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How I made my first sale on Vocalmatic

Hey all!

In this post, I'd like to share the story of how I made my first sale.
My online business, Vocalmatic, is an automatic transcription platform which helps people transcribe their audio files into text. We remove a step in the process by helping manually transcribing from scratch.

When I decided to make a Chrome Extension, Vocalmatic was getting pretty negligible traffic. After building out a very simple extension, more users started coming in and and it eventually led to my first ever sale.

Day of the first sale

It was around 7am in the morning when my alarm started going off. I reached over to my phone, turned the alarm off, and like everyone else, I started checking my notifications.

and there it was

vocalmatic-stripe-subject

I didn't know how to react. I was pretty much still half a sleep but the excitement was bubbling up and ready to explode.

I shot up in bed, clicked through the email, and sure enough it was Stripe letting me know I made a sale.

Holy Shit

A small bet on a traction channel worked!

Choosing to build a Chrome Extension

At this stage, I was on my second iteration of Vocalmatic. Previously, you were able to upload an audio file and based on that uploaded file, you could pay to get your audio converted into text. It was a simple flow.

Now, I had a full account system and I also added 30 minutes free to any new account. If a user needed to add more minutes, I also added the ability for them to purchase 25 minutes for $3.75 USD. This was to test if people would actually pay for the auto-transcription service.

The problem now was to figure out how to get customers coming to the site.

The first channel I choose to make use of was the Chrome Web Store. After reading about using existing platforms as a way to get traction, I decided to try it out.

Here's how I thought about it:

Looking up at my Chrome browser, I looked at the few extensions I had installed.

Currently, I have

  • uBlock Origin
  • WhatFont
  • Nimbus Screenshot and
  • Mailtrack

installed on my Chrome browser.

What these all have in common is that they are tools people install to enhance their browsing experience. Or in my case, to do more within the browser than the default browser.

So I thought, why not build an auto-transcription tool Chrome Extension for users?

The next step was do to a little more research. I wanted to find out if there were other auto-transcription tools on the Chrome Webstore.

What I found was that other websites had their own Chrome Apps on the webstore for their web-based transcription interfaces. None of the results that came up offered auto-transcription as a service.

The cool thing about the Chrome Webstore is it has it's own search engine. When you start searching for things, it has it's own auto-complete feature.

The key thing I found about the Chrome Webstore search was it's powered by exact match. If you were to type in, say, "auto-transcription", then 1) it would autocomplete to terms that were searched for and 2) the search results would match your search query pretty well.

auto-transcription-autocomplete

Here are the search results after searching for "auto-transcription". The results are similar for the search term "auto-transcription tool".

auto-transcription-exact-match

Notice how none of the results under Extensions matched the search query? That's when I knew I should build an extension for Vocalmatic with a title that matched exactly with the search term!

Of course, I wasn't sure how many people are actually searching for the term "auto-transcription tool" on the Chrome Webstore, but it had to be just enough for it to auto-complete to that when you type it in, right? And plus, when people search for extensions, they are looking for tools to do something on the browser. In this case, auto-transcription.

Building the Chrome Extension

In the interest of time, I did not want to build out a full application on the extension itself.

What I did was build a simple dialog box with the Vocalmatic logo and a big green button that says "My Account". Looks a little something like this:

vocalmatic-chrome-extension-example

And that's it!

On the link I added ?ref=ext so I could see how many people are coming into the website using the extension.

To build a Chrome Extension, all you need to know is HTML. If you're interested in building an extension yourself, here is the guide that I followed, provided by Google.

Why you might want to build a Chrome Extension

A good reason to build a Chrome Extension for your website is for exposing your website to the web. If you notice on the Chrome Webstore listing, there are a couple of links that are present:

One at the top under the title which I called "Auto-Transcripion by Vocalmatic" and another on the side called "Website".

vocalmatic-chrome-extension-webstore

Since this is a website on the google.com domain, the content within it got ranked on search results pretty quickly. Even if this wasn't a page on my domain, the extension started appearing on search results for the term "auto-transcription".

Although it was on page 2 and on, it was a start. I was banking on the fact that people are searching on the Chrome Webstore search engine instead.

Results

At the time of writing this, about 300 users have installed the Chrome app. And, as told above, I got my first customer through using the Chrome extension.

Final Thoughts

If you're looking for a way to get your first few visitors and hopefully customers, see if creating a Chrome Extension makes sense for your website. If you already know HTML, the time investment is about an evening or two.

I might look into creating an addon for the Firefox web browser. I wonder if I can get similar results as I did for the Chrome Webstore.

Thanks for reading!

Tom