July 13, 2020

0 to 50,000 Users - Without a marketing budget.

Jacob Jacquet @jacobj132

TL:DR: This article gives a candid look into the growth levers at Rezi categorized across 3 strategies

Full article here - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/0-50000-users-candid-look-creative-growth-jacob-jacquet/

Scaling a startup is hard. An endlessly-deep black vacuum of marketing dollars, aka paid marketing, tends to be a disgustingly expensive experiment for inexperienced marketing teams.

We've heard and criticized the motto "If you build it, they will come" objecting how vital marketing is to any organization.

While I fervently agree with this - I also like to acknowledge that we suck at marketing. So how do we manage to grow? Let's find out. Use this article to explore, learn, discover, or be inspired by our unique approach to growth.

Before going further - let's lay the groundwork to understand the perspective of the article - the characteristics of a product massively influence the economics of scaling up. In our case, we are a consumer-focused free resume software built to be used by everyone. The only two frictions for user adoption are knowing about it and a desire to use it. Unfortunately, this also means many marketing channels with high CPA (cost per acquisition) are not economical.

This article gives a candid look into the growth levers at Rezi categorized across 3 strategies:

  1. Development Driven Growth
  2. Partner Driven Growth
  3. Organic Growth

1 | Development Driven Growth

If we're connected on Linkedin - you know this already, but Rezi launches a shit ton of new features. Our development is almost entirely lead by the marriage of the feedback from Rezi users and Rezi's knowledge of the resume which come together to reach the final goal of creating a resume. Precisely as it should be.

When we launched Rezi, there were none of the key features that we have today including; AI Keyword Targeting, Real-Time Content Analysis, multiple resume formats & download types, link sharing, starter templates, video guides, and more.

The idea of development lead growth should extend further past the "more features" approach as we look at the market from the enterprise lense. Fortuitously, we developed Rezi in a module way that allows for white-label deployments without much headache.

In April, we launched a Resume Management System (RMS) to bring organizations the ability to assist their users with the same proven resume experience as our users.

Here is what this looks like in practice - Universities in Korea cannot provide their bilingual students with any level of resume education or services that match our RMS's quality and price. From a CEO's, that's a beautiful thing.

To drive user adoption in Korea - deployments of our RMS have proven to be a hyper-targeted and effective way to reach our desired market (without ad spend). Seoul National University is our first paying client which is a reasonably significant achievement considering the institution's notoriety and the difficulties of selling software to a university.

Instead of Rezi marketing directly to students - the university recommends Rezi to the students.

This is the B2B2C model. A B2B2C is a particular business model where a company, rather than accessing the consumer market directly, does that via a partnership with another organization. Yet the final consumers will recognize the brand or the service provided by the B2B2C.

Roughly 5% or 2,500 users come from B2B2C RMS deployments.

2 | Partner Driven Growth

We suck at marketing, but a lot of other companies don't. Two companies that have their marketing down to a pure science are AppSumo & StackCommerce. Since January 2020 (StackCommerce) and April 2020 (AppSumo), both have joined Rezi as marketing partners. Each is worth mentioning considering their respective approach to marketing and their incentive for doing so.

In basic terms, AppSumo is a deal website that sells cool software.

To facilitate these deals, AppSumo partners with startups that are willing to offer their products and services at highly discounted rates.

To make it worthwhile, AppSumo distributes information about each deal to its vast online audience to quickly facilitate a large number of sales.

When we reached out to AppSumo - 6 million people had just lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Giving away Rezi Lifetime at no cost was ultimately the agreement we quickly came to considering the number of displaced job seekers and the sensitive timing of forecasted demands.

Where AppSump shines is their execution in communicating the value of the software. For the first time, we had external and unbiased experts speak about Rezi in a way that we had never previously done before.

3 | Organic Growth

Rezi was founded in 2015 to sell hiring system optimized resume templates and resume reviews. If we had focused on organic search, there's no telling what our traffic would be these days; however, I imagine it would be a couple of orders of magnitude higher than it is today.

I should be fired for wasting a 5-year head start on all search terms related to the resume.

Without digressing too much - the number one keyword that all resume companies are racing to rank for is "Resume Builder." It is such a high volume keyword that it kills innovation; many of our competitors copy reads the same. "Blah, Blah, Resume Builder" - however, this dreary, thoughtless, corporate strategy does work.

To escape the "resume-builder" circus above - we turned to our focus to mirror the product messaging that brought our partners the most success. Mainly focusing on the unique feature of how Rezi uses (simple) AI to create a significant advantage by optimizing content with potential keywords found in the job description.