My first and latest indie product TabHub was launched in the last 2 weeks and it landed #13 on Product Hunt with 124 upvotes and 300 installations on the Chrome store. The statistics sound flabergasting, isn't it? But the number which impacts heavily to the growth of the product is not in those listed above. With an approximately 0% retention rate, it feels sucks for a productivity app.
There are a few things that I reflect on the way I build a product which leads it to a status of not being engaging.
Reason 1: Focus too much on growing the traffic without the right customer acquisition tactics
While I was reading a book called SELL LIKE CRAZY, this actually gives me my very first lesson in indie hacking and growth hacking a business: "Traffic is just a commodity". The more time given to promote the product , the more traffic will come to your product. But if there is no sticky tasty "on demand" feature, it's hard to convince the customer to revisit the app after a few minutes of experience.
I am not saying growing the early traffic is a "not to-do" task in bootstrapping the product, but what I have learned so far, following the traditional tactics of growing the product customer base without the right strategy is an exhausting activity. Does not matter how many Reddit threads, Twitter communities and Product Hunt launches we promote the product, no right direction for accumulating target audiences can consume a lot of time.
In TabHub's case, I always have to search for communities to introduce my product. This is not easy. I usually receive positive feedback like "Good product", "Great idea, this is innovative", "I love the idea of AI smart grouping"...However, the point is, those commenters won't sign in for the product or register for an early beta list. Just one reason, they are not the ideal customers of the product.
Reason 2: Monetization without a good plan
If I can do it differently, I would definitely follow a Product Lead Growth (PLG) business strategy.
Briefly describing the strategy, sales-led growth is what companies traditionally apply to acquire customers, go to market, and grow the business. However, it costs a lot of money. With PLG, it prioritizes the customer's experience and helps them to learn more about the product before asking for their money.
With TabHub, I was impatience and blocked a few features behind the Pro plan (6.99$/month). This somehow creates a paywall and prevents new users from testing Pro features. Even though I did add free trial plans, but that is not enough.
The free trial gave users full access to the product, but since the main use case was seeing managing tabs on your browser, very few users were reaching that point during the trial period. Some users won't have a huge number of tabs at the time they sign in to the app.
Reason 3: My onboarding stage sucks
The following reason is also a consequence of my lack of user experience preparation.
Users keep messaging via the embedded Crisp widget about how to use features. Even though I did prepare a documentation page at https://docs.tabhub.io relying too much on the documentation page is not a proper way to build product. Hence, even though the user base grew from 70 to 180 in 2 weeks, there are only 7 users on a trial plan with 4 users are in the recurring subscription.
So those are the reasons why I think the retention rate of TabHub is a bit too low. If you are TabHub user, feel free to give me a feedback.