Mixpanel for Bootstrappers: A Poor Man’s Guide to Free People Analytics

Mixpanel is Great. But it’s not cheap.

$150 for the cheapest Events package PLUS $150 for the cheapest People package. I have a feeling some people get sticker shock. At least I did (at first).

In this post I describe how to use the free offerings in mixpanel:
That includes event tracking, people analytics, and automated email/push notifications.

The First Step: Become a Mixpanel Partner

Add this icon to your footer to earn 175,000 free monthly data points.

mixpanel free partner blue

Mixpanel also comes with 1,000 free people profiles and the ability to send unlimited notifications to those profiles (for free) via email or push notification.

Even once you’re at capacity with 1,000 users, each user has 175 data points a month. That is plenty for most bootstrappers and those seeking minimum viable product validation.


Step Two: Only Track People Who Matter

You only get 1,000 people slots for free. Make sure you fill them with valuable profiles.

Although it is possible to create a profile as soon as someone opts into your mailing list, it’s usually not worth it. Same goes for referrals – don’t create a profile for new referrals unless they become an active customer/user.


An example of tracking the right people:

Let’s say your site is crowdsourcing for blog post titles.

You’ll have a huge crowd of writers who submit titles and a much smaller list of bloggers who pay for one title out of all the submissions.

I would guess that time would be best spent on acquiring and engaging bloggers.

Engaged bloggers that offer cash for titles, the title writers will come.

That means you only need to track bloggers as people in mixpanel.


Step Three: Get Stingy with Events

Use mixpanel how it was intended to be used and your free data points will go far.

That means choosing ONE event that embodies success. There will be supporting events that you’ll want to track, but keep them to 4 or less.

Click to read how mixpanel answers “What should I track?”


Example events:


  • KEY: make a purchase
  • Supporting:
    • opt in to email list
    • view product page
    • add to cart

SaaS App (Acquisition)

  • KEY: make a payment
  • Supporting:
    • view landing page
    • read blog post
    • opt in to mailing list
    • view pricing

SaaS App (Activation/Retention)

  • KEY: make a payment
  • Supporting:
    • login to app
    • use feature A
    • use feature B
    • refer a friend

Membership Sites

SaaS principles apply to membership sites.


Step 3: Make Event Properties Count

I won’t re-hash content – just read this post on the mixpanel blog.

mixpanel events and properties


Last Step: Create a Notification Strategy

Notifications are the best part about mixpanel.

Even better: notifications are free and unlimited.

Check out this post on their blog to learn more about notifications.


Good luck bootstrappers and penny pinchers!

Leave a comment if you have any questions or need some help with this stuff.


  • Great, actionable advice Jake. I was just getting ready to setup Mixpanel on SoHelpful. Bravo.

    • I’m glad it helped! Let me know if you have questions about anything.

  • Yeah, this is a great lil’ guide. Straight and to the point. Still getting the hang of Mixpanel.


Leave a Comment