I’ve always wondered why software companies would give away a lifetime subscription for the price of 2 months. It seems unsustainable and short-sighted. However, that’s what happens daily on Appsumo (affiliate link). I’ve personally snagged some very cool deals on Appsumo, tools like Webinar Ninja, Brain.fm and Stencil which I use all the time.

Appsumo.com is a popular website with more than 1.5 million monthly visits. The audience comprises of entrepreneurial geeks from all over the world, mainly from the USA, Australia, Canada, and European countries. They get a lot of requests from software companies each day. So initially, my application went unnoticed. So I asked my friend Sampath for an introduction. He helped me refine my pitch to Appsumo and that helped us get noticed.

Over the course of the deal, they sent our promotion out to 900,000 email subscribers twice, after which sold out of our 4,000 lifetime licenses of Billy App.
With the prospect of having support costs for 4,000 new customers with only 2 months worth of cash flow to pay for it, why did Billy take the plunge?

TL;DR

We needed breathing room to operate and more users to refine our product.

Before Appsumo, we had 10,000+ free users but only 100 of them bothered to pay us for the enhanced features, and only 400 of the free users actually used Billy regularly.
As YouTube is learning, it’s nearly impossible to convert free users to paid users. Plus, when something is “free” it’s perceived value is almost nothing.

The freemium model was a mistake my predecessors at Billy had made which we were still paying for. Appsumo was our chance to fix that.

Operating budget

Billy was seeking investment and the popularity of our Appsumo deal did an amazing job proving to suitors that people had a problem which Billy uniquely solved.
Plus, the funds we received from Appsumo has given us more runway as investors begin lining up.

What can we do with our operating budget?

  • Hire a new staff member to help us scale
  • Improve our website and marketing
  • Invest in our operational efficiency
  • Host a massive party (optional)

An influx of feedback

With only 100 paying users and 9,500 moochers who never opened our emails, we didn’t have enough data to know how to improve our software.

Appsumo people are very vocal! We love that. For the first time, Billy is able to hit a critical mass of feedback which has helped us focus our product development priorities. With 4,000 new users, we have learned a ton.

Almost every possible scenario, confusing workflow, interface design issue, accounting need and international tax customizations has been explored and reported back to us.
We are so incredibly excited about the future of Billy and where our product is heading right now!

We also learned what the most common support questions are, where people are getting stuck with, and how we can do a better job making people feel heard.

The chance to make people happy

With 4,000 new users, we have a chance to make them outrageously happy. Sure, it might require some product enhancement first.

But we are sure our product is great and when so many people fall in love with it, they will tell their friends! (we hope)

We also hope to capture the stories of our users, real-life examples of entrepreneurs who have saved time and money by using Billy so we can share their stories and lessons with the world.

Our Appsumo deal page is loaded with over 900 comments and reviews, many of them positive and supportive. Others, critical and helpful with our roadmap. That’s 900 organic comments from real people who we can learn from and get better for.

Overall

Appsumo reportedly gets over 800-1,000 requests to get in their program per month, and they pick only 8 of them; 1/100th of a chance to get picked.
We had a rare and unique opportunity to work with them and we’re glad we did.

Not only did we get some cash flow and increase our user-base, the success of our deal proves our problem-solution fit; that indeed Billy solves a real problem for real people.
Most importantly, this experience has given everyone on the Billy team the confidence to know that our product is valuable to the world. Let’s call it an epic validation!

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