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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Deciding which part of funnel to optimize first

I have a question that probably has no right answer, but I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts anyway.

My business has, in my view, two main problems right now:

One problem is that when prospective customers sign up for a free trial, the experience that follows is not very conducive to customerhood. For example, the user doesn't even get a welcome email. It's also probably unclear to users where and how they should start using the product. Since the product is mainly for appointment scheduling, it seems like it would make sense for me to walk the user through the process of creating his or her first appointment or something like that. Right now, I'm not doing any of that stuff, and people seem to just sign up and then never come back. That's one problem.

Another problem is that my website is not very good. (This is discussed in more detail here: http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?biz.5.852623.12) It doesn't work in all popular browsers, it's not professional-looking, and it's missing some critical information, like pricing. The obvious symptom of this problem is that it's almost certainly hurting my SEO, traffic, conversion rate, etc.

There's no question that both these problems need to be fixed. I'm just having a hard time deciding whether I should a) fix my website, then my trial, presumably meaning I would get more sign-ups but still no customers, or b) fix my trial, then my website, presumably meaning that more of my trial users would turn into customers, but that the overall number of users coming in would still be really small.

If metrics matter, I've had maybe 30 or 40 sign-ups in 2013, most of them obviously not serious prospects, just "asdf@test.com". I've had probably 3 or 4 real prospects sign up in 2013.

Any thoughts/advice? My website is http://www.sniphq.com/. Thanks.
Jason Swett Send private email
Sunday, April 21, 2013
My advice would be to stop procrastinating and get on with both in parallel ASAP. You are talking about elements that are all synergistically linked.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Fix the website. If thats horrible they won't get as far as the trial.

Fix the worst issue on the website. Then fix the worst issues on the trial. Then repeat.
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Iterate one, then the other, repeat.

Start with the website; it's awful.
koan Send private email
Sunday, April 21, 2013
I don't suppose the  fix you are talking about would take months. It is rather matter of hours or a day or two in the worst case... so fix them both as sombody already said
alexandar Send private email
Monday, April 22, 2013
In the time since your first post, you could have fixed the website, but it looks just the same.

Bootstrap is a good starting point, but it is not intended to be a finished product. Check out some themes/templates which you could adapt. Google https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=bootstrap+themes

I think you are sitting on a gold mine, but you need to become much more focused and go for it. This is a market that has many verticals which can all be served by a relatively simple core product. If you don't clean up with this, I will once I launch my startup early next year, as this kind of thing will be trivial to create. There are other people in this space too, so the opportunity is decreasing day by day.
Scorpio Send private email
Monday, April 22, 2013
I think one of your mistakes is assuming anyone who uses the email address "asdf@test.com" is not serious. No company gets my email address unless I'm 100% certain I'm buying something. Even then you'll only get a throw-away gmail address that has no value to me.

Why do you actually *need* my email address?
Adrian Lock Send private email
Monday, April 22, 2013
>> Adrian Lock
>>"I think one of your mistakes is assuming anyone who uses the email address "asdf@test.com" is not serious.

Why do you actually *need* my email address? "

I agree with this 100%.  I have a spare email account that I only use for situations where I don't want to give out my real email address  -- things like registering for discussion forums, or any other time that  a stupid website demands that I give them an email address.

By the way, even though I don't hang out on dodgy websites, that spare email account averages over 200 spam emails a week.  Which is a perfect example of why I don't give anyone a real email address.
Richard McBeef Send private email
Saturday, April 27, 2013

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