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Hi all, I'm in need of some advice and thought I'd give the beautiful GH community a shot. A few months ago, my buddy and I launched a little fun app as a side project. Over time it grew to >800 companies using it. So, we thought we might try to monetise it. We have a steady 50-70 daily user. We emailed the list (~450 people) Sean Ellis' standard PMF question and only 4 people filled it out. Interestingly, we have an equal 25% distribution across the 4 possible options -- doh! So my question is this: what would you do now? We clearly have a product people somewhat enjoy. We are interested in developing it further but want to hear from our users so we don't build something random, and our users are not really giving any feedback. What's the plan now? Massive thanks to anyone reading & considering my question. Any input would be immensely valuable. I've personally reached out to Sean Ellis and Susan Su (privately) as well. If they get back to me, I'll be sure to update this thread. Thank you!

UPDATE, Jun 23: Thank you SO MUCH for your answers. All of them helped me make so much progress. I wanted to make sure I capture all the lessons, so I wrote this post about it. I hope this helps someone else down the line: Product-market Fit Survey Fail: How Experts Put Us Back on Track

  • MB

    Morgan Brown

    6 months ago #

    Hey Alex, if you don't have a large enough base to get representative sample size on the survey (and typically you want to send to >2-3k to get at least >200 responses assuming a ~10% response rate) I would switch to customer interviews. I would email people who use the product at various levels (power users, people who recently churned, etc.) and ask them for 20 minutes of their time over the phone. You can offer to compensate them with a free month of your product, Amazon gift card, whatever. Get these insights from different customer types about the value prop, how they use it, etc. You can even ask the PMF survey questions of them as well. This will give you great voice of customer insights on where to invest next as you try to scale it up more. Hope this helps!

    • DH

      Dani Hart

      6 months ago #

      I've found this strategy very helpful. I also think it's important to pay close attention to how the "very disappointed if the product went away" people describe the benefit they get from the product. This can lead to some of the best positioning direction IMO.

    • AD

      Alex D

      6 months ago #

      Thank you for your input Dani & Morgan. This definitely makes sense. I have identified a couple of power users already, whom I'm going to reach out to and see if we could chat.

      Thanks again!

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    6 months ago #

    Hi Alex, some great answers here, but I’d also study everything I could about the one that answered that said they’d be very disappointed. What is their profile and how are they using it? Then try to get more like them using it. Keep iterating on feedback from must have users until you can get at least 30 responses to the question.

    • AD

      Alex D

      6 months ago #

      Love this. I have isolated that specific person and will reach out to him. Since I posted this question, a couple more people have said they'd be very disappointed, so I'll try reaching out to them as well.

      Thank you so much.

  • SS

    Susan Su

    6 months ago #

    Hey Alex,

    To echo Morgan's comment, I would ping some of your users one by one to set up longer form (30-45 min) feedback calls. Unless you have a pretty large list (engaged w/ your emails and at least in low thousands), it will be hard to get a significant number of responses to a mass email.

    I also find that, depending on how well you've engaged your audience over time, it can be a challenge to get high quality responses on a simple poll.

    With a feedback call, you can ask follow up questions and listen to more qualitative indicators of preference (facial expression, tone, words used etc).

    In my experience, I can get about a 50% response rate when I do 1:1 emails to set up feedback calls. This is something we've done with great success at Reforge, and have done lots of very useful customer interviews. The qualitative conversations as a rule reveal a great deal more than the polls we've run.

    If your recipients don't reply, you can find "lookalikes" who are people who resemble your core users in terms of demographics and psychographics. Then you can either incentivize their participation, or just try asking them to do it for free, first :) I personally like to "surprise" them with an Amazon card after the fact, but I don't lead with the incentive.

    Anyway, we have found that it works better if you go outbound and ask. Unfortunately, often those who fill out polls are pretty skewed one direction or another (the Yelp Review Effect). Instead, you want to get a fair sample.

    • AD

      Alex D

      6 months ago #

      Hi Susan,

      This is so good. You've made me realise one important thing. The list we emailed was completely unengaged. Sure, we have >400 subs, but these people never received an email from us apart from the auto 'welcome' email we send when they sign up.

      This is definitely a great point.

      I love your lookalike idea, I'm going to investigate that as well.

      Thank you again so much.

  • JQ

    Jason Quey

    6 months ago #

    When you say you emailed the list, I assume you mean you send via newsletter?

    I'd recommend doing email outreach because response rates tend to be higher (median response rate is 12%).

    • AD

      Alex D

      6 months ago #

      Hi Jason,

      I sent it to our entire list. It's not really a newsletter as we never really email them, which is an issue Susan also pointed out -- definitely a great point.

      This is probably why our response rate was so low.

      Thank you for your input!

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