Beta users · Customer Validation

How do you find the right beta customers?

Bob Graham Engineering and Software

January 27th, 2015

We've made an MVP of our product. Where are some good places or resources to post it to get users?

Basically, our V1.0 is done. We don't want to keep adding features until we know what users want. We are on the search for a business model. Where do we go from here?

We've so far just been posting to blogs, we did a Founder Dating interview, and we've been talking to our friends who have tried the site. But we need more exposure and people to try it. Does anyone have suggestions?

I guess what we are after is exposure so we can try this out to a wide variety of markets at once.

Lalit Sarna Business & Technology Leader

January 27th, 2015

@Tom when designing a new product I prefer customer development leading to MVP. I find this approach always leads to a MVP with a specific customer in mind.

However I have seen several folks build out a "MVP" to evaluate multiple markets for a fit. Though semantically speaking, I struggle with "viable" without a definition of who the customer is.

@Bob I usually like to build hypothesis around different types of customers and test each one separately to find a product market fit. This helps with targeted customer acquisition,it is capital efficient and minimizes distractions however it can take longer and lead to false maximums.

A perfectly valid approach is to throw significant amount of diverse traffic and see what sticks. If you have the capital and the bandwidth to analyse your data, then this approach may work too.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous

January 27th, 2015

@Lalit Agreed. It helps to have a process for testing the markets of your different customer types. Completing the process doesn't guarantee bottom line results, but you get some exposure, networking, find out about what's in those customer types heads, and have a sense of where more opportunities are.

Sam McAfee Building Popup Incubators for Corporate Innovation Programs

January 28th, 2015

@Bob, I don't want to sound rude here, but how could you have known what should be in the MVP without a business model? Is just a technical feasibility test? Normally, when we talk about MVPs it is for the purpose of learning, and that has to be preceded by a specific hypothesis about the customer or market. If you don't create a hypothesis first, how do you know if and what you are learning?

If I were you, I'd immediately get the team together and do a business model canvas. I wouldn't add another feature until you're sure about exactly what aspect of a potential business model you are building that feature for (ie. acquisition, retention, etc.), and then how you're going to measure it. Otherwise, you're very unlikely to find a good model fit until you've burned quite a lot of cash or time or both.

Just my $.02 and I'd be happy to chat about it further.

Barry Cedergren VP Operations & Development at Media Magnate, LLC.

February 2nd, 2015

Bob, this idea is going to take a little $$ but may be helpful. Think of something you can give to your site visitors for no charge if they sign up for your email list for product updates. Maybe an ebook or PDF worksheet for helping their business, or whatever it is. Ask them to share the page to their Facebook in order to get the freebie. Create a landing page specifically for this and drive traffic to your that page through heavy Facebook advertising, Google Adwords, and Press Releases postings. What you're trying to get here is users and exposure and this method is proven to be effective.

Ryan Rigterink Midwest Manager at Hematogenix Laboratory

February 3rd, 2015

One thought I have is seeking businesses already targeting specific industries where it would be a value add component to their existing more robust offering.

Tom Maiaroto Full Stack Consultant

January 27th, 2015

Interesting. Now I'm curious. How many people (here) have built an MVP without having a business model?

As far as promotion, I'd hit every social network (and run some ads, Twitter can be very cheap to run ads. I have created a blog post about running ads on the cheap on Twitter with high engagement).

I'd also try to get your site listed on beta list and feed my app and earlibird and product hunt and...the million other sites/directories out there.

Post on Hacker News (repeat posts when you have some insightful blog posts).

Ensure you do have a blog. Getting mindshare is important and it provides you with fresh content to link. Otherwise you'll come off like you're spamming everyone on all these outlets.

It takes a good bit of time to do all this. Manual labor unfortunately. You can automate some of it, though I always caution people about buying followers and automating things. Again, you have to watch out for coming across as being a spammer.

I'm always free and happy to discuss strategies and bounce ideas around!
And congrats on getting your MVP done! That's no easy feat.

Bob Graham Engineering and Software

January 27th, 2015

Hi everyone, thank you so much for your responses.

I've been involved in a project before where we spoke with customers about the idea and they thought it was cool. We built it and they still thought it was cool, just not cool enough to pay for. We of course had a couple of market segments identified this time, but we wanted to build a broader product so we could test multiple markets to find the one with the greatest pain that our software could solve.

We wanted to have the minimum feature set to get the software to do a specific, simple task really well. Something that we couldn't easily find elsewhere. Then we wanted to go to our proposed markets and see what they liked or didn't like about it. 

Basically our hope was that they would start to use it as a solution to their problem but constantly give us feedback along the way.

Our problem now is that again, everyone seems interested but we are looking to maximize exposure so we don't find people who just think it's cool but we find the people who really, really need it. So far, I've been treating this as a sales process, just calling or emailing people whom I think could use it, explaining it and going from there.

But the approaches listed by Tom were very helpful. I am looking for more ideas like that.

Thank you everyone! Please keep the validation thoughts coming, as any ideas could help.

Bob Graham Engineering and Software

January 27th, 2015

Phillip, thank you, any thoughts on what that process should look like?

Steve Owens

January 28th, 2015

Go see a customer, demo it too him, and ask him if he will buy it. Focus on getting out of office and in front of customers. At this point, do not worry about cost of sales (COS) - but as you are doing this early selling, keep in mind that one day you are going to have to lower your COS. This is a good time to start thinking/learning about how you would do it for real, but until you have a product people will buy, don't worry too much about it. Regards, Steve Owens - Finish Line PDS A Better Way for Small Companies to Develop Products e | Steve.Owens@FinishLinePDS.com p | 603 880 8484 w | www.FinishLinePDS.com 94 River Rd | Hudson, NH | 03051 Click for Product Development White Papers ---- On Tue, 27 Jan 2015 19:03:31 -0500 Bob Graham<reply+dsc+2129@founderdating.com> wrote ---- FD:Discuss New Discussion on MVP is done. We are on the search for a business model. Where do we go from here? Started by Bob Graham Founder and Director, Airwaves Music. The University of British Columbia grad. We've made an MVP of our product. Where are some good places or resources to post it to get users? Basically, our V1.0 is done. We don't want to keep adding features until we know what users want. We are on the search for a business model. Where do we go from here? We've so far just been posting to blogs, we did a Founder Dating interview, and we've been talking to our friends who have tried the site. But we need more exposure and people to try it. Does anyone have suggestions? I guess what we are after is exposure so we can try this out to a wide variety of markets at once. Thanks! Bob Form Circle www.formcircle.com FOLLOW DISCUSSION or Reply Directly to this email to participate in the discussion Manage your email notifications

Axile Talout Founder & CEO at CT Consulting Canada

January 28th, 2015

@Bob, I kind of agree with Lalit here. It depends on the product you are building. You should find where your potential customers hang out and target them directly. Lets say for example you are building an HR software, you should connect with HR people and have them test your product.
When you say that "everyone thinks it is cool but no one would pay for it", I would say there is sometimes a way to make money out of free things (ex: Facebook, Google, Whatsapp...).