For the last year, the co-founder Roelof Jan and I, have been working on this tool called CRO-tool. During the early stage of the product, it was a bad product. We’ve only spent a few hours per week on the project but lately, we’ve stepped up the game. What did we need for this? Just a launch of the product, even though the product is far from good … some could even say is really bad, bad UX, bad content, etc. it just was a bad product.

For those who don’t know, CRO-tool is a search engine containing all kinds of psychological theories that can be applied to all different kinds of websites to increase the UX and conversions. There is in-depth information about these theories, videos, examples of how it can be applied, and example hypotheses so you can test if it will work for the website you’re working on.

Bad products are the way to go

Back in the days I was, and deep inside I still am, someone that wants to have the perfect product before launching. Even the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) should be near perfect when it comes to UX/UI and the code.

Working on CRO-tool, I quickly realized what I wanted was nearly impossible to do with the time we were spending on it. This was partly because of the co-founder who’s all about launching something and let’s see how it works.

So we did our first soft launch and I posted a message on LinkedIn that we needed some people to review this product we had so far. It went semi-viral. At least it got a lot of traction with our target audience, which I didn’t expect!

We’ve had plenty of people showing interest in the product and some people even took the time to review the product. Some people liked it, most people did see the potential and liked the idea … 90% of people thought it was a bad product. Now you can do two things, quit with the product and start working on something else or analyze the reviews and come up with a plan to improve the product.

Moving from bad products to something slightly better

It took us about two weeks to get all the reviews we needed to start compiling a list of the things we should improve/build. How did we know we had enough reviews? There wasn’t any new feedback coming in.

In my LinkedIn post, I asked everyone to be honest (most people actually did that!). I rather have harsh feedback and people telling me that the product is #@%$@ than them saying it’s awesome while they probably won’t use it again after the review.

We decided to NOT go all out on the UX, but rather on the content of the theories. Many people told us that during the registration process some optional fields are actually mandatory, so they got errors. Since we like bad products, we’re not going to fix that in the upcoming weeks.

Why Sander?! Why?! .. well this doesn’t have our priority, we rather spend all our time on creating content and the search engine since that brings all the value. You can even use the tool without an account, so accounts aren’t that important yet.

Our focus is on writing the content ourselves and delivering the best value that way.

What did you learn?

People are kind … yeah! I’m so thankful to all the people that took the time to review the product and their honesty in doing so. What I’m sorry for is sending most you just a copy-paste message, you didn’t deserve it. I just couldn’t find the time to write everyone a personal message.

Learnings

  • Just launch something and start promoting it on several channels, don’t use all your marketing assets for the first launch
  • Gather feedback until you don’t get any new feedback
  • Try to build relationships with the people who’ve shown interest in the product
  • Build even deeper relationships with the people that reviewed your product
  • Create a list of the feedback, combine it, categorize it, and rate it according to the impact/effort scale

We’re aiming to build a community around the bad product and people that are interested in our tool, but also would like to see it succeed. Would you like to join this community and help us to change this bad product to something awesome? Feel free to get in touch!