Founders, what was your early growth hacks when you had no marketing budget?

Luke Embrey
31 replies
A lot of startups begin with no marketing budget, so you have to get creative, what were your early growth hacks that worked for you and maybe some that didn't? - Did you have to find a balance between spam and genuine marketing... To start the discussion, some that worked for me have been: - Engaging in communities without directly advertising your product - Starting a tech blog and writing about useful topics, growing an audience - Taking advantage of platforms like ProductHunt to launch on and listening to feedback from early users - Making content that is useful but incorporating your product into it in a genuine way This is something where you can get very creative, I think it is about adding value to a community or market.

Replies

Debajit Sarkar
Subject Matter Expert: AI & Defense
Some tried and tested strategies that has worked for the Founders with whom I've worked so far. 1.Test with early beta. For example, look at Kickstarter - basically a warehouse for MVPs. 2. SEO: Research long tail key words 3. Guest post on established blogs and on the Twitter TL of influencers from the industry 4. Crowdsourcing ideas 5. Hijack trends: keep a close watch on what is going on around you and how it can be leveraged to gain virality for your product
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Luke Embrey
Co-founder of Bakup.io
@dsarkar Really good list, thanks for sharing. Do you have any tips on how to get a place to post as a guest on a blog, seems like most people don't allow it?
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Debajit Sarkar
Subject Matter Expert: AI & Defense
@luke_embrey Forbes, Business Insider, Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur are good places to start. You can do a google search with something like keyword “submit a guest post”; keyword "guest post" etc. The keyword is basically the keyword from your industry. Identify the prolific guest bloggers in your industry. Google for the name of prolific guest bloggers in your industry along with a phrase like “guest post by” for instance. This will reveal all the website where these guest bloggers have posted. So, these website should be good places for you as well, to guest post upon.
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Mitchell Orme
🏅 Thankyou 4 supporting Upflowy to #1🏅
@luke_embrey @dsarkar That's some amazing insight! Thanks for the tip!
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Billy
Application and Solution Architect
@luke_embrey @dsarkar great insight
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Nathan Challen
Zen & the Art of Getting Sh*t Done 🚀
Currently, I'm seeing results from: 1/ Share as you build on twitter #buildingInpublic 2/ Post daily on the social network where your market hangout 3/ Direct traffic from 1 & 2 to your website with a blog containing cornerstone content. ​ Actual cost $0. Major cost: time This is offset by the rewards in direct feedback and communication with your target market.
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Luke Embrey
Co-founder of Bakup.io
@emotf I like the building in public one, do you just use the hash tag or do you post somewhere more specific?
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Nathan Challen
Zen & the Art of Getting Sh*t Done 🚀
@luke_embrey on twitter #buildinginpublic. IndieHackers groups and product updates.
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Luke Embrey
Co-founder of Bakup.io
@emotf Nice! Yeah I would love to get on IndieHackers, just need to find an invite somehow haha
Florian Buguet
COO & Co-Founder @Whaly.io (YC S21)
Went to forums to answer complaints about similar products that couldn't deliver what we did. Also, posting on a lot of facebook groups and slack communities. Trying to help people with topics similar to mine. Finally, if your target audience is on Linkedin, posting regularly on Linkedin really helps.
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Luke Embrey
Co-founder of Bakup.io
@flobbgt Great advice! Were you linking your product directly or giving advice to users?
Florian Buguet
COO & Co-Founder @Whaly.io (YC S21)
@luke_embrey I'm doing both. Advice on integrations or tools and sometimes if I see a fit, just saying we solve the exact issue they have. I generally mention that I'm one of the cofounders.
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Abderisak
Co-Founder of Avidnote. PhD researcher.
@flobbgt I agree. Finding relevant communities and adding valuable input is a great way to spread the news about your app. Especially if it solves a problem.
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Florian Buguet
COO & Co-Founder @Whaly.io (YC S21)
@avidnote Agreed. in our case, it also helped us do some user research and understand the problem we were tackling better
Aurelio
Co-founder of WP-Umbrella.com ☂️
1) Networking: use the people you know in your field to get visibility and words of mouth 2) And guest post on blogs with low/medium audience, but you have to start somewhere..!
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Ezzat Suhaime
Drawing until I drop (with Spade)
Many people are suggesting posting guest blogs. Are there any tips to find the right blog for your product?
Luke Embrey
Co-founder of Bakup.io
@ezzat I'd say Google is your best bet, also searching on Twitter, check the people you follow, many already link their blog in their bio. Find relevant people people in the industry on GitHub and see if they have a blog.
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Ezzat Suhaime
Drawing until I drop (with Spade)
@luke_embrey I’ll be sure to do so, thank you!
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Mitchell Orme
🏅 Thankyou 4 supporting Upflowy to #1🏅
Awesome list here @luke_embrey One thing that I was a part of, was a Blog series where we would highlight the growth story of industry leaders. After half an hour on zoom, I'd write up an article on person who was pivotal in our industry and they would often share articles, always tying into our product at the end. Excellent for building a bigger network, and leveraging their network when they share it.
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Luke Embrey
Co-founder of Bakup.io
@mitchell_orme Thank you! It is great to see the community discuss an interesting topic, especially around user growth, which I think it important for startups. Your story is interesting, how did you manage to get access to these industry leaders, were you working for a company already?
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Mitchell Orme
🏅 Thankyou 4 supporting Upflowy to #1🏅
@luke_embrey To start the series, I just looked for people who had interesting stories to tell, so I reached out to @gonelf on Twitter and he seemed to like the idea. I would often reach out to people through twitter, earnestly looking to understand their story to then share it with an audience. It's been such a strange but fun process, interviewing elite athletes, rising entrepreneurs and brilliant minds. I was already working with Upflowy, but the outreach was primarily my own.
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Alan Lee
1. Join the relevant Facebook group, and start sharing knowledge on the group. 2. Share with family/ friends 3. Start sharing on daily basis on Twitter on the progress 4. Blog about it
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Nurlan Nurmanov
Indie hacker, solo entrepreneur
I actually started a similar discussion:) My take. I posted a job post on a popular job board. It was a commission-based function. It cost me nothing (the job board offers 1-2 free posts per month), but it surely beat FB ads.
Lucian Apostol
Online entrepreneur
Most of my products rely on paid traffic at this point, but it was a time when the marketing budget was non-existent and I had to work hard to attract some visitors. When I check incoming traffic on my old websites I see that there are visitors coming after following links acquired 10-15 years ago. It is hard to believe how I was able to get those links, Things have changed and now there is much more content generated, there are social networks that take the biggest share of peoples attention and time. Getting back to old times, it seems that if you provide value to the discussion, links are accepted even if they are to your own site. The key is to add enough value and the website you promote really solve the problem.
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Luke Embrey
Co-founder of Bakup.io
@lucianapostol So at this time, you think paid content is more valuable?
Lucian Apostol
Online entrepreneur
@luke_embrey Buying traffic provide instant results. You know that there is something wrong with the product or with the sales funnel. I dont think it is more valuable, but since I take care of several projects, contributing a lot of content to online communities only to be able to post 2-3 links a day is not working anymore for me.
Akash Bhadange
Co-founder @ Peerlist.io
Build your audience before building the product. Helps a lot!
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Luke Embrey
Co-founder of Bakup.io
@dzyngiri Do you have any tips on how to do that? Great idea!
Akash Bhadange
Co-founder @ Peerlist.io
@luke_embrey I can tell you what we did... 1. Add value to users with your posts on social media. Write articles, blog posts, threads. 2. Connect 1:1 via DM. Schedule call. 3. Engage with content shared by others and add value to their audience. 4. Find users with similar problems which you're trying to solve with your product. Connect. 5. Sign them up for early beta. Give them walkthrough of your prototype. Get early feedback. 6. During launch, ask them to share their thoughts around product. and many more :D
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Luke Embrey
Co-founder of Bakup.io
@dzyngiri Yeah one thing I have done is start a blog. How do you go about promoting blog content?
Ruben Lozano
Growth Marketing Specialist for Startups
Hello there, It was using our time to write content, engage in communities, share our content, interact in slack channels. That was a good one to start and get the best and first users. Cheers,