Marc Köhlbrugge
Maker of WIP amongst other things.
  • 🔥 5
  • 📍 Kuala Lumpur
  • 📅 Sep '17
  • 👻 39

Having said that, these are two services in this area I think are the most promising:

There are a bunch of services for this, but in my experience 1) most customers prefer to just message you via Intercom/etc than go through a 'feature request' website, and 2) feature requests by themselves aren't very useful. When someone request a feature, you'll want to dive deeper into the problem they are trying to solve and then figure out yourself what the feature should look like.

So my recommendation would be to stick with email or however else customers currently reach out to you. Try to better understand their reasoning for requesting a feature. And if you absolutely must, keep track of these requests using a tool such as Trello, etc. But if you're just starting out it's probably fine to do it in your head as more common requests tend to resurface anyway.

Having said that, these are two services in this area I think are the most promising:

Haha yes I considered just doing it without mentioning it. That's what most people tend to do. But it just didn't feel right for WIP as we tend to be an open community.

Great points! And I 100% agree they are probably not a good fit if they weren't willing to pay.

Love that. Calling it out like that does indeed make it seem much more authentic 🙌

I just figured, you could also append that refunds are not a problem, if they don't like it. That also takes away some of the financial weight to the message.

Thanks Alex. A free trial might indeed be the best approach. I'm already experimenting with his using "invites" active members can give away. They allow your friends/etc to try out WIP free of charge for a certain time period.

I could give away similar invites when sending a cold email.

With regards to doubt about the value of WIP: I stand behind the pricing, but I think it's the type of product you need to experience before you truly understand the value.

So yeah the free trial approach might be a really good compromise.

I'm already experimenting with his using "invites" active members can give away. They allow your friends/etc to try out WIP free of charge for a certain time period.

That’s a good reminder. I actually noticed that and I still have one invite left. Let’s see who I want to invite.

With regards to doubt about the value of WIP: I stand behind the pricing

I’m glad to hear that :)

but I think it's the type of product you need to experience before you truly understand the value.

Indeed it is.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Maxim.

I agree someone willing to commit is a better fit for the community than someone unwilling to pay.

If an "influencer" with a large following would reach out asking for a free membership, I would be inclined to say no. They can just pay like everyone else.

But let's say I come across a really talented maker on Hacker News, and they aren't familiar with WIP yet. I think it's way more likely they try WIP if doesn't cost them anything. A message "hey I love you work, signup for my paid community" just seems like spam.

I wonder if long-term inviting some makers like that, would result in an even more vibrant community, ultimately being better for everyone. And those members who initially signed up for free, might end up upgrading to a paid subscription later. (e.g. many early WIP members who got access for free decided to pay anyway, to support WIP).

I'll give it some more thought. Perhaps there's a way in-between as well (free 1-year try-out trial, etc)

Actually, I changed my mind! :D (Although I still stay by my original statement fundamentally).

I think you should go and try it. Invite 5 people you'd like to join and offer a free membership. However, also invite 5 people from Hacker News just asking to join paid. Then have a comparison / evaluate the results as far as possible.

Where I still strongly disagree is, that offering a paid membership sounds like spam or makes you sound / feel "disingenuous". It's not about what you offer, it's about how you offer it. Try something like the following:

"Hey John, I admire your most recent project, "XYZ". Because you're rocking as a maker so much, I'd like you to know about WIP, a project of my own. A community of makers with a very active and supporting Telegram group.

Great indie hackers like Arnold and Tim already use the community daily. Access is paid though, and as much as I'd love to offer you a free membership (mainly because I believe it would make this message sound less spammy), I can't do it because I feel it would be unfair in regards to the paid members.

I would love to see you around, thanks!"

For me personally, that's more than enough sincere touch to view it as a genuine message.

Love that. Calling it out like that does indeed make it seem much more authentic 🙌

I just figured, you could also append that refunds are not a problem, if they don't like it. That also takes away some of the financial weight to the message.

Thanks for sharing that Alexander. Hearing these opinions is exactly why I asked the question.

What do you think about makers who would have not joined otherwise? Not because they don't want to pay, but simply because they might not have known about WIP at all, if it wasn't for me inviting them?

I guess that's really the reason I'd consider giving a free membership. I might come across a maker on Twitter, Hacker News, etc, I'd really think would be a valuable addition to WIP, but just telling them "hey sign up for WIP for $20 per month" wouldn't be the same.

One idea I've been thinking about is the idea of Reddit Gold. Perhaps every (paying) member could gift a month of free membership to someone else, every month. Then members who are specifically helpful, could earn enough free months to basically have a free membership forever.

And people who don't want or can afford $20/mo on a recurring basis could still pay $20 for the first month and aim to earn free months from there on out.

Of course I'd need to consider how this would change the dynamics of the community, revenue numbers, ways to prevent cheating, etc. But it's an interesting concept.