After the small Hackernews success I decided to ask the IndieHackers community what I should do:

Should I continue my side project or start a new one?

A short summary of all the replies would be “Interesting idea, but crowdsourcing will probably not work, you need to find a way to get data”.

Then I thought of another angle. Why don’t I just try to see whether there’s money in this idea by making people pay straight away.

This way I could figure out whether it would be worth it to collect the data at all without much effort.

I then spent a week creating a landing page… 🙄 (mistake #1)

You can check out the landing page here:

I decided to offer 3 options:

  • Hobby: $2.99 for a monthly email with global trends
  • Standard: $9.99 for a weekly email with global and local trends
  • Business: $49.99 for a biweekly email with an extensive local analysis

And no free option (mistake #2)

I implemented Stripe so people could actually pay with their credit card. I also made sure I could track every button click so I’d see how far people would get through the funnel!

And then I started experimenting with Google and Facebook ads.

So far I’ve spent about $20 on 15 clicks, which is way too high to be anywhere near profitable.

(Now one of the reasons why I’ve spent so much on so little clicks is also because Google apparently thinks 0.28 is the same as 28 because we use commas instead of dots here in Belgium to denote decimals, so I effectively set my CPC to $28 instead of $0.28 and Google decided to spend the whole budget for the day on a few clicks. Bad UX…)

Let’s make some wild assumptions. If 1% of ad clicks would sign up to the hobby plan and they would keep using the service for 3 months, I could spend about 9 cent per ad click to break even.

If they would sign up for the Standard plan I could spend about 30 cents per ad click.

I’m currently experimenting with a CPC (cost per click) of 30-40 cents but it seems like Facebook and Google think this is way too low. I hardly get any traffic.

The big problem of course is that

  1. I don’t know how well my page converts. I need to be sure that for certain keywords or audiences it converts at a certain percentage.
  2. I don’t know the retention rate of the product. If people stay for 12 months then I could spend a lot more money acquiring users.
  3. I don’t have a big budget to work with so it’s hard to figure out 1 and 2.

The good news: I did get a fair bit of likes on Facebook and some people did click through all the way to where they have to put in their credit card details. The ads also had a high CTR (click-through rate).

The bad news: no sales yet so I’m still at $0 MRR.

what I’ll try next:

  • Add a box saying “Not convinced yet? Leave your email address so we can send you a free example”
  • Increase the max CPC and try to get at least one sale
  • Ask the people who liked the ad on Facebook why they didn’t buy

If I’m not able to get any sales I will start on a new project. Right now it seems like the acquisition cost per user is too high.