I did a presale of Meenit, here is what happened

When it became clearer that Meenit would finally go live after a long development time, I asked myself how to get started with my new product. After all, you don’t present the results of years of work to the world on a daily basis. I did not want to launch completely out of the blue, without anyone knowing. On the other hand, I didn’t feel like making a marketing ballyhoo. It’s not in my nature. That’s why I chose a middle path and started introducing Meenit to a group of selected people in my own circle of family, friends and my professional network. That felt right.

But why a presale anyway?

Basically, there were four things I wanted to achieve with an advance sale:

For many years now I have been self-employed. But in my career, I have never directly sold a product. I wanted to experience what it is like to approach someone and offer something that does not exist yet. In doing so I had to leave my comfort zone. I thought it would be easier to do this in my private network – but occasionally it turned out to be even more difficult. Emoji

Also, I wanted to make some money before launch. I knew that in the final sprint of development I would have some expenses for programming, graphics and illustrations, legal stuff. Every Euro I could earn would help me.

I also wanted to make a few people aware of Meenit in advance, so they’d be able to provide me with instant feedback after launch. After all, even a feedback tool only improves by getting feedback from its users. Emoji

And last but not least: The announcement has increased the pressure for me – in a positive way. It’s often called constructive social control, for me it was a much-needed kick in the butt.

What did I do exactly?

Since Meenit is my first product, I wanted to take it calm and easy. That’s why ideas like a Kickstarter campaign or something similar were out of the picture. I preferred to do it my own way. At first, I built a simple website, where I presented the idea of Meenit with lots of text and a few screenshots. Then I introduced two packages as a kind of presale offer: A founding member package with a “Pay What You Want” model and a fixed price package for founding sponsors. All orders were placed via a Google form.

There I offered the following prize suggestions to founding members: 25.00/ 50.00/ 100.00/ 200.00 EUR as well as the possibility to set a different amount.  The latter option was put to good use: People were willing to support with amounts ranging from 10.00 to 300.00 EUR. Emoji

As a thank you, founding members would get a few goodies: A hand-packed surprise package, a shout out on the Meenit website in the credits, and in addition they would get a lifetime license of the Meenit pro version when they invested a certain amount. Founding sponsors also received all of that, additionally they would be our first advertising partners.

Who did I sell to?

At first, I made a list of about 120 people I wanted to email personally and gave them the link to the presale page. But since nervousness kicked in, I started with a mini selection of 10 people. This was very good in retrospect. The one half immediately decided to support me. The others got back to me and either didn’t understand what I presented to them or they said they wouldn’t need the tool. Fair enough and understandable.

The lack of understanding made me rethink my approach. After a few days I revised the text, hoping to better convey what Meenit does and what it was built for. I also made a short video as an intro, in which I spoke briefly into the camera. This was very uncomfortable for me – I just don’t like pictures and videos of me. Emoji

But this step out of my comfort zone totally paid off. Primarily, because I was able to communicate the benefits of Meenit in a better way and to explain how they could support me in the final phase.

How did the presale go?

Overall, it went very well and I achieved my goals. After the first purchases had been made, I felt less uncomfortable to reach out to other people and I received a lot of encouragement. That gave me confidence for the launch. Out of the 120 people I contacted, about 50 people supported us. I would not have thought that beforehand. Emoji

About 25 did not respond at all, not even after a reminder. Among the respondents, some people liked the idea, others did not, which is completely okay, of course. When possible, I tried to talk to the skeptics to learn a few things from their thoughts. Analog feedback so to speak… Emoji

Meenit was not used much by the founding members during the first weeks, although there was a lot of interest. This is a real damper. After the launch, many people supported me by sharing my posts on Facebook or Instagram, but only a few have used Meenit intensively so far. This may have something to do with the timing of the launch: Most of the first-time users are entrepreneurs and currently have more important things on their plate due to the renewed COVID19 lockdown in Germany. Others are focused on Christmas business. I don’t want to bother them right now and hope for some progress once the year is over.

Lessons learned: What went well and what would I do differently in the future?

For the next presale (or whatever you can call such an event) I would definitely make a detailed video. There was just too much text on the landing page. Kickstarter and similar platforms have a strong focus on videos, this makes sense to me now. Besides, I feel videos are a bit more personal than a wall of text.

I was surprised to see who supported me in the end. With some people I was sure that they would like the idea and buy a package, but they did not even respond. With others I had expected rejections, but then suddenly placed an order for 100.00 EUR with an email containing many interesting questions and constructive remarks. So probably I will reach out to more people next time, although the effort is quite big.

The most important learning effect (also for other areas of life): Send more reminders! That is majorly important. People are busy and they forget things… this happens to everybody. I also had the feeling that nobody was angry with me because of the reminder.

Conclusion: I would do it again

I am glad to have started this presale, or rather the call for help and support. It was definitely worth the effort. If you have any questions, feel free to write me at peer.schelletter@meenit.com.

You can also follow Meenit on Instagram and Facebook.
Even better: Try Meenit Emoji

Now I have to finally pack the thank you packages. Speaking of… thanks again to all of our founding members and sponsors!

By Peer Schelletter

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
Video by GIPHY