How do you find users to recruit manually? If you build something to solve your own problems, then you only have to find your peers, which is usually straightforward. Otherwise you’ll have to make a more deliberate effort to locate the most promising vein of users (see below how). The usual way to do that is to get some initial set of users by doing a comparatively untargeted launch, and then to observe which kind seem most enthusiastic, and seek out more like them. For example, Ben Silbermann noticed that a lot of the earliest Pinterest users were interested in design, so he went to a conference of design bloggers to recruit users, and that worked well.
I think that what Paul says makes a lot of sense. When you don’t know who’s your target audience you have to improvise. Forget about all targeting, send it to a big heterogeneous group, and then listen. Well, measure, don’t listen. In addition to what Paul said here is how you can locate the most promising vein of users:
- Look in Google Analytics and see if you can spot any patterns. Think Geo, language, device type,
- Look at the reviews. Identify who are the people that give you the 5 stars
- Send out surveys or for physical products simply go and ask them
- Use in app/on website notifications to ask them more about them
- Make it easy for them to contact you. Early adopters have always want to influence the product.
If you need help with that, let me know.
PS: Not having a clear user profile is acceptable only in the prototype phase f your product. You must figure that out ASAP
Photo by michael dornbierer, used under CC