We recently launched two new products at ReadyTalk.
We set up landing pages to allow people to sign up in advance, so that we could let them know when the product would be available for trial. Although we could have managed this process ourselves via mailing lists, we decided to use the platform Prefinery, built expressly for this purpose. Prefinery is a “viral customer acquisition platform for beta programs and product launches.”
Using Prefinery to Segment Applicants
The first site we used it on was UbiMeet. UbiMeet is a meeting productivity platform that gives users all the tools they need to prepare for and debrief after meetings: creating agendas and documenting action items and decisions.
When a user requested access to the beta, we had a survey we asked them to fill out. This asked them some technical questions that would determine their fit for the product. Our product was integrated with Google Calendar, so we wanted to first get feedback from those users, as we felt they’d see more benefits from the product. We also had a profiling question related to our value proposition. This helped me filter our list of applicants and decide who I wanted to invite.
I also used Prefinery to automatically send out a follow-up email the day after people applied, asking them a specific question about what they hoped to get out of the service. Honestly, this was in part just to see who took the time to respond. If they responded at this point, I felt I’d have better luck getting feedback from them as they used the product. It also gave me the chance to start establishing a direct email relationship with them so I could set expectations about the product and see how they could apply it in their lives.
The other site that ReadyTalk used Prefinery on was FoxDen. FoxDen is a video collaboration platform. FoxDen had more aggressive goals to get people to sign up, so they opted for a shorter registration form to increase conversions.
Prefinery also offers an “influencer” view and tallies up how many people an applicant refers to the site. I believe the FoxDen team looked at these metrics to identify who they wanted their initial users to be: which users could be influential in promoting the product to others.
Referrals and Invite Codes
For both of the sites, we held a rolling launch: we were asking people to request access to the beta at the same time that we had active users. As well, each product relied on the network effect to be useful. Therefore, we couldn’t completely lock down access to the site only to those users we had manually reviewed and approved to join. We handled this differently across the two products.
For UbiMeet, we tied Prefinery right into the product itself. When a user invited someone new to view an agenda, we created a dummy account in Prefinery and directed the user to complete their registration. So the user didn’t have to go to ‘request an invite’ on our website, but we still had a record of him getting exposure to UbiMeet within Prefinery.
This turned out to be overkill; although it was perhaps interesting to know that someone had been invited to the site, we didn’t need to keep that list in Prefinery. When we created the users in Prefinery programmatically, we had to set them to *** status, which wasn’t really accurate. Refinery has its own ‘invited’ status, and that meant that we had invited them to join the beta. The status we wanted to capture was that someone else had invited them. Maybe “referred” is a more accurate term? Regardless, we did a lot of work to integrate Prefinery tracking into our core app that didn’t have to happen.
We also used unique invite codes to track marketing campaigns. These were created within Prefinery, and we set them to be ‘unlimited’ and “without expiration”, although you could set a limit on the codes. These grated immediate access to the site: those who came from betalist could use a custom invite code “betalist” to skip the line and immediately get the “complete your registration” email. This way we could keep track of how many people joined from a specific activity.
Setting up custom invite codes via Prefinery requires some API work and it turns out the code is a lot more brittle than you may expect. Dummy responses needed to be created for each question on our application form, and if I changed the form in Prefinery, our whole backend integration failed (yup, learned that the hard way).
The FoxDen team got to learn from our mistakes, and instead of using the invite codes within Prefinery, they just created a field called “invite code” and brute force accepted anyone who applied with the right value in the field. It wasn’t automated, but it was a heck of a lot simpler than what we tried to do.
Although Prefinery took some work to get set up, it was a great tool to be able to gather the names of interested parties and manage their access to the site. The founder Justin seems to be a great guy who offers really quick customer service and I’m confident the platform will continue to improve as time goes on. We’ll definitely be using Prefinery for future tests.
Any questions about how or why we used Prefinery? Just reply in the comments, I’m happy to help!