Olive – Life After Launch

After the hustle and bustle of launching Olive 10 days ago I thought it was about time I wrote about the launch and the trials and tribulations of web app development and testing. This whole post is me thinking out loud, so to speak, it’s not intended as a step by step guide of how to set-up a web application. I will post about this at a later date.

Active Olive account for You Know Who

My active Olive account for You Know Who

Olive has had a large amount of interest, undoubtedly the most sign ups being on day 1 of launch as expected. Since then it’s slowed down, as expected, but still gaining sign ups daily which is great.

A large proportion of sign ups are on the Free account, and of those signs ups I am not able to see any personal information (of course) but I can see how many clients (out of the 2 given on the free account) they have used. Lots of people seem to have signed up but then not added a single client, without adding a client they can’t even see what Olive is, or how it works. This is quite baffling, are they just being nosy and seeing what it looks like or just registering their domain “just in case”… who knows?

I have made some mistakes whilst developing Olive, I quite expected to do so and it’s a learning curve as always. I made the mistake of not beta testing someone from outside the UK so when we launched a problem that was specific to our American friends cropped up (has been resolved now). I should have also tested the app live with my own clients prior to launch, this hasn’t been too much of a problem though and has seen some exciting additions that make the process 100% automated in terms of communication between you and the client.

The hardest thing I’ve come across is marketing it, it’s so different to anything out there at the moment. It can also be used in multiple ways, web designers, graphic designers, remote pa’s etc. Google adwords has been a nightmare as there’s nothing that performs particularly well that is targeted to specific users,  to drive enough traffic to the site.

I’ve taken an ad spot on Just Creative Design which is driving some traffic to the site and also the CSS Galleries are also doing their bit to send traffic my way but as a whole, how do you describe Olive? It’s not the sort of app people search for, but if they see adverts for it, they are likely to click through and take a look when directed specifically at web designers, I know I would. Time for some serious thinking.

I’ve been really interested to see how my own clients have adapted to using Olive, I can honestly say they love it. They really enjoy the feeling of managing projects themselves as well as not having to email for status updates, my inbox has been clearer and it’s all been working as it should. I’ll be doing a large blog post on the Olive blog early next week to show exactly how I’ve got clients on board and how it’s starting to increase take-up on monthly maintenance contracts. There will be a step by step of how you can do the same to increase your monthly revenue through maintenance and support contracts.

The thing that is still niggling me, I’m not 100% sure people understand what Olive is, looking down the stats of sign ups and the proportion showing 0/2 clients added, it seems clear that either people are getting stuck or have just come in for a nose around, either way, I’ll be looking into different ways to market Olive so that it’s 100% clear what it is from the moment you hit the homepage. On the other hand, by the amount of people who have signed up to larger accounts and are using it on a day to day basis must understand and “get it”…

Olive is still so young, there’s loads that can be changed and improved upon with the first major update scheduled today, I’d love to know how you are using Olive if you have an account, feel free to send me an email, sarah at youknowwhodesign.com.

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  • Don’t be too disheartened over the people who sign up but don’t add anything. I think a lot of people are just having a look see. Some will convert to actual customers and some will never.

    We’re a video for eBay site and a fair few people sign up but don’t even upload a video. We’ve found though that our ration of people who sign in and do nothing and people who sign in and upload a video but don’t put it in to eBay are pretty solid. No change month after month no matter what we do.

    I think their is just a fair baseline of this activity. Monitor it and track it, but don’t stress about it.

  • As the owner of a web app myself, this behaviour is completely normal. Most new users that sign up never click past the first few screens it seems.

    The key thing is to make sure you convert the people who do stick at it into sales. I watched a video seminar by David Heinemeier Hansson recently where he mentioned that a sign-up-to-sales ratio of 5% or more is really good.

    We’ve been hitting 20% but as you mention in your article, getting people onto the site in first place is the tricky bit.

    Sounds like you’re doing a great job though. Good luck.

  • Olive looks like a really good app but what I would say looking at the site is that it isn’t immediately apparent about what it actually does.
    The strapline isn’t very informative whereas something like ‘Client management for web designers’ would say much more about the function of the application. Similarly, the schpiel above the fold doesn’t really tell me what this service is for or how it might make my life as a web designer easier.
    But don’t fret. It is early days and the beauty of web applications is the iterative nature of their development.
    Hope these thoughts are constructive. The app looks really great and look forward to trying it out soon.

  • Jamie I

    I would agree with Adrian above, don’t be disheartened by this. The fact that you have users signing up is encouraging.

    I couldn’t find the original page but I think 37Signals once revealed what proportion of their users were free and which ones were paying. The number of free users was a massive percentage, I seem to remember their free->paid conversion rate being less than 1%. It would make sense that the proportion of users who sign up “just to see” would be a large proportion of those free users, meaning that sadly the majority of your sign ups will go no-where and add nothing. That’s just the way it is, better to focus on the 1% you can help.

  • I disagree with Adrian on this. I think there is quite a lot you can do, at least initially, to greatly increase the number of people who sign up then actually do something with Olive.

    It’s all about that first run experience, and leading them through that process, putting the emphasis on how it will improve their business.

    When you first sign in to Olive there is a great opening video, but then quite a lot of steps and detail to follow and understand. Perhaps remove that and focus on the first actual step they can take to get started. Their next action. I would suggest that they don’t need to yet worry about credit values, changing the colours and so on. That can come afterwards. Hold their hand through those first steps one by one, and always emphasise how it will benefit them.

    I’d also suggest making it easy to contact you – and from people’s enquiries you then know where they’re getting stuck. Fit it for the person who enquires, then go back to the app and see how you can solve that for everyone else too.

    You could also run something like Clicktale (http://www.clicktale.com/) to get more of a sense of how people are interacting with the app.

    I hope some of this is helpful, best of luck with Olive!

  • Sarah:

    First of all, I would like to completely commend you for your absolutely wonderful web application. I can’t explain how much time you have saved me and my company. I was able to shift two of my Creative Engineers (AKA designers) over from just processing paperwork and payments to doing what they are actually paid to do.

    We’re a small, but charming web design firm based in Indianapolis, Indiana and have searched the internet far and wide for an option to accept payment over the internet. We resorted to PayPal Invoicing (which is horrid, believe you me!) and quickly started our own “cart” system, called Cocoa Pay. The reason it was called Cocoa was because it was sort of built in C (ridiculous, eh?).

    Long story short, I found Olive today when I was browsing the internet and immediately fell in love. I posted a praise comment on Get Satisfaction about it, but honestly, words can’t even describe how amazed we are. We’re testing it right now to see if we need to bring it online full time, but you’re allowing us to offer something new to our customers just by using Olive.

    For our new customers who ask for a dSMART Account (our Olive brand), we’re taking development costs down from $375 an hour to $100 an hour because it saves us so much time and money.

    Anyway, I’m thankful for your web app and I hope that you develop a lot more in the future. (P.S.: We’re having an executive meeting today about Olive to upgrade to the highest level, so we may be on your doorstep sooner than you think! — Oh and we’re promoting it on our website for you. I’ve told all of my freelance friends… hopefully it’ll get you some more users!)

    Andy Markle-Desjardins, a loyal fan of Olive