James and his business partner decided to build Content Snare, a tool to help agencies get content from their clients and become more productive. They validated their idea with a simple landing page and spent 6 months building the project. After many tries and errors, Content Snare is now a successful business. James’ role in the business is community management and marketing, and he has a business partner who handles the tech team. The original idea was different than what they ended up building, as James wanted to build a tool to help clients better communicate what they wanted in a website.
James and his business partner decided to create Content Snare, a tool to assist agencies collect content from their clients, since they were tired of working for other people. They spent the following six months creating the project after validating their concept with a straightforward landing page. After several efforts and failures, Content Snare is now a profitable company which helps productivity.
What are you currently working on and what is your background?
Hey! I used to program controllers that animated real-world equipment before getting into all this internet business stuff. even complete mine sites, such as engines, pumps, and so on.
My company partner and I just became tired of working for other people, like most of us in the internet business world. We began a protracted, challenging excursion into software and website creation. We’ve created three (and a half) software products for our own company over the past almost eight years, sold one of them, created innumerable websites, and worked on some enormous software projects for a variety of clients.
Getting data and material from clients was one of our main problems. It was a complete pain in the ass, to put it bluntly. It delayed payments, put a stop to entire projects, and added stress that we simply didn’t need.
That’s why we created material Snare, a solution to assist agencies in obtaining material from their clients on schedule and in the appropriate format.
Marketing and community management are my responsibilities at this company.
As a result… interviewing people in this way:
I’m fortunate to work with a business partner who is a computer nut and arguably the greatest developer I’ve ever met. He takes care of the IT staff so that I can focus on encouraging more people to use Snare.
The current concept for Content Snare is rather straightforward. Depending on how many team members are utilizing the product, a monthly membership is required. We could play around with introducing certain services or add-ons in the future.
How did the concept occur to you?
Actually, the original concept was quite dissimilar from what we ultimately built.
I admit that I found the briefing process to be somewhat annoying while we were constructing websites. I intended to create a solution that would enable clients to more effectively express their website requests.
I talked to a lot of local web designers about their workflow and difficulties. Nearly all of them settled on making client content their primary focus. Not the short. In other words, the concept was immediately turned on its head.
As an agency, we could obviously identify with the issue, which made it very easy to plan and create a solution to improve our own life.
Our company kind of organically slid into websites throughout the course of our eight years. Actually, my greatest business passion has always been creating and designing software. That meant I was highly motivated to create this tool and turn it into our main source of income.
How was Content Snare created?
It began as nothing more than a straightforward landing page created in WordPress. When we were prepared, it requested an email address in exchange for a discount.
I chatted with web designers I personally knew, joined Facebook groups, and just asked them if they would be interested in being added to the list. Really simple concepts.
I needed some assurance that the product was solving a real problem and was something people would be ready to pay for because I’d heard so many horror stories about products never getting off the ground. That implied asking for cash before we even had a finished good. An early purchase, if you will.
We had a pre-sale after we had attracted a few hundred individuals to see whether people would be ready to put money down. We provided beta access at a steep discount along with a full year of access to the product (beginning when it went online).
In about two hours, 25 of the 25 available spots were sold. It was a thrilling day, and it increased our faith in the functionality of the product.
Development actually began at that point.
In order to create all the necessary screens, we first recruited a UX designer. We made a list of every feature we eventually desired and cut away anything that wasn’t essential for the MVP. We utilized the software engineers that already worked for our company to create Content Snare.
Ruby on Rails was used for the back end while Angular 2 was used for the front end. It was a simple choice because we virtually always utilize this tech stack for client projects.
From the time of the pre-sale until the doors opened, it took around 6 months. During that time, we continued to grow our Facebook group, email list, run ads, and run a beta program for those who had purchased a pre-sale. This was done to make sure any significant flaws were fixed before to release to the general public.
We paid particular attention to the appearance and feel, maybe more so than previous MVPs. To ensure the product had a pleasing appearance, we made an upfront investment in quality design. The designers are after all our target market.
Which marketing techniques did you use to expand your business?
I find it incredible how many different things we tried. The answer to this question might take up an entire book if I told you about every single one of them. Even though I was recording everything we did, I had to stop since it became too much.
To be honest, it has been really challenging. There are SO many various approaches to gaining new users, and it is impossible to predict which will be successful. So, all that’s left to do is test them as soon as you can.
I started establishing a Facebook community for web designers on day one. These people are our target market, so having access to so many of them directly helps us better understand their needs and how they think in order to enhance our business and their lives. I’ve even made a lot of friends through this group, some of whom I’ve really met.
The next best marketing “tactic” we employed was a giveaway. Early on, this led to a lot of people talking about us in various groups, which caused our email list to quadruple in size in only two days.
Product Hunt was one strategy that didn’t perform as well as I had anticipated. Many startup entrepreneurs place a lot of importance on ranking #1 on Product Hunt. Because Facebook TV launched on the same day, we *almost* did that. So we chose to attack #2. More than 10 times as many signups as usual, as well as a significant increase in traffic, were caused by it, but none of them became paying customers.
I wish I could say there were a few things that just blew everything else out of the water and caused tremendous development, but that is just not the case. Our growth is the result of several little things building up and a few users at a time.
Podcasts from Content Snare
Listening to podcasts has been a fantastic outlet.
Here are a few things we’ve tried that, at the very least, partially worked:
getting a podcast interview
Excellent, helpful blog articles
spreading the articles in areas where individuals want assistance
SEO for the search terms our audience uses
Email-based contests and giveaways
What were the toughest barriers you overcome and problems you faced?
We have, in my opinion, been fortunate in this regard. There aren’t any significant issues that come to mind.
Some things, like a competitor releasing a new feature or someone saying something unfavorable, used to make me extremely anxious.
These things simply don’t affect me any longer. I’ve discovered that it serves no use to allow them to make you angry. You simply accept it and go on.
The only thing that still bothers me are the times when development is sluggish or even negative. Even if it may just last a few days or a week, mood is affected. Simply zooming out will allow you to see that everything is still going in the right direction.
What are your biggest drawbacks?
What a great question!
It serves as motivation for me, especially during those depressive times. Strong growth gives us a lot of incentive. Uncertainty makes it tougher, undoubtedly.
When I speak it out loud, I understand that losing weight is the same way.
One of the major ‘disadvantages’ in regard to our industry, in my opinion, would be the prevalence of freelancers who are experiencing financial hardship. Our user base includes many independent contractors. We have an issue if they can’t afford our service. We thus focus heavily on education to aid web designers in expanding their firms. Additionally, it’s nice to hear that you actually assisted someone in expanding their business.
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Which of your missteps throughout the construction and expansion of Content Snare were the worst?
The worst error, by far, was not being attentive enough when choosing features for our MVP. We crammed much too much into the initial iteration, which ran up against our development budget. Our MVP cost entirely too much money.
If I had to do it over, I would cut out everything that wasn’t essential and collaborate with the development team more closely to ensure that we were all on the same page.
The other major one is definitely continuing to run our web design company at the same time. It’s difficult to call this a mistake because I’m still unsure of whether I made the proper choice.
The initial plan was to continue creating websites so that we could continue operating and that I could have a pulse on the market. In this approach, I could create blog pieces and films that benefited our target audience, or marketing that is centered on teaching.
Since then, I’ve come to the conclusion that one lousy customer may consume a full week of my time (plus the time of the team), time that might have been used to work on Content Snare. I also understood that we might collaborate with others to write guest pieces that would educate our users. They are specialists in their field. This implies that they produce content far better than I could have and gain some SEO juice in the process.
In all honesty, we probably ought to have given up on site design sooner.
What would you change if you were given the chance to?
I’m not really sure, except from what I just said! I would be answering this right now if I knew the solution.
I believe my advice would be to start fostering connections with possible mates straight immediately. This is a challenging question though, since you might require a functional product or a “name” in the field before some individuals will collaborate with you.
What additional learning resources, besides making errors, would you suggest to new entrepreneurs?
Here are a few of my favorite books, though much of this depends on their sector:
One of the greatest business books I’ve read about making better transactions is Never Split the Difference. Influence – This should be a requirement for everybody before they write any content or try to sell something. It’s also amusing with anecdotes about actual hostage negotiations where the concepts come from.
The timeless book How to Win Friends and Influence People is helpful in many facets of life, not just business. Everything is made easier with the appropriate connections.
Rework is a fantastic book with tons of useful ideas for SaaS startups.
For further information
Everything is available on the Content Snare website. The blog and a ton of free materials may be found in the footer. You may discover my personal website, where I discuss marketing and automation, here if you’d want to keep up with me. Alternatively, you could adhere to our software and app development firm!
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