I asked my users to explain my product to me

A few weeks ago I realized that while being deep down in building my next SaaS, I was losing touch with my product. Who's it for? What problem does it solve? It's easy to get lost in the details, and lack a true high-level vision of what your product does, and for whom.

So I had an idea to send all my users (automatically after a couple of weeks since signing up) a little survey asking for feedback, specifically to understand our value proposition in the eyes of the user.

This is the email I've started sending them:

Hi [user], can I ask you a few questions regarding Mailbrew?

It's a quick private survey only for early users, so your feedback is invaluable.

Take the 90-seconds survey here (link).

Thanks so much in advance. Mailbrew is improving thanks to people like you, and I'm excited to make the product even more amazing.

Fabrizio Rinaldi
Co-Founder of Mailbrew

Users are then taken to a Typeform that invites them to complete some sentences. In fact, I think the key when trying to really understand your product and define positioning is to not put words in the users mouth.

The first one is completely open:

  • Briefly describe Mailbrew, as you would do with a friend: ...

Then here are the sentences to complete:

  • Mailbrew is valuable to me because...
  • The main problem Mailbrew solves is...
  • What makes Mailbrew unique and different from other apps is...
  • If I couldn't use Mailbrew anymore I...
  • My main issue with Mailbrew is...
  • My main feature request is...

How my users explained my product better than me

The survey answers started arriving, and I was blown away by how insightful and high-level some them were. One in particular described the product much better than I possibly could.

Here it is (emphasis mine):

Mailbrew is the taming of the firehose that is today's online information landscape. For the first time, I feel like I can keep up with the things I love without getting completely overwhelmed or falling into infinite rabbit holes that the web is so good at getting us to fall into. Mailbrew is an information diet done right. It forces you to consider only that information which is essential to you and then delivers it seamlessly and beautifully. No more having to check multiple sites. No more hunting for interesting things—it’s all right there, right in my inbox. It will save me heaps of time this year.

In my mind, this answer means remembering that I'm not building a "newsletter builder" or "news aggregator", but "a way to follow your favorite topics, unplug from feeds, and get meaningful information on your schedule".

Here are some of the other answers I'm getting, or parts of them:

  • For the first time, I feel like I can keep up with the things I love without getting completely overwhelmed or falling into infinite rabbit holes that the web is so good at getting us to fall into.
  • Mailbrew is an information diet done right.
  • It forces you to consider only that information which is essential to you and then delivers it seamlessly and beautifully. No more having to check multiple sites. No more hunting for interesting things—it’s all right there, right in my inbox. It will save me heaps of time this year.
  • [Without Mailbrew] I would go back to being a hopeless information junkie. I really feel that Mailbrew fills an essential need for those of us that have found ourselves heavily addicted to the internet.
  • The problem Mailbrew solves is collecting a bunch of content on a specific topic, so you can find the good bits.
  • I like discovering good content, but I don't want to manually check websites to see if something new is out.
  • Handpicked corners of the internet delivered by newsletter.
  • Mailbrew is valuable to me because it keeps me in touch with my interests without going down the rabbit hole.
  • Break your Twitter addiction [...] Mailbrew is valuable to me because...I don't have Twitter FOMO anymore.
  • The main problem Mailbrew solves is losing focus due to scanning too many news sites.
  • If I couldn't use Mailbrew anymore I would go back to searching several times the same keyword on all the services, every day.

Reading and discussing with my co-founder is making all the difference. It's helping us focus on the right things, not lose time building features that are not central to the core experience of the product, and have a clear picture in our mind of what the ideal user should feel like when using our product, and even after using it.

I've already updated Mailbrew's landing page with some of these results, and I'm working on a complete revamp that takes all of this into consideration. Hopefully by launch day, thanks to this effort, people will get what the product is really about instantly. Or at least that's the goal.

Liked this post? Let me know on Twitter.