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Looking At The Root Cause – The January 2018 Monthly Report

So it’s 2018 and Task Pigeon is coming up on one year since launch.

In this monthly report I take some extra time to dissect the results and share more in-depth thoughts on where everything is currently at.

Task Pigeon Website Traffic January 2018

January 2018 Monthly Report - Web Traffic

No sugar coating this one.

Website traffic took a big hit in January. Obviously there is some effect caused by the Christmas/New Year period however even towards the back end of the month you can see that traffic wasn’t above the previous month on a consistent basis.

I live and breath this every day and although I write these reports on a monthly basis you may be asking “well what are you doing about it?”. From the outside it may even seem like I am not doing anything at all.

That of course couldn’t be further from the truth. I am constantly trying new things and working to adapt and approve in areas where we are getting things right.

Specifically on the website traffic front I re-created the entire Task Pigeon website to refresh the look and improve a number of Search Engine Optimization factors. This was almost a six week project and while it is “live” there are still further tweaks to be made.

I also utilized this opportunity to create a number of new additional landing pages. In particular, this focused on a number of the integrations available via Zapier, as well as some product specific pages.

During the last 2 months I had also engaged with an external SEO Consultant on some of this work. While some of the work they provided was good, they ultimately were not able to perform at the required standard and I concluded our contract this week.

I already have a new SEO consultant in place to pick up from where they left off so I continue to invest in that area of the business.

Finally, I know this is the January report, but the first 15 days of February has shown significant improvement on the past month. I won’t know the full outcome until the end of the month but perhaps this is early signs that some of the changes I have made are beginning to bare fruit.

Task Pigeon Blog Traffic – January 2018

January 2018 Monthly Report - Blog Traffic

In a similar trend to the website data blog traffic was also down considerably. I didn’t get back into the full swing of things with our content marketing until the second week of January but again its not good enough.

The issue with content marketing is that it takes a huge amount of time. Both in terms of time to generate content, as well as see results from it.

One of the tasks that I wanted my SEO consultant to focus on was developing a targeted list of keywords to target in new blog posts. Specifically I want to find content that has good search volume but low(er) competition.

If I can focus my writing efforts on these areas then I believe each post can deliver more traffic and therefore return for the time invested. After concluding the contract with the first SEO Consultant this is now one of the top priorities for the new person I have bought into this role.

In addition to that I believe I can do a much better job of marketing content to my existing user base. This is one area that has also seen significant investment in the past few weeks. In particular, I have been considering how we capture data and then use that data to tailor our marketing to specific users.

As a result of this review my developers have integrated Segment into the Task Pigeon platform. This provides a central repository for the data we collect on user activities. I can then feed this into Woopra which is our reporting tool, as well as Autopilot.

Autopilot is the new email marketing tool that I will be using to provide more tailored messaging to our registered users. It’s expensive investing in both of these tools, hence why I had put it off until now, but I think if I am going to derive real value from the people who already engage with Task Pigeon then I need a way of personalizing our messages better.

Task Pigeon Monthly Recurring Revenue – January 2018

January-2018-Monthly-Report-Income-768x309

We added 1 paying customer to an existing team (the $3.77 is a pro-rata rate for the days remaining in the month). This increased MRR to $225 USD.

Obviously there is still work to do here as well. I do however believe it is a flow on effect from the traffic issues as well. More traffic = more users = more people who might upgrade.

Beyond that the use of Autopilot and more customized emails to users may also lead to an increase in engagement and therefore increase the likelihood of users upgrading.

Finally, there is the product itself. Task Pigeon has come along way but there is still a lot more that I want to do. That said, I received an email this week that really made my day. One of our latest users said that they LOVE Task Pigeon. And yes, they did use capitals.

Honestly, getting emails like that makes everything I do worthwhile. It gives me a huge amount of confidence that we are on the right track. I just need some more time (and money would help too) to make it a reality.

Task Pigeon Monthly Expenditure – January 2018

January 2018 Monthly Report - Expenditure

Expenditure is always a fun one to discuss. It has been one of the areas where I have been criticized most by people at times. Although I am sure most of them had good intentions.

There is no two ways around it. I am a non-technical founder so to take the product forward requires money.

In addition to that though I’m not going to spend all this time and money on building the application only to pull the plug before spending money to test other activities important to user acquisition and retention, etc.

As a result most of my investment latest has been in content, SEO and new tools to further improve the Task Pigeon experience and our ability to communicate with our audience.

I also think our burn (even when it was higher) is completely acceptable. It’s weird to me that people don’t bat an eyelid at other more well-known startups burning through millions of dollars only to close 12 – 18 months later, yet a founder investing their own money and going through 3, 5 or even 8 thousand a month is seen as a crime.

I know it adds up and I know that when looked at in its entirety it is a fair bit of money, but relatively speaking it isn’t. We are all going to spend 50+ years working on this earth. And in my mind if you are not willing to risk 6 or 12 months of salary on an idea that you are passionate about then how can you ever expect an investor to write you a cheque.

This month expenditure came in at $1,474.80. Less our income which works out to under $300 AUD and I was out of pocket a bit over a grand. Not ideal, but I do have the capacity to keep this going almost indefinitely.

I will however continue to invest in the product and expect that in the next month or two I will see an uptick in expenditure.

Task Pigeon Monthly Active Users – January 2018

January 2018 Monthly Report - Active Users

In keeping with the trend of this report Monthly Active Users were also down. In January we saw monthly actives drop from 128 to 94. Again I am sure the Christmas/New Year period had something to do with it but in a startup one would hope that your monthly growth rate at this early stage would compensate for a week or so when people are typically on leave.

There is more to be done here. It is still a top of the funnel issue, in terms of driving more people to try Task Pigeon, but more than that its an engagement issue where I need to do a better job of selling the benefits/features of Task Pigeon to our existing user base.

When I get it right it does work. As noted by the email I referenced above, but I still need to work at this and will continue to do so by leveraging the new tools I had at my disposal to better understand our customer data/use patterns and engage with them with more targeted emails.

 


Also published on Medium.

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