NOTE: These recaps are a bit more for me than you. I’ll skip over stuff, include asides that are more personal notes to me, etc. Your mileage may vary. More detailed/sanctioned recaps will be available at http://microconfrecap.com at some point.
Presenter: Rob Walling
How to scratch your own itch (and not)
- Start with problems
- “Scratch your own itch fallacy”: We’ve all been scratching our itches. There are less itchy things.
- Validate the market
- Don’t start writing code right away
- Start market-first.
- Find 10 people willing to pay $X. Emailed 17 people, got 11 commitments.
- All conversions where software. No’s were infoproduct/bloggers.
- Lessons: start with problems, niche down, describe the value you provide (not specifics), name a price, hold your idea loosely
Building the list
- First circle is your audience. Not try to sell, but gauge interest.
- Second circle: friends and colleagues’ networks.
- Third circle: Press.
- Fourth: Facebook ads
- Fifth: Powered by link in bottom of Drip widget.
The Slow Launch (Part 1)
- Pick the right early customers
- Become a developer for hire. You become an unpaid consultant.
- Rush, but take your time
- Spent a month onboarding the first customer:
- Embeddable widget
- Broadcasting bits in addition to autoresponder campaigns
- Kinda need to pause or delete things
- Mailchimp integration
- After a month, hit a roadblock: You should not build this feature. It’s too complicated. “It’s not you, it’s me”
- Both of next two customers needed the same features they built for potential Customer 1.
- Long-ass list of features that needed added before adding more.
- Wrong turn: Let a blogger into early access. Not his audience. Wanted deep WP integration, Android, visual editors. Wanted him to build Mailchimp.
- Had a literal FAQ. Got the same questions over and over again.
- Lessons: pick the right early customers, pick early customers with similar needs, go high-touch, name your price upfront (but don’t charge until customer receives ample value), save correspondence to build FAQ, trial emails, etc.
- MPA: Minimum Path to Awesome.
- They’ll create the course for you from blog posts or similar, or give you templates to edit, or write the stuff for you (for a fee).
- Trial emails: Say the same things you say in the app in the emails. Lead with value.
- Lessons: determine your app’s MPA, guide new users through it, do it again via email, offer to do it for them (concierge)
The Slow Launch (Part 2)
- The hard work was already done before emailing the entire list
- Wait until onboarding is working
- Divide your list into cohorts
- Launch emails sequence with a time-limited discount
- Wait length of trial
- Repeat it for the next list segment
- $7k/month in first month
- How to pay folks during a slow launch. Other projects pay for development of the next one.
- Iterate between cohorts of large list? Made some changes, but nothing so big that it felt like it made a difference. Did update the onboarding, but more user feedback type of stuff.