Pitching your product to strangers is the first thing you should do once you have a solid idea. Pitching to strangers is important because strangers are going to give you the most direct and real feedback. Good reactions to that pitch are the first signs that your idea is resonating.
That’s why the first thing we did when we nailed our initial pitch was apply to be featured on BetaList.
BetaList is a a community of about 25,000 people who have opted-in to getting updates about new beta products being released. It’s full of early-adopter types looking to try out new tools. Getting access to this list of 25,000 people is much quicker and easier than building your own.
All you need is a one page website with a signup form and you’re good to go. We built a simple landing page on GitHub Pages (which is free) with a MailChimp form (also free).
There are two caveats with BetaList. First, your product must be in private beta or “waiting list” mode. Second, there’s a lag time from submission to getting featured. If you meet those two criteria, you’re good to go.
BetaList says it takes “up to a few months” to get featured from the time you submit your startup. They have a $99 “Expedited” service as well. For us, it took less than 30 days to get featured.
Submitted: Tuesday, Nov 10
Approved: Thursday, Nov 12
Featured: Thursday, Dec 3
Emailed to their list: Monday, Dec 7
What happens when you’re featured?
When you’re featured, BetaList posts a profile on their site, tweets the profile from the BetaList Twitter account, and emails your profile to their mailing list (we were in the 2nd position in the email). Another thing to note is that they link to your profile on their site, not directly to your site.
Also, it looks like people really like to tweet BetaList links. A lot of those tweets look RSS driven, so I’m not sure how much traffic they actually drive.
The day we were featured was our best traffic & signups day up until that point.
Total Visitors from BetaList: 220
Sign Ups from BetaList: 65 (30% conversion)
Most importantly, we were able to have a lot of conversations with total strangers about Tettra. Those early conversations had an awesome impact on what we ended up building.