How to launch a SaaS without investors, raising 65k in less than a month?
While almost every startup is searching for an investment, we are rejecting them.
Someone told me: “are you crazy?” No, I’m not.
Now I’m going to tell you why.
We do believe that our first investor should be our customers.
So, we built Customerly from scratch and after 1 year we were out of the beta phase.
We have grown from 0 to 2500 users basically thanks to the “powered by” label on the live chat widget.
It’s amazing how nowadays we can build anything without investing a single dollar.
After acquiring 2500 users by word of mouth we wanted to grow faster.
That was the moment where we started thinking to go for a Lifetime Deal.
What is a Lifetime deal?
It’s a deal where you distribute licenses of your software as a service discounted for their entire lifetime.
They will pay you once, and they can use your platform for free forever.
Is this scary right?
Especially if you are trying to build a monthly recurring revenue.
Deeply inside we knew that an LTD was a good thing for our business.
But we never thought this can be so exciting.
Well, everything started in September 2018 when we have been reached by some LTD Facebook group founders.
We knew that AppSumo was too big for that stage and we decided to go for a smaller partner to launch our deal. Also, AppSumo decides the price of your product, usually $49, and they keep 70% of the stake.
The first partner we have chosen was a group of more or less 7000 people in total.
That was perfect. Except for one thing: It wasn’t.
When we came out with the news that the Customerly deal was right about to start, I’ve been reached out by some CEOs that did the launch with the same group.
The message was scary: Don’t launch with them or you will be dead with your business.
I received this warning three times and after investigating a little I discovered that that partner was not good for us.
Everything happens for a reason.
People were expecting the deal to be released soon. And they started asking where and when will be published.
I remember we received almost 5 conversations per day of people interested in the LTD.
And the entire Facebook community of LTD was spreading the word for us asking on each Facebook Group if anyone knew where and when Customerly was published.
Then the magic happened. Udit of PitchGround contacted us in a professional way and he proposed to help us with our launch.
I love the mission about PitchGround and how they are building their community based on people behind the projects.
We jumped in, and we decided to work together.
The deal was simple: offering our three modules for a total of $207. Far away from the $49 of AppSumo.
Or you can choose between the single modules:
Now, the only limit was the number of contacts they can manage with the platform: 10000.
It means that if they want to use the platform to send emails to more than 10000 contacts they need to start paying the monthly fee.
Great, now that we have the deal, we were expecting something around 200 sales. We were wrong. Massively wrong.
For us, selling a platform where you can send unlimited emails up to 10000 contacts means server costs.
Especially when you are talking about having hundreds of active non-monthly paying customers.
I’ve been told from other CEOs, that launched an LTD, that only 30% of the buyers actually use the software.
We were scared about having these costs on our bill without having a monthly revenue from them.
But I knew that the deal wasn’t just letting use the platform for free to a bunch of people.
I needed to convince my partners that we were doing a leap of faith.
And the intuition was right.
We decided to launch our deal during the Black Friday 🙂
It was strategic, it was incredibly exciting! And the timing was perfect.
Udit and Aaron are professionals. They handled all the stuff for us.
They just asked for the video presentation and they helped us with the script as well.
They have a mailing list with 10k users and at the time of the launch the Facebook Group was really small (under 1k) and they had 80 affiliates in their network.
After the launch, they started to invest in Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
I remember one day by searching our competitors on Google we found our adv sponsored by PitchGround.
The most important part behind the strategy was: be human.
Udit and I were organizing 3 workshops on the tool itself to show the founders behind the product and to show the power behind it.
It worked. And these are the results.
People were so excited to have Customerly that they started searching the URL to buy the deal and someone found it.
The link was published on Facebook a day before the actual deal was started.
And the very first day we sold almost 60 licenses.
In total, we have sold more than 2000 licenses.
Our Organic traffic after the deal went up to +458%.
850+ total signups.
300+ active users.
140+ countries reached.
$65.000 to invest.
We made three mistakes during the launch where you can learn from.
- Bad UX: People wanted to see “Coupon LTD” on their accounts, we were wrong by thinking that the price tag at 0€ was enough to show them that they have a free account.
- Customer service not ready: We studied the possible amount of the customer support inquiries per day to see if we needed another person for the customer service. We thought we can handle them on our own. Wrong. We were getting more than 100 tickets per day. And people started complaining about the lack of customer service.
- Stacking: We never thought to stack codes to allow people to add more than 10k contacts in a single app. People started asking for it and at a certain stage by a single comment on Facebook people started to pretend to have it. Udit and I spoke about it and there was a misunderstanding about it. So we needed to fix this ASAP by commenting back that stacking wasn’t allowed and technically possible.
10 reasons why you should consider an LTD for your SaaS
- Money to invest
- Boost your brand worldwide
- Facebook Community: We have grown from 10 to ~500 members on our Facebook Customerly Founder Club
- Ambassador Network: LTD Buyers starts to talk about your product and they want to resell it.
- Valuable Network: A lot of interesting people to work with start knocking your door.
- No investors, more freedom.
- Annual Recurring Revenue: We started building revenue on people that exceeded the limit quota.
- Long term strategy: PitchGround want to help us with a long term strategy to build ARR.
- Other software integrations: A lot of people asked for integrations with other software and that’s important for us. Integrations with LeadsBridge, HelpShelf, Zapier and so on has been possible thanks to our community that asked for them.
- People that missed the deal purchase monthly subscriptions.
We are getting a lot of interest in the product and finally, we are growing faster than before. So for us was a completely awesome experience.
If you missed the deal, I have something for you too. It’s limited of course. Only 100 people can grab it.
Live chat + Email Marketing Automation + Feedback at €9 per month.