Six months ago my partners and I embarked on a journey to build the next big thing. We currently run a growing digital marketing firm, Go Fish Digital, and have spun off a SaaS collaboration tool, Attentiv, as a separate business endeavor. Go Fish Digital was bootstrapped and grew over the course of several years of nights and weekends. Attentiv is also being bootstrapped at this time, but with much bigger aspirations in terms of growth, and on a much more aggressive timeline.
Having experience with both growing a business and the digital marketing field has given us an advantage in growing Attentiv to over 1,000 users thus far in it’s young life. I’d like to share some of those wins and exactly how we got there.
Landing a Launch Story
We knew that our first chance at getting media coverage would be at our launch, so we spent a lot of time planning how to make the most of it. We began by identifying a unique angle for our pitch. In our case, we have a collaboration tool, however we thought that tying our message into the growing idea of ‘inefficient meetings’ gave us timeliness and relevance. We then identified the relevant reporters and systematically reached out to them until we received a response.
Fast Company liked the story and wrote about the launch, helping send a flood of interested and qualified traffic our way. We didn’t just stop there, though.
Don’t Just Stop at One
I think a lot of companies might have fist pumped at the launch coverage and gone back to focusing on the product. However, I felt like this was just the tip of the iceberg, and that we needed to get more out of the launch.
We wrote a blog post outlining our exact process for landing the Fast Company coverage, which we then submitted to a lot of different growth/marketing communities. It subsequently got to the top of GrowthHackers.com, Inbound.org, and Hacker News.
We also jumped on several local opportunities for coverage and attention. The launch was covered in the DC daily-email blast ‘Potomac Tech Wire’ and, through the coverage, we were invited to speak at TechBuzz in the AOL Headquarters.
We also spent weeks planning a more substantial launch on Product Hunt. We identified the best time to launch, determined our network of friends and families active on Product Hunt, and created a situation whereby we would have a gold star next to the product name.
All of these tactics led to thousands more visitors and several hundred more signups.
Strategically Create Content
Useful content is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website and get users. One of our posts, America Meets a Lot, was created with the specific intent of getting to the front page of reddit. We took the time to thoroughly research a pain point of our potential customers: boring, disorganized, wasteful meetings that kill productivity. We found statistics from research studies and created nice charts that made it easy for readers to digest.
We were successful in hitting the front page, which meant over 3,000 upvotes, helping drive around 300,000 unique visitors to our website. It also led to many more links from other newspapers and even an invite to be a guest on an LA drive-time radio show. And, of course, we doubled-down by creating and promoting a post on what it’s like to hit the front page of Reddit.
A startup is small enough to immediately jump on opportunities as soon as they are identified. When certain actions don't work, there are always a plethora of other opportunities available. But, when something does prove effective, it is essential to make sure to double-down and squeeze everything out of it. That is when startups can achieve growth with a marketing budget that rhymes with ‘hero’.