Imagine being able to create a product idea and getting hundreds of people on the waiting list for it on the very same day. If you’re saying to yourself “that’s not possible, it can’t be done!” – a few days ago I had the pleasure of witnessing this exact thing. What unfolded was a flawless execution of someone imagining and validating a new potential product in under 8 hours. Think about that… in one work day! I want to break down a few factors that created the perfect tweetstorm that launched a new product.
From a Simple Question
Danielle Morrill is the cofounder and CEO of Mattermark, a B2B sales prospecting tool. She’s also a very active Twitter user with over 50 thousand followers. In her Twitter bio she writes “I love to invent things and I’m endlessly curious about time-travel.” Well, her followers got a(nother) taste of the first part when just last Saturday she tweeted a simple question to her audience: “What if I built a dating app based on the books you read? Would you use it?”
That one tweet was retweeted 65 times and spawned multiple threads of people contributing ideas, asking poignant questions, and giving critical feedback. Surprisingly, others who attempted the same kind of product (or something very similar) chimed in to give her advice too. She noticed that many people who were interested in the idea weren’t necessarily looking for love, just new friends that had the same passions and reading habits, so she decided to include an option for friendships in the product as well. Other feedback included having people answer questions about the books they claimed to have read, giving book recommendations, and possibly tying in with Goodreads.
A Product is Born
Witnessing this tiny idea quickly grow into something that people had so much passion for prompted Danielle to find out where it would lead her. On that same day, while the energy was still high, she quickly whipped up a website called Friends With Brains to capture leads. The site didn’t need to be well designed or optimized for conversions because her potential users already understood what the product was and they trusted her from of the quality of products she’s made in the past. By the end of the day she already had over 600 people on board.
It’s very clear that Danielle has a lot of product development experience behind her. And whether or not the product is successful wasn’t necessarily the point for her, as she tweeted early on in the day: “Did you know side projects keep us sharper for our real work?” and claimed her exit strategy was to “Make new friends and make my single friends ridiculously happy.” If the project grew profitable she said she might outsource development to continue building features and improvements.
Now, if you’re wondering how to replicate this feat, you need to do these three things.
1.) Start with an Audience
In a backwards sort of way, sometimes you don’t need to start with a product idea first. Getting users to your app or website when no one knows who you are is really quite difficult. An alternative strategy is to begin the journey with an already active and engaged audience. By joining a social network and creating compelling content, enough so that people want to follow up with you, you can build the kind of platform that you can easily launch a product from.
If you can find your people, engage with them, and develop a growing crowd of superfans, they’re great assets for any project you’re planning on creating.
2.) Ask your Audience Directly
Notice that Danielle got straight to the point. Whichever way she came up with the idea doesn’t really matter. What matters is that she opted to ask her audience directly if they were interested in it. She didn’t test the waters; she dove right in. Having the confidence to simply ask her audience if they’d want to use it sparked the right kinds of conversations that helped get her product to align with the people who’d be most likely to use it.
So once you’ve built up your audience, be bold and ask them what they want. Or do like Danielle did and propose an idea for a product they might like. If you have an audience, they likely know and trust you, so don’t feel like you need to guard your ideas before bringing them to market, let them evolve with the people your products directly affect.
3.) Capture leads ASAP
Notice how quickly Danielle jumped on the opportunity that opened in front of her. She set up a quick website and asked anyone that was interested to signup for updates on the project. It was simple and effective. Now she has a way of following up with the people most interested in her product and the ones most likely to be her evangelists. These early adopters are incredibly vital to the success of a project. She was able to recognize them and offer them a way to participate in the project at its earliest stages.
If you notice a good response to the product ideas that you propose to your audience, create a way to capture their interest with the least amount of friction. Danielle opted for a website because she has that kind of experience. You might go for a Google Form or a Typeform for capturing those early leads. Make sure you follow up with them early and often so the buzz doesn’t wear off. Can you create an onboarding experience via email? Setup a Slack channel or a Facebook group for them? If you find ways to give your early users a great customer experience, even without a product, they may refer their friends and you could get more people on board for the official product launch.
Make the Product
Now that you’ve done all the work of creating an idea, presenting it to an audience, getting early feedback, and capturing those interested in it (and following up with them regularly), the only thing left to do is to actually build it! If you don’t have that kind of experience, you can either take the time to teach yourself how to to code or hire a team to help you.
That’s where we come in. At Designli, we specialize in bringing your app ideas to life. Whether you want a full fledged mobile app or just an MVP, we’re dedicated to providing a great experience to app development. That means transparency and clarity throughout the whole process.
Please contact us if you want to learn how we can help you create an amazing digital product for your audience.