How well do you know your early audience?

Too many startups make the mistake of launching a product without talking to their potential first customers. They put time and money into product development and might even go the extra mile as to put up a landing page and start building an email list. But the train stops there.

When the day comes to launch their product, they have no idea if they’ve built something people want and the email subscribers have most likely forgotten about them.

Crap.

Your pre-launch email list is full of untapped potential and unanswered questions like:

  • Who are your early adopters?
  • Why have they joined your list?
  • What specific problems are they hoping your product will solve?
  • What would their ideal solution look like?
  • What are they willing to pay for it?

If you take the time to engage with your early audience and ask the right questions, you can learn a lot from them long before your product launches.


Who is your early adopter?

Most pre-launch email lists consist of only one piece of information — an email. You know nothing else about your potential first customers. Things like:

  • The company or organization they work for
  • Their responsibilities in the organization
  • Their gender or age
  • Their other interests
  • Where they’re from

This info might seem trivial, but it can give you great insights into the people that are attracted to your product. Information that you can use to make important product and marketing decisions.

Why did they sign up to your list?

A great question to ask your early audience is “What made you want to check us out?” or “Why did you join our launch list?” The answer can tell you a lot about their problems, interests and what about your product/idea really resonated with them.

What problem(s) are they hoping your product will solve?

This is one of the most valuable things you can ask your early audience. What problems, pains or challenges are they looking to solve with your product? What keeps them up at night, to the point where they are willing to give their right arm for a solution?

What is their vision of a successful solution?

Unless you’re scratching your own itch, it’s hard to build a solution to a problem you know little about. The best people to ask are the ones that face that problem every day and have put thought into what their dream solution would look like.

Listening to your early audience will also keep you on course, steering your product in the right direction. Without customer insight, you may veer down a completely different path that provides them with no value. Avoid the scenario where a customer signs up for your product assuming it will do one thing, but cancels later when they realize it turned into something completely different.

Are they willing to pay you?

Too many entrepreneurs build products that generate a ton of interest and unpaid users, but none that are willing to pay for it. Your product might help scratch their itch in some way, but not enough to make them put up the cash.

If you communicate with your potential customers early on and use their feedback to build your product, you have a far better indication of whether or not they are willing to pay for it. But if not, you can simply ask them!


If you’re building something, or plan to in the future, take the time to talk to your potential customers. Start with some simple email questions, use a tool like Houston to learn from your early audience or go out into the world and have a conversation with them. It’ll be worth it.

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