How Soon took a slightly different approach to launch a new feature.
Launching a new feature is usually quite a standard process for all software companies: once you are done with all the testing and are confident your feature is bug-free, you do a public release and inform your clients.
Workload (or as others call it - intraday management) has been on our roadmap for a long time. Almost all of our clients had said that it would bring many benefits to their teams, but because it was quite a challenging and complex process, it took us a while to find the right moment to start developing it. Being a small team, we knew it might become a challenge to create and release a big feature living up to our quality standards fast. We knew that when the time to launch it would come, we’d have to do things differently. That is how we came up with the idea to launch a new feature as Private Beta. What does that mean? Well, it means that we sort of launched the feature before it was finished.
Your first reaction is probably something like why???. So let us explain what we did differently than we normally do and what benefits this gives us. First of all, we started marketing the new feature before launching it; this gave us the possibility to already check out what’s the interest before we start with sales. Secondly, launching it as a Beta feature gave us the flexibility to launch earlier than we otherwise would. By having people already signing up and actually using the feature, even if it is not 100% finished, we actually get real outside testers who are not only helping us to find bugs but are also providing us feedback. They become committed users, who are very interested in the feature, and give their valuable feedback insights to help us learn how the feature performs in their particular situation. That allows us to include changes while we are still working on it.
Here is what we did:
- We started with creating a landing page on our website. Then we wanted to create a waiting list to evaluate people’s interest and kickstart our sales, rather than waiting for us to launch the feature and then start selling.
- Our following step was to figure out how to reach new companies, and ProductHunt was our choice.
- To prepare for the launch on ProductHunt, we updated our landing page and created mockups & a video made with Screen Space.
- ProductHunt launch date came, and we had to do our best to promote the page, so we could get more upvotes and rank up higher. We shared it on our socials with our users and asked friends & family for an upvote. A little note here: we’re not 100% sure, but all these ‘new’ accounts from our users and friends didn’t seem to add any value other than raising the number of upvotes, but they seemed to lack ‘weight.’
- Our goal was to capture interest in our Workload feature, get people to sign up for the waiting list, and leave their details to later follow up with them.
We are quite happy with the results; of course, there is always room for improvement, but we definitely didn’t do badly for a first try! Here are some details:
- Our website got more traffic than usual. Our visits went up by 96 % throughout the month and stayed up until around this level for another month.
- We got a total of 33 sign-ups for our Private Beta, and almost 70% of those sign-ups had medium to high potential. That is actually higher than we expected.
- We’ve connected with many of the companies on our waiting list, and we selected 10 of them for the private beta.
We also had two unexpected results: We were approached by another startup with a compatible product. We’ve made a connection, and we are currently working towards a partnership with them. The second outcome we hadn’t anticipated was a message from an Entrepreneur, who now has become a valuable mentor to us. He has more than a decade of experience, which he is kind enough to regularly share with us.
Launching Workload as Private Beta and marketing/announcing it beforehand worked really well for us. Our team got more motivated than usual, we gave our marketing a boost, we finally invested the time to launch on ProductHunt, we connected with a lot of new companies. We even got ourselves a new partnership.
This is a different way of launching new features, which obviously can’t work for every feature. It makes sense to give it a try only when launching some bigger features that would not only require a lot of testing but would make your product really attractive to new clients.
What are your thoughts? Would you give this approach a try? Let us know if you have done something similar and if you have any tips for us. We’d love to hear from you!