June 2019: Reddit Validation

Metrics

  • Subscribers:
    353 🎉
    (207 from subscribe banner on home page and 146 from Product Hunt Ship)
  • Traffic/Users:
    2,079 🕵️‍♀️
  • Trends:
    872 📈
  • Insights:
    52 👁
Check out the live stats: Open Page

Summary

After the first 5 weeks I’m absolutely chuffed with the results. (That’s British slang for very pleased!)
I hadn’t set any goals, but 353 email subscribers is way beyond anything I expected.
At this initial pre-launch stage, I had mainly wanted to get some initial users to help iron out any wrinkles and bugs, and to point out any big holes in terms of functionality. And we did that.
But I’m even more pumped that the initial feedback was so overwhelmingly positive.
And I’ve been able to take a lot of the feedback gathered to improve Trennd in lots of ways.

Events

Product Hunt Ship

I listed Trennd in early May (way before it was finished) on Product Hunt’s Ship service. Admittedly though, I probably should’ve done much more than this and actually talked to potential users/customers before writing any code. But I was very bullish on the concept since I was building Trennd to solve my own problem.
I haven’t launched on PH yet, and with a total of 146 subscribers from PH Ship in 2 months, it definitely feels like there might be more cost effective ways to acquire initial users than the $80/month here. But the brand exposure and potential support from these guys on launch is valuable.

Rebrand

By May 20th I felt I had something that I could finally start to show the people.
But around the same time I also realised that Trend List was the brand name of Trendlist.org. This is a contemporary graphic design site with Domain Authority of 38 and a huge presence on Google SERPs. I really didn’t want to compete from day 1 just to show up on Google when people search the brand name.
Though maybe I’m a wimp and should have fought them for Trend List brand name dominance... It is a good name after all! It’s easy to remember and just makes sense. But I stand by the decision. The search intent of that 2,400/month volume for "trend list" is all wrong - it's for graphic design.
Anyway, I found 3 other names that I’d be more than happy with: Trendful, Trennd and Trend Geek. I threw Nice Trend Bro into the running at the encouragement of my wife.
Then I realized this rebrand could be a fantastic marketing opportunity in itself. So I ran a public vote on the new name via twitter poll as a fun and novel way other people could get involved. Plus this way I’d ensure it’s a solid name that works for everyone.

Reddit

With the Twitter poll underway for a week, I wanted to capitalize on this 7-day window and get as many votes as possible.
So I went to Reddit. I’m often lurking on r/entrepreneur and I thought the business-minded folk might find Trennd useful there. After all you can find inspiration for all kinds of new products and businesses on top of rising trends. These were the people I’d built Trend List for after all! And I might as well validate the idea and put it in front of them sooner rather than later.
But I went in with my guard up. I knew full well these guys will chew you up and spit you out in an instant if they sense you’re there solely to promote.
So I found 57 of the most interesting trends I had at the time and used them as a shield going into the post. I made sure to provide value first and ask for feedback second. I stuck around the comments section all day replying to everyone who took the time to comment.
The response to this Reddit post was huge! It received over 500 upvotes across the 3 subreddits. One kind stranger even gave me Reddit Gold.
I think Reddit Gold = Validation 🤩
I also got a huge amount of feedback on how I can improve the app and make it more valuable.
In terms of stats, Reddit brought:
  • 80 email subscribers
  • 50 user signups
  • 1k traffic
  • dozens of comments with valuable feedback

Twitter

After this Reddit success, the twitter poll had over 100 votes for the new name. It was a close run between Trendful and Trennd.
And, somehow, Pieter Levels came across Trend List, loved the concept and voted for the name Trennd!
I’m a huge fan of Pieter’s and Nomad List. I was watching his Bali video about his maker journey literally days before starting Trend List! So for him to vote and like the idea is amazing, and it really motivates me to keep pushing this thing forward.
And in the end, Trennd won by a small margin.

Blogs

Following all this initial traction, Trennd was featured on Harry Dry’s killer Marketing Examples blog. Which I highly recommend you check it out, along with his epic Kanye Story.
Trennd was also picked up by Unreadit and I made the front page of Indie Hackers too with the top milestone. Love the IH community so this is a big deal to me!

Improved Functionality

Since then I’ve been getting my hands dirty with code again for a couple weeks. I’ve implemented all the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to improvements and feature suggestions by the initial users.
Some of the bigger additions include:
  • Better data granularity for shorter time frames
  • User pages
  • Trend upvotes
  • Enable Keyword trends too, not just Google Topics
  • Plus dozens of smaller things (like moving the trend close button to the top right so it’s easier to click on mobile)

Weekly Email Newsletter

And finally, with an email list now in the hundreds, I’ve started a weekly email newsletter called Trennds For The Weekend. My primary goal here is to make these emails as no-fluff, straight to the point as I can, with a carefully curated list of the most interesting and fresh trends each week.

Next Month

In the next few weeks I’m going to attempt to get Trennd in front of some other large audiences besides Reddit.
Of course this means a Show Hacker News and Product Hunt launch! Very exciting, but I’m also aware that it’s more likely going to be a giant flop as most things usually drown in the noise. But we shall see!
On top of this, I’m going to see if Facebook and LinkedIn groups are a good channel to find people who might find Trennd useful.
I’m also conscious of the fact that I should be setting monthly goals going forwards. So
next month’s goal is to reach 1000 total email subscribers
. This is quite ambitious, and I’d be happy with less than that, but let’s see if we can make it happen.

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