In my previous blog, I explained all the steps my team went through before we created our landing page. Since our first idea validation round was very positive, it was time for us to get validation from people outside our network.
Thanks to our efforts, we managed to attract 1,000 unique visitors in a month and converted 10% of them into potential beta testers.
To be honest, this has been to most exciting and challenging phase so far. I had to start from a blank page with a major difficulty: not disclosing our real name, and using an alias — Mister Hat.
[[There is a tweet here. Screenshot for clarity: https://i.imgur.com/ShWFERo.png ]]
Step 1: Define Personas
The first step was to identify potential buyers. From our research we identified two main personas we could easily target online:
- Business owners and managers convinced about the benefits of alignment.
- People working remotely and (ideally) managers of remote teams.
We initially restricted this to people who are publicly talking about OKR (Objective & Key Results). The main reason is that our solution aimed to support OKR initiative and this keyword is easy to isolate in a search.
This second persona—remote workers and their managers—was selected for the same reasons. The community of remote workers keeps increasing, and there’s a lot of online communities. So, it’s easy to target them.
Among these two profiles, I’ve particularly targeted tech-savvy people interested in testing new solutions. That’s why I’ve narrowed down the reach to startups/SME or tech/product profiles in larger organisations.
I also researched what would attract these people the most, and what kind of messages would have the most impact. I would summarize my findings in a few keywords: transparency, opinion, support, give, expertise, share, and fun.
This phase is crucial, and you should take a lot of time to read and observe before you begin marketing and growth activities. You definitely don’t want to waste time creating generic content which would end up generating very little traffic. You should also target less than three personas to make sure you can easily track which one drives better results.
Step 2: Channels, Account Setups and Engagement
Based on my persona research, I quickly identified key platforms where I could find my targets. For efficiency, I decided to limit my activities to a few sites: Beta platforms/startup listings; social media platforms; and “maker” communities.
Beta Platforms/Startup Listings
There are plenty of places to index a platform and get traffic from beta lovers. Some websites refer more than 1k potential testers. I only registered for a few of these ites, to keep the project manageable. In my experience, the three most efficient platforms so far have been: Betalist, Betabound, and Launchfeed.
Social media platforms
In the case of social media platforms, I got more specific with my targeting again. I decided to focus on the two platforms where my target personas would be the easiest to access: LinkedIn and Twitter.
Twitter was certainly the toughest, as people there are looking for real people versus an alias to engage with. On top of that, you have stand out from the crowd to succeed on Twitter. Creating a new identity on Twitter requires a lot of work and engagement with the audience. But, when it’s well done, it really helps build a responsive audience, collect rapid feedback, and drive qualitative traffic. Essentially, the goal on Twitter is to build your reputation, show your expertise, and engage with market influence to benefit from their captive audience.
LinkedIn was a bit easier as I got the chance to recycle a company page from another dead project. I changed the description, URL, name, and visual aesthetic and tada! 🎉
But, that was the easy part. It turns out that page content isn’t very prioritized by LinkedIn algorithms, and I suspect this to be even worse when a page has been “sleeping” for a while like mine. Generally speaking, the engagement rate of content on LinkedIn is quite low. On this platform, I didn’t create an account for Mister Hat; it wouldn’t make sense since it’s an alias, and fake accounts are not very welcomed by the LinkedIn crowd. Also, it would have been quite cumbersome to create a complete and attractive profile for a fake person.
The last channel type I chose to focus on was “maker” communities. While integral to targeting certain persona, it’s also the most time-consuming. Entering a community requires being accepted, learning its code, and contributing a lot. If it sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. But the upside is that “maker” communities contain the most qualitative audience. As we’re big fans of the open startup community, we’ve decided to focus on three specific communities: ProductHunt, IndieHackers & Maker’s Kitchen. My goals in these communities was (and still is) to engage with other great Makers, learn from their experiences, and support them in their own initiatives.
Next, I focused on getting feedback on what we’re building and, consequently, built our brand awareness.
Step 3: Track and Optimize
Getting traffic is good, but being able to analyze it and then reproduce the magic is better.
In our first month, it was important for us to experiment and analyze what source provides the most high-quality traffic. Our statement was simple: if we engage with the right audience and they visit our website, we’ll immediately know if it’s worth coding.
Out of the first 1,000 visitors, we managed to convince 100 of them to register with our wait-list. 💪
Therefore, the second step is to deep-dive into the analytics: know where the traffic is coming from; know what they paid attention on the platform; and know what their actions were before their registration. This where it got messy…
The first mistake came in the middle of the first month. We decided to shift from www.achieved.ai to www.getachieved.com, and forgot to change a setting. Unfortunately for us, this caused us to miss a consequent amount of “event” in our goal tracking. However, this was something we were able to easily consolidate thanks to our contact list.
The second and bigger mistake we made was not being systematic in adding a source or a reference when we were referencing our website. Around 75% of our traffic came from direct access to the website. This means that we were unable to know the source of 75% of our traffic. As a consequence, our optimizations for next month were very limited.
Since we’ve learned from this mistake, we’re much more systematic when it comes to traffic tracking. 😄
Even though getting 1k unique visitors with 0€ spent and only few hours of work is great, this is just the beginning. Our primary goal for the next few months is increasing our exposure and building a significant user base to kickstart our beta. We also want to improve our own practice in avoiding untracked links, to gain fuller knowledge of our traffic. We’ll keep testing other techniques, and hopefully find something that we can share with you all!
Since this blog was focused on the technique we used, the next one will probably focus on the tools behind them.
Please give a shoutout if you have any questions or feedback on what we do! Comment below if you have any tips of your own to share.