November 8, 2019

I got some positive comments about my project, what now?

I created a landing page for my project, and posted a comment about it in a thread in a relatively niche subreddit.

I received some really positive comments about the project / idea. Like "Are you ******* kidding me?! That's fantastic!" and "Signed up to the mailing list, super cool".

I've had more than 30 people sign up for updates since the comment, but I don't know what to do now.

I guess I should setup an automated 'thanks for subscribing' email...

I know I need to be talking to users all of the time, but I only created a landing page to see if there was interest - it looks like there is, but how much is enough before I actually start to build?

Should I keep working on getting the project out there for more interest before starting to build? Or start building now, and keep promoting / talking to users along the way?

My main question is: Is some very positive feedback for my idea / project from a single reddit comment enough to start running with the idea, or should I try to get more people interested before building?

  1. 4

    Ideally when you're running a test, you want to set it up with an objective in mind from the start. That way you know when it's over and how it turned out.

    At this point, you've successfully tested whether or not people in a particular subreddit would be excited about a landing page and sign up for a mailing list. Is that meaningful? It depends what your step 2 is. Usually you want to test the successive links in the chain between where you are now and where you want your business to be, which means you need to have some idea of what the next link is.

    For example, with Indie Hackers, my chain/roadmap was roughly: learn what my audience considers compelling content --> figure out how to work with people to produce that content --> promote the content in a big channel like Hacker News --> get people to subscribe to the newsletter so I can reach them indefinitely --> grow through WoM and repeatedly reaching the top of HN. So these were the things I needed to validate and ensure they would work.

    Note that the whole point is to save yourself time. Obviously the best validation is to just do what you're trying to do and see if it works. But sometimes what you're trying to do requires months of coding, and if you can get to the answer in a quicker way, you'd be remiss not to.

    There are many tools in this validation toolbox:

    • finding and talking to customers (I recommend the techniques described in The Mom Test, otherwise you're just going to end up with misleading and meaningless feedback or encouragement)

    • eavesdropping on what customers are saying to each other, e.g. by reading their conversations on forums

    • analyzing what customers are already doing or buying, as well as how many of them are doing that

    • building the smallest possible version of your product, e.g. a landing page, then an MVP

    • content marketing in your intended distribution channels to see if they'll work before you build something (usually you want to connect this to some sort of mailing list signup form to ensure people are interested in your forthcoming product not just your content)

    • running ads or submitting posts to your intended distribution channels

    • etc.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the detailed response Courtland! I've ordered The Mom Test.

      You're absolutely right about meaningless feedback and encouragement. Sure it feels better than hearing negative stuff but it doesn't make it useful, and it can lead me off of the best path.

      There's some points you've made that I still need to unpack and think about some more. Specifically about the chain between where I am now, and where I want the business to be.

      Thanks again!

  2. 1

    You've got the right idea about sending a "Thanks for Subscribing" email - this will let the people who signed up know that you're a real human. Don't worry about making it professional, make it personal.

    Assuming this is a real and legit product that you're working on, continue working on it and document the changes as you develop new features and use this as the content of your update emails.

    If you've got a list of emails of people who seem to be super interested in your idea, send surveys to gather as much information on their needs and pain points as possible. use this feedback to understand your market and also to inform your product development. I would use typeform.com or google forms to make something super quick.

    1. 1

      Awesome! Sending updates to people signed up to the list is a good idea - I did plan on doing that.

      Doing a survey is interesting, I think the core of my product is generalisable to the niche, but figuring out which type of user to target first is something I need to find out.

      Thanks for the help!