But we also think, based on our background using political organizing to distribute documentaries, that there is a big market potential for independent creators as well, a market that will get very large. Authors, filmmakers, musicians, comedians, YouTubers, bloggers, etc.
The first few questions in the FAQ talk about this: http://nationbuilder.com/faq
We're definitely gonna play around with the main language on the website, thank you.
Could be geared around a planning desk or war room theme (without connotations of violence)?
The city-in-a-box icon meant nothing to me. My brain keeps seeing a joystick for some reason.
While we built it with an eye on the non-profit and political world, it could also be of benefit to independent creators of all types -- artists, musicians, advocacy groups, small businesses, sports teams, public speakers, etc. Anyone who is a leader or creator with a following.
"How can I manage my political campaign?"
"How can I promote my music?"
Basically, the "Abe for President" line makes it seem very heavily targeted towards US citizens running for public office. I found it get past that initial impression.
Focus and then expand-- don't try to boil the ocean. Think Amazon (books first), Craigslist (SF first), Facebook (college kids first). How you position at first doesn't lock you down.
After looking at the website for a minute my opinion is that it looks really cool, though I'm not one hundred percent sure what it does. After writing the previous sentence I read the FAQ and now I'm a little more sure what it does, but definitely the explanation side of things needs a bit more work.
The big "click here for pricing" button comes way too soon. You need to explain your product before you hit me with the pricing. The "FAQ" and "About" links are way over there, where I'm not drawn to 'em.
I love the idea of the Abe for President campaign. And yet, it doesn't seem to be fully functional. Perhaps letting me see a fully-functional demo of the Abe for Pres campaign might help me to understand what's going on a bit better.
edit: In case the above came off too critical, though... I think you've done a really good job in identifying a real problem that folks with money will pay good money to have solved. The only problem is that spending a few minutes on your website doesn't yet communicate to me exactly how you're solving it. Tighten up the marketing message and you could really be onto something.
I disagree. Too many products and services make it too hard to work out what they actually cost. It's maddening.
However OP might give consideration to giving the FAQ equal billing (ha!) with the pricing.
- Landing page does not tell me what the site is about. Who is it for? Something like the one suggested by @spking needed.
- Carousel is too fast for me. It should also pause on hover to let me check.
- Heroku and AWS is most probably unknown to your target userbase. You should drop it from the carousel, IMO.
- Not urgent, but you should work on the YSlow score. Lots of the scripts are unnecessary for the landing page.
- Make the hover animations on the "features" pages discoverable. No one will notice them.
- Can't you make a shorter version of the screencast and put it on the landing page?
Overall, there are lots of features inside, but screenshots are too crowded and copy is not helping much in the landing page.
For example, there's a lot going on in this screenshot and there are many screenshots like this one in the landing page carousel (http://nationbuilder.s3.amazonaws.com/3dna/pages/36/features...). You have many features, but select something simple and stick to it for the landing page.
Looks great to me, although I have not tried it (since it's 100% integration work, devil is in the details). Seems that you've done this before and built the app you would have wanted.
This made me chuckle a lot.
Anyway, this definitely looks like an idea that could take off/has potential. As others have said, it might be better if you did not have to sign up for the 14 day trial with a credit card. However, every trial I've ever signed up for worth paying for later has asked for my credit card information.
And for what it's worth, I understood what it was about without really doing anything.
I thought it was a good idea then, and an even better idea now. I think NationBuilder did a great job. Needless to say the potential client got cold feet, and never executed their idea.
Have you worked on any political campaigns? Candidates, issues, activism, anything? I have. Your NationBuilder is not yet a full product.
Pitch your product to local campaign managers. That's the fastest way for you to get your course correction.
Campaigns do need better tools. So I encourage you to keep at it.
(If you're wondering why I just don't tell you what you need, I'm working on a business plan for something very similar. Also, I'd rather you earned the domain knowledge firsthand.)
Only problem I see is the pricing. You should be doing 4x what you currently have.
Just to be clear, do you mean it's overpriced or underpriced?
Certainly these new candidates are starting the campaign flat footed with regards to their web presence and social media strategy and this favours the long established incumbents. This service could fix that and get new candidates that haven't had time to prepare up and running as soon as possible.
Looks like there's an errant "Edit this page" link under the sidebar here:
I had a bit of a bad initial reaction when I heard the name, however, as it feels very imperialist and negative to me. Might just be me though, so just take it as a single datapoint. But my suggestion would be to look into names that are a little more positive.
I also don't see how the name relates to non profits.
When I arrived at the site I had no idea what it was for. After reading the first and second pages I _still_ had no idea what it was for... but for some reason I didn't care. I began to form this idea in my head that 'nations' referred to 'eco systems' and that this site was a fully integrated Internet presence for a startup. E.g. an easy way to have a Web site, forums, integrate social networking into everything and have it all beautiful at the same time.
It was only once I read the HN comments that I realised it was for a more political market. It just amused me that looking down that sidebar I made pretty much everything in my head apply to startups... "co-ordinate volunteers? are they talking about open source projects?" ;-)
Anyway, those are just my initial thoughts. A very interesting vertical you've _actually_ aimed for.
Another commenter said 4x, I'd say 10x plus an upfront fee.
However, I could be wrong, please correct me if you've done trials and found this to be the best price :)
I worked for a politician for a while and considered writing a desktop application to do some of this -- basically CRM for electorate offices. At one point I dug up the figure that there are approximately 600,000 elected positions in the USA. The market is largish for an SME.
The pricing seems suitable for a bottom-up disruption strategy, but I'm not sure whether it would produce enough cashflow to sustain that approach. Maybe tiered pricing based on the election should be introduced.
Tier 1: National (President, Congress) -- $5,000/mth
Tier 2: State (Governor, State Congress) -- $2,000/mth
Tier 3: Local (City Council, Mayor) -- $500/mth
Tier 4: Grassroots (School boards, fire chiefs, sheriffs) -- $100/mth
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When I accept the flashanimation it works, but you may want to look into it sometime.
And btw: the "start your trial button" looks (in my opinion) more like web 1.0 than 2.0, with all those gradients and strong colors.
Keep it up, looks good!
I'm looking forward to hearing how well this takes off, especially with the pricing plans currently in place. I have an idea for a political action campaign, but I'm kinda on the fence with your lowest tier price.
(if so then I can't believe nobody's used the word 'dashboard' yet)
I like the idea, I think it makes a lot of sense and this market probably really needs this sort of thing... that being said, I don't know the market AT ALL.
Give me a shout if you want to talk payments, we can probably help you figure out the best way to manage that.
Specifically the following paragraphs:
"Be civil. Don't say things you wouldn't say in a face to face conversation."
"When disagreeing, please reply to the argument instead of calling names. E.g. 'That is an idiotic thing to say; 1 + 1 is 2, not 3' can be shortened to '1 + 1 is 2, not 3.'"
If you've got some criticisms, how about stating them explicitly instead of so off-handedly insulting someone else's hard work?
I'm sure Facebook didn't think it was a joke when they paid $50 million for FriendFeed, which did exactly that.
Just to be clear, this guy didn't invent feed aggregators. There are a bajillion of them. You've got a beef with society, not this guy's work. He's trying to make money serving an underserved niche. I hope he makes a billion dollars.
A startup doesn't have to do that. This startup is solving the pain of the politicians, and looks like they may do that well.