If at first you don’t succeed, ask why

By Philipp / On

Hey <Imagine I put your name here>,

Last time I left you hanging how the launch of the job alerts service went down.

Once the service was good to go, I whipped up a simple landing page with a mailchimp form to capture leads. Check it out here.

With this in place, I posted the project on Hacker News and the copywriting subreddit.

“Why the copywriting subreddit?”

I got the initial idea from a Nugget submission that was specifically targeted towards copywriters. It was only natural to post it there because this is where I vetted the idea in the first place with a simple post outlining what I’m thinking of building.

I also tried to post to /r/freelance, but instantly got banned, because I failed to read through the rules and they don’t like self-promotion among other things there. Keep that in mind. It would be a shame to lose your posting rights over something as silly as this.

All in all I promoted the page in those two places and that netted me 40 signups to my early access list.

“Hey, that’s not that bad”

Yeah that’s actually pretty decent given the little effort it took me. I could’ve tried to get more, but I thought for the validation phase 40 is good enough.

“Okay, what did you do with those emails?”

First of all, I sent a survey to my list to do some more market research. 30% of the recipients clicked the link to the survey and 66% of those completed it. The idea of an Early Access program is to gain some more insights while you haven’t fully fleshed out your product idea yet.

Hiten Shah wrote up a great post on how to approach what they call the “Early Access Liftoff 🚀” over at Product Habits. You should definitely check it out. It has a lot of actionable advice.

In the meantime I set up payments with chargebee.com and user a user onboarding survey with typeform.com. In it I asked questions like what categories they are interested in and what keywords job ads should definitely have and which to exclude.

“I see. Onboarding with a typeform sounds interesting”

With some conditional logic you can direct users to the respective payment form depending what plan they chose, etc. It’s an extremely versatile tool.

“Okay, tell me. How did the launch go in the end?”

I sent out the sales mail to my list of 40 people and 60% of them opened it. Unfortunately none of them bought a plan.

“Bummer. What do you do in a situation like that?”

I think you should try to find out why they didn’t buy. The good thing is you have those email addresses already, so you might as well do something useful with them. Perhaps the winning solution is just a tweak away or nobody cares about. You will not know until you ask.

So, I specifically asked the folks who opened the mail and didn’t convert why. I also tried to score a short phone interview. Fortunately one of them agreed to Skype with me. The rest essentially told me they either thought it was free, or it’s not enough value for the price. Although unfortunate, this is great feedback already.

Next time I’ll touch on the customer development activities I did following this launch and where I’m at with this idea right now.


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