Written byRichard Palmer
21st January 2022
Last week, three years of hard work came to fruition. We announced Timo version 2 to the world, and launched it on Product Hunt to celebrate the moment.
Having launched v1 way back in 2018, we had some expectations for what would happen. As is so common, expectations are very often missed. As the old saying goes, "assumptions make an ass out of you and me".
Nevertheless, there's a lot to learn from our launch. Let's dig into it.
v1's launch coincided with putting Timo on a number of other websites, including Product Hunt, Designer News and Hacker News.
We received 255 upvotes, 7 comments and 1 review on Product Hunt.
On Designer News, we received 43 upvotes and 16 comments.
Hacker News was crickets.
I still to this day believe that t3n wrote a piece on Timo because of its name, which is a germanic shortening of Timothy.
Appscope still sends a lot of traffic our way to this day.
About 10,000 people tried Timo in the aftermath of the launch, which would go down to about 20 a day, which is where it's remained ever since.
And while the traffic load was great, we weren't in a position to capitalise on it. The product was primitive, our payments system still over a year away from integration.
Building on what happened before, we expected to not necessarily gain new users directly. We instead expected to find that we had been featured by other publications, which in turn would drive traffic to the site.
We went into the Product Hunt launch knowing that it does not necessarily fit our target audience. To get paying users off the launch would be amazing, but also improbable. We set a target to match or surpass v1's upvotes. Which you'd expect to be trivial given how much better the product is now.
Part of our aim was to draw a line in the sand. A moment where we would focus much less on building the product and much more on marketing it.
This time we would put it on Product Hunt and Designer News, ignoring Hacker News.
So how did it go?
We got 137 upvotes on Product Hunt. Nearly 100 less than the previous launch! And the story was the same on Designer News, where we got 3, down by 93%.
In more positive news, we received significantly more comments and reviews compared to the v1 launch. 19 comments compared to 7, and 4 reviews compared to 1. Some of the feedback was fantastic, notably Anna Filou’s:
Other time tracking apps (like Toggl) seem so complicated and anxiety-inducing to me. I never “got” them. To each their own, of course, but a product like Timo makes so much more sense to me.
And some great questions from Ilko Kacharov and Edgaras, around the importance of invoicing and collaboration for Timo. All good direction for where we might take the product next.
For all the upvotes and comments, the thing that matters most, is how it affected our business. Here’s the stats at the time of writing:
The lack of upvotes was quite surprising, though we can make some assumptions as to why.
The outcome on Designer News seems to be quite clear. No posts really gained any traction that day, and the platform seems to be dwindling. The entire front page has zero comments, and the highest amount of upvotes is nine.
For Product Hunt, we believe it was more of a case of having a niche product, and making it harder to understand. Our niche is freelance designers, who may not be the biggest users of Product Hunt.
That and we changed the nature of Timo. With v1, you were thrown into the deep end. You arrived on hellotimo.co and were shown the application, left to your own devices. Now, you arrive on a landing page. Lots of marketing copy, a first barrier of having to create an account and another one by the requirement of a subscription or trial to actually use it.
This decision was deliberate. We have to make Timo sustainable to warrant continuing with it. You can read more about our strategy for validating Timo in our blog post, Killing Timo. Yet with this decision, we also make it harder for the average Product Hunt user—unwilling to subscribe and spend money—to upvote it. Maybe there is some wisdom in revisiting it.
We've concluded that this is absolutely fine. Product Hunt users aren't our target audience, so the lost opportunity is likely quite small.
What's great is that we maintained our conversion from visitors to subscriptions created. 0.07% is our pessimistic baseline, and from the Product Hunt launch we (currently) have 0.81% which is a good turn out.
We're using the launch as a line in the sand. We're now switching from focusing on product to focusing on marketing. Next, we'll explore how to grow the amount of traffic we get onto the site and see if we can maintain the conversion rate we have.
0.07% is actually a super low baseline. Common wisdom is to expect 3% conversion for a B2C SaaS product. There's no denying that we've got work to do.
We should focus on increasing conversion from visit to trial, which for the Product Hunt launch clocked in at 1.62%. A 1.38% increase should be feasible. After which we can focus on closing the gap of trial to active users. The former being a marketing issue, the latter being more of a mystery.
Our next step is to demystify why this is the case. We’re planning on adding an exit survey of sorts to the registration funnel in an attempt to get more feedback from those dropping out. Then we’ll improve the onboarding process for new users so that those who start a trial have a higher chance of succeeding with Timo.
In response to our validation strategy of killing Timo. The burning question we asked is "will people pay for Timo?", and the answer appears to be vague. Maybe.