April 23, 2019

Technical: No problem; Marketing: Help... please!

So I'm stuck. I've got the app built (https://wish-lists.org) (MVP, lots of ideas for what could be done, but still MVP), but I'm really stuck getting my first users. I've got something like 30 users at the moment, mainly from my Facebook "launch" (if you can call it that).

The app is basically a wish listing app, add items to a list, send to family and friends and they buy you stuff.

I'm really not sure what to do, I'm a techie, so I'm out of my comfort zone now. I've briefly tried Facebook ads (maybe a months worth), but really don't feel like I know what I'm doing (i.e. how to write a good ad copy, etc) and don't want to waste money on rubbish, I only got a few sign ups as a result of my efforts.

This is a very vague question, but where do I go from here? I feel like because my app is so generic and anyone might want to use it, I don't know who to target.

Help! :)

  1. 5

    Congrats on launching.

    I think your biggest problem is that, in your own words, "your app is so generic". What I'd normally say is

    • run some fb ads targeting a certain demographic,

    • write some content for a certain demographic

    • or go onto a subreddit and share

    It's so much easier to get the word out when you are targeting a niche. Because little pockets exist which you can build awareness in.

    In targeting everyone, you end up missing everyone. So I would pivot your app and turn into a Wish List for a certain niche group. Perhaps, chocolate lovers, flower lovers, etc ... It's so much easier getting traction in niche groups.

    Or if you don't want to target a niche Julian Shapiro has a good growth manifesto you might want to look at => https://www.julian.com/guide/growth/intro

    1. 1

      Thanks for your input. I think you're right, that makes a lot of sense. I may give that a go, although, as @davidoudiette said, I think I may have focused my efforts in the wrong place entirely. I'll take a look at the link, thanks! :)

  2. 3

    So you've done the classic developer/maker mistake of building a solution without a (clear) problem. That's ok, it seems like everyone needs to learn that lesson. :)

    But let's concentrate on what your visitors see right now.

    "Wish Lists

    Taking the pressure out of gift buying one special occasion at a time."

    Ok? That doesn't really tell me what the value of your product is. In fact, I have a hard time figuring out exactly how I'm going to use it. Is it a universal wish list? Do I list stuff I want to gift to people? Do people list stuff they want? What's a typical use case?

    When you have such a generic app, there are two things you need:

    1. Differentiation. Generic products command generic prices. That is, LOW prices, going LOWER over time. A list app generally comes at around 0$. So you need something to stand out. For apps, that tends to be unique features, great user experience, customer service, and so on. You need to have some secret sauce somewhere, otherwise it won't work.

    2. Specialization for go to market. You can't really target everyone making lists. At some point you're going to be competing with to-do lists, which are even more generic, and probably the most over-crowded space in software. As Peter Thiel says, competition is for losers. So you need to figure out what subsegment of the market you want to aim for. Could be birthday gifts? Christmas gifts? Gifts for techies? Ecological gifts? Who knows. Note that it doesn't matter if your product can serve all those needs. You have to start somewhere, and start where you're going to be able to grow.

    That's why you can't just greet your visitors with a headline like "Wish Lists" Wish lists for who? For what purpose? What's the benefit compared to a different list I could make on a piece of paper?

    "Add items to your wish list from anywhere on the web! You'll never be tied in to buying from a particular outlet again!"

    Ok, so it's a universal wish list. I guess that's valuable. You can mention that benefit earlier and with far fewer words though.

    "Share your list with family and friends without worrying about duplicate gifts, the people you share the list with can mark items as purchased once they've bought them!"

    Same thing here.

    "Private by default. Create an unlimited number of wish lists that are all private by default, only the people you send the list to will be able to see it and mark items as purchased."

    That's kind of a "goes without saying" thing and brings attention to security which you probably don't want/need here. Security is generally a thing people need once they've defined something is useful for them rather than a feature in itself. Doesn't deserve that much attention here.

    "Why Wish-Lists.org" You shouldn't have to explain why you're doing something. The value should be transparent right from the get go.

    "How it works" should probably be somewhere around the top. The app needs to be demonstrably simpler/more powerful than current options. If you have the opportunity to show that earlier, do it.

    You don't have a clear call to action at the bottom. Your registration form is too long (you only realistically need an email / password confirmation), and oddly located.

    Overall, your page design isn't horrible, but it seems a bit dated. I hate the current fad of copying Stripe's design wholesale, but it would still be an improvement in this case.

    That may look like a lot but I hope it helps you in some way. :)

    To go further you can check out this article I wrote, or have a look at the Landing Page Cookbook.

    1. 2

      Thanks David, I realistically think you hit the nail on the head with the first sentence, which is a shame.

      Thank you for taking a look at the home page and the suggestions; I'll check out the links you provided! Knowing what to write and where doesn't come as naturally as I'd like; back to the vim in the terminal for me!

      1. 1

        Focusing on your strengths is a perfectly valid strategy as long as you're aware you need someone to deal with that stuff to provide the "full package."

    2. 2

      Takes out wallet and buys The Landing Page Cookbook 💳

  3. 1

    Reiterating what has already been said, but life’s easier when you are solving a pain point of a target market that isn’t overly general. David gave some good advice on the landing page, so I will be brief with my feedback on this.

    You need to tell me what your product is with less effort. Maybe something like “wedding registry for any occasion”. Just anything that gets the point across to everyone faster. Then you really need to drive home the problem you solve and how you solve it.

    If you really want to give this product a go before trying a more targeted one, I would say your play here could be content marketing. Someone who is looking for present recommendations is probably searching for goodness present ideas or the best items in amazon for presents. Google all those queries, dissect who is currently ranking and make better content.

    You could also potentially use that content as your appeal in Facebook ads moving forward. This isn’t an easy growth strategy with high success, but it does seem like the best move when you are this general. Get in front of them when the problem you are solving is top of mind.