How I Validated My Idea With Reddit
I started following the indie hackers community around the last week of November. Since then, I started building my first Saas product, Skrive, which was supposed to help people publish content as efficiently as possible.
After building for near three weeks and finishing about 60% of the MVP, I decided to stop development entirely and focus on validating my idea. I did this to make sure I was spending time building something people would want.
I built a simple landing page, created an email list, and got to work.
I used a few channels to find people, like IH, Twitter, Reddit ads, and Reddit DMs.
Out of all the platforms I used, direct messaging people on Reddit was the most successful.
To find Redditors and DM them, I used Howitzer (In retrospect, I could’ve achieved similar, more personal results without it). It’s a tool I found here on IH, although I’ve forgotten who built it.
I got a list of 400 people who talked about publishing content online and used Howitzer to message them for two weeks.
My message looked something like this:
Hey [reddit user]! I saw you were talking about starting a blog on r/solotravel. I believe starting a blog can be a bit too complex, especially if you’re a hobbyist or you’re trying to validate a niche. Working with web hosting, SSLs, themes, plugins, layouts, and the costs that come with them can be a pain when writing on the web.
So I’m working on a free, customizable, and powerful publishing platform called Skrive that’ll ease some of that pain, and I was wondering if you’d be interested in it.
LMK what you think and if you’d like to try it out.
Note: If you want to do something similar without Howitzer, you can compile a list of Redditors using Google or Reddit search, and manually DM them.
I set it to run and completely forgot about it while using other platforms to send traffic to my site.
In my two weeks of promotion, I got about 50 visitors in total, with only 6 of them being from Reddit, so I thought my Reddit marketing strategy was a bust.
I later checked my dashboard on Howitzer, and I discovered that I got tons of DMs from the people I had messaged, all giving some sort of feedback about my idea.
Some of the feedback was extremely helpful. People even asked me questions about what I was building like this:
I just signed up for your early access. I’m thinking of putting up some of my Reddit content on a blog.
What’s your advantage over Wordpress or Blogger? What’s your moderation policy? I’d want to be as uncensored as possible. You mentioned you have good SEO. Any quantitative way of putting that?
~ Reddit user
I got a lot of constructive criticism as well like this:
I don’t believe starting a blog can be that complex. I already have one, and IMHO it’s dead easy for any developer.
~ Reddit user
And since this is Reddit, I definitely got a lot of negative/sarcastic feedback. (I admit, I chuckled at this one)
I’m sorry that blogging is too complex for you. Maybe try taking some college courses at your local community college.
~ Sarcastic Reddit user
After reading through all the replies, it was clear that what I’m building doesn’t provide much value in comparison with other services, so I’m putting it on hold for now.
In the future, though, I’ll definitely try using Reddit to talk to people about what I’m building even before I start building it. The feedback I got was incredibly valuable to me, and getting feedback like this could be valuable to you too.