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A howl of pain from the founder of Saas. How to acquire users?

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jomoh888

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Dec 6, 2021
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(First of all, let me state that I have no intention of trying to sell or advertise or even get traffic here.)

Hello guys, I'm a newbie in this forum, let me introduce myself.

I'm Joe, 30 years old. I've been a designer for 8 years, mainly in web design and application design. I read The Millionaire Fastlane last year, although I always had an idea to start my own business (before that I always wanted to build a design agency), this book helped me make up my mind and helped me find the right path.

So I started building my Saas, a podcast transcription web app. Simply put, podcasters can upload episodes, and then the app recognizes them as text by the AI. It took me about 3 months to release the first version on 1st Feb(not MVP, because my perfectionism kicked in and I always wanted to do more).

In terms of users, there are 98 users in total, and 11 paid users so far, which looks pretty good, right? However, most of these users were acquired within 30 days of going live. This means that I hardly got any new users for the whole month of March. This is one of the things that made me painful.

I tried a lot of outreach, over a thousand emails and DMs, but sadly, the conversions were 0.

I have SEO'd the site and blogged about it, and it hasn't taken off yet (I'm not expecting SEO to bring me consistent traffic immediately, after all, it takes at least six months).

Is there any effective channel to get users steadily or not? Am I being too greedy? But it's really frustrating to watch my efforts turn into nothing. If you were me, what would you choose to grow?

Damn, it really feels better to get it all out, I've been in a state of depression for the last week.

A little context updated: it's true that there are some big fish in the pond of podcast transcription, like Rev, Happy Scribe, etc. But Poddin's experience is the better one, especially for audio accuracy is much higher, and my price is much, much cheaper than theirs, at least 5 times cheaper, ahhhhh
 
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MJ DeMarco

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What is your value skew?
What compels podcasters to pick your service over others?
Is your service so awesome it will compel others to recommend it?

Based on what you said, it sounds like you got into a field with no defined skew, the primary reason why someone would use you. Price is often not the best skew. Worse, you've picked a very small industry as well. How many podcasters are there worldwide? 10,000? 100,000? These are terribly small market sizes.
 

Knuffix

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Worst case, you can always put your SaaS up on MicroAquire or try partnering with someone who can get traffic/customers while you are the tech guy.
 

Chris Sciora

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What is your value skew?
What compels podcasters to pick your service over others?
Is your service so awesome it will compel others to recommend it?
I'm sure it's in one of the books, but I'm only up to Chapter 3.

What's value skew?

Based on what you said, it sounds like you got into a field with no defined skew, the primary reason why someone would use you. Price is often not the best skew. Worse, you've picked a very small industry as well. How many podcasters are there worldwide? 10,000? 100,000? These are terribly small market sizes.

More than you'd think. I spend very little time listening to podcasts, but my wife loves them.

Also, a common question is “how many podcasts are there?” and most of the data out there is outdated, but we have an accurate method for determining the number of shows – and it’s currently over 2,000,000. There are also over 48 million episodes as of April 2021. To highlight the growth, Apple confirmed there were over 550,000 podcasts at WWDC 2018 in early June.
 
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Chris Sciora

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I tried a lot of outreach, over a thousand emails and DMs, but sadly, the conversions were 0.
This is the kind of product that can get huge exposure when it's mentioned by a popular podcaster with an audience of podcasters. Same thing happens with all these kinds of platforms: landing page makers, email autoresponder systems, ebook builders, website builders, payment processing solutions. The problem is hoping you can onboard a handful of strangers with a large audience is hardly a winning marketing strategy. It's the kind of thing you might pursue long-term with a bit of time every month and possible luck out after enough effort.

The problem I see is you don't know your audience or why they'd want to use the tool at all. My initial impression is the value proposition (maybe that's the same as value skew???) doesn't make sense. Maybe podcasters could benefit from SEO, maybe not. It seems like Apple determines the winners, not the podcasters SEO skills. Even if the SEO angle was correct, the landing page immediately jumps to a bunch of features that no one would care about.

Is getting an accurate transcript quickly to improve SEO really worth the price of admission?

Here's a couple straightforward ideas.

Attend any popular podcasting event in person, talk with 50 podcasters and see whether the product interests them at all. I'm skeptical it will, but you're likely to come across a couple of lateral related problems that could help them. My other thought is start brainstorming unrelated areas where the same or similar application could provide value.

Stop thinking you've built a podcast transcription system. It's (seemingly) a slick and affordable way to translate voice to searchable text. That's hardly novel, but could provide a decent starting point where additional features for a particular niche makes sense. At a minimum, I'd think you need to complete automate the process of getting SEO value for the podcaster. They feed in raw audio and you magically increase their audience ranking.

Maybe it's real-time transcription for deaf listeners. Maybe it's real-time transcription to a Slack channel for chess tournaments and video game commentary. Maybe the transcription is magically transmogrified into talking points for entrepreneurs to organize their thoughts more effectively. Maybe it's converting cooking shows into formatted recipes complete with a grocery shopping list. Maybe it builds a citation reference list for educational podcasts.

Feel free to DM if you'd like to kick around some ideas.
 

Johnny boy

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be found or go hunting.

if you have a podcast, how would you find software to transcribe it?

google obviously

maybe youtube

maybe there's a channel or a blog out there that helps podcasters.



View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUmdoFDtpQg&ab_channel=B%26HPhotoVideo


how much would these people charge you to put a link about what you offer into their content? After all, if you are offering a great software service for a great price, they might even tell people about it for free. That's the value of a productocracy, people will come to you naturally if it's good.

Imagine you pay these people a few hundred bucks, and everyone who wants to start a podcast sees a video or reads an article and in that article it says "make sure you get your podcast transcribed, X company does it for a great price and I love the software". You would get a shit ton of sales.

now it's just a matter of finding ANYONE in that space who would be willing to work with you.

If no one helps you, compete against them... Make more things for podcasters, including content on how to do it. That's how you offer value. Own the entire market for it. "How to start a podcast", have your own transcription software, have your own brand of microphones, etc.
 

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So many questions.

So many ideas. Sorry if I jump around a bit here with my feedback.

I would cold email all Scottish podcasters. Sounds like you could have that market sewed up.

I'm not sure on the nuance of accents, but do Irish, South African, Australian podcasters struggle with poor transcription services?

There's a value skew there...

But if your market is English speakers, then why is your first leading brand listed a Latin brand? What languages can you transcribe?

You seem to have people who podcast for other podcasters using your product already. Have you partnered with them to promote you?

Also, what you say on your website matters. You choose to put it there. So you should choose only your best stuff there.

I don't know if the phrase "hold my beer" helps you the way you're using it. Maybe it does. But if you're going to use this kind of humor, go all in on it. Use it once and it just seems out of place. If you want to be cheeky, be cheeky. But otherwise, get rid of it.

I don't know if having a testimonial that says "decent platform" really makes me want to buy anything. Why not just have three awesome testimonials, instead of three awesome testimonials and one meh testimonial?

Having Joe the CEO on your chat? I don't know about that either. This sounds like a small software company that doesn't have a lot of support, so the CEO has to man the chat. If it's so small, why is this guy calling himself a CEO?

Sorry, that's the kind of stuff that runs through my head when I'm seeing these things, which means I'm not thinking about buying your software.

You'd get more chats if you didn't force people to give you an email. What's the point of having a chat at that point? Just have an email address or a form for people to fill out... No, don't just have the email. I'm a big fan of chat. Just get rid of the need to register to have a chat. You can add that back in later when the chats are actually so busy that it matters. But right now, you need as many people firing off questions as possible, even if you're not able to get back to them.

If you allow more chats, you'd know what kind of questions people have about your page.

It's instant feedback. It's clues on how to approve.

But these people probably don't trust you yet. Therefore you're not going to get an email address.

Here is an example of some of your sales copy on your page.

Happy Podcasters
Poddin is a podcast transcript tool and is highly rated for accuracy, speed, affordable pricing, being easy to use. Along with being a podcast transcription solution, we are committed to helping podcasts grow.

Here are my notes...

Happy Podcasters​

Poddin is a podcast transcript tool (at this point in your page this is redundant) and is highly rated (what does highly rated mean? Do you have concrete stats for this or is it just the people below here that are telling you this. If you're relying on them to say it, then just let them say it.) for accuracy, speed, affordable pricing, being easy to use (being easy to use is clunky in this series of benefits. Try "ease of use"). Along with being a podcast transcription solution (It was redundant the first time you said it, Don't you have anything new to say about your company?) we are committed to helping podcasts grow. (okay, this is new. Unfortunately it sounds like complete BS. Nothing else on this sales page talks about how you help broadcast grow, unless you think that SEO stuff is actually going to work and help things grow. Sorry but you just lost credibility. Why would I give you money? You sound like you'll say anything to make the sale.)

Maybe I want cursing in my transcript. Can this feature be turned off?

"Optimize your SEO"? It's true words on the page will help. But it's not true that you're going to single-handedly optimize their SEO. I mean, do you really think you're going to rank for things like "bulldog tips" or "how short is a bulldog's snout" or "should bulldogs exist" just because you embedded a transcript about bulldogs on your page?

The fact that you are fast sounds good. The fact that you give a concrete estimate of how fast is also good. But how does this compare to the competition? Can you legitimately say you are the fastest transcription software at this price point?

Lastly, your pricing seems a bit arbitrary.

You double the price at each level, but all you're really changing is the number of hours of transcription, from 3 to 8 to 24. Maybe I'm wrong, but those amounts seem made up. Maybe the beginner level doesn't need all of those benefits. Or maybe there's some other benefit that only the highest tier can get. I'm not sure what it is, but I feel like you're missing an opportunity to make this thing make sense...

Get into split testing this page. I personally feel like you have something here. I met with a podcaster yesterday who is paying some service $150 to $250 bucks a month to basically transcribe a weekly show and post it on social media. They said they had done quite a bit of digging to find somebody that "affordable".

If you can't close the podcaster, maybe you can close the agency they are hiring. Maybe you can offer an agency level account. One client with multiple sub accounts. If that's what you're calling "enterprise" level, it really isn't clear...

Anyways, hope that helps.

I'm tagging @Bekit because if she's available, I feel like you should hire her to rewrite your page. Maybe even rewrite those updates of yours. Ugh.
 

BizyDad

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Shoot, this guy hasn't come back since he posted this... Hmmm...

Worst case, you can always put your SaaS up on MicroAquire or try partnering with someone who can get traffic/customers while you are the tech guy.

Hey @MTF weren't we just talking about acquiring micro-saas via microacquire? I mean, who needs to Google for stuff when FLF provides opportunities...

I told you this business Twitter guy was on to something. Look how easy it can be...
 

MJ DeMarco

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I'm sure it's in one of the books, but I'm only up to Chapter 3.

What's value skew?

Mentioned in Unscripted or TGRRE , not so much TMF unless its the 10th Anniversary Edition. Value Skew is any discernible thing in your company that you do better than the competition, something that might compel a purchase. The primary skew is often called a USP.
 
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Bekit

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In terms of getting the word out to more customers, my first thought is to look up all the VA's and podcast companies who help produce podcasts. For (almost) every podcast out there, it's someone's job to go through and clean up the machine transcription. Poor accuracy is a pain point. The more inaccurate the machine transcription is, the more of someone's time it takes to go through and clean it up. (I've personally used rev.com, grain.com, otter.ai, and perfectrecall.app, and all of them are 'meh' when it comes to accuracy.)

Another pain point is the AI not recognizing when the speaker changes. It kills me when I'm in a two-person zoom call and the podcast transcription tool identifies "speaker 1," "speaker 2," "speaker 3," "speaker 4," and "speaker 5." And then it thinks the speaker changes in the middle of a sentence. Like... I get it when AI-powered transcription gets someone's complicated last name wrong, or gets a homonym wrong, or can't interpret crosstalk or poor diction. But when the two parties in the call are a guy and a girl, with voices that don't sound remotely similar (and when the feed in zoom is literally coming from a different source when the speaker changes), it's much harder to understand (and therefore more frustrating) when AI can't even detect which speaker is speaking. If your app gets this right, I think that would be a huge plus.

These pain points mean that the podcast host is incurring more fees to pay someone by the hour, and the VA is doing boring work to correct it all. So if your machine transcription is more accurate than what else is out there, I think it would be jumped on by people who do that work every day.

My recommendation is to Google "Podcast production companies" or "Podcast production services" or "Podcast production VA" and reach out to those people. If they like it, they'll recommend it to all their customers.

My second thought is to consider all the tangential audiences who use transcripts. It's not just podcasters. Copywriters regularly use transcripts to review their client calls to mine them for copy fragments and the client's voice. Course creators create transcriptions of their course videos to increase accessibility and appeal to all learning styles. Small businesses use transcription to create notes of company meetings. So you might want to consider adding some keywords around these other use cases to attract a wider customer base. (Yeah, I saw your blog where you specifically said you are targeting podcasters only. But considering that any improvements you make to your app to help podcasters will also help these other audiences who use transcripts, I don't really see the point of niching down that far.)
 

Chris Sciora

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Imagine you pay these people a few hundred bucks, and everyone who wants to start a podcast sees a video or reads an article and in that article it says "make sure you get your podcast transcribed, X company does it for a great price and I love the software". You would get a shit ton of sales.
Great idea. It's paid product placement and has been working since - well - forever.
 

Chris Sciora

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Mentioned in Unscripted or TGRRE , not so much TMF unless its the 10th Anniversary Edition. Value Skew is any discernible thing in your company that you do better than the competition, something that might compel a purchase. The primary skew is often called a USP.
Thx! USP is how I learned it.
 
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WillHurtDontCare

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(First of all, let me state that I have no intention of trying to sell or advertise or even get traffic here.)

Hello guys, I'm a newbie in this forum, let me introduce myself.

I'm Joe, 30 years old. I've been a designer for 8 years, mainly in web design and application design. I read The Millionaire Fastlane last year, although I always had an idea to start my own business (before that I always wanted to build a design agency), this book helped me make up my mind and helped me find the right path.

So I started building my Saas, a podcast transcription web app. Simply put, podcasters can upload episodes, and then the app recognizes them as text by the AI. It took me about 3 months to release the first version on 1st Feb(not MVP, because my perfectionism kicked in and I always wanted to do more).

In terms of users, there are 98 users in total, and 11 paid users so far, which looks pretty good, right? However, most of these users were acquired within 30 days of going live. This means that I hardly got any new users for the whole month of March. This is one of the things that made me painful.

I tried a lot of outreach, over a thousand emails and DMs, but sadly, the conversions were 0.

I have SEO'd the site and blogged about it, and it hasn't taken off yet (I'm not expecting SEO to bring me consistent traffic immediately, after all, it takes at least six months).

Is there any effective channel to get users steadily or not? Am I being too greedy? But it's really frustrating to watch my efforts turn into nothing. If you were me, what would you choose to grow?

Damn, it really feels better to get it all out, I've been in a state of depression for the last week.

A little context updated: it's true that there are some big fish in the pond of podcast transcription, like Rev, Happy Scribe, etc. But Poddin's experience is the better one, especially for audio accuracy is much higher, and my price is much, much cheaper than theirs, at least 5 times cheaper, ahhhhh

Podcast transcriptions can be useful for SEO, which can drive traffic and revenue to a website.

Transcripts are also nice if you're in a hurry and you'd rather read quickly than listen. It's another medium to share the same message and it could bring in new types of people, or get current listeners to read when they otherwise would have logged off entirely.

And some podcast transcription software can get expensive I believe.

And there are various types of podcast consulting businesses who you could also reach out to.

View: https://twitter.com/microacquire/status/1499867326442786819
 

WillHurtDontCare

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Shoot, this guy hasn't come back since he posted this... Hmmm...



Hey @MTF weren't we just talking about acquiring micro-saas via microacquire? I mean, who needs to Google for stuff when FLF provides opportunities...

I told you this business Twitter guy was on to something. Look how easy it can be...

This company is apparently Y-Combinator for the types of businesses that you'd find on MicroAcquire ($2.5K-$10K MRR).

It's a solid business model. And even if you don't buy the company, you could always make one based on the descriptions.

I think that there will be a lot of opportunity with SaaS companies because of no-code and boilerplates speeding up the time to create MVPs. Hell, there is a Twitter account about people who build SaaS MVPs and get paying customers in 30 days - https://twitter.com/BuildSell30

 

Ronak

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How did you determine that the market needs this?
How did you get your initial paying clients?
Reach out to the 11 paying users and interview them, offer whatever you have to make it worth their time.

Have you looked into Product Hunt? I saw a few on there: Product Hunt – The best new products in tech.
 
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