I was always saying that gaining first customers for your new product is the hardest part. Later – if your product is good – gaining the next ones is a little bit easier. Here’s how we get our first users.
Every product is different. And there is no one good and always working method to gain users to your product. However, some of the methods may work in more than one type of product, so knowing them may help you grow your own product/business. That’s why we share our experience. Hoping it may be inspiring for you.
First things first
The first thing every business must do is define their target audience. We know it for sure. We knew it before. Therefore, we had our buyer persona. But there were at least two problems with the persona we defined:
- It wasn’t clear enough. We knew who we wanted to target; at least we thought we knew. But the fact is we did not know. It was more like a dream. We knew that there is someone, but we didn’t know who exactly he/she is. We discussed our target audience, but we didn’t describe it in details.
- It was wrong. We thought Squidility may be for small business owners, young entrepreneurs, maybe content marketers. And in fact it’s not (and shouldn’t be) for them.
Now we have Steve (you can learn more about Steve here). So, we know exactly who we write for, who we build the product for. And it gave us the clarity we really needed.
Now let’s talk about what we did to gain the very first users
We always knew how we want to gain users. By content marketing. But the truth is that the content marketing is a long way. It’s like a marathon, not a sprint for sure. All these posts have to be indexed in Google, all the channels have to be found by potential users, we need to build trust etc.
But also, we believe in it and we really think that this is our way to grow this business. Especially that we had some audience already. On our private channels. Especially me, with my Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account. Or with my blogs. But Rob also has an audience, a more private one, smaller one. But an audience that trusts him.
Promotion before launch
What we did at the beginning was a landing page. A simple landing page that was saying that we’re going to build something big (content platform) and if you wanna learn more about it, you need to sign up to our newsletter.
We didn’t have the product yet. We just had an idea. But that was enough to gain ~50 subscribers. So once we start, we could inform them directly, by email, that we just started and we want them to try the product. A few of them did.
Social media before and after the launch
We registered to a few social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) before launching the product. Not to do something there (we should, but we didn’t), but more to reserve the username/URL there for the future.
And once we launched the product we also started to build the fan base there.
But I prefer to focus more on something else today. On our failures and successes. Channels which bring us users and channels which do not.
We have the account on Instagram. We even used it for some time. But we stopped. It was too much time consuming and as we didn’t have any good idea for the content for this platform – we also didn’t see any results of our actions there.
It’s not because of the platform. Instagram is phenomenal. It’s great and we have the plan to use it again, but in much better way. In the future. Not yet.
This platform was a fail for us. As for now, because we did really shitty work there.
Another phenomenal marketing platform that didn’t work for us. As for now. We have only a few fans there, as we didn’t even invite our friends there yet. We do post posts there, but we didn’t use it in a good way yet.
We will. But for now, Facebook is just another place where we did really shitty work and we didn’t get any users from there.
Fun fact: Facebook brings us users to our blog. In fact, this is the biggest source of users for our blog (high quality users – with a small bounce rate and quite a high average session duration). However, these users do not convert into Squidility users.
Yeah, so we didn’t focus on SEO till now, so we couldn’t expect any spectacular results here. And so, we don’t have such results.
However, it’s damn important to focus more on it and for sure we will do much more in this area in the future.
Fun fact: organic search works not bad for our blog. We have some users from there (high quality users again). However, these users do not convert into Squidility users.
Yeah, this is quite surprising for me. This blog needs a lot of improvements, I know that. I also know that we didn’t publish too many high-quality posts yet. However, I still thought it could work better.
For now, we don’t have too many readers of our blog and also – we don’t have any Squidility users from our blog. We need to change it. As soon as possible. And we will change it. Soon.
I truly believe in email marketing. Email is not dead and won’t be for a really long time. Still it’s the best method of direct contact.
But I also believe that to do really good email marketing you need to have a base. A base of content that you could share in your emails. Not only ‘hi, how are you?’, but also other interesting and educational pieces of content.
Now we almost have such a base and we will improve our email marketing so we could gain more users from this channel. Both, users for our blog and users for the product.
Especially that we still build our email lists (both the general one, which is more popular and the blog’s one). Now we need more great content to share with the subscribers.
Twitter is the only one of our social platforms that I really tried to grow in the past. And now it works really good for both, for the blog and the product.
How to get the maximum from Twitter? Simply by being there. By talking to people, commenting and following the right users (who may follow you back). And by sharing of course. As much as possible. Every piece of content we create – at least couple of times.
Private channels – online
When I look at Google Analytics, I can see that:
- (direct) / (none)
- Facebook (for the blog)
- Google / organic (for the blog)
are the best sources for us.
And lots of these channels are somehow our private ones. (direct) / (none) may come from a lot of places (including our own private channels). Twitter and Facebook – I think that our private channels also have a lot to do with it. It’s hard to say that (Google) / organic is related to our private channels, but the truth is that it is. I truly believe that links which appear on my blogs help us appear higher in search results.
Private channels – offline
We talk to other people about Squidility. And if we interest them – they often run the website in their web browser and try the tool. (direct) / (none) is the second most popular source of users for us, for both, the blog and the website. And I’m absolutely sure that a lot of these users are the ones we reached offline.
For now, we have two main sources of Squidility users: Twitter and private channels (online&offline). And we’re going to change it in the near future, so we will have much more from all the above channels. Cause I truly believe in all of them.
Also, we will launch two more channels soon. But for now, it’s a little bit too early to talk about them.