Use Case

Building a Userbase from Scratch

Or how to work hard to achieve reasonable results

Michal Mazurek
Sep 23 · 5 min read

After weeks and weeks of furious coding your product is finally ready. Identifying a problem to solve, selecting the right technology, designing your architecture, solving technical problems and squashing bugs. At long last it’s done and ready for your users to enjoy. There is just one problem — you don’t have any users. It’s time for the hard part.

Internet Wisdom

Not knowing where to look you turn to the Internet for help. You read about Social Media campaigns, influencers, and Google Ads — but all of this seems so foreign. Is that it? You throw money at it? Does this really work?

What Is Marketing?

Seth Godin, in his excellent book This Is Marketing tells us that no, it doesn’t anymore:

He then goes on to explain:

How Not To Do Marketing?

Entrepreneurs are prey. They are preyed on by a creature called Resistance. One manifestation of Resistance is reading business books and articles about successful startups. You’re psyched up by how Spotify scaled from 1 to 200 million users and can’t wait to solve similar challenges yourself. You feel great, but in reality you’re no better off with this knowledge than you were without it. It’s just an interesting story.

In his article, How We Got 2000+ Customers, Alex Turnbull, CEO of Groove soberly observes:

He then goes on to explain that, predictably, he did Things That Don’t Scale. In that legendary article, Paul Graham describes the story of Airbnb:

Going door to door might not be the best idea to promote your product, but to get the ball rolling you must exert a similar effort.

How To Get Your First Users

What unscalable things you have to do will depend on your niche. There are 30+ examples of successful companies acquiring their first users in the excellent list Early User Growth. I particularly like the story of Zapier:

This is backbreaking work. Is participating in forum discussions and helping users solve their problems something you’re willing to do? And how on earth are you going to find the right discussions, preferably as they happen?

Finding Relevant Discussions

I’m not going to lie, this type of marketing requires systematic, persistent effort on your part. It works, but that’s the price you have to pay. Syften just makes it easier. To find the relevant discussions specify a few filters and the app will find your threads for you. Here are some ideas.

See Who’s Looking For Wordpress Themes

You made your fresh new Wordpress Theme fit for a specific purpose, but nobody has heard about it. Posting it to catalogues barely got you any users. Instead of waiting for users to come to you, you have to come to them. And “they” are the people who are frustrated enough to write and post a Wordpress theme question, plus the thousands who’ll Google it in the months to come.

This filter will pick posts that contain the sentence “wordpress theme” and a question mark, while excluding posts that contain links.

“wordpress theme” `?` NOT `https://`

See Who’s Developing Slack Bots

Are you in the Slack bot business? “Great artists steal”, so see who’s making new Slack bots. Maybe they have some cool ideas you can apply to your tool.

These filters monitor Indie Hackers and Hacker News and select posts by makers who have just released their first beta and want to share the news with the world. It’s best to keep an eye on them…

site:indiehackers.com "slack bot"
site:ycombinator.com title:"show hn: " title:"slack bot"

See Latest GitHub Actions

A new platform or technology emerges and you’re wondering if it’s worth venturing into? See the latest news and listen to what people are complaining about — and maybe you’ll uncover an itch worth scratching.

site:ycombinator.com title:`github action`

Learn more about the full power of Syften’s filters in the documentation. And for more ideas about monitoring your niche see how I use Syften for my projects.

Syften

Real-time Social News Sifting | syften.com

Michal Mazurek

Written by

Entrepreneur and Syften.com founder. I divide my time between my products and dancing the Tango. I live in Krakow, Poland

Syften

Syften

Real-time Social News Sifting | syften.com

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