I wasn’t sure what to expect for the launch of Fantasy Congress 2.0. When I shipped my MVP in 2018, I had 20 people on my mailing list and the platform was completely free. This time I had 1,900 people on my list and I was charging. Overall, I’m happy with the results. My gut says it’s counter intuitive to get bogged down in hindsight, so I want to glean what I can from this past month then quickly shift focus to the future.
The launch was (intentionally) very quiet. Mostly because I lacked the time and energy to execute anything elaborate. I posted a couple of times on social media and sent a few emails to my list. Fantasy Congress was also featured in a newsletter for civics educators. I got one sign up from the newsletter, but most of the paying memberships came from my list. Here are my stats for February:
- $257 total revenue
- 21 paying members
- 117 registered players (members can invite others to play with them for free)
- 17 leagues
I was absolutely stoked to see people signing up for paid memberships. I knew from the MVP Fantasy Congress was a valuable tool for civics educators, but now I know that individuals who want to play for fun also value this concept.
The not so good...
So I got some sign ups. Yay! But I could have gotten a lot more.
|Email date||Open rate|
I’ve been emailing my list sporadically for the past year and always saw a consistent ~40% open rate. The list is highly targeted, containing people who opted into receiving Fantasy Congress updates and those who signed up for the 2018 season. On January 29th, I sent an email letting everyone know I was ready to launch and saw the normal 40% open rate.
The official “we’re live!” communication went out on February 10th. By the end of the day, I realized not many people were going to open this email. Since it contained a discount code, and the discount only lasted for two weeks, I decided to follow up with those who did not open the previous communication. This got a dismal 12% open rate.
Fantasy Congress updates are normally sent on Wednesdays, so I thought, “Maybe Mondays and Thursdays are just terrible email days for my audience.” A final reminder about the discount was scheduled for Wednesday and I crossed my fingers this would reach more people. Nope, 17% open rate.
Though I didn’t know what to expect for the launch overall, I did expect to reach more people through email. It was disappointing to realize I could have doubled my sign ups if my open rate had stayed consistent. Now I’m trying to piece together what happened and hopefully correct it.
Shipping, as a skill, is something I’m working on. It took so much focus and energy just to get Fantasy Congress out the door, I didn’t plan anything for post launch. Currently, the most pressing issue I see revolves around marketing. Besides sending occasional updates to my list, I haven’t done any marketing. But how else will people find out about Fantasy Congress? When customers churn they must be replaced with new ones if the platform is going to survive.
My main goal for March is to create some kind of basic marketing strategy. Something targeted and measurable that I can create processes to easily implement and maintain. I also want to:
- Look into the sudden decline of opened emails
- Reach out to current members to see what they think so far
- Start work on features for educators
- Track my hours
- Learn how to balance my time between marketing and shipping new features
I’m trying to structure my goals around things I control, such as my time and actions. This should help narrow my focus making it more likely I’ll reach my goal. Or at least, that’s my hope! My day job has a big release coming up and I’ve been feeling pretty burnt out balancing that along side shipping Fantasy Congress. But the real grind is ahead of me. I want to create systems that will keep me moving forward even if all I can do is the bare minimum.
I’ve been hacking away at Fantasy Congress for 2 years. It was such a relief to finally ship something I felt invested in long term. And even though building things is fun, having paying customers who enjoy what you’ve created is so much more rewarding. I’m catching my breath, then trudging onward.