How to acquire your first 100 beta users
lessons from building Cuppa and LetterDrop
⚡️ FEATURED SPONSOR ⚡️
This week’s featured sponsor is.. yours truly. Yes, me :) Let me introduce you to my latest fractional consulting service which has been helping founders since Nov 2022.
If you're a founder who raised at least $2m or has 10 paying customers and you’re looking to go to the next level and looking for a sounding board/sparring partner/operator with a strong marketing & growth background, then we should chat.
Outcomes/ Results I can deliver:
I can help your company achieve the below high-stakes objectives through strategic guidance and playbooks:
Get clarity on the right community strategy to help position your startup as a leader in your niche
Get clarity and guidance on how to build not a “yet another Slack group” but a world-class community that brings newer customers, partners and future employees etc.
Get clarity and guidance on how best to prepare and crush your Product Hunt launch
Get clarify and guidance on how best to build hype and buzz via a Twitter strategy
Leveraging my proven-playbook on how to generate revenue through sponsoring relevant and high ROI niche newsletters
Strategic guidance on how to build word-of-mouth within your community and use that to drive new sales
Tips on how to design & run a community event schedule that doesn’t drain your team’s bandwidth
Learn more and reach out if I can help your business in any way. I am taking clients for Q1. Thank you!
Many founders struggle with acquiring their first 100 beta users for a new idea. I've had to figure this out myself over half a dozen times in my portfolio of 15+ side hustles in the last few years. It wasn’t all linear but I’ve observed some key patterns.
Today, I’ll share lessons from 2 relevant products namely:
Cuppa, a virtual 1:1 matchmaking tool which grew from 0→ 2200 beta users
LetterDrop, a newsletter discovery marketplace like Product Hunt, which grew from 0 → 950 users without ever launching on ProductHunt or HackerNews
Here's how I did it:
Start with a waitlist 🔐
A lot of founders make the mistake of directly unveiling their product to public without creating any buzz around the launch.
Never open to a vague general audience. Set up a waitlist & let people opt-in so you have a focused audience.
Build a viral loop to Twitter 🐦
After people sign up on your waitlist, don't give instant access. Give them a way to share their excitement on Twitter and bring friends to be bumped up to "priority access" to the beta. This step is admittedly high friction but it will clearly show you who's really serious among your audience.
Make it easy to share 🤝
I always have pre-composed tweets behind most buttons using "Clicktotweet". It's the little things that matter - people love simply editing the copy and just hitting tweet than having to start from scratch.
Treat super fans like royalty 😇
The small percentage of super fans who went through the hoops for you have to be absolutely thanked and recognized. Among your waitlist, these are your most passionate audience. Give them more value, tweet at them, slide into DMs, show love.
Build In Public 🔦
Let people know what you are building way before you have an MVP.
Use a landing page to share your thesis & attract the right users. Make it clean, easy to digest and just high-level.
Roll out invites in batches 🧵
My playbook for launches is:
I share the earliest version (v1) with my mastermind group of a handful of founder friends I trust
I iterate on their feedback & within a week, launch it to super fans on the waitlist
Then I share it with people on the waitlist
Later, I open access to those in my Twitter audience
Eventually, I open it up to broader bigger networks like IndieHackers or ProductHunt
Build audience each day 😍
I may not be shipping product features every day but I'm always sharing the story of what I'm building to get people excited --- either in private or public. My default assumption is no one remembers about me until I show up and add value daily. It keeps me humble & reminds me to share fun behind-the-scenes content and anecdotes/stories to push the narrative forward each day.
Treat beta seriously
A beta launch is as important as a real public launch. I do my best to build community from the 1st user - listen to them, reply to their emails/tweets, understand how they're using the product. Not easy but rewarding because it boosts word of mouth which is the holy grail of marketing.
Use one channel effectively
I occasionally share my updates on platforms like IndieHackers or Linkedin too but somehow a lot of the users for my projects come from Twitter.
LetterDrop grew to 505 beta users & Cuppa is 1600+ within months from v1 all because I was consistently sharing the journey on one channel → Twitter. Find a channel that works for you & stay focused in the early days.
So that’s it for now. These are some lessons I’ve learned from direct experience.
Shoutouts and Sponsors
#1. Sudo Write AI
An AI writing tool for novelists with options to write from where you left off, describe a highlighted noun, or brainstorm ideas based on a situation you describe. This shit’s wild. See here.
#2. Jitter Video
Jitter enables creators and teams to easily design stunning animated content and interfaces. Check it out.
You probably already are on the Trends.vc newsletter created my friend Dru Riley. If not, it’s time we change that. In one sentence, it’s a crispier and punchier version of the Harvard Business Review. Join 55,248 founders discovering new markets and ideas. Save 2,000+ hours of market research with 5-minute reports. Sign up here.
Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
And that’s a wrap for now!
Thank you for giving your attention and checking this edition out.
Would really appreciate it if you can take 5 seconds and pay it forward to help someone else leverage these tips by sharing this article on Twitter/Linkedin and tag me (@thisiskp_). Feel free to DM me for cross-promotions or ad sponsorships.