I would love to share with you how we run our event management app Eventee during the biggest pandemic since 1920. We have managed to turn things around from a certain bankruptcy to continuous YoY growth every single month. Actually, we hit the best quarter we have ever had. Based on the growth we recorded in January (see the graph below), we had higher expectations for the year 2020, but in spite of all that, I still count this as a success story.
March 2020 - the pandemic outbreak
I remember the weekend of March 14th as clearly as today. Italy was hit really hard and Europe started closing its borders. The Czech Republic announced strict quarantine since March 16th and I thought this is it, it's over. During the weekend I called the investor and thanked him for doing business with us, thinking this is the last time we are having a meeting about Eventee. What more, we were in the middle of negotiation with another seed investor when COVID-19 broke out. Not the best time to invest money in the event industry, I would say…
After a really depressing weekend, I started to see things more clearly and decided not to give up so easily. I sat down with my team and told them about my ideas on how to survive and what we should try. We all agreed to create a lifetime package for Eventee and promote it to as many users and prospects as possible. The catch was that promoting an app for real-life events didn't make any sense at that point so we had to transform Eventee to fully support virtual events too. I also played with the idea of using ProductHunt and eventually AppSumo.
We had to slightly change our backend, administration and create new marketing materials including the Lifetime landing page. With all that going on, we soon introduced support for live streaming in our mobile and web app. All of that within 3 weeks.
April 2020 - Eventee lauches an unlimited plan
With a short delay, we released Eventee Unlimited on the 8th of April and started an e-mail campaign to target all our users, followed by a social campaign on Facebook right after. The price was set to $999 which makes it double our regular price for one event. Quite a good deal for lifetime access with unlimited events and attendees. We tried to be as creative as possible and get the most out of each dollar spent on advertisement. There was also a strong call for new ways to promote our product, as the performance of our go-to advertisement platforms dropped significantly right after the strict quarantine was announced. The analysis showed that our ads performance went down by more than 80%.
We decided to try an ad campaign on Quora, which turned out to be the right step, as it brought some really satisfactory results. In fact, Quora performed better than Facebook or other platforms. The average CTR of Quora ads was surprisingly two times higher or even more than the average CTR of Facebook ads.
As for the apps, we implemented audio/video call support for our networking feature, so attendees can meet each other in Eventee without sharing private contact information.
By the end of the month, we were ready to list Eventee on producthunt.com. We took advantage of this opportunity to finally promote Eventee 2.0. We have been working on a new version of Eventee for almost a year and again, there was no better time to release a new version of an event app than in the middle of a global pandemic. Thanks to the launch on ProductHunt we were able to acquire some relevant traffic, however, no direct sales were recognized.
We even created a new product video to properly introduce Eventee 2.0 on ProductHunt. We liked it so much that we placed it on our homepage too. It was actually quite easy to make. We just used the Rotato app to shoot each feature separately and then let a professional edit and finalize the whole clip.
May 2020 - enhancing the virtual experience
For the first time in the history of Eventee, the subscription model started to make sense. It was like a fit of the final piece of the puzzle. As we received feedback from our customers for Eventee Unlimited, it started to be clear that even in the event space, users are used to paying for subscriptions in exchange for better deals. So we sat down again and rewrote our business model. I'm not going to lie, I'm more excited than ever. I do hope that we will be able to release the new pricing by June. All plans will be more attractive than ever, eventually offering more for less. Even the free version is going to get more features and still remain free. You can get in touch with me via e-mail and I will let you know, once it is ready.
Even though we intended to offer Eventee Unlimited in April only, we decided to keep it alive until the subscription model is ready. So you can still buy a license with unlimited events if you want.
As part of the new Eventee 2.0 look our pricing will get new icons. Including a small easter egg hidden in the Enterprise package. :)
Virtual event support
We are still keeping the course to better support virtual events and therefore we implemented Picture-In-Picture mode into the mobile app, so the user can move around the app and still keep the stream. I doubt that there is a virtual event app with a better user experience than Eventee.
We do realize that in the case of virtual events, the desktop app is more important than the mobile app. So we decided to improve the web application as well, even though it's fully working as it is. Though there are some things that were rushed, and since we have quite high standards for UX and UI, we started working on a nicer web app with live streaming support. Once released, there is nothing that would make Eventee less experienced when compared to purely virtual event solutions on the market. The only thing that could be improved is to provide our own streaming server alongside the third party ones ( YouTube, Twitch, etc.) which we are using right now. But that is still an open question, because making a custom streaming server would increase cost for our customers and the experience would be basically the same.
As business goes, we are in touch with AppSumo to list Eventee on their site, which could bring additional hundreds of thousand dollars to our revenue stream.
The future of Eventee
We are not out of the woods yet. Global market is shaken and there is still a chance of a second wave of COVID-19 during the fall and winter. But to be honest, I'm optimistic more than ever. Eventee is in a really good shape, we were able to move things around and our users love using Eventee. We are back on track and in touch with investors again. There may be less of really big events and trade shows, but those were never our customers. We aim for small to mid size events with focus on customer experience rather than a ton of unnecessary features that nobody wants to use. Wish us luck, there is still a long way to go.
Visit our roadmap to see where we are today and where we're heading.
I don't want this to sound like a cliche, but it's easy to give up when problems occur. Did we plan higher growth in 2020? Definitely. Was I afraid we are going to go bankrupt? You bet. But even when I was facing certain obstacles I refused to give up. We rather sat down as a team and put our heads together. The result is not just ok, it's incredible that we were able to keep YoY growth every single month.
To summarise things up. During the worst times we were able to pivot our real life event app towards virtual events in just 3 weeks, create a new unlimited plan, sell it to a bunch of people and keep our business alive. We pushed Eventee even further with each update, however, there are still some aces left in our sleeve, believe me.
I hope that this story was at least a little bit inspirational to you and I do hope that we all get through this