Step one of validating an idea is reaching out to your personal networks and gauge response. This is different from approaching friends and family – they will always want to be nice to you! Being 5 co-founders we were lucky to have a big enough network of contacts in the industry to quickly realize the idea was interesting.
So our next step was to approach sites and communities focused around testing betas. These included sites like Erlibird.com and Betalist.com. We were also very excited to hit a top daily spot on ProductHunt.com.
We also reached out to relevant blogs and news sites offering them a free Hotjar account (no strings attached) so they could see how easy it was to use.
Finally, we contacted several relevant community sites asking about opportunities to announce Hotjar to their users. Many sites were willing to spread the word for free, but in other cases we ended up investing into sponsored email announcements or articles.