We launched our impact reporting platform earlier this month and thought you might like it if we “reported” back to you — talking about our launch with true transparency ranging from actual analytics to what went well and what didn’t with our launch.
First, let’s set the stage. We’ve been working on Unit of Impact for more than two years. In September of 2020, we exuberantly thought we’d launch by the end of the first quarter of 2021. Wrongo! Our ebullient spirit didn’t quite match up to reality as we didn’t anticipate the technological complexity of developing the first-ever impact reporting software for small businesses — turns out trying to make something simple and easy to use can also be quite complicated! We also discovered with three co-founders each having primary job responsibilities at their own B Corps, it was just going to take longer. Side-gig startups, we came to learn, necessarily require a longer timeframe as you’re trying to keep multiple flames burning.
So, factoring in the real world, we continued work with our beta testers (heroes!) and our advisors (sages!), and we set the third quarter of 2022 for launch — and while the deadline occasioned plenty of stress and tons of work on top of tons of work, we made it!
Impact Reporting Launch By The Numbers
Here’s what our launch looked like by the numbers:
avg. engagement time
In the first week after launch, we had 338 users visit the website with 759 page views and an average engagement time of 5:59:26. At first glance, that last number — engagement time — seems impressive, except that it may have had to do with some of the things that didn’t go so well with our launch — covered later in this blog.
Our top traffic generator was a story about our impact reporting platform in B The Change Media with 300 referrals — ah, the value of earned media! Following close behind that were direct links, LinkedIn, email contacts, and Google, respectively.
We had visitors from 41 U.S. states and 31 countries — there was international interest in impact reporting for small businesses everywhere from Argentina to Norway to South Africa.
The tale of the tape the following week was a wee bit different. Our traffic dropped off significantly. Users were down 62% to 111 total, page views dropped 63% to 301, and engagement time on site decreased by 62% to 1:53.44. Our top traffic generator was direct links with 161 referrals, followed by B The Change, ecosia.org (the search engine that fights climate change by planting trees!), email contacts, and Google, respectively.
These numbers likely reflect fewer post launch week activities as we exhaled a bit. Whew! It felt pretty good to breathe in some oxygen, but it wasn’t without a cost! In the case of declining engagement time, this was probably a positive as it may have resulted from us figuring out some sign-up problems (discount codes) that were keeping people on the site longer than they needed to be.
And what about customers, you ask? In the first two weeks, we signed up 25 customers to our impact reporting platform. After more than 2 years in the startup wilderness developing Unit of Impact, we’re excited to have paid customers we can serve..
What Went Well
Our beta testers converted at an encouraging rate to paid customers on the platform indicating that those who know it best find it has great value to them.
The initial PR push with the article in B The Change media gave us a good lift with referral traffic and will likely generate traffic and positive SEO into the future. More PR on the way!
Last, but not least — we launched the darned thing! Unit of Impact is out in the live world helping small business social impact customers with their measurement and reporting. In the first two weeks, we had our first customer, Rivanna Natural Designs, use our software to design and release its 2021 Impact Report. (We’ll have a deeper look at their impact report in our November blog.) The platform is generating revenue for our company, and we’re getting positive feedback about this first version of the software – and lots of good ideas for future improvements.
What Didn’t Go So Well
As a wise person once said upon launching a startup, “Oh crap! Didn’t see that one coming.” The day that B The Change Media published the story about our impact reporting platform, our hosting provider went down. If you wanted to click through and learn more about us, well, you couldn’t. This hurt — this audience is a sweet spot for us, and we lost traffic and likely customers as well.
Another hiccup was our sign-up and registration process — the absolute last thing you want when someone is ready to subscribe to your product. Discount codes weren’t applying to the first payment after the free trial — ugh! The registration form wasn’t saving fields from step to step in the process. We made fixes as quickly as possible, but again: Ugh!
Speaking of discount codes, they’re working fabulously now and readers of this newsletter can still use the discount code EarlyBird2022 through November to sign up for free trial and receive 20% off our annual plan. What’s keeping you?
Promote, promote, promote. As the second week drop-off described earlier shows, turns out the world is a crowded and competitive place; if you don’t promote consistently, you won’t see the results you need. Next up, we’ll be pursuing our partnership strategy with social impact organizations; marketing directly to leaders of public benefit corporations who have a legal reporting requirement; and starting to show our pitch deck around to potential investors.
So, there’s our launch, friends. If there’s sufficient interest and positive feedback about our analytics reporting in this article, we might continue it periodically in the future — so let us know what you think. And in the meantime, to our new customers and other social impact companies using business to change the world for good, whad’ya say — let’s go!