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📈 Selling my Reddit Marketing Tool, using my Reddit Marketing Tool!

Hey!
I'm the creator of Howitzer - a marketing tool for Reddit, made for Entrepreneurs, Startups and Indie Hackers!

💡And... I can proudly say that I found the way to successfully advertise my products on Reddit!
(on a nearly $0 budget)

As you know, Reddit is really tough place for marketing, and a lot of us are avoiding it because of that.
But, we also know that Reddit is the "hidden gem", the Entrepreneurs' Garden of Eden, untouched by the regular startup guy, full with potential because of the perfectly segregated target/niche groups!

For the past years, every time I tried to advertise something on Reddit, I found these problems:

  1. Reddit Ads are 100% useless
  2. Moderators suspend you if you try to promote your products in their subreddits
  3. If you want to advertise something, you should engage a lot in the current subreddit, and that's really time consuming

So... I found a way how to do it!
Reddit's community is tough for sure, but it's open for sharing and gaining knowledge and value!
🧲 If you detect the problem/need/interest of a Reddit user, and find a way to approach him with you solution - you have a potential customer!

When I tried to advertise my previous product (mobile app for a niche group), I found that my target group "lives" on Reddit.
At first, I manually looked for posts and comments with people having the problem my product solves, then contacted them through private messages!
⚔️ It worked! ⚔️

... But it was time consuming.
I decided that I need to automate the process by writing a script for scraping Reddit's subreddits for posts and comments containing specific keywords.
I found that I needed to manually check them even with this approach, because people may have positive/negative sentiment about the 'keyword' I was looking for, and (logically) I can't sell something to someone who said that he hates those kind of things.
After a lot of trial and error, writing long scripts of code, 24/7 running computer, I realized that I have built myself an useful tool!

I've built the prototype of Howitzer!
If this solves my problem, probably it will solve somebody else's problem, too.

I gathered a team of developers, we optimized, packed in a web app and put in cloud everything - and we built Howitzer, as it is now!
=================================================

📢Using Howitzer to sell Howitzer!

By targeting people who are asking about 'reddit marketing', 'reddit marketing tools', 'growth hacking on reddit', 'growth hacking tools' and similar keyphrases, I find and target my potential customers using Howitzer, as you can see in the video below (2 min watch):
https://youtu.be/0aI3NApI7Yw

After I find and extract my potential customers, I contact them through private messages.
The way of successfully writing a "cold message", is content for another post.
Generally, I'm approaching them for a basic discussion about Reddit marketing, directly solving their problems if they have one, giving them tips & tricks on Reddit marketing or growth hacking, asking for their experience with similar tools and for their current way they are doing things, etc.

🎉 The results are great! 🎉
We've launched few days ago (for our early access users & presubscribers), and bunch of them reported 40-45% response rate, and decent conversion rate!

Feel free to check and try Howitzer, and give me your opinions and ideas!
Your feedback will be highly appreciated!
Also, if you have any questions or want to discuss about growth hacking or Reddit marketing, feel free to open discussion in the comments below!

Thank you!

  1. 4

    Interesting, I like that there is 'sentiment' for the keyword included..
    I will definitely try it out.

    1. 1

      Thanks Norrebrother!

  2. 3

    Wouldn't you get banned/shadowbanned for DM-ing people too many times?

    1. 1

      Reddit won't ban or shadowban you for sending private messages.
      We were concerned about this too, but after taking precautions (like providing USER_AGENT, using their official API for messaging, sending messages at optimal rate, using proxies for not sending messages from the same IP, ...) we made everything we could, so you won't get banned/shadowbanned.
      Also, tested this a lot with dummy accounts. Never got banned/shadowbanned.

      However, you may get suspended for X days, if you spam.
      It's really hard go get suspended, because the users need to report you for spamming, before Reddit considers suspending you.
      We also added 'Suspension Recovery' for this kind of cases, which allows you to connect multiple Reddit accounts, and if one of them gets suspended, the other one will continue the messaging process as if nothing happened.
      You can read more about this in our FAQ section:
      https://howitzer.co/#faqs

      1. 1

        I wrote a script similar to what ya'll are doing about 1 year ago for a side project I built. I got perma-banned from Reddit; they didn't let me comment or upvote on the site anymore. Read-only access lol.

        Do you know why that would be?
        What is Reddit's limit on PMs?
        What other methods are you using to get around from getting banned?

        1. 2

          Did you just private message, or you posted and commented also? How many users did you PMed per day and month?

          Reddit's limit on PMs is "confidential" info, and we can't share it because of potential competition, sorry. The only tip I can give you is: abide by their guidelines, and the sending time delay is really important.

          What other methods are you using to get around from getting banned?
          First, we abide by Reddit's limitations and guidelines. Also, we use proxies, interchangeable IPs, and... some tech magic I'm not allowed to talk much about (also because of competition).

      2. 1

        How would you know if you got shadowbanned or not?

        1. 1

          Thanks for asking!

          Previously, we had implemented a what we called 'fallback technique', where we sent a message to our dedicated account on every 50-100-150-... messages.
          After testing it a lot (believe me on this, A LOT), we realized that this feature was obsolete, because we never got shadowbanned when we followed Reddit's API guidelines (even tested it with spamming, messaging the same users again and again until we got reported for spam).

          If by any chance, someone gets shadowbanned by using Howitzer, we'll immediately return this 'fallback technique' feature.

          • You can easily see if you are shadowbanned, by sending a message to another account that you own.
    2. 1

      what is "shadowbanned"?

      1. 2

        Getting banned without officially been informed of.

        1. 1

          oh I see. so you would message them on reddit? why wouldn't you scrape their email/twitter and then message them there instead?

          1. 2

            Reddit doesn't give any info about their users' emails or twitter accounts, so you can't scrape their emails/twitters.
            However, we may have found a way to find (some of) their twitters (more for that later).

            Currently, private messaging them on Reddit is the only way to go.

  3. 2

    I like that you open new market place other than Instagram and fb ads.
    I will try this approach when I'm about to launch.
    Very cool tool , keep us posted about updates

    1. 2

      Thanks Liki!
      Will do it! :)

  4. 1

    Interesting tool. Wow!
    Do you have a lTD coupon ?

    1. 2

      Thanks for reaching out! Replied to your email, check it! :)

  5. 1

    Love the idea. How can we sign up for the demo?

    1. 1

      Thank you!
      If you need live demo, feel free to email me at: [email protected], and we can schedule one!

  6. 1

    "a friend of mine" used a similar tool on Linkedin a few years ago - I am sure you've seen them and I am sure 99% of messages are automated on there now. but the friend got their account blocked and they had to sign a declaration that they would never use an automated tool again before their account was re-opened.

    • do you have ways to be undetected on reddit?

    • so can I use the tool to simply get the targets, but not contact them?

    • do you offer a free trial in return for feedback? ;-)

    1. 2

      Hey Steve,
      thanks for your comment!

      1. Do you have ways to be undetected on reddit?
      Yes, we do.
      We abide by Reddit's guidelines and use different tech solutions to remain undetected from Reddit.
      Also, you can do the whole process from a throw-away Reddit account (with 1 karma) if you are afraid of losing your account.
      You can read more in our FAQs: https://howitzer.co/#faqs

      2. So can I use the tool to simply get the targets, but not contact them?
      Yes, of course!
      You can only extract the targeted users, and export them in .csv file for additional analyzes!
      You don't need to message them if you don't want to.
      Targeted users

      3. Do you offer a free trial in return for feedback? ;-)
      We don't offer free trial, but I can offer you a decent discount, if you are interested!
      E-mail me at: [email protected], and we can discuss it!

      1. 1

        yeah I think to be honest I'm struggling to justify paying for this - feels too experimental. I honestly think a trial of X leads or something would get you a lot of testers - who will then go on to buy more.

        1. 1

          I completely understand you, and you are right!
          Currently, we don't offer free trial because we want to regulate this and protect the Reddit's community from spammers (if there's a free trial, it can be easily used for spamming. Paying users are serious users).
          We are still brainstorming how can we implement free trial, without leaving too much space for spammers.

          Anyway, if you are interested, email me and we can schedule a live demo for you, where me and my team will demonstrate how Howitzer works.

  7. 1

    Hey, you built a great tool! I've validated three products this way and one of the product got 4000+ upvotes in a community on Reddit and I definitely could've used this. You built what I had envisioned while I was validating those ideas. Congratulations.

    I've been outlining my thoughts on an article I was writing about the whole mechanics of how you validate products on Reddit and I believe that adding your tool to my article would bring value to both of us and the users who are reading. Do you want to have a quick chat sometime regarding this?

    1. 1

      Thank you very much!
      Of course, it would be wonderful!

      E-mail me at: [email protected], I'll be happy to discuss this with you!

  8. 1

    You speak my mind on the Reddit marketing struggles. We are preparing Algoly (our low code data stream builder) for a launch on Product Hunt and are currently trying to build up buzz beforehand. Reddit seemed like a good target group fit but community building is extremely time-consuming and we've got a tight budget so advertising wasn't for us.

    Howitzer sounds like a great alternative (especially if it actually avoids a ban or coming off as spam, but I guess that also hugely depends on what you're sending people).

    1. 2

      Exactly!
      It depends a lot on the way you are trying to sell your product.
      Howitzer is just a tool to help you execute what's on your mind. We highly suggest avoiding spamming - more on this in one of the next posts (I plan to write my own guide on how to approach Redditors through "cold messages").

      I would be happy if Algoly becomes one of our customers!
      E-mail me if you have any questions or want to discuss about Howitzer, or Reddit marketing in general.

      [email protected]

  9. 1

    👏 Well done! I love when products serve a value and also are a built in marketing tool. I'll check this tool out.

    1. 1

      Thank you very much! :)

  10. 1

    This is amazing! Would love to give it a try, I've had a lot of success on Reddit and would like to scale up outreach. Is there a trial version?

    1. 1

      Thanks for your interest!

      Currently, we don't offer any trial version, but I can give you a generous discount if you want to try it , or we can meet through Google Meet/Zoom for a live demo and discussion!

      Feel free to message me at: [email protected]

      1. 1

        Sounds good to me, will email you! Thanks

  11. 1

    Nice idea. Do you have a trial version?

    1. 2

      Thank you HippoHacker!

      Currently, we don't offer trial version, but I'm happy to include a decent discount if you want to try it, or do a live demo for you (on Google Meet/Zoom)!

      Feel free to send me an email at: [email protected], and we'll discuss this! :)

  12. 1

    One of the best tool that i recently saw. will try out once we launch our product.

    1. 1

      Thank you very much!
      Looking forward to having you as our user! :)

  13. 1

    Great idea.
    Can you articulate more on Reddit Ads being useless? What's your opinion?
    Thanks

    1. 2

      Thanks!

      A major part of the Reddit's community have installed AdBlock, and this automatically makes Reddit Ads obsolete.
      Also, ton of people have reported extremely low conversion rate, including myself and some of my friends who are really good growth hackers.

      I never found a way with Reddit Ads, no matter how hard I tried to do it.
      PS: There is also a problem with not-so-transparent ad price (usually you may end up spending 10-20% more than what you've planned to do, and this is an overkill for entrepreneurs and startups)

      I think Reddit is also aware that their ads are somehow useless.

  14. 1

    Small note: on your landing page your logo is /r/howitzer , but if I go to https://www.reddit.com/r/Howitzer/ there is no subreddit.

    1. 1

      Updated the logo on the website, thanks for the catch! :)

    2. 1

      Good catch! :P

      We noticed this thing even before, and we are in the process of claiming this subreddit!

  15. 1

    @nklvlk Man this is insane!
    Geniously.

    I'll def try out.

    Hope to see more vid about that,
    Good job, cheers

    1. 1

      Thank you Jamie!
      Tell me what you think after trying it out! :)

  16. 1

    My main feedback is, I would sign up but there doesn't appear to be a trial. Not even a 7-day trial or anything.

    1. 2

      Hey!
      Thanks for considering Howitzer!

      Yes, we didn't include free trial, because it's really expensive for us at the moment, and we wanted to somehow control this thing (didn't want to become a spamming tool).

      If you are interested, I may give you a discount code, up to 70-80% for the first month(s).
      Just write me an e-mail at [email protected]! :)

  17. 1

    so in summary, you are saying...?

    1. identify targets
    2. message them directly to offer our product
    1. 2

      Yes.
      It's simple as that.

      You may do it manually, or you may use Howitzer, to automate, speed up, and scale the whole process.

  18. 1

    can you share the link

  19. 1

    Good points!
    Congratulations on your release

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