After a weekend of excessive coffee drinking and wolfing down biscuits we have come to see the joy of completing a beta version of a bootstrapped project.
This, of course, was inspired by the early 37 Signals, back in the days when Seth Godin was talking about purple cows and Zeldman introduced the blue beanie, the guys behind Basecamp advocated bootstrapping your own company for the sake of simplifying the process of launching a new business. Remembering the days that you could launch a website in a day with a simple text editor, we’ve decided to give it a try and launch our idea by bootstrapping it. Thus Praze, a marketing software that helps you increase word of mouth for your digital business, has been finally loaded to the Internet. Interestingly, times have changed and you are no longer able to launch a project with a simple text editor, you should be proficient in several programming languages, cloud infrastructure and tens of other technology environments. This, of course, doesn’t stop the developers from starting hundreds of new projects every day hoping that they will thrive with a vital community, onboarding new users every minute. Build it and they will come – they said. Well, as I said, times have changed and unfortunately, this is no longer true. We as developers, have to work hard to persuade real people to use our state-of-the-art new shiny thing, but as it turns out, nowadays this is not that easy and we often end up competing with startups that have a designated marketing department with a budget to spend.
Fortunately, one thing has not changed at all – trusting your peers. Recommendation of a book, a product or a service from a close peer is all you need to hop on the bandwagon, often resulting in forming a community around the project, which ultimately leads to more mana for your service. Not coincidentally, word of mouth, as we call it, is one of the most powerful way to grow your user base and probably the easiest one. It is estimated that 92% of people trust recommendations from friends(more than all other forms of marketing) and 81% of U.S. consumers are influenced by a friend’s social media post(source: Nielsen). Well, this is powerful. If you are on the starting line, there is probably no easier way to leverage your product adoption than word of mouth. Moved by these numbers and having seen them in action in our prior experience, we wanted to introduce а word- of- mouth incentive on our websites, but as it turns out, there is no easy way unless you have a dedicated developer that will build the needed functionality, or you have a serious budget to spend on a referral software that mostly fits corporate requirements. Thus, we decided to build Praze to unleash word of mouth for the digital age and help digital startups that do not have tons of resources to pay only for this feature. We wanted it to be simple to use and affordable even for a starting indie developer.
We introduce Praze – a plugin for your website that allows you to give an incentive to people that will recommend your product or service to their friends. If you want to see Praze in action, go ahead and tell your friends about us and we will give you a free month of Praze.
Now, the “refer to a friend and get a free month” hack is very simple, but people in the industry know that this is one of the main driving forces behind the stellar growth seen in successful Internet companies. Giving an incentive could sound like a bribe to some people, but in reality if you have a great product that deserves to be seen by my friends I will happily recommend it without a bonus. The incentive will only make me smile and increase my loyalty to your company, which in the end will probably bring more and more of my peers to your homepage. Since Praze is just starting, the first 500 users will get a free month of our premium package.
P.S. Talking about great products, I’m writing this in Typed by Realmac, another inspiring product that I will recommend. And no, I do not get an incentive for recommending it. Just showing some love.