Meet Voiceflow user Nate Munk. Hailing from Deerborn, Michigan (part of the Detroit metropolitan area), Nate currently works as a software engineer at Ford Motor Company. In his spare time, he builds Alexa skills – many of which he’s been able to monetize. Currently he has published over 37 skills, and draws thousands of unique users to his apps every month. This type of sustained traffic has helped Nate generate income which has pushed him to further expand his impressive catalogue of apps.
This success, however, didn’t happen overnight. Nate’s staunch desire to improve his skills led him down a winding road of research, experimentation and trial and error. He had lofty goals in mind: increase unique user traffic, create a seamless UX, reduce churn, and provide a premium experience worth paying for. The type of stuff voice app developers dream of achieving.
But where did this drive stem from? For Nate, his passion to create, learn and take risks within the voice space all started three years ago during an app competition.
While attending college at BYU, Nate entered into a mobile app competition at Premier University. He asked the organizing committee if he could build a voice app instead of your prototypical mobile app. Once he had the green light, he quickly kick-started the creation of his first-ever voice app: Escape Jurassic Island.
The basis of his adventure game was to try and outsmart dinosaurs on a remote island with the goal of getting your family to safety.
Nate spent a few months creating the skill – coding it all from scratch. When he submitted the final version, he ended up taking home a few thousand dollars for his efforts. Not too shabby for his first Alexa skill.
Not long after, Nate was introduced to Voiceflow. He decided to give it a whirl and began building out a few games. He really liked how easy it was to implement revisions and tweak existing flows in each of his projects.
“I really love the platform…it’s so easy to go in and refactor and make changes in Voiceflow instead of manually coding it out” – Nate Munk
Nate ended up rebuilding Escape Jurassic Island on Voiceflow. He even added over 400 new sound effects in his most recent release.
If you're interested in trying Nate's skill, you can find it on the Amazon Skills Store here.
In October of 2019, Nate was examining some data to gauge the performance of some of his voice apps. He wasn’t getting the type of traffic he was hoping for, and so he spent a few weeks researching and building new types of skills. His new goal was to try and produce something people really wanted.
He ultimately landed on sleep skills, and published his first white noise Alexa skill that month. Since then, he has created 10 other skills as part of his Relaxing Sleep Sounds series.
The series – which has taken off since its inception – offers a wide variety of high quality sleep sounds with enhanced lopping. Sounds include those found in nature such as rainfall, wind and thunderstorms as well as a variety of sonic hues like white, pink and brown noise.
The sheer abundance of Nate’s sleep skills is impressive to say the least. But what’s really intriguing is how successful his series has been despite stiff competition within the genre.
So how has Nate managed to reel in and convert users in such a crowded space?
On the surface, Nate’s series offers what you might expect from a ‘white noise’ voice app. High-quality audio, track looping and an assortment of calming sounds to choose from. What differentiates his skills from others in the same category is the user experience.
After researching other white noise skills on the Alexa Skills Store, Nate noticed a trend. They offered 1 free hour of audio streaming with the option to upgrade to 4 hours through ISP (in-skill purchasing). Even fewer skills offered 2 to 4 hours of free streaming with their paid versions maxing out between 6 and 8 hours of audio.
Countless users complained this wasn’t long enough, leaving a trail of sour reviews behind in their wake.
Another problem Nate discovered was audio looping. Many of the skills he came across had a built-in looping system that abruptly stopped and started after a track finished. This left individuals tired and frustrated with many claiming it disturbed their sleep or even woke them. Valuable feedback Nate would use to reform and enhance his own skills.
After identifying these user problems, Nate was able to build out his Relaxing Sleep Sounds series to solve for these concerns.
Instead of 1-4 hours of audio, Nate’s skills offer 5 hours completely free. His ‘enhanced looping’ feature also provides a smoother transition between tracks and restarts.
His premium version or “gold edition” provides users with 12 straight hours of audio – a big jump from the 4 to 8 hours of paid listening available in competing apps with paid subscriptions. To assist with paid conversion, each gold edition comes with a lengthy 31-day free trial. A crafty way to encourage skill usage with the hopes of generating familiarity and an eventual connection between the user and the experience.
Last month alone, Nate’s first skill in his sleep series – Relaxing Sleep Sounds – had a 90% trial to paid conversion rate, with only 10% of those users churning. In March, his collection of sleep sounds managed to bring in $500 USD from paid subscriptions. By the end of this month, he’ll have made another $650 USD.
Pretty good numbers for a collection of skills that’s just over 6 months old.
With between 6 and 7 thousand unique visitors each month, Nate’s Relaxing Sleep Sounds series is poised to drive more signups and paid conversions as users remain cooped up inside with more time to spare searching the skill store. To help build on his success, Nate also plans to market his new website in the coming months: relaxingsleepsounds.com
It’s safe to say that Nate’s dedication to research, innovation and development has certainty helped him level up his skills to provide lasting value compared to what’s out there.
He’s certainty not satisfied yet, however.
Outside of updating his skills, Nate’s currently working on building an Android/IOS app for his white noise skill, with the hopes of getting it on Spotify and other streaming services.
He has even kick-started his journey to create his very own voice app company.
If you’d like to learn more about Nate Munk, Relaxing Sleep Sounds, and his other published skills, check out the following links below:
Linkedin: Nate Munk's Profile
Website: Relaxing Sleep Sounds for Amazon Alexa
Facebook: Relaxing Sleep Sounds
Published Apps include:
Relaxing Sleep Sounds
Relaxing Sleep Sounds: Windy Trees
Relaxing Sleep Sounds Thunderstorm Sounds
Relaxing Sleep Sounds White Noise
Relaxing Sleep Sounds Brown Noise
Relaxing Sleep Sounds Pink Noise
Escape Jurassic Island
The Sound Wizard