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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

V1 Release, 24 Hours & 7000+ Users

24 hours after yesterday's V1 release of our new product, WooDojo, and we have more than 7000 users already. I wanted to share some insight into how we managed to achieve this...

Not only was this a major victory for the team, but getting 7000 users for a brand-new product - one that nobody expected us to release - represents some major traction. This is also the kind of traction which I wouldn't describe as being a fluke, but instead the culmination of truly getting to know our users and evolving both our product & marketing strategy over time.

This is how we did it:

1. Know Your Users

WooDojo wasn't the result of a popular community request, instead we conceptualized a holistic solution for a bunch of minor problems / gaps that we had identified in the last 12 months. The trick here wasn't to spot the gap, but to understand how our users would want to plug those gaps without us even talking to them about it.

A lot is made of customer development and validated product feedback these days, but in our case we skipped that step, because we felt that we had an intimate understanding of the problems our users were experiencing without them perhaps even realizing they were. We know our products & users inside-out, which meant that we could distill WooDojo - as a concept - over time and shape it into an actionable project.

2. Build on what you have

Before WooDojo was released, we had two things: 1) an audience of almost 200 000 users; and 2) our existing product line. Each of these represents a validated & viable distribution channel for new products. With WooDojo we leveraged both of these.

WooDojo compliments our existing product line perfectly by augmenting & extending on the feature sets that we have released in the past. This means that the product has an inherent appeal for each & every member of our existing audience. We could've obviously released something completely unrelated to our existing product line and audience (and thus hoped that they'd still pick it up), but I doubt we would've had the same kind of traction.

3. Go beyond what you have

We had always envisioned that our existing user base would be our main audience for the V1 release, but we also knew that WooDojo would appeal to a whole new audience: the audience that didn't want to use our existing products. WooDojo is "vendor-agnostic" in that regard and enhances **any* WordPress installation, so with this release we're targeting a market much bigger than our existing audience.

4. Free & Easy

As things stand, WooDojo is a free product, which of course means that traction & adoption will be much quicker than if it were a paid product. We've implemented the classic freemium model and have a clear monetization route, which we'll flick the switch on in the next couple of weeks.

I think what's important with freemium is firstly that the core product is & will remain free, but also that we already have the revenue model figured out (based on our experience implementing a similar model for our other products). So it's not like we've made a huge time investment releasing something that we don't know how we'll make money from it.

5. The Surprise Factor

The fact that we didn't do any customer development before the release, meant that no one expected yesterday's release. From what we've seen, this has elicited the "Wow! WooDojo looks fantastic!" reaction from our, unexpecting users. If we had announced or even teased the release beforehand, we would not have had that surprise factor and were unlikely to get so many of the "Wow!"-type reactions, which obviously means the viral appeal of the release would've been less.

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