July 11, 2018

How to deal with people that shouldn't be using your product (aren't your target)?

Context: My product is an addon for the equivalent of shopify in my country. I'm at an early stage, released a 1 week ago. I started cold emailing, and the first person who signed up for the "beta" has 2 stores. One big, one medium. After him, another person signed up, with a small store. I was super lucky, able to test my product with a range of stores, and everything is working great.

But after that, I got a couple of signups of really inactive stores. Those stores won't benefit from my product, they aren't my target. Worse, my product doesn't do anything in an inactive store.

So, my question is: how do you communicate that?

Thanks

PS: I don't even have a home page, or any sales page yet. All was done thru cold email. I'm sure these problems won't continue when I make that home page. It will communicate what kind of store you need to have to use my product. But what do I do with the people who already signed up?


  1. 2

    Hi Nicolás,

    I wouldn't be too worried about these stores. You can simply ignore feedback that is not a good fit for you. Just be careful not to be missing on an opportunity as quite often customers will find new use cases that you haven't thought about.

    When you get a landing page you can make it more explicit there and explain what your product is doing and when it will be helpful.

    If inactive stores are costing you (support time or otherwise) you can also be honest and tell your customers that you don't think you have a solution for them. Even better is if you can find alternatives that for the problem they have. Just avoid saying "this is not yet on the roadmap" as it makes it ambiguous.

    It's great that you're getting sign ups so keep up the good work!

    1. 1

      It's great that you're getting sign ups so keep up the good work!

      Thanks!

      Those inactive stores don't cost me, nor in servers or support (so far). My worry is more about the "image" of the tool, and the mouth to mouth.

      What I would like is that they leave with the impression "The tool wasn't a good fit for me, but the customer service what great". I guess I have to find an honest and helpful way of saying "this is not going to work for you"

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        Did you check your conclusion (this will not work for them) with your customers or are you jumping to conclusions?

        I would consider these sign-ups as shops that have not fully completed onboarding, reach out to them to understand them better, there has to be a reason they signed up, understand this reason. Maybe there is something preventing them to fully utilize your tool.

        For example they could have set it up on their test servers and will continue at a later point, in any case understand them better and explain to them what is needed for them to get value out of your tool and how they can do this.

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          Did you check your conclusion (this will not work for them) with your customers or are you jumping to conclusions?

          I absolutely jumped to conclusion. But, my product really doesn't work in these cases. It takes the last 5 or so sales, and shows a notification like "John bought a t-shirt 10 minutes ago" (with a photo of the t-shirt). In those stores, the last sale is from a month ago. So my product is not showing anything, as showing your last sale was a month ago will produce a negative effect.

          They signed up for a product that's literally not doing anything. Also, they haven't reached to me yet, but I guess they must be confused hehe.

          For example they could have set it up on their test servers and will continue at a later point

          I understand where are you coming from, but these are owners of really small online stores.

          in any case understand them better and explain to them what is needed for them to get value out of your tool and how they can do this.

          I will try to reach out and understand their situation better, thanks for the feedback

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            Understood, its also really awesome to talk to users and understand them, you mentioned you did not do a lot of outreach so it is even better that they are signing up, something is hurting them.

            In one of the comments below you mentioned they need to do several steps before the tool is useful, maybe you an share these steps with them (blog/article/short e-book) so they can start selling and then come back to use your platform.

            This also helps in establishing thrust that you are the right party to create these types of tools, and it helps you thinking about positioning your tool.

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            Yup, reach out to them and start by thanking them for their interest. Sometimes people sign up in advance knowing they'll need your tool in the future.

            You'll always learn a lot from theses conversations anyway and the sooner you reach out, the faster you can avoid getting them frustrated.

            Good luck!

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    I think you should create some blog posts while you have no website/ landing pages you can post them in medium . Or you can post them where your targeted visitors are always available. I think in this situation offline marketing is great . Target you customer and meet with them as your product is for local companies .

    1. 1

      I have plans to do content marketing in near future, but as a solo founder, you have to pick your battles :)

      And offline marketing is not really feasible for me. My country is really big, and my segment is all over it. Not really a local business kind of project. But I agree offline marketing is great when you can apply it

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        How you manage your addon? I'd really want to hear some words about offline marketing and the product you make.

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          I don't do offline marketing, maybe you misread my post.

          And about managing the product, is something you figure out day to day. Trying to predict what are you gonna need is futile (I lost several days pre-launch trying to have everything ready. Is just impossible)

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    If you've got their email address (assume so if you acquired the customer by cold email) then just drop them a message and explain, and ask what made them sign up? Maybe they are preparing to be more active again and your product will help them do that? Hard to say without knowing what it does!

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      My product is pretty similar to https://www.usefomo.com/ or https://useproof.com . The high-level concept is: it takes your store's activity and tries to multiply it, with the objective of improving your conversion rate.

      I guess they signed up because they want to sell more. But they need to do several steps before my tool could be useful for them. I'm trying to find a way of communicating that

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        we're just https://fomo.com now, but good luck!

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          Hey Ryan! thanks for the good vibe.

          Let me tell you, I learnt a lot from you guys, you are the best

          How is the "ad marketplace" thing going? Bold move, but pure gold if you can make it work

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            thanks for asking. Fomo Publishers, the ad network, is nuts. i don't know anything about advertising, but we're having a great time onboarding blogs, advertisers, brands, etc.

            a couple screenshots of the portal:

            https://blog.fomo.com/skin-in-the-game/

            stay tuned.