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16 Comments

Value Proposition Feedback

Our initial tag line has been "Create, copy, and customize any list about anything" but after thinking about that line over and over I realized that it is more of a description of what someone can do with our product, and not the value of it. So I recently changed it to...

"Discover lists for any project, activity, or interest, and change them to fit your needs"

I am hoping this better communicates the value of using the product instead of "how" to use it.

Any thoughts?

  1. 4

    For tagline, In my experience, it is best to focus on the "Why" first then the "how" and finally "what".

    so my question to you is "why" should I care about "Discover lists for any project, activity, or interest, and change them to fit your needs"?

    Is it to remove clutter in my list/life? Organize my life/goal?

    Give you an example at Pusher for our Channels product. We started with What, Then How and finally why (cold pitch/converts better for us)

    • What - "Hosted Websockets API that scale"
    • How - "We help you easily build realtime apps"
    • Why - |Build Realtime features |your users love|increase engagement|increase retention|etc"

    Finally, it is important to think about where is the audience/traffic is coming from. It is "ok" if your landing page focus on the How if your acquisition channel already explained the "why" (like on a display ad, piece of content, etc)

    1. 1

      Thanks for the tips, and I do agree with the order of thinking. The struggle has mainly been around the fact that this product is a somewhat general utility. People could use it to organize their lives, share recipes, keep track of favorite things, or make gift list. However, businesses could use it to promote products, list deals etc. I read a post about Trello having difficulty marketing their software as well because it had so many applications and ironically it hurt them when pitching investors. My worry is that we are arbitrarily picking a demographic and a type of content to focus on, but maybe that's what you have to do and revise as you go as you see how people use it.

      So let's try this...

      At the most basic level the "what" is List Turtle is an application where people can publish a list that other people can use. Therefore, the resulting "why" people should care is that it can save them time. "How" that happens is the ability to copy a list and customize it.

      1. 2

        That's a good start. I feel your pain when offering a "general utility" product. I would recommend picking 2-3 use cases, verticals or audiences that are still large enough and focus on them to start with so you can get traction, user feedback, etc.

        Just thinking out loud here but for example, you can focus on creates shareable checklists for DevOps people. The idea would be to create templates that follow best practice (look up influencers, talks, books, etc) that other devOps people can fork (copy, edit) and share back to the pool (or community).

        This could be large enough audience to start with, get tractions and the template could help as an SEO acquisition channel. You can also target adjacent use case, vertical or audience so they can use more of your product. I.e don't focus on DevOps and then Gardening, the overlap will be pretty small 😂

        Once you get traction with something, you can use that as a beach head and expand from there. That will also serve as social proof. This is a playbook that Zapier, Tray.io, etc followed very well.

        Going back to your tagline, this helps you focus on the why for that vertical/use case/audience (however you want to slice it)

        So in the devOps example above, the why would then become something like "Don't make mistake when you deploy your infrastructure" or "Learn best practices from the best DevOps team out there"

        Hope this helps.

      2. 1

        Continuing the thought, here are three other pitches...

        • Save time by copying and customizing projects, plans, and goals
        • Copy and customize projects, plans, and goals to get organized and save time
        • Get organized and save time with curated lists that you can copy and customize
        1. 2

          I agree with Sylg. Sorry if it sounds like I'm repeating what is already said above.

          I think your main challenge is picking an audience to target. Decide if it's an every day person or businesses. Apple targeted home users, IBM targeted big business.

          Once you target that audience, then think about how your product fits into their world and how they'd use it. If it was a business, then what sort of business and who within those businesses would use your product?

          Then write your value prop. around empathy for their world. Acknowledge the struggle and then offer up suggestions on how to solve their problems.

          I hope that helps and doesn't confuse you ;)

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            I am going to re-pitch the application based on the feedback which I'd summarize as:
            Focus on the value not the medium of a "list"
            Pick a demographic to start with
            Highlight a particular kind of content that appeals to that demographic
            The value is in the exchange of structured information which people can customize.
            There are plenty of tools for to-dos & project management which is not our angle
            We'd like too cultivate a community that shares wisdom about life to help others navigate change (going to college, retiring, having a child, moving etc.)
            With those thoughts in mind my catchy phase would be something closer to:
            "List Turtle, the instructions for life"
            More importantly than a phrase is a focus on a demographic and a type of content. So the primary demographic we could focus on are parents. Especially new parents who are faced with lots of questions, who tend to seek advice, and are experiencing lots of change. The focus on parenting could naturally expand to cooking, shopping, nutrition, dieting etc. which are all forms of information that fit naturally into the medium of a list.

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              I think that you're moving in the right direction. Remember never assume what your audience want... you need to ask how you fit into their world. So as Steve Blank says "get out there". Finally, be careful about chasing the value prob. the instruction for life sounds like you're telling, not participating? And is List Turtle the best name for what you're about?

              1. 1

                From the beginning we decided that a brand name change was very possible given that we didn't know how it would evolve (we programmed it that way too). Capital limits our choices quite a bit since the whole dictionary of domains is taken but we are discussing it as we become more certain of the direction.

                As far as the the tag line goes, your point was already on my mind. We are the facilitators and cultivators, but not really the content creators. That will (hopefully) come from the community. So we'll explore softening it a bit more. Maybe something like "Share the instructions for life"

                1. 1

                  Don't be literal. Have fun. Be emotive. Making today awesome is a great example. It's going to be awesome because of your list. Ok. I'll stop now. :)

  2. 2

    When i just read and evaluate those value props, they make absolutely no sense to me, sorry.

    What is the value in a "list"? I'm not interested in "lists", I don't wake up in the morning and feel "oh shit, i must get a list!".

    I think the whole list angle is dead... a "list" is just not at all valuable in itself.

    What is the value behind a list then? Probably Information; sharing and organizing information.

    But when you get to the information management space, you are in competition with 10.000+ established products.

    So... maybe don't think value prop as a fancy sentence, but instead start from the actual and unique value you provide to customers, and when you figure that out, then you build a product and fancy sentence on top of it.

    1. 2

      Our preliminary marketing is too focused on the medium of a "list" which I am realizing is not a good hook as you pointed out. The list is simply a way of forcing information to be structured, but thats not the point.

      To expand on that for a moment, I find Pinterest to be frustrating to use because of a common experience I have on there. I will find that I like such as a recipe, and will click on it. That takes me to some blog article which is a mile long before I get to the part about 'how to make it' and the ingredients list. The approach of our product is to cut the fat and give people structured information they can manipulate. So that same experience on List Turtle would be I see a recipe I like, I click "copy" which adds it to "my lists" and I can get cooking. I would then have the ability to customize and reorder that recipe to my liking. No blog to read, no external site to open, and it won't disappear if that external site goes away.

      I tell that story because I think it helps to articulate the value a little better. It's not about the list, it's about the sharing of information. These conversation are helping focus on that, so thanks!

      1. 1

        I think that is really good idea.

        I initially quit my day job to develop fairly similar software, but for enterprise use :)

        My current product (https://BugJail.com) actually started life as internal tool to help program the app similar to yours...

        Best of luck & feel free to ping me if i can help you in any way

  3. 2

    Lists is too vague imo. I know that your app is to make lists of anything, but if I hadn't read that part of your post I'd think it's like a yellowpages directory type project.

    1. 2

      Thanks for the feedback. I wouldn't have thought of that.

  4. 1

    Hey Andy,

    I can't see the product in a tangible way. IMO list is too broad, I can't narrow it down and see a benefit in it.

    Also, I would rather try to connect with one thing. Right now it's projects, plans, and goals. The word "list" is already broad and now it's even more confusing.

    I tried to browse your site but couldn't find it. I want to help but first I need to know how do you help people?

    1. 2

      The application is in a closed alpha state right now. We are publishing our open beta this weekend. I have been thinking all night about this question "how do we help people" and the need to focus and so far I landed on "instructions for life." That's the kind of content we hope to cultivate. There are plenty of solutions for "how to build a table" or to-do management, rather I think there is space to be carved out for sharing the wisdom of life events. Answers to questions like "How to plan a funeral", "What to bring to college", "Tips for entering retirement", etc.

      Plenty of people have gone through these life events before, and we hope to create a medium that people can share that to help others overcome those obstacles. So the thread I am pulling on now is that phrase "instructions for life"...

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