November 30, 2019

Passed $1.5M ARR + How to get your first customers


We've been working really, really hard on continually improving to be the best possible tool for developers to build web scrapers, and this week we just passed $1.5M ARR. Before I started Scraper API, I was an IH lurker, and I definitely wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for @csallen and his tireless work in building this incredible community. In the spirit of giving back, I've written a short guide on getting your first customers (which is the struggle many Indie Hackers including myself had for a long time):

1. Posting in forums

We ended up getting our first customers by posting on forums like Quora, Reddit, Hacker News, and Indie Hackers. If someone is asking for your product and you respond quickly, this is one of the easiest sales you could ever make!

2. Cold emailing

If I were to go back to the beginning, I would be much more comfortable cold emailing people to sell my product. Remember, if you have a good product, you are actually doing people a favor by getting it in front of people, I am currently paying multiple services $X00 a month because I got a cold email from them and thought "this could definitely help us make more money" or "this could save us a ton of time". If you're building a product that solves a real problem for people, don't be shy they'll be happy to hear from you!

3. Use a chat widget

At least in the beginning, you need to have a chat widget on your site (the Drift widget is free for one agent). You can also download the app onto your phone, so you can immediately engage any customer that shows up to the site. In the beginning you will have so few customers come to your site every month that each one is extremely valuable not only for getting paying customers but also for getting product feedback. Also, your website copy isn't going to be great, so these conversations are really great for helping you refine your pitch to your target market (pay close attention to what words your customers are using and insert those into your website copy). I removed the chat widget after we were getting too much traffic for it to be sustainable, but in the early days the information you get from chatting with your website visitors is super super valuable.

4. Personalize emails to your signups

You can get people's domain names from the email they use to sign up, check out their website and write them a personal email about how your product can help them. The personal touch is something that won't scale, so it will give you a competitive edge over your large competitors who are relying on automated email sequences.

5. Your goal is to make $1

It's really easy to get enamored by things like traffic, compliments, signups, etc. but the only real validation is having someone actually pay you money for your product, even if it's just $1! Don't lose sight of this!

If you have any questions, feel free to post them I'll check this thread for the next week or so!

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