Justin McGill
October 28, 2014 3 Comments AUTHOR: Justin McGill CATEGORIES: Behind the Scenes, SaaS

Last week I talked about how I messed up the beta of my Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product launch.

This week I’ll be going over everything I did the day before, the day of, and the day after I launched Workado.

I haven’t seen anything like this out there for me to follow, so I figured this little mini-series might be helpful to other founders in a similar position.

I should say, this is by no means the definitive way to do things. Mind you, this was my first SaaS product launch.

I applied what I know about marketing, and what I’ve read over the past year to formulate some sort of game plan.

The Final Walkthrough

This is a pretty important step if you are working on features and bugs right up until the very end.

By now, you have the “curse of knowledge” with your app, so you need to really just go into the final walkthrough with a blank slate.

Either that, or find someone you know within the industry you are targeting who has not yet used the app and get them to go through it.

Your goal is to look for any and all issues. Click every button, try every combination of things you can think of.

During my walkthrough for example, I realized we had an issue in our signup process. When a user signed up they were taken to the login page and could login.

However, we sent an “activation” email with a link as well that they needed to click in order to have an “active” designation in our system otherwise they remained in pending status. This meant if they clicked the forgot password link, it didn’t work if they were in pending status.

Several other quirks were identified, but I could live with them for the launch. These other discoveries were then put into Codebase as tickets to work through post launch.

Preparing the Support Area

I downloaded Camtasia and decided to put together my own help videos. Took me a little bit of practice, but Camtasia makes editing/cutting pretty easy.

I put together 10 different help videos for our “Getting Started” section. You can check out the videos here.

All the videos were uploaded to Wistia and then I embedded them into the support forum.

I had 7 videos planned, but after going through the final walkthrough I thought of 3 additional topics that would make good videos.

We use FreshDesk to manage our support tickets because I liked the forum and knowledge base capabilities.

I downloaded the FreshDesk mobile app as well to have notifications sent to me when support tickets come in.

I sent a request to my VA the night before we launched to have him prepare questions to be used in the FAQ section.

Prepare Content

This is where the marketing aspect comes into play.

I went through and made edits to the main website. I optimized images (using EWWW Image Optimizer plugin) and implemented some SEO best practices.

I actually put the finishing touches on a monster ebook which contains all the growth hacks I’ll eventually be trying to implement for Workado. It is now the giveaway here on this blog.

I went through all of the email drips I had planned and got them set up into Trak.io.

Trak.io is truly an awesome analytics system that lets you see how users are interacting with your app. The beautiful thing about it is you can setup email drips within the app (you don’t need to plug into a third party).

So, when a user signs up, I have an email that goes out immediately welcoming them to Workado and linking them to a few getting started videos.

An hour later I have a personal email set to go out from me asking why they signed up. I want to us this feedback to make sure the product is delivering what customers expect and at the same time it will let me know if I need to make some changes to my marketing messages.

The trial is 14 days, and I have several different emails that are set to go out over the course of the trial. Some with screenshots and walkthroughs, others with links to videos, and one that shows them how we used the system at our agency.

Stress Out

I don’t think you can get to this point without stressing out.

For me, the biggest concern I had was the fact that my app was crashing regularly. Almost on a weekly basis and we couldn’t pinpoint exactly what was causing the problem.

I knew I was launching even with this issue and this was a tough one to swallow.

I had my developer and a server admin on top of it, which helped me feel more comfortable with launching knowing they would be able to get it back up right away if we did run into issues.

I was just hoping that we’d be able to get this sorted out shortly after launch.

Up Next

Read about everything I did the day I actually launched.

Have any questions? What about recommendations on what I should have done? Let me know in the comments!

3 Comments

  1. Dave 3 years ago says:

    Nice work. We definitely are doing a scrapey launch right now, just a private beta. I personally emailed everyone, and handling support etc. We have a knowledge base set up (nothing special) and no customer support system aside from my email/cell/skype – but that’ good enough for now!
    Dave recently posted…Monthly Growth Report – October 2014My Profile

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    • Justin McGill 3 years ago says:

      Hey Dave – got your beta launch email. Going to have to get it setup on my PC as I’m looking forward to it. I didn’t realize it was going to be a desktop thing…curious to hear why you went that route versus web app?

      Reply
  2. Dave 3 years ago says:

    Yeah the desktop thing is a result of how it has to go through Google to get your results, as opposed to it being a cached database. It has to be a desktop because our servers wouldn’t be able to support so many users running the software that way. We’re working to cache the results so as to be able to build up our own database and then transition to a web app..
    Dave recently posted…Monthly Growth Report – October 2014My Profile

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"Justin is the proto-type of a 21st century business leader. Unmatched skills with evolving technology, combined with the social and emotional intelligence required to handle an increasingly advanced consumer." ~ Michael Lambourne of Blend.