Hey fellow entrepreneurs! Startup Radius interviewed Michel from Typedesk – a platform that allows to accelerate and unify customer service on all of the platforms. Now you can have all your customer communications aggregated in one place – from Gmail, Zendesk, Facebook Messenger, Intercom and more.
Learn how they are planning to reach 10,000 users in just one year, how they are using growth marketing and participating in Growth Meetups, why focusing on the product is one of the best marketing methods, and more. Enjoy and read below!
Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is Typedesk?
Hi! My name’s Michel and I’m the Founder of typedesk, an app that helps reduce repetitive typing with best-in-class canned response apps.
Our main value is that we are not tied to one service in particular and we work with virtually any platform, whether it’s your ticketing system, social network, email client, moderation tool, etc.
I started building typedesk about one year ago. Our first release was the Mac/Windows version, which scored a few hundred downloads despite the fact that we didn’t spend a cent on advertising. I was working on other projects back then but started working full time on it back in April: if our beta version is being used by companies in the US and in Europe, we are solving a problem better than the existing solutions.
Why are you building this? Was there a particular source of inspiration or money-making idea?
In my previous company, I was in charge of Product Dev. for a new app, and I like to deal with customer emails personally for the first few months after launching a product to get a deep understanding of how well we’re addressing our users’ problems. We were using Enchant at the time which offers a very limited and sometimes sluggish canned response feature. We were also answering users on Facebook, Twitter, Apple Store, Google Play Store, etc.
My main issue was I had to constantly go back to my canned responses in Enchant, copy the one I was looking for, and a full minute later, finally answer our users. Multiply that by the number of tickets and agents, that’s a lot of time wasted, plus all the inconsistencies it implied with my team using different templates. So I decided to make the leap and built our very first version, which has been generating interest since then.
Time for bragging! How big you are – traffic, users, anything else?
We did a proper launch on Product Hunt in early October and got above 200 upvotes, which is a great starter! We have about 350 companies and individuals testing us right now, but we’re focusing on understanding our users before going into growth hacking, meaning we get in touch with them directly, conduct one to one interviews, and rework our products based on their feedback.
We’re hoping to release the first stable version of our Windows/Mac app and reach 10,000 users by Q1 2020.
Who are your main competitors, and how good/bad they are?
We’re not considering ticketing systems and CRMs as direct competitors since we’re an additional layer on top of them, so we’re working with them. Competitors would be the text expanders and canned responses softwares, like TextExpander or aText, although we have quite a unique value proposition: we’re available on every platform and we offer additional integrations with major tools like Gmail, Zendesk, Facebook, etc. with an impeccable user experience. All the tools we have tried look quite dated or are most likely designed for power users, plus they’re not always very practical when answering lots of messages. It is our intention to change that.
Who uses Typedesk? What is your perfect buyer persona?
In essence, we’re useful as soon as some repetitive typing is involved, but we believe we’re providing the highest value for small teams who want to save time, but are not large enough to structure around more expensive / complicated softwares. So a company between 5-20 employees with daily written content would be a great candidate for typedesk.
When we look at data, we’re seeing our apps being used by various departments: Sales, Administration, Development, HR,… I was on the phone as of yesterday with one of our users who’s a Freelancer in the Netherlands. He’s installed typedesk to optimize how he’s sending repetitive emails (like progress updates or information requests) to his clients. He’s using Newton Mail, which is a email client offering simple canned responses, but from his perspective, typedesk is more intuitive, and works not only in his email client but everywhere his clients are contacting him: Linkedin, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.
Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?
We’re not really into tactics, and we firmly believe growth comes from repetitive test and learn. We organize lots of one-on-one feedback sessions with our users to fine tune our product, and although things like Product Hunt give a very visible audience boost, we’re focused on optimizing every step of the user journey so we attract and keep happy customers.
We’re organized around weekly Growth Meetups where we share our learnings to keep everyone on the same page.
What were some of the biggest challenges while building Typedesk early on and how did you solve them?
We’re still focused on creating the product that will maximize value for our users. Our biggest challenge right now is finding the sweet spot between larger ticketing systems with all the bells and whistles and complex tools designed by and for engineers. We’re still working around our market fit to better meet our customers’ needs.
If you could give a marketing advice to other companies, what could it be based on your experience?
The product is everything. So before trying to get more traffic and buying ads, make sure the engine is working as well as it should.
Which marketing channels you prefer and why?
Organic traffic is probably what I like best. SEO can drive very qualified traffic and it’s something that lasts. I usually combine it with more focused PPC where our SEO is still weak, giving us instant insight on which audience is converting with which value proposition.
Is Typedesk monetized? Why did you choose the current monetization method?
Yes, typedesk has a free tier and premium subscriptions for the complete set of features like team support, cloud sync, etc.
We have decided to offer a subscription model so we can offer low rates while keeping constant updates and improvements. Working in teams is also a big part of our offering, so we need to be able to provide hosted services (API etc), hence the price being adjusted depending on how big your team grows.
What are the top products/services you use in your company and why do you like them?
Clickup: we were big Trello fans, but as our activity becomes more complex, we need more control over our OKRs, tasks and subtasks, sprints… Clickup is maybe more complicated for newcomers but proves really cool once you wrap your head around it.
Slack: not very original here – we work remotely most of the time, so Slack keeps us on the same page.
typedesk: I can’t not mention the fact that we use typedesk for our own business. We have content shared with the Marketing team (like our app descriptions, recurring wording, feature descriptions) and a team for the Business Development with our cold call emails and follow up.
Google Optimize: we are constantly running tests and experiments on our pages and Google Optimize turns this whole process into something very easy to set up and to analyze.
DeployHQ: this is the tool we have selected for deploying code on our servers. It’s very versatile, and it’s so cheap, it isn’t worth spending the time developing something in house.
VueJS: this is our favorite JS framework, which is versatile enough to power all our apps (even the Mac and Windows versions).