Product update: launch date and design preview!

It’s happening. Our developers are turning into zombies 🧟‍♀️. But that’s ok, because Upvoty is starting to look LITTTT 🔥.

developer

In this post we want to inform you about the most common questions:

– When the fu*k do you launch?
– And how does this thing looks like?

Well, we’re happy to inform you that we can answer both questions right away.

When the fu*k do we launch?

We’re almost done with all the development for the Upvoty 1.0 release. We will launch in this order:

🚀 Private beta launch (sign up here): December 2018
🚀 Beta launch (Product Hunt, etc.): February 2018
🚀 Upvoty Final Release: March 2019

What does it looks like?

We’re pretty amazed by our designers and we love the designs ❤️ and, of course, we hope you do too. In a previous post you already could see the first sketches, but the final designs are a bit different. Take a look:

dashboard design

Admin dashboard

This is the admin panel dashboard design. Here you can manage all the posts and comments created in your feedback boards.

board admin view

Manage boards in admin

In this section you can manage all of your boards. In this example we only have 1 feedback board for ‘feature requests’. But you can add as many boards as you like. Think about different boards for different feedback like: ‘App feedback’, ‘feature requests’, ‘bug reports’ or even your own team’s feedback board about ‘company culture’. The possibilities are endlessly!

admin view board

Admin board view

In the admin view you can manage all of your boards activity: change statuses, reply on posts and comments, add new posts, etc.

example

Public board view

And of course you can easily add the boards on your own website with the Upvoty widget. You can add boards both private (only visible for your own users) or public (everyone can register and participate). The image above is an example of a feedback board of the startup Workmappy, a website that collects data about places to work from. Their feedback board could look a bit like above where users could add certain feature requests like ‘make an app for it’ or ‘add Nomadlist meta info’ etc.

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe for the private beta here.

We hope you like it 😎

Designing our startup tool

design our tool

Currently we’re 🔨 building a tool that will make it easier to manage all of your client feedback and it’s named; Upvoty!

So what’s happening? Well, as you could see in the first post, our product roadmap started with developing our website 1.0. This one is nearly finished and you can visit it at upvoty.com. We’ve just opened up 💌 beta sign-ups, so if you think your company could use feedback boards; feel free to sign up for our beta!

Designing the tool

We’re currently into the ✏️ design and 🎮 developing process of the tool itself. Let me show you some designs we’ve made.

step 2

 

This is the register page which we will develop into 2 steps. In the first step we will ask clients how they want to call their Upvoty dashboard. A great ☝ tip i’ve learned building registration pages for my other startup Vindy, is that you always need to start with a simple question. Just to get users into the funnel. When users are entering the funnel, they are more likely to complete it.

step 1

In the second step we will ask more personal information we need for setting up the account. And because of the fact it’s personal, we’ve added 2 USP’s to ensure the user feels safe in filling in the data we ask. One of them is 💳 ‘No credit card required’. This one is to make sure they know that they don’t have to pay directly up-front, which is a great feeling for the client. The second one ‘30 day free trial’ is to ensure the user knows we don’t want to push him and that he’s got the time to figure out if our tool is valuable for his or her business.

Upvoty dashboard

I’m pretty happy with the designs for the registration process. Now let’s look at the tool itself!

admin view board

So this is the Upvoty admin dashboard. We’ve chosen a flat and clean design for the look and feel of the dashboard. Here you’ll see the tool itself. This is the board where people can submit new feature requests or bug reports or whatever feedback 💬 you want to collect from your clients. This board will be available as a widget or i-frame, so you can implement it wherever you want. Whether it’s in public on your website or in a private user base within your own tool.

The designs are not final yet, but I’m really happy about the first few mockups!

👉 Feel free to sign up for our BETA!
https://www.upvoty.com

👉 Follow Upvoty!
https://www.instagram.com/upvoty/
https://www.twitter.com/upvoty/

📈 Current metrics;
Sign-ups: 89
Paid users: 0
MRR: $ 0,-

Building a SaaS startup

launch

So, currently I am the founder of Vindy, a home improvement platform in the 🇳🇱Netherlands and 🇧🇪 Belgium. We are growing fast with our product and now have over 5k users. The more you grow in users, the more feedback you’ll get as in new feature requests or things like bugs. So, we wanted to use a tool where we could manage all of those requests in one simple overview based on priority. We tried a couple of tools, but they all weren’t exactly what we were looking for or were very expensive.

So. We’ve decided to build it 🔨 on our own. And that’s where my second startup is all about.

It’s named; Upvoty!

With Upvoty I want to help other businesses to manage their 💬 feedback in a proper and easy way. And the best thing; I finally have the chance to do what I wanted to do ever since I’m into startups; I’m going to document every step I make from day 1. Here on my blog and on my Instagram.

Let’s take a look at the roadmap

Since I’m into product development for quite some years, my first advantage was the set-up of the 🗺 product roadmap. Nowadays I accept that we first need to start small, gain real user feedback and only after that building a final version for release. So let’s take a look at how I’ve set-up our product roadmap.

roadmap

I divided our roadmap into 2 sections; a 1.0 phase and a 2.0 phase. With the 1.0 We will start with a basic website, developing (and designing) the first version of the tool, then the beta release 💬 with user testings, more product development based on new feedback and at the end we will try some organic marketing channels – like Product Hunt 😻 – that need to bring the first users.

I’ll share everything!

I decided to share everything; which steps we make, the successes, the failures and even the real data like user metrics and 📈 MRR (see below). Will my second startup succeed or fail? We will see. Literally.

👉 Feel free to sign up for our BETA!
https://www.upvoty.com

👉 Follow Upvoty!
https://www.instagram.com/upvoty/
https://www.twitter.com/upvoty/

📈 Current metrics;
Sign-ups: 45
Paid users: 0
MRR: $ 0,-

How to handle customer feedback

how

When you launch a new product or feature, you’ll receive 💬 feedback from new and existing users almost instantly. This is good, because it gives you the opportunity to learn from the people who actually use your product. However, there’s a big difference between who is providing feedback, which means you shouldn’t automatically agree to all requests. If you do, it could cost you.

Identify feedback

When you receive a new feedback request, for example on the Upvoty feedback boards, it’s important to identify the following:

– Who is giving feedback 💬?
– Is it a free customer or a paying customer?
– Does the feedback align with your strategy?
– Do more people have the same feedback?

Answering these questions can help you formulate your response. Is this feedback valuable to you, to your product and to other users?

Who is giving feedback?

The feedback you receive from an accountant may be different from the feedback you receive from a web designer. Everyone has different companies, which means they use your product slightly differently. The methods they use to run their business may differ considerably. If you receive feedback from an accountant, the first step is to determine whether this type of customer reflects your overall user base. If the majority of your customers operate in online sectors (web developers, web designers, marketers, etc.), the accountant’s feedback may be based on a method that your other customers don’t use or support.

Is it a free customer or a paying customer?

Make a distinction between free customers and 💰 paying customers. Free customers tend to demand more and more because they aren’t paying for it. As a result, they’re more likely to request more features than paying members. On the other hand, paying customers tend to be more solution-oriented, given that they’re spending good money on your product.

Does the feedback align with your strategy?

You should have a pretty clear vision of how you want your product to develop. Some of the feedback you receive may not align with this vision. So what do you do? Our advice is to stick to your own vision and strategy! All feedback is worth considering, but if it doesn’t help you achieve your product goals, ignore it. If you take it to heart, your product could lose the identity you worked so hard to create.

Do more people have the same feedback?

Never make changes based on feedback from a single user. If you think a suggestion has the potential to improve your product, ask ✋ for more opinions. Talk to colleagues, customers and potential customers, or initiate a one-on-one discussion with the person who submitted the feedback. Feedback always stems from an underlying ‘problem’. Your customer may be just as satisfied with a workaround.

A good way to monitor feedback is with the Upvoty feedback boards and the feature voting option. An Upvoty board allows you to manage all 💬 feedback in a single overview and prompts other users to upvote their favorite feedback. The more votes you get, the more confident you’ll be about the new product feature and the more people you’ll satisfy when you actually build and launch it!

Eat your own dog food

dog food
The phrase ‘eat your own 🐶 dog food’ is based on the belief that companies should use their own products. While this can be tricky in many cases, it doesn’t make it any less true. Using your own product intensively is the only way to learn the ins and outs first hand and to understand areas for improvement. Ultimately, this will improve both the quality of your product and your customer satisfaction.

Live the life of your customers

In theory, this means living the life of your customers. Upvoty founder Mike has another start-up called Vindy. The need for an effective 💬 feedback tool originated with that start-up and Upvoty will be used within that product. This is extremely interesting for Upvoty, because it allows us to live the life of our future customers.

What if I can’t do it?

You, too, can live the life of your customers. A great example of this is Mailchimp, one of the biggest online 📩 e-mail providers. Despite having a client base consisting largely of retailers, they have nothing to do with the retail business. But that didn’t stop them from opening their own website to learn the ins and outs of being a retailer. This helped them quickly gain new insights on ways to improve the Mailchimp product. Okay, I’ll admit this is an ambitious way to go, especially for a small start-up, but the example could inspire new ideas.

Scratch your own itch

It all comes down to identifying potential issues. What problems are your users having? And how can your product help? Becoming your own customer makes this easier to identify. Create a fictitious start-up if you have to and appoint a small team to ‘play’ with the product every now and then.

Plan B

If you’re really stuck, there’s always a plan B. Invite some users to your office or location every once in a while to see how your product is doing. Most importantly: talk 💬 to them! What could be improved?
If you can’t do this in person, the Upvoty feedback boards with feature voting is a great way to gain insight into your customer experience.

So, we advertised on BetaList; is it worth it?

wow

In the initial phases of your startup, you want to focus on developing your product, supporting your initial users and listening to the feedback they provide. But what can you do before you go live? Well, BetaList is pretty interesting. This website allows you to submit your startup before it goes live for a one-time fee of $99. What does that get you? Early adopters! At least, it should prompt early users to register for the beta release of your product, which is an added bonus in this phase! Is that really possible for just 💰 $99? Time to put it to the test…

Day 1: Featured on BetaList, the results will amaze you

No, this isn’t one of those dodgy ads. I was truly blown away by the results we generated thanks to the ad on BetaList. As soon as Upvoty was included on the BetaList homepage, the number of visitors started to sky-rocket.

Active visitors

At this point, we were only mentioned on the website; the real cash cow is their newsletter, although we wouldn’t be included in that until the next day.

📈 Results after day 1 (inclusion on website):
Beta sign-ups (via BetaList referral URL): 13

Day 2: The BetaList newsletter did the trick

Until the afternoon of the second day, we were only featured on the BetaList homepage, which generated an additional five beta sign-ups. But then the newsletter was sent to a huge list of product managers, start-up founders, beta testers and other tech enthusiasts.

📈 Results after day 2 (inclusion on website + newsletter):
Beta sign ups (via BetaList referral url): 46 (!!!!)

really

Really.

no way

Yeah. I know.

So, is it worth it?

Yes, it is. Not only did we get more beta sign-ups, we also saw an increase in site visitors, Instagram and Twitter followers and social shares after being mentioned on BetaList. A definite win-win!

Check out our visitor statistics here:

Results

After a couple of days…

We continued to see the effects of being included on BetaList for several days, with significant effects for the first five days.

📈 Final results after 5 days (inclusion on website + newsletter):
Beta sign-ups (via BetaList referral URL): 63.

We’re happy ❤.

Why You Should Use Feature Voting

voted

Obviously, we will stimulate you to implement feature voting into your own 💻website, app or product. Duh. But, that’s not without a reason. We were motivated to build a feature voting tool, because we believe in it!

Why feature voting?

When we reached the point of having a lot of users and user activity with our other startup, we noticed we received more feedback. The feedback varied from improvements, suggestions, bug reports to expansions like implementations with third parties. Awesome, of course! User feedback is priceless.

But we had 1 problem, you might recognize: How do you handle this feedback in an effective and efficient way?

After all, you receive it from different users via several channels.

That looks something like this;

📞 “I’m trying to log in, but the link doesn’t work”

🤖 “Could you guys realize an integration with Slack?”

💬 “I’d like to be able to manage the user rights”

🗣 “If you’d move the menu to the top, you’d have more space!”

How do you manage this?

How do you manage all these different types of feedback, brought to you by different users? And what if overlap is shown? What feedback is well-founded? What are your priorities? And who will implement the adjustments that have to be made?

We only had one real option: Create a tool that gives an easy overview where all problems, optimization requests and other feedback come together.

Feature voting finishes it

By making this overview available for all users of our product, we make it possible to gauge all the submitted 💬 feedback among our other users. Through the “feature voting” users can vote on the feedback of others. The more ☝ votes, the more users will eventually be pleased when you run and launch these adjustments.

Keep your users eager

We have noticed it is not only a challenge to keep your users satisfied. It’s a challenge to keep them eager as well! By using feature voting, your users become involved in the development of your product. A product that is not only yours, but by then theirs as well. By optimizing together, you utilize the maximum growth of your product and build a community! And a product with a committed community is definitely worth something.

Build something that makes an impact

The result of feature voting is that you’re always aware of the impact new features will have on the “customer happiness”. The feedback you receive will help you understand the cause of the problem. For example, you will see that often one specific subject immediately triggers and resolves several things. Simply by asking your own users, you get valuable insights that make it possible to work on improving your product and increasing the “customer happiness” every day.

wow

Your product roadmap is key

With the Upvoty tool you also get a product roadmap. Deze brengt in kaart welke nieuwe features eraan zitten te komen of welke pending of zelfs live staan. This overview is not only ideal for your own product team, but for your customers as well. We’ve noticed that customers who consider leaving, decide to stay anyway after seeing the product roadmap. As soon users see all that’s coming, they get the ‘FOMO’ feeling: ‘Fear Of Missing Out’.

Companies that receive feedback and act on this, benefit from two advantages on the long-term:

🎮 A BETTER PRODUCT
😍 HAPPY CUSTOMERS

And remember; the happier your customers are, the less likely they are to churn.

This is the start of Upvoty

As of today, we are working on the launch of Upvoty, a new feedback tool for feature requests. This is the start of our product roadmap which we will document here on this Blog, on our Instagram and on the YouTube channel of our founder @startupwithmike.

start

Follow our roadmap from day 1

We will literally take you from day 1 on our adventure from development to user testings to the first beta release and of course to the launch of – what we aim for – the best feedback tool for 💬 feature requests. We believe we can make it easier and more efficient to gain feedback from users during your own phase of product development. With Upvoty: you’ll never ever have to spend any more of your time developing features that doesn’t make an impact.

Do we have a logo?

Well, this is our logo. For now. Let me explain why it’s not final yet. What we have learned from building previous startups is that a logo is only a trivial part of your marketing. First, it’s really all about the product and creating value to get customers as quickly as possible so that you can optimize the product. Branding really only comes after that.

LOGO-ORANGE

Please share your thoughts in the comments! And if you’re interested in a feedback tool for feature requests yourself; feel free to sign up for our beta release and become one of our early adapters! 😎