Upon seeing the title, the immediate question is: How? The short answer is one word: AppSumo. The longer and more accurate answer involves years of dedicated development of a robust product and carefully preparing for a 60-day campaign alongside the AppSumo team through their flagship Select program.
A quick overview of AppSumo
For those unfamiliar, AppSumo stands as the largest marketplace for purchasing and vending digital products on lifetime deals, boasting over 1.5 million users and generating over $85M in yearly revenue. AppSumo collaborates with multiple companies within each cohort through its flagship Select program, then vigorously markets chosen products to its audience, and subsequently, revenue is shared between AppSumo and the partnering companies. These exclusive lifetime deals allow AppSumo's subscribers, often referred to as Sumo-lings, to make a one-time purchase for a software license. Usually, special tiers are crafted and curated for the AppSumo lifetime deals.
How we got there
Following the launch of our first commercial version of Deskfirst featuring a paid Pro tier, AppSumo approached us and offered us to partner with them through their flagship Select program for a 60-day campaign. Recognizing this as our maiden opportunity for substantial marketing, we were eager to explore this further. After a month of intense negotiations concerning revenue sharing, the offered license tiers, and other terms, a mutual agreement was reached, and the contract was finally signed!
The preparation phase
Upon formalizing the partnership, a launch date was set, and a 60-day intense preparation marathon began. This phase involved API integration with AppSumo for license purchasing and management, crafting marketing collateral like product visuals, a compelling product page, engaging copywriting, and producing a product video featuring Jay, one of the most renowned faces of AppSumo. Moreover, establishing a robust help center with a knowledge base and support system, among various other tasks. This phase demanded intense effort, especially for our small team. We treated these preparations with utmost seriousness, recognizing their pivotal role in ensuring success across the technical, marketing, and support dimensions during the campaign and afterward.
Below is the campaign's promotion video for Deskfirst, featuring Jay from AppSumo. While it covers only a handful of the current features and capabilities of Deskfirst, we love this video, Jay's presentation is fantastic!
The launch and campaign progression
On September 5th the launch day has arrived. Brimming with excitement, we monitored our dashboards, witnessing an immediate influx of sign-ups, questions on the AppSumo page, and lively discussions across social media channels. Throughout the first week, our presence rapidly surged, securing the #1 top deal of the week on AppSumo!
The first two weeks in the store were very intense, the engagement was massive and we tried to answer all the questions, support tickets, etc. By the campaign's close, our AppSumo page hosted over 350 question threads, in addition to numerous queries received through our support channels.
Feedback and mid-campaign tier restructuring
Probably the most important outcome of the campaign is the invaluable feedback received. These insights helped us better understand the primary use cases of our product and its user segments. Due to the substantial feedback received during the initial phase, we recognized that our initial tier structure led to confusion and was less fit for prime use cases, such as the client portal use case. This led us to change our tier structure mid-campaign to accommodate more collaborators while reducing storage allocations, as previously they were connected, and therefore, we couldn’t allow more collaborators. Although this decision encountered backlash from some users, navigating through such dynamic adjustments is inherent in the startup world.
Now, two months after the campaign's end and the refund deadline (AppSumo allows for a full refund within 60 days from the purchase time, no questions asked), the metrics are becoming more apparent, revealing our progress. During the campaign, we gained more than 800 new customers who purchased a license and retained it, reflecting roughly $100,000 in sales. We also have over 3,500 new registered users. Notably, engagement remains robust, with a significant percentage of returning users.
Another noteworthy outcome is Deskfirst's enhanced online visibility, having numerous reviews across platforms like AppSumo, Capterra, Software Advice, GetApp, and other review platforms. This elevation significantly amplifies our visibility and SEO standing.
Another exciting milestone was reached shortly after the campaign – Deskfirst was recognized with the 2023 Best Value and Best Ease of Use Badges from Capterra by Gartner. Securing these prestigious Gartner badges is an incredible achievement, especially in such a short time frame. These awards hold profound significance for us, aligning perfectly with our platform's core values and aspirations. Further details about this are available in our dedicated blog post.
Concluding thoughts on the overall experience
This campaign stands as a pivotal milestone for us. The invaluable feedback received has immensely deepened our understanding of prime use cases and audience segments. We are currently developing new tiers tailored for enhanced team collaboration with clients, crafting a new website with more relevant messaging, and refining functionalities highlighted as important by many users. These insights, which might otherwise have taken years to gather, have remarkably accelerated our growth trajectory.
We extend our gratitude to the AppSumo team for the enriching partnership and express profound appreciation to all our users, especially those who took the time to provide us with their feedback.
We are thrilled about the next phase of Deskfirst’s evolution, to be unveiled soon!