My Desire to Learn from My Customers and How It Led to a New Business


My name is Baptiste Debever, I’m a French Entrepreneur with a background in software engineering. I have a passion for user-centric products and innovative technology as a whole.

I created Feedier with my co-founder François Forest because we believe that surveys should be engaging and less boring, and we’re sick and tired of the company-centric solution that wastes customers’ time. Feedier is all about gamification, rewarding, valuing the user and making the experience of providing feedback better.

Feedier is only ten months old but already has more than 3.5K organizations and users on the site!

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What motivated you to get started with Feedier?

We have been selling WordPress themes for a few years on Themeforest, and we hit a specific point where we couldn’t get good feedback from our customers. We tried different things (surveys, calls, etc.), and none of them actually gave actionable data: Either we didn’t get enough responses, or we didn’t get responses from the customers we wanted. We started looking for a way to engage with our customers, to automate the feedback process and incentivize engagement with contests and prizes, but also make the feedback experience better and just more attractive than the usual surveys.

woffice

Given that the WordPress templates market is very competitive, reviews are crucial for your business. So within the feedback process, we also wanted to encourage a nice circuit where our customers give us feedback to improve the products, but also leave us a sweet 5-star review afterward to improve our social proof.

When we couldn’t find it, we decided to create it.

What went into building the initial product?

We started working on Feedier as a side project, as we also had other projects and things going on in our lives. It took six months for the initial research and product development.

The tech stack is something we had used in the past: Laravel for the API, Vue.js on the front-end. Instead of creating a standard Rest API, we’ve added GraphQL for the data communication. We wrote about it on this Medium post when we started the development of the product.

We are fully bootstrapped and we are mostly using the money from our previous WordPress ventures to fund it.

How have you attracted users and grown Feedier?

It’s all about testing, iterating and learning, right? We did exactly that.

We started by buffing up and testing our solution on one of our websites for the WordPress business. This website receives a decent amount of traffic every day so we knew we could use that as a test of our feedback component.

We started by putting our widget on this website, with a sweet Feedier logo in the footer. That got us some early adopters while we were still polishing the admin side.

widget

We then decided to step things up and attract more users by getting into communities. This can be a lot more challenging than it seems on its face, and we learned the hard way. We started by diving into the likes of the Indie community and Facebook Groups related to our business. For anyone in the B2B space, particularly in marketing, I recommend the B2B Marketers & Founders and The Marketing Family communities.

In our effort to get the word out and collect some initial feedback, we were doing things that didn't scale. After the initial burst of sign-ups from these communities and some initial advertisings campaigns, we did several things in order to keep a trickle of new users coming in:

  • Answered Quora questions. There are a number of questions related to customer feedback tools, customer success, and much more.
  • Started doing some outbound marketing, mainly through LinkedIn. I got some leads and users, but also met amazing people, such as Foti Panagio (big shout-out to his side project Growthmentor.io).
  • Submitted Feedier to different startup and SaaS listing websites.

Those efforts landed us our first 300 users.

I then met the French guys at lemlist and PixelMe. They told me about their campaign on AppSumo, the good and bad of it. It didn’t sound crazy to give it a shot. It was a way to get a flow of feedback and sign-ups without spending too much money, so we decided to give it a go and our AppSumo campaign started in June.

That said, getting on AppSumo is quite a long process and having a SaaS product is far from the only requirement. They have quite a thorough process to review every applicant and pick only the most interesting products. 😉

One month later, we had more than 2,500 users and a big chunk of feedback to go through. Our development team had also been hustling like crazy to ship new features and fix all the reported bugs during this grueling period. Overall, this process was beneficial and helped us grow, but having to spend so much time on support and talking to AppSumo users slowed us down in other ways.

We took a bit of a different approach by not advertising our product before release or really using our own network. It worked for us, but it’s not for everyone, and there are probably things we would do differently if we had it to do again. As long as you’re able to learn something from the process and put that knowledge to work moving forward, it’s all good.

appsumo

What's your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?

We tried the freemium and free trial model but it wasn’t for us. We’re currently running a subscription-based model with different plans that serve different needs. We’re really committed to providing value and helping people collect better feedback.

There is no rule of thumb, it all comes down to your mission and your long-term plan. Whatever you decide to go with, either make it work or learn from your mistakes.

What are your goals for the future?

We have a bold objective of reaching $10K MRR by the end of the year, and we are doing everything it takes to hit it.

What are the biggest challenges you've faced and obstacles you've overcome? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?

Doing a bootstrapped business is all about hustling. To that end, the biggest obstacle I have faced was the lack of time. I still feel like I’m constantly running short on time. I’ve managed to get better by having a thorough time management process in place and outsourcing the things I don’t “have” to do myself.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The thing that was the most helpful to me was meeting “online” friends, and getting support from them.

As I said in an article shared on Growthmentor.io, entrepreneurship is not always positive, but you must be able to see the bright side of things. There are ups and downs, and you must be fine with that. Try to always be positive, don’t panic or let things get you down if it doesn’t go as planned. You are better off sitting down and trying to understand what could have been better. By the way, if you haven’t checked it out yet, go on over GrowthMentor.io, it’s made by a fellow Indie Hacker!

Besides this, a great sales book I recently read was Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross. His podcast is also amazing.

Where can we go to learn more?

You can learn more at feedier.com, and consult our blog for insightful content on customer feedback and customer success as a whole. I’m also happy to chat on the topic—I’m mostly active on LinkedIn, or by email at baptiste at feedier dot com.

Baptiste Debever , Founder of Feedier

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