What I learned about marketing this year

In the past twelve months, I launched some new startups online. Some of them failed, some of them did okay, but with each new venture I learned something and improved. So here I will try to summarize everything I know about marketing and promoting a digital product.

1. Spend Equal Time on Marketing and Product Development

First thing is to start promoting from day one. Don’t wait for your product to finish, start marketing from the first day. Put something online as quickly as possible, whether it’s a landing page, email subscription form, a blog, a demo, or an MVP. Just put something online as quickly as possible.

Start talking about the problem and your product on different groups and communities online. For example, you can start talking to potential customers through blogs and other mediums even before launching your product. This could help you to have a good amount of customers already waiting when you launch.

The thing to remember is that, spending time building traction and distribution for your product is equally important as the product development.

2. Include People in the Process

Next thing is to include people into the whole process. Post about your progress and about something which might benefit your readers. People want to see something inspiring and something worth learning about.

Look for different online communities and groups related to the product. Try to understand that community and promote your product there. But remember, never spam. No one likes spam and marketing in the communities. So try to talk about the problems and tell people how you are solving them.

3. Get Personal

Also, Get personal. People don’t want to talk to some conglomerate or some faceless organization. They want to know the real team and the people behind the product.

4. Launch Quickly

Another important thing is to launch something as quick as possible. Try to build a minimum viable product, which solves the problem. Then continue to improve it.

One thing to remember is that initially you would have to manually put people on your product. You would have to talk directly to people online. Send messages and emails to people most likely to benefit from the product. Make a list of people who could use your product and send personal messages talking about your product. And be completely personal and keep the message simple. Don’t waste their time.

5. Reduce Friction

One more important thing is, to remove friction for the visitors. Try to make it as simple and easy as possible for visitors to try the product. Google signups are way more effective than normal email signup. Try to think in terms of your user and reduce as much friction as you possibly can. Remember, you want a visitor to your site to at least try the product. So make everything absolutely effortless.

If you need a favor, just ask directly and be yourself. Don’t show any ego. Just ask.

6. Try to present your story from some interesting perspective

To get the attention of the media to talk about your product, first, try to target small blogs to write about you. Because mostly bigger blogs are watching these small blogs for some interesting content. Try to reach out to journalists and bloggers on their blogs and twitter accounts.

The last thing to remember is, NEVER SPAM anywhere.

What has worked for me during the launch

Launch day is very important, so make a plan and then just do it, don’t think too much and don’t postpone too much. Launch quickly.

One of the main things to remember during the launch is, communicate in a simple language. Don’t write complicated or long sentences. Just keep them short and simple.

Post according to the platform. Try to understand the platform and then post accordingly.

Here are some tips which have worked for me -

Product Hunt

  1. Post around 5 pm if you live in India ( Around 4–6 am if in the US ).
  2. Create an attractive thumbnail image/logo with good cover images.
  3. In the heading — Just tell one core problem that the product solves in clear and simple words.
  4. Share product hunt link to your social circles. Simply ask for support. Don’t ask for upvotes; it never works.

Here’s what has worked for me in the past

Hacker News

Hackernews is one of the best platforms for driving traffic to your site. Just post with a simple title, describing one problem that your product solves.

Communities like Designer News, Reddit, Indiehacker are also very useful on the launch day.

Here’s a doc file on Dropbox which has some good emails and marketing messages that I really like. You are free to add to it if you want to.

On building network

Spreading happiness on the internet is totally free. So try to spread a little happiness by sharing other’s achievements. Saw something nice, provide valuable feedback and appreciation.

And document everything on your personal website. It’s your life’s work.