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How we validated mylinks by cold messaging 600 IG influencers

Hi everyone 👋 . My name is Ray, and I created mylinks.ai, a link-in-bio product that directly embeds your content for higher click through conversion. This post is about how my original partner and I validated our idea and decided to dedicate time towards it's development.

Figuring out the best way to validate

First, we had to ask ourselves, what were we trying to validate? The problem and need for a link-in-bio product was already validated by the success of linktree. What we wanted to know was whether existing linktree users would switch, and whether new users would prefer a better product than the current competition. We considered sending a survey out ("are you satisfied with linktree?") ("would you pay for a better link-in-bio page?"), but a survey like that would give noisy and uninterpretable results. Everyone would say they want a better product. Who wouldn't? It would be too easy to delude ourselves that the idea was worth pursuing if we used a survey to validate it. The truest measure of an idea is having paying users. So we decided to build a prototype.

I spent a week building the profile page for users. It was super simple because we manually input our data for page setup. To create a page, we'd go to people's social media profiles and upload their latest content into a sample profile. To slightly speed up the process, we created a basic data input form to simplify the process of creating a profile; we sped it up to 30s per profile.

IG Influencer cold outreach campaign

We compiled a list of 300 small-to-medium sized influencers who were using Linktree, created profiles for each of them, and asked each influencer if they wanted to use the sample profile. Here's the stats for the outreach campaign:

  • 300 influencers messaged
  • 54 opened our messages
  • 8 replaced linktree with mylinks in their bio

We weren't sure whether the conversion was 2.6% or 14.8%. We justified claiming the conversion was 14.8% by saying that opening the message was akin to "visiting the landing page." Of course we knew that this was more like direct selling so the actual conversion rate would be lower.

The next step was investigating whether people would pay for an aesthetically more pleasing bio page. We ran the exact same experiment again, but this time we asked for $5 per month. Here are the stats:

  • 300 influencers messaged
  • 43 opened our messages
  • 6 replied and said they liked their page but didn't want to pay
  • 1 said they loved their page and agreed to pay (after she sent us money, we refunded her and gave it to her for free)

Once again, if 43 people "visited our landing page" our conversion rate was 2.3%. Freemium SaaS companies' conversion rate ranges from 1.5%-5%, averaging at 3% [1]. A pessimistic interpretation of our results would be that even with direct selling, our conversion rate was only 2.3%, and there's no way we could justify a sales growth strategy at our price point. On the other hand, an optimistic interpretation would be that with absolutely no features, no style customization, no tracking or analytics, someone was willing to pay us $5 per month.

Deciding whether to continue

Was our free-version conversion 2.6% or 14.8%? Was our paid conversion 0.3% or 2.3%? The reason answers were likely somewhere in the middle, but at least we had definitive proof that at least some people would find value in our link-in-bio product. Along with the established need for a product like this via market competition, we decided this was enough for us to attempt to penetrate the market with our own product.

We've been slowly building over the past few months, and we just had our official launch. So far, 100s of users have signed up and we're looking forward to building out more.

References

[1] ​​https://www.ycombinator.com/library/6l-how-to-improve-conversion-rates

  1. 1

    Impressive stuff! We've built an email scraper tool for instagram. Next to the email it provides 14 datapoints. Let me know if you want to check it out and try it.

    1. 1

      Thanks, sounds awesome! I'd love to take a look.

      1. 1

        Cool! Will send an update asap. Currently, building it on the side next to our fulltime jobs.

      1. 1

        Yes, it would be cool thanks :)

  2. 1

    Interesting :) . Thanks for the read, this is excatly what I needed. I made a similar product like yours and linktree but instead of links its a endorsements portfolio. The problem is I don't know how to reach influencers to validate it. Can you gave me your advice about it? It would be cool !

    https://www.creworth.com/

    1. 1

      Hey I'm sorry for the late response! I'm in the process of moving and driving cross-country.

      Your project is awesome! One of the most important things I learned is that collaborations and getting social-proof is extremely important for influencers. It's also very hard. They often tell us that there is no process they follow. It happens spontaneously through comment sections or random messages through various different channels (twitter, tiktok, instagram, email) that were sent after someone viewed another's content.

      To your question, one of my frameworks is to subdivide the problem into two questions:

      • where does [insert your market] gather online?
      • where does [insert your market] gather offline?

      In the online space, one place they gather is on instagram, viewing each other's stories, and commenting on each other's posts. By their nature, access to influencers is manufactured to be restricted and costly, which makes reaching out to them difficult. Plainly, we don't know how to reach out to them en-mass. On the flip-side, most of them have business emails or someone managing their instagram DMs. To bootstrap our users, we continued to do 1-on-1 outreach.

      Now, we are leveraging social proof and network effects by starting an influencer collaboration campaign with our existing users. @0x_abrar is leading that effort. You can read about it here: https://www.indiehackers.com/product/mylinks/started-influencers-promotions--MgGU2OzzGD3EnRq2n1Y

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