What is the problem? Who is the target customer? What is the solution, the promise? Why do people pay?
The Problem: too many unwanted emails in your inbox, emails that you never open and may have signed up for but no longer have a use for. You could unsubscribe from them by opening each one, finding the tiny unsubscribe link at the bottom, etc. But that's tedious and boring so you don't do it and clutter keeps piling up.
Target Customers: anyone that uses email and receives email that they want to unsubscribe from. This is a counter-example of the startup rule to find a niche, in a way.
The Solution: an automated way to unsubscribe by seeing all of your emails in one place and unsubscribe with a single click. The solution is affordable, has a pay-as-you-go option. Customers pay for the convenience and the time saved.
Why do the founders keep working on the business? What makes it a good match for their strengths, goals, and desired lifestyle?
We work on products that help people because it's rewarding and we love it, which we think is a good reason to do just about anything! - Danielle and James from leavemealone.app
That makes Leave Me Alone a good fit for the founders and they continue to work on the product. In fact, they recently introduced an exciting new feature called Rollups to combine your favorite newsletters into a single weekly email. Check it out here
Where did the very first customers come from? What channels did the founders try? What didn't work? What did work? How long did it take?
Different marketing strategies and distribution channels are effective for different businesses. But there are common patterns. In this section, we zoom in on the exact steps the founders took to acquire their first customers — actions and outcomes.
Action 1: Built a landing page before doing any development work.
Outcome: Got 50 beta users within few hours.
Action 2: Started charging right away ($3 to $8) to convert the huge list of sign-ups to customers. Offered a gift-able version of the product during xmas 2019 with the tagline of "give the gift of a clean inbox."
Outcome: this made it really easy for people to share the product, buy in bulk for their whole team at work, and created a referral effect in online communities.
Action 3: Product Hunt launch #1 - Jan 2019
So why did people upvote and comment? They had already engaged 50 beta users while building the product. They continue to be active in indie hacker communities mentioned above and writing about their journey. Plus I personally think the name and the concept are broadly relatable (and something worth making a remark about to quote Seth Godin).
Outcome: Got ~2000 upvotes and stayed on the front page for a few days, voted #1 product of the week.
Action 4: Product Hunt launch #2 - Oct 2019
Why did people upvote and comment? They had been around for 10 months now, so this was a more mature launch. In this case, they had existing customers and fans. They had a successful first launch already. For both launched they were able to get someone from Product Hunt to hunt them as well.
Outcome: Got ~1000 upvotes, came in #2 product of the day.
Other customer generating events: Featured by a newsletter with $25k+ subscribers. Featured in Life Hacker. Both of these were a side effect of the other marketing activities (they did not directly pursue).
Outcome: Revenue of $1700 in October 2019. It took [X months] to get to 100 customers.
You can learn more about Leave Me Alone's customer acquisition on the IndieHacker's podcast Episode 125.