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How to steal customers from your competitors

Even before you launch it’s important that you LOVE every single person that signs up.  These are the people that are going to either pay your bills and sing your praises or move onto a competitor.  

The story below explains why Scott and I avoid gimmicks and put so much effort on support with KickoffLabs. We aren’t after a million dollars of VC… we want to build something people love and use to help change the world.  Gabriel is a KickoffLabs customer that’s building an app to increase carpooling in Agentina. That’s where his story begins…


While working on my Facebook-App Carpooling system for Argentina, I ran into two problems: first, I wanted to present it at a local TEDx conference, and the system wasn’t ready yet. And second, I didn’t want to launch it without having a large base of users. Imagine that you’re one of the first users, a potential evangelist of the system: if you have zero (or few) friends using the system, how could you find a match for your next trip?

I searched the web for a solution and I found it: it was called LaunchRock, and it promised me I could “setup a viral Launching-Soon page in minutes”. And for free! I signed up, and it stated that I needed to recommend it to three friends. My whole crew signed up and I tweeted about it, because I thought it was a great product.

But…. I couldn’t use it: it said that it will be available “soon”.

“Soon” didn’t work for me (I had a deadline) so I wrote them an e-mail asking if “soon” meant “less than two weeks”. No answer.

Josh from KickOffLabs replied my LaunchRock tweet with a Get your site today with@kickofflabs. The site is 100% localizable” message. Talk about aggressive marketing!

I signed up for KickOffLabs. Their free option wasn’t quite good for me (‘50 signers top’ is a very low bar) but their Plus account was quite cheap. I wrote them to see if they would accept PayPal and… Josh answered! In less than a day! Wow. Then I asked them more questions. And he answered. Fast!

As I write this, I’ve already launched the “launching site”. It’s quite successful: +100 signers during the TEDx conference. Now we’ve got a lot of pressure to complete the system! But I’m really grateful to Josh and KickOffLabs and so I’m taking a few minutes off to write this.

And LaunchRock? I’m still waiting to hear from them. I’m an engineer, not a web expert, but I know that there are two important rules while starting a successful web-based startup: (I) don’t promise what you can’t give; and (II) talk to your customers. LaunchRock did neither, KickOffLabs did both.

I do hope LaunchRock catches up, but for now I’m recommending KickOffLabs and hopefully using them for my next ventures.

Gabriel Weitz – Carpoolear

 


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