Day 31: Preparing for Lift-off – A Detailed Look at Knowlo’s Pre-Launch Checklist
Are we there yet?
Are we there yet?
Before we get there though, there are a few housekeeping items that we need to do before launching Knowlo to a closed group of beta testers.
While Slobodan and CofounderGPT put the finishing touches on the Knowlo MVP, I’ll be collaborating with CofounderGPT to create and then work through our pre-launch checklist.
There are quite a few things to do before launching, so this will most likely turn into a 2 or 3 part article.
Let’s get right into it.
Before we even get into the pre-launch checklist, we’ll need to do something about our email address. We’ve been avoiding having @knowlo.co email accounts because we weren’t really sending any emails out except our newsletter. To start, we’ve been using an @cloudhorizon.com email account to send out our newsletters.
But now that we are about to launch the product, we’ll need to let everyone on our waitlist know that Knowlo is ready for them to try out. This will look a lot more professional if it’s coming from an @knowlo.co email account.
We will also need to send out ‘system generated emails’ from Knowlo. These are the emails that are automatically sent out to users at different points of interaction with Knowlo: when they sign up, when their trial is expiring, when they need to update their payment information, etc. And these emails absolutely have to come from the same domain as the product. Otherwise, they may hit people’s spam folders or they may ignore them thinking they are unrelated.
I explained in Day 14 why I think the only two serious options for an email provider are Google Workspaces and Microsoft Office 365. To keep things simple, we are going to go with Google Workspaces. Office 365 is designed for bigger companies and is much more complex to set-up and manage. And we’ll only need one email address to start, we’ll create more as needed later on.
I went to Google Workspaces and just clicked Get Started directly from the homepage. And sneaky Google immediately puts me on the Business Plus plan, with no option to select another plan. I hate when companies do this, shame on you Google for using these tactics!
So I abandoned my signup, went back to the Google Workspaces pricing page and selected the smallest plan by clicking Get Started from there:
I followed the steps for the signup, entered my credit card details and verified the domain with Google through DNS. Then, just to make sure sneaky Google didn’t upgrade me to their top plan, I went to check which plan we’re on and we are in fact on Business Starter. BUT, Google is actually charging $9.36 CAD per user per month. What you see in the screenshot above is not the monthly pricing. It’s the pricing if you have a ‘1 year commitment’ which means you have to pay for an annual payment to get that price.
When did Google become like GoDaddy with these sneaky sales tactics?
Anyway, we set up the email account and tested it. We’re ready to start sending emails from our @knowlo.co email account.
Back in the day when we were building products for other people at Cloud Horizon, we used to have a super fancy and comprehensive pre-launch checklist. This checklist included everything we thought was important to complete and check before shipping the product to our customers. It was mostly a technical checklist though since our job was build the products and then the customers did the marketing and sales of the product themselves.
So the checklist we are going to create today is not quite like the ones from Cloud Horizon, but it’s inspired by the general idea. Let’s ask CofounderGPT for some help coming up with one:
We are getting ready to launch Knowlo to our waitlist of beta users. Before we do, there are some things that we need to do in order to get the product ready for our beta users.
You know everything that has been done so far. On Day 30, we went over everything that was accomplished in the first 30 days. With this information and what you know was done in Knowlo so far, let’s come up with a draft outline of pre-launch items that you think we should do. Do not be generic. Be very specific and provide a task list of things you think that Knowlo needs to do before launching to our closed beta group.
This prompt might not work really well for you if you try it. CofounderGPT has a lot of context from all the previous conversations and articles we’ve written and then passed through it. So it mostly knows what we’ve done and what we still need to do.
This is the first result it produced:
It’s actually a pretty decent list and captures most of what needs to be done. So we’ll work with this and we’ll plug in anything that may be missing at the end.
I don’t have everything required to complete this entire list, and its also quite long so we’ll need to break it up into pieces and do some stuff today and other stuff over the next day or two.
What CofounderGPT proposed is a good start, but we’ll also need to make some modifications to the homepage and add a few new pages to the website. We need to provide more information about Knowlo and how it can benefit software companies.
Here is my updated list of everything that we’ll need to do on the website before launching:
- Update Homepage hero image with Knowlo demo
- Update Homepage with more information and screenshots
- Improve About Us page
- Add a Pricing page
- Add a Schedule a demo page
- Add a Signup page (basically a from which puts people on a waitlist through which we can manually let in new customers into our beta)
- Create FAQ page
For most of these tasks, I’ll be able to use CofounderGPT’s help to write the copy. But I’ll need to set up all the pages in WordPress. The template we got in Day 8 has all the elements we need so I’ll just add the copy that CofounderGPT writes for us.
After speaking with Slobodan, we agreed to change the homepage slightly to add or include the following:
- Better explanation of the problem
- Add a benefits section so we can explain the benefits of using Knowlo
- Add a pricing section in which we’ll say it’s free for the first 6 months for our beta users
In order to really get the right help from CofounderGPT, I’ll be using custom instructions to provide some additional context. This is a new feature that OpenAI rolled out for ChatGPT and we’ve been using it to provide some additional context around the tasks we’re working on.
In this case, in the “How would you like ChatGPT to respond?” section, here are the custom instructions I used:
Act as a copywriter and marketing expert with over 20 years of experience.
You specialize in writing high-conversion copy for websites and landing pages.
You have managed to get the highest CTR (click-through rate) across the entire copywriting industry as you master all psychological tricks that can be leveraged in copywriting to convince and educate the audience.
Your tone of voice should be:
– No fluff
– Approachable & casual
With these custom instructions and the previous context CofounderGPT has about the product, I used this prompt to get it to write the copy for the three sections:
We’re reworking the homepage of the Knowlo Website. Here are three areas which we need to add or improve on:
1) We need to more clearly explain what problem Knowlo solves. Be articulate and keep our target audience in mind when defining the problem.
2) We need to outline 4 benefits of using Knowlo. Please think about and come up with 4 potential benefits our customers will have from using the product.
3) We need to create a simple pricing section on the homepage. For now, we will be giving a limited version of Knowlo away for free for 6 months for the beta users who sign up today. So we need to explain this in simple and clear terms.
Please write copy for each of these sections. The copy should be concise and should be written in a way that will maximize signups for Knowlo.
CofounderGPT created some ok copy for the homepage with this prompt and these custom instructions. But as usual, I had to push it a little bit and ask for a few iterations until we got to something we can actually use:
I think this is good enough so we’ll go with this. The next step is to set all this up in WordPress. I don’t think it’s necessary to do wireframes since we’ll only be adding sections to the page and we’ll be using the existing elements that came with the template.
About Us page improvements
We’re going to update the About Us page to include a little more information about how we’re building Knowlo and the latest about our progress.
I used our trusty mockup tool Excalidraw to create a quick wireframe of how the page is going to look like:
We need to make minor modifications to the existing text on the About Us page, so with the help of CofounderGPT:
Let’s the copy of the About Us page to prepare it for our launch. The copy we have so far is ok and we can use elements of it but we need to make it sound more professional. We should also mention in the copy:
1) That we have been building for the last 5 months in public and the story of how Knowlo was built is on our blog which they can see lower on the About page
2) That we are building Knowlo as an open startup and that we are sharing all the metrics and details of our journey through our articles and on this page
3) Remove the part about “ambitious goals” and reaching $1M in ARR
4) The section “Joining the journey is the “Side-Hustle Team” – Slobodan, Lav, and CofounderGPT. Together, they’re not just building a business, they’re crafting an adventure.” makes no sense in the context of the rest of the text. So either remove it or rewrite it so it fits in with the rest of the text
Please rewrite the About Us page copy with these comments in mind.
It didn’t take long to get some very good copy for the About page. All that remains is to add a little widget which will show updated metrics and to add the blog posts which are categorized as ‘Product Development’ at the bottom of the page below the Team section. I’ll be asking our freelancer WordPress developer for help with this and will provide an update on time and cost once it’s done.
Next, we’ll create a page for people to request demos with us. There are two parts to making this page. The first is to create the page in WordPress. The second is to put some kind of scheduler into this page so that we don’t have to email people to schedule demos.
Let’s get CofounderGPT to write the copy:
We need write some copy for a simple “Schedule a demo” page. The page is going to have a title, then a short explanation of what the customer should expect from the demo and then a calendar where they can schedule it. In the sidebar of the demo page, we’ll need to provide provide some reasons why people should schedule a demo of Knowlo.
The goal of this copy is to maximize the number of demos that are scheduled.
Please write the title, explanation and sidebar copy.
After a few iterations, here is the copy that we’ll go with:
I used the Contact Us page template and arranged all the copy into it so that it looks ok. This page will remain hidden for now until we officially launch the Knowlo beta.
Since we don’t want to send out emails with availabilities, the best way for us to schedule demos is using a tool like Calendly, SavvyCal or Chilipiper. There are plenty of other tools out there, these are just the first three that come to mind.
I already use Calendly to schedule most of my meetings, so I’m familiar with the interface and how it works. I did a quick check and they have a free plan. There is also a super easy way to embed the calendar into WordPress. Let’s not overthink it, we’ll go with Calendly for now. I’ll create a free account and will embed the schedule directly into the page so that people can schedule demos on the site.
In terms of availabilities, Slobodan and I agreed that we’ll allocate 2 hours per day each of availability for demos. There will be a total of 4 hours per day spread out from Monday to Thursday so that we can accommodate multiple time zones.
And while we’re on the subject of demos, we already have two scheduled before we even put up this page! These demos are coming from my Mastermind group and both companies are software companies which could benefit from a product like Knowlo. AgentMethods and EPRLive will be among the first demos of the product that we do. And they have agreed to test it out if they feel that it could benefit their business.
Usually when you sign up for a product like Knowlo, you fill in a form and then you get to use the product. But since we’re in beta mode, we’re not just going to let anyone in at any time. We need to screen people and test it out with the companies that have training materials that they can use.
To do that, we’ll create another simple page on which we’ll need to ask our potential customers a few questions:
- Full Name:
- Short description of your product:
- Do you have a helpdesk, knowledge of FAQ base for your product? If yes: which platform do you use? If yes: please provide a link.
We decided to keep it really straight-forward. And after speaking with Slobodan, we also decided that we’ll connect this page to the Knowlo application itself rather than going through a form on the WordPress website. So he will provide an update on how they actually created this page in an upcoming article.
For the Pricing Page, we need to figure out what our pricing is going to be. This is a long and difficult subject which is not going to fit into this article. We’re going to be writing a full article on pricing in which we’ll figure out the Knowlo business model and what it will initially cost.
For the FAQ, instead of having a traditional page with questions and answers, we’re going to build a simple demo of Knowlo. Because it’s going to take some to prepare everything we need, this task too will be left for another day.
Onboarding and User Education
Slobodan, CofounderGPT and I agreed that we will create a short video explaining to people how to use the product. But this will act as a reminder. Most importantly, before we dive into creating a complex set of onboarding documents and procedures, we are going to onboard the first couple of beta users ourselves. Meaning, Slobodan or I will sit on a Zoom call with our customers and help them get set up with Knowlo.
Why are we doing it this way? Because we’re not sure how people are going to use this product and what parts of Knowlo will be the most difficult for them to understand. So if we sit with potential customers while we onboard them, we’re going to learn a bunch about what the customers goals are with the product, what problem they are aiming to solve with it and how they plan on using it. In other words, we’re going to use this opportunity of onboarding to gather more information about our customers and their pain points.
We’re also going to create a short video using Narakeet so that our potential customers can always fall back on that if they forget something that was discussed during the onboarding. This video will always be available to be watched through the Knowlo administrator dashboard.
When we onboarded our first customers in Vacation Tracker, Slobodan and I had quite a few discussions around whether we should have a chat bubble for people to communicate with us if they have questions after we onboard them.
In the end, we decided to put one and it turned out to be a fantastic decision. Through this chat bubble, we learned a lot about how our customers were using the product and what was missing for them to get the maximum benefit from our nifty little PTO Tracker.
The tool we used at Vacation Tracker a few years ago is Drift because they had an awesome product with a free plan for small companies. I don’t know what’s happened to Drifts pricing since then, but right now the smallest plan they have is $2,500 if you commit annually! I guess they’ve gone completely upmarket because these prices don’t make sense for an established startup like Vacation Tracker, let alone a super early stage startup like Knowlo.
We eventually moved to Crisp because it offered a helpdesk software along with the chat system, all for $95 per month. We still use Crisp at Vacation Tracker today. So the logical next step after checking Drift was to see what Crisp offers and great news, they have a free plan!
We’re already quite happy with Crisp so it’s a no-brainer for us to go with their free plan to start so that we can communicate with our beta users.
This post is getting very long so we’ll stop it here and we’ll continue with out pre-launch checklist in Day 33. Expect the Day 32 update from Slobodan in the next couple of days where he and CofounderGPT will be putting the finishing touches on the Knowlo MVP.
Time spent today: 8h
Total time spent: 206h
Investment today: $55.15 USD (WordPress + Google Workspaces in USD)
Total investment: $1,286.60USD
Beta list subscribers: 93
Paying customers: 0