This is the story of how we are growing Hellonext using growth marketing strategies. In this article, we are sharing the lessons we've learned trying these strategies out, and what we are doing next as well.
To keep things simple, all the points mentioned here will be straightforward, with a simple input output method of explaining things. Like what we tried, what we expected, and finally, what really happened.
Let's get right to it.
We take care of Hellonext and our customers so much. Everything we design and push out, does not come out of desire, but comes out of our customers' feedback.
We believe that our customers pay us to do the right thing for them. The growth might be slow at times, but it will be stable as time progresses.
Few months back, we sat down to work on a growth strategy for Hellonext now that our product idea is validated. Here are the top three growth strategy we worked on, and started executing it right away.
Read more: 4 design principles we follow at Hellonext
Perceiving growth at early stages
When we started, figuring out how to grow the product was tough. We started developing Hellonext as an evolution of our previous product that we built, called Evolvr.io. We wanted Hellonext to be the easiest way for founders & product managers to allow users to vote on features, with a very simple yet feature right tool.
Persuading people to even try Hellonext was super hard early on. So we decided to write as much content as possible that would help as many product managers as possible to gain some value out of it.
Read more: Why allow users to vote on features
But there were challenges:
- The product was in its early stages
- Engineers were working only on their free time
- There were no sales people to demo the product to potential customers
How about we hire an agency for growth marketing
This was one of the options that we had on the table, when discussing about our growth strategy. Our requirements were very simple:
- The marketing person must understand the real pain of the customer
- A product manager in the team would help build the product a lot and talk the language of the product managers
- We wanted people who truly loved the idea, and gave it their full attention
These three check-boxes never really ticked for us when evaluating marketing agencies. So we learned when to use a marketing agency to market your SaaS product:
- When you have a proven formula that you can have people replicate
- When you know exactly what market to go after, and what tasks should be performed
- Agencies are good and cost effective when you know what exactly needs to be done and how it should be done
We also realized that for us to know how to market a product like Hellonext, we gotta figure it out ourselves before we off-load the work to some other agency.
We wanted the person who has a good idea about the product, the person who is writing the website copy and the person developing the website should all be from the same team. There is something about the energy we all share when trying to make Hellonext the best version of itself for the customers. This, didn't happen with an agency.
Who should we hire first in the team
Having developed products worth millions for our customers in our parent company, Skcript, we were really good at shipping features, and managing time between projects. Now, that was sorted. But the only area we were struggling with was marketing and sales.
We are big believers in inbound marketing, and our first natural hire to grow Hellonext was someone who can market + write content.
Are marketing costs, expenses?
The simple answer is NO. The money that you spend on marketing are investments. So far, we've been spending that money on people, either hiring them or buying tools that help them work better.
We initially started investing in people to write as much helpful content as possible. So here's how we saw this marketing cost;
If we invest $5000 per month on these marketing efforts, then if it yields $25,000 on product sales, that's a win and the formula is right.
As of today, this strategy has started showing results. Though it took us nearly 3 months to figure out the formula for marketing, it has finally started to pay-off right now.
First off, measuring is NOT tracking. When we say "Measure. Everything.", we are talking about the data points about the growth of the product.
Here are some of the measurements we are doing for Hellonext:
- Product running cost
- People cost
- Product marketing cost
- Sales income & growth (MRR)
- Churn per month
These are the only measurement a small business needs when in its early stages. These are simple, measurable and has very high impact on the business growth.
We understand that SaaS growth takes time
Ultimately, Hellonext is a business. Being in the SaaS product, we understand the time it might take to win over a small segment in the market. The typical "Blue Ocean Strategy".
Nothing is really free out there. If you need to grow, you gotta invest some money and take some bets. The only things you must be sure of, is to move fast, iterate and learn from what did not work.
Analyzing the marketing channels for growth
Our team came up with the possible channels we can use to grow the product. Let us share the list with you so that you can just copy, paste and save time from researching on them:
- Sales channel
- Partner/affiliate channels
- Integrations channels
- Offline events
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Search and display ads
- Email marketing
- Engineering marketing
- Public Relations
- Community building
- Speaking engagements via webinars and conferences
- Trade shows
- Viral marketing
There is more to growth marketing
We are still learning every single day on the job about these growth marketing channels. But our goal is pretty well defined:
- We develop strategies for the top 5 growth channels for Hellonext;
- We measure the impact on the product and the customer at every step;
- Iterate the strategy every single day;
- Optimize for visibility and reach;
- Make iterative daily improvements to Hellonext to create long-term impact;
That's it for now from us. We are planning to open up more about the way we are building and growing Hellonext to you. Hopefully, this content helped you understand a bit about growth marketing and get some value out of it.
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