When I first built Cartfuel my thesis for success was everyone would use it.
Regardless of what landing page builder or website builder they wanted to use.
The idea was we cast a big net of potential users and get them to try it out for free.
And because I thought Cartfuel was so great, I thought they would fall in love with the platform.
In theory it was a good idea; but in practice it was a terrible business decision.
I realized that because Cartfuel was for everyone, it was for no one.
What I mean by that is that there was no target user in mind. There was no specific niche in mind. And there was no real use case.
Meaning that it was hard for us to "speak" to one specific user and even harder to dial in a marketing strategy.
To top it off, the free plan which gave users pretty much access to all of Cartfuel's functionality, reduced the amount of users who would upgrade to a paid plan.
We realized we gave away too much.
AND when you don't have a specific user in mind, what ends up happening (at least in Cartfuel's case), was tons of people signing up for the free plan and never upgrading.
When I did user interviews, there were no similarities in use cases.
This is not a huge problem but it doesn't allow me to understand at a granular level why they are using Cartfuel.
I thought long and hard on this problem. I asked my peers what they thought and they said the same thing I was thinking...
So I went to the drawing board and realized something critical.
The only way Cartfuel would survive is if we pivot. Otherwise, with no MRR coming in, we would not have the funds to continue building.
I knew the people who would use Cartfuel 2.0 had to have a real problem AND be able to pay the monthly fee.
I spoke with some of the people in my marketing circle and someone mentioned HubSpot.
I am familiar with HubSpot as I have worked extensively with the program.
HubSpot and their clients are the perfect match for Cartfuel.
HubSpot has 103,000 active users who pay at LEAST $800/mo.
Each year they have double-digit growth. Most of their users are based in the US. They have real businesses that need to accept payments with HubSpot. And get this, HubSpot doesn't offer a way to accept payments out the gate. They have an under-saturated marketplace with only 1 app that is specifically made for accepting payments on HubSpot.
The app is expensive and doesn't provide all the features we have...
When I realized this, I knew that this is who I want to serve.
Not only do I have experience with HubSpot and HubSpot users, I know that Cartfuel can be a real service to businesses who want to accept payments in HubSpot and have more function for half the price of the current incumbent.
Plus, I have several funnel and automation clients (yes, I work during the day) that could use Cartfuel 2.0 immediately, aka, new MRR without having to spend a dime on marketing.
Cartfuel Meets HubSpot
To make this happen, I knew that we needed a few things:
1. A Facelift -> I hired a UI/UX person and they got to work
2. A New Landing Page -> I spent about a month re-doing the landing page so that is more focused and user-specific.
Side note: Here is the evolution of Cartfuel from when we first started till now:
When we first launched:
Our first redesign:
Our current deign:
As you can see we are more specific compared to the old versions
3. Remove the free plan -> Instead offer a 14-day trial because of the aforementioned issues
4. Increase price from $24 with limited features -> Instead offer unlimited everything for $97/mo and zero transaction fees
5. Add a HubSpot Integration -> This was the most expensive and time consuming part. I had to make sure the integration allowed for Cartfuel customer and sales data to connect with HubSpot.
With the new HubSpot integration users will now be able to see accept payments in HubSpot, see their customer sales data in HubSpot, and trigger workflows based on that data.
Not only that, we are the only app in the HubSpot marketplace that is funnel-focused - aka we are the only app that has one-click upsells and order bumps which is essential for most digital marketing and online education businesses.
But What About Everyone Else?
If you've been a Cartfuel user before this new relaunch, you're probably thinking, what about us?
Nothing will change if you bought an AppSumo plan, or are on our current $24/mo plan. You will still have access and will be able to use Cartfuel on any landing page or website.
And yes, you will still get the future updates.
The only difference is in our messaging and who we are targeting with our marketing; which in this case will be HubSpot users.
If you are currently on the free plan, you can still use Cartfuel, but you would have a 14-day free trial instead of the free plan and would have to upgrade to our $97/mo plan.
We hope that you understand why we had to pivot. The truth is, without this pivot, Cartfuel will not survive.
As a solo founder, I am not sure if this pivot is the right choice...
And I won't know until we ramp up our marketing strategy.
But I do know that by being dynamic and willing to make changes, I will give myself and Cartfuel the best chance of survival.
Here's what's new in Cartfuel 2.0
Multiple Products - You can now add multiple products to your product sequences
HubSpot Integration - You now have the ability to connect Cartfuel to HubSpot and collect sales data in contact timelines
Phone Number Field Toggle - You can now add a phone number field to collect phone numbers
New UI - We revamped the user interface to a more appealing and user friendly design
HubSpot Toggle - to replace Cartfuel forms with HubSpot forms
What's To Come
PayPal - I know this is a big one and unfortunately, PayPal has a bug that we are working with them to fix. But as soon as that bug is fixed we can release it without any problems!
Refund button on customer profiles
New Analytics Dashboard
Multiple Payment Gateways
Multiple Upsell Products
HubSpot CRM Extension
If you want to stay in the loop with our new features be sure to follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cartfuel
If you have any questions please reach out to our support email@example.com.