freelance developer at Inkdrop

Inkdrop has reached $1,000 sales

It’s been a while since I last wrote about Inkdrop’s business.
Inkdrop is a commercial note-taking app based on Markdown. It’s something like Evernote for programmers. I’m making this product all alone with a lot of support from many people.

Half a year has passed since the app has been officially launched in October 2016 after having private beta testing. And then, it has reached $1,000 sales in total! Thank you. So now I can say that it’s possible to monetize with this product. I’m very excited about that.

I want to quit freelance by making money with it. I’d like to share this endeavor with you, and I hope it’d be helpful for your business.


About an analysis of current service situation and the future strategy:

  • Only a few heavy users are using it
  • 50% of users bought yearly plan
  • Slow growth is enough to live
  • Fast growth is bad for supporting users
  • Strategies for spreading with word of mouth

There’re Only Heavy Users

Let’s take a look at number of users. A total of registered users is 1200+.
500 people registered after the official release. The rest of them are beta users and have been dropped already. So, there’re a few users only retained.
DAU is around 30:

Yes, it’s a few, a calm wave. 30 people are paid users so it’s almost all. Several people are new.

It Doesn’t Have to Grow Fast

Inkdrop got $1,000 sales — but it’s $4.99/m and there’re only 30 paid users. Why? Actually, half of them are annual contracts($49.9/y). It’s surprising. That reminds me, I’m paying for yearly plan of Evernote and Dropbox which I use almost everyday.

I would understand a message “I’ll use it for a year at least” from people who bought an annual contract. That greatly motivates me!

Below graph illustrates the recent sales:

Recent sales (1 USD = 111 JPY [¥])

From this result, it turned out that if you got 30 people over 6 months, you earn around $200 instead of $150 a month. In other words, if you get five new paid users on a monthly basis, it will result in sales of $200 a month.

If so, it’s unlikely that I have to get tons of paid users in a hurry. In order to reach sales of $3,000 a month, you would need to acquire 75 paid users every month for 6 months. In the 6th month, it will result in:

[New annual contracts] * 37 + [Monthly contracts(including existing ones)] * 225 = $2,975

This seems to be usable as an indication of the growth speed to be aimed.
This means that it needs 15 times more new registration. It seems that 900 people are needed since it has around 60 users on average every month. It’s hard...but it seems like I don’t need to reach tens of thousands of people at once. That’s good news.

Inkdrop for iOS has been released last month

Keep Good User Support

I cannot support a lot of users at once. So it doesn’t make sense that I reach large number of people. I’ve decided to provide the service which I want you to do. No matter how good the app is, I personally have stopped using it due to poor user support. My service doesn’t want to be that way either.

Sometimes I get a difficult technical questions such as regarding security from users because they are also developer. So it may take an hour or longer to respond to them. I also decided to reply within 24 hours for the first inquiry. I don’t want to let users wait for long time.

Therefore, it’s rather important that the growth speed is slow. I think the 900 people registering every month is probably my maximum capability to handle. I’m planning to improve FAQs and documentations, and to deploy a forum where people can help each other.

Take Care of the Word of Mouth

I’m considering the strategy how to get 900 people every month. I don’t want to send marketing emails, roll ads, spam on Twitter, and take competitors’ users. I just recently had a terrible experience using the app which was on the advertisement.

My strategy is to focus maximizing the word of mouth. So the most important thing is to make the app excellent. And I’d offer side value of the app, for example:

  1. Business knowledges I learned like this article
  2. Technical knowledges I learned through the development
  3. Encounters and exchanges between users

etc. I think it’s rare that a person develops cross-platform applications including planning, designing and server-side all alone. It may be helpful for someone to share techniques for how to quickly build high-quality cross-platform apps even if you have other job. I’d like to write about that, and give a talk if I could have a change.

I’d like to provide a forum where we can talk about not only the product but also their own projects and so on when there’re enough people. Because encounters and exchanges are priceless.

In short, rather than directly making engagement, I would try to make good reputations for Inkdrop. It’s hard but relying on ads etc. is the last resort after doing what I can do.

This Is Just The Beginning

I would roll the Android version out as soon as possible. Maybe within 3 months. And the next is note-sharing feature. I want it, too.

Please share with friends if you like it! Thank you for reading.

See also


Takuya Matsuyama

The developer of Inkdrop 😉

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