (and Test #3 below) uses “View our Live Demo,” but “Sign up for free” as the CTA was Test #2 for us and performed best.
We ran this version for a few days and the sign-up conversions hit 6.09%.
This was our best performing test to date. But, being a little too anxious to start showing off our Live Demo (see below) we didn’t stick with this CTA long enough to gain a proper measurement of success of this test.
We’ll have to revisit this one!
At the end of our first full week of being in business, we got over-excited and came up with the idea of exposing our own metrics. We jammed that feature into the header and changed the CTA to “View our live demo” in order to entice visitors into the Live demo as quickly as possible (actual screen shot above).
To date, providing the Live demo as part of our web application has worked out great for us in terms of getting potential users familar with Bliss, but not as our CTA.
You can see here, this was our worst performing test to date with sign-up conversions at 1.56%
I don’t think having the main button being buried within the product shot was the best approach. To me, there’s too much going on (color, images, etc.) in that one area for the CTA to be effective.
Landing Page #1 — clean & simple
We decided to shift away from a home page layout being the main screen, to a clean and simple landing page that had clear messaging and a fun/dynamic way to get started.
We felt the home page had too much information for first time visitors and wanted to focus our visitor’s attention exclusively on the action we wanted them to take — signing up!
Sign-up conversion rate on this test was 4.63%, but we also got a boost of visitors and sign-ups from being featured on Product Hunt. The conversion rate before the Product Hunt was 3.80%
Our most recent test was flipping our marketing message from “a tool for non-technical entrepreneurs to gain visibility into code,” to, “a tool for developers to communicate with the non-technical side of the business.”
We initially built Bliss with the intention of targeting the non-technical side of tech companies (myself!), but after two months in business most of our customers are actually tech-leads.
Moreover, this messaging resonated better with people we were meeting on a regular basis.
Currently, the sign-up conversion rate on this test is 3.71%
We’ll continue to test our marketing message with the developer-to-non-technical angle through May.
We may take the focus one step further and highlight ‘technical debt’ in the main message, e.g., “An easy way for developers to explain technical debt to the business-side.”
To date, the technical debt metric on the dashboard has resonated most effectively. Furthermore, we’ve recently had a few venture-backed companies confirm communicating technical debt internally is a big problem.
Our short-term goals are to get sign-up conversions to 5% (minimum) and double our daily uniques by increasing content marketing efforts.
I want to share our metrics and experiences as we go through the journey of building a SaaS company, especially the early days when our numbers are super small and revenue is nominal, as there is a lot to be learned from it all.
I think there’s a lot of great content available on SaaS metrics for $50k monthly revenue and above, but there’s not much being written about the first couple months of the startup journey. And even less about startups where revenue is ~$1k in total!
Please feel free to reach out to me directly via email at email@example.com if you’d like me to cover a certain metric or experience. I look forward to exposing it all!
Final note — here’s the full support for our sign-up conversion rates. I’ll continue to update this spreadsheet for the foreseeable future.