How We’ve got to 10,000 Users in 6 Months

It’s crazy. Our newest SaaS startup GGLOT.COM turned out to be a great success. We’ve added 10,000 users in a matter of 6 months. That’s when the COVID-19 pandemic has begun, we were lucky (or unlucky) to launch GGLOT.

Launch is a funny word. We didn’t launch a rocket like Elon Musk, nor we didn’t throw in a huge party where all the US press would be invited, with rivers of champaign, clowns and night club DJ’s. It was a quiet release of the website, that we’ve built off WordPress. The release was made in English language, with barely working blog and pretty sketchy SEO. But like the saying goes: “Launch first. Tweak it later”. We started to improve the service as we went.

In the beginning, Gglot could not do much. It transcribed audio and video files into text, but it couldn’t handle multiple speakers, didn’t have adequate time stamps and an online editor. The service was a pure MVP – barebone transcription service aimed at low price and efficiency. We didn’t promise any world’s class customer support, nor any high end features. Following our experiment with low end startup – ConveyThis, we decided to remove bells and whistles and focus on a core functionality – automatic transcription.

The toughest part was to translate the website into multiple language and convince foreign users to buy from it. We’ve launched in German language and setup ads in Germany. We’ve added French version and launched ads in France. At first it worked, but then we’ve noticed that ads are very expensive in those countries and our understanding of these language is limited. So we pulled out of these markets (temporarily, that’s the hope!)

Then we’ve tried to add Dutch language and buy ads in Netherlands. Failed.

Then we’ve got Danish version and setup the ads in Denmark. Again failed.

The new sign ups were low and the clicks were really expensive.

Frustrated, we didn’t know what to do. US market is really competitive with average click $2. The European markets are not that cheaper with average click $1. Each time someone clicks on our ad and doesn’t buy from us, costs us a cup of coffee. That was a lot considering how low cost the provider we are and that our niche is affordable online transcription and translation service.

So, condemning the developed world, we’ve decided to focus on the developing countries for a time being. If you play chess globally, the entire world is your chess game. You make bets, you penetrate one country. If it works, you stay. If it doesn’t, you pull out (not your peepee, haha). By the method of trial and error, we’ve selected one language after another and stumbled on some pretty good ones.

For the sake of keeping the competitive field in great tension. I am sure some of our competitors are painstakingly trying to read this very article. I won’t say which countries we’ve succeeded in. So you can experiment for yourself and burn Google Ads at some pretty high levels. I will just mention that it’s possible to launch your service in a country where it doesn’t exist and people will be grateful to use it.

In addition to ads, Gglot has gotten some pretty good traction with its own affiliate program. We’ve ready a book by Peter Thiel and the biggest insight he’s shared: “PayPal paid money to each new user”. It was super expensive, but it helped PayPal grow and compete more effectively with – Elon Musk’s first payment startup. Furthering that logic, we’ve decided to give away $5 to each new user that refers us other users. It’s our way to say thanks to influencers for trying to spread the word out, especially in foreign languages.

Thus, to sum it up, to achieve 10,000 users in the first 6 months from the launch, you need to:

  1. Have simple to use and low cost product
  2. Bring in cheap traffic from Google Ads
  3. Setup an affiliate program
  4. Collaborate with influencers to promote your website
  5. Rinse and repeat

What are your thoughts on that? We read each comment!