Product Development April 29, 2020

User interviews: How to get in touch with potential early adopters?

Johannes Gontrum @jgontrum

Hey, fellow indie hackers!

I'm currently validating a startup idea by interviewing potential early adopters. The goal of this stage is simply to learn more about the problem we're trying to solve and to emphasize with our future users.

The two user segments I'm now trying to get in touch with are Digital Marketers and Customer Support Agents, both in mid-sized B2C companies. Problem is that I can't find a good channel to people in these segments.

I tried LinkedIn, Facebook groups, Slack communities, and researching companies to get to the relevant people, but none of those channels seem to be working, for one reason or another.

My question to you all now is, whether you know communities for marketing people that I could try, or in general how you find your first interview partners.

Thank you all in advance,

  1. 1

    If you can't get people to take a meeting with you, that's often a sign you're solving a problem nobody cares about.

    If you aren't sure what problem you're solving and you're simply reaching out to chat, ask yourself why you're trying to solve a problem for a group of people you know so poorly that no one will meet with you.

    Is there a different market you could target where you actually have relationships you could use to get early customers or at least initial meetings?

    In the early days, you're going to be relying on a customer segment I like to call the 3Fs:

    1. Friends
    2. Family
    3. Fools

    If you're only going to be able to target 3, and they won't meet with you, you could be in for a bad time.

    Good luck.

  2. 1

    @jgontrum you might want to try some cold outreach using a trial on something like and cold emails using some tips from

    Great twitter thread on this here too:

    Hope that helps!

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot, this twitter thread is extremely helpful, same as the cold email tips. I'm not yet trying to sell anything, just doing interviews, but they have some good advice :)

  3. 1

    Hi Johannes,
    To better target your audience you can use tools such as

    Good luck!

    1. 1

      Did you try these? How are they actually helpful when you just started?

      1. 1

        Yes, I used both.

        There's no right answer to your question because it all depends on the niche you want to get.

        The better you know your perfect client, the better filtering you set up in these applications. I guess at the start, if you know who your client is, these tools can help you get to them.

        1. 1

          Thank you for your answer!
          I've played around with such tools, but I found their information often a bit unreliable. Like, when filtering for companies with 20-60 employees in Germany, the first match was the CMO of Siemens or some other giant enterprise.

          Plus, 100$+ per month is definitely over budget at the current stage.

          I think I'll still use those tools to narrow down my target group which makes it hopefully easier to find people.

          1. 1

            I am convinced that as soon as you write to with a request for free use, they will undoubtedly give you such a possibility for some time. It is always worth trying.

  4. 1

    What's wrong with LinkedIn? I'd imagine that'd be the first place to find 1,000 potential users. connect with them, and inmail them. get 10 interviews booked a week.

    1. 1

      I agree. I've had better luck through email than InMail. Try using to find emails for people on LinkedIn. ✌️

      1. 1

        Hi Andrew and Leyland!

        My problem with LinkedIn was so far that InMails are bound to an expensive SalesNavigator package and are even then limited to 25 messages per month. I've tried so far to connect to people and leave them a short message, but tbh: If I'd get such a message from a stranger, I'd ignore it.

        But the idea of using LinkedIn to make a list of potential prospects and then searching for their email address sounds like an approach I'll try next.

        Thank you very much!