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Initial feedback on Newsletter Glue – Why more than a hundred comments across 7 Facebook groups, 2 forums, 3 slack groups, and a post on Indie Hackers isn’t as useful as it sounds.

✌️ This is part 2 of a 3 part series. Read part 1 here. Subscribe to receive part 3 in your inbox.

If you’ve just joined us, in part 1 of this series, I talked about the new plugin, Newsletter Glue.

In a nutshell: Newsletter Glue gives newsletters a proper online home by taking an archive-first approach.

Write your newsletters as you would a blog post, and publish in a single click without leaving WordPress. This means each issue has an easy-to-share link, SEO discoverability, and design consistency with your website. It also simplifies your workflow.

Getting feedback

With target user and product decided, it was time to get feedback and build an audience.

My sleep routine has been an absolute mess during this pandemic. Which was why, at 4am about 2 weeks ago, I found myself posting on Facebook groups, asking if people would be interested in Substack features for WordPress.

By 5am, I was somehow even more awake and on a roll. So I kept working, and re-posted it on Indiehackers and some Slack groups.

Overall my post was fairly well received. But this comes with a big fat hairy caveat, which I’ll get to in a moment.

Link to original post on Indiehackers

Here’s the caveat:

If you’ve ever read The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick, you’ll know that this way of seeking feedback is the worst. You’re setting yourself up for confirmation bias and you’ll attract lots of people who just want to say positive and encouraging things to you.

This is exactly what I experienced. As you can see in the screenshots above, it wasn’t particularly hard to get lots of feedback and comments.

This isn’t to say people are trolling or lying to you. In fact, it’s the opposite! People are simply trying to be supportive. And I’m so thankful for that. However, being nice is cheaper than action and money, so don’t assume that comments = users.

Hence, all that engagement must be balanced with a healthy dose of reality. 90% of those comments come from people who are unlikely to ever use the plugin. They’re just not in my target audience, or not in the market for what I’m building.

After posting on 7 Facebook groups, 2 forums, 3 slack groups and Indie Hackers, I probably got about 50-60 interested parties. From that number, 15 lovely people gave me their emails and signed up for the beta. If just 2 of them actually download and use the plugin, I’d consider that a massive win.

A sidenote on constructive criticism
I also received a small amount of skeptics and criticism. I have 0% negative feelings about this. In fact, most of it helped clarify what I was doing. I also learnt about some new competitors.

That seems like a lot of work for just 2 users. So why bother?

In a word: momentum.

Building awareness and interest isn’t a one-off thing. I’d be foolish to expect to gain a huge pre-launch mailing list off a single 4am posting frenzy.

Instead, I’m investing in lines not dots. That first post was a dot, but we all have to start somewhere. I don’t have a massive online following, but neither did any of the people, who now have badges next to their names, when they first started.

Over time, as I keep posting updates and sharing what we’re building, this forms a line, aka a trend or reputation.

In this case, hopefully the trend people see is continuous improvement and accountability. Also, I hope they see that we’re working on this seriously, learning from our mistakes, and earnestly trying to improve.

I’m banking this makes people interested and willing to invest in the future of our little plugin.

We’ve only just begun…

And on that note… stay tuned for next week’s post where I share more about what I have planned.

👌 Part 3: Building in the open
Next week, I’ll talk about building in the open and what that means to me. You’ll also get to hear me wax lyrical about the amount of help I’ve received from indie makers, entrepreneurs and WordPress pros across the world.