My launch strategy in general: make splashes 🌊 & word of mouth 🗣️
Here is a an overview of what happened:
Stage 1: Making posts on reddit → 10 signups/day
Stage 2: Multiple ProductHunt launches → 200 signups/day
Stage 3: Shout-out from angel influencers → 1000 signups/day
Stage 4: More organic posts from influencers → 2000 signups/day
Sounds amazing right. Let me unfold the process in details.
- In my first 1418 days of my startup journey, I had ZERO revenue.
- I had no marketing experience
- I had only 5 months of runway before I started monetization
- When SVB declared bankruptcy, I seriously thought my runway would shrink to ZERO. That was the week I was just about to start monetization
The Journey (the driver's seat view)
Chapter 1: Posts on Reddit
Reddit is a fantastic platform because it has subreddits dedicated to each niche group. You can easily find your niche group and make posts in related subreddits or engage by commenting on existing posts.
Subreddits are a great place for testing your ideas. All you need to do is post demo gifs/videos in the appropriate niche group, and the community will provide valuable feedback. This has been instrumental in validating my MVP even before its launch.
While browsing Reddit, I came across this amazing tool called gummysearch.com by Fed. I highly recommend it! This tool allows you to group subreddits into different niches and listen to potential customer demands.
Chapter 2: Launches on ProductHunt
Product Hunt attracts attention from the startup, product management, and investor communities.
In April alone, I had 3 launches! What is did is to created landing pages for each feature to test, gather feedback, and make improvements.
Our initial launch, AideaMap (hunted by @LuoBaishun), was an experiment to test the concept of generating visual content using a single input box.
Although the product had some bugs and didn't attract much attention, it showed potential.
People liked the idea of having a ChatGPT experience on a 2-D map. This led me to come up with my third launch, "ChatGPT2D."
The second launch was a failure.
The idea is to transform Hacker News posts onto a map for better reading experiences.
No traction at all. I think the reason is that there is just not a huge overlap between Product Hunt readers and Hacker News readers.
Learned from my first launch, I fixed bugs, improved some UX, and bought the domain name chatgpt2d.com (for $10/year) -- which is super important, as I later find out.
Lesson learned from launching ChatGPT2D:
Having a GOOD NAME is crucial. It should be memorable and descriptive, allowing people to easily understand what your product does.
In fact, a good name can sometimes be even more important than the product itself.
The launch of Hacker News gained even more traction, as seen here:
We were listed in second place on the ShowHN board.
The traffic from Hacker News was enormous, with a surge of over 300 unique visitors in just 30 minutes.
Chapter 3: Angel influencers
On April 18th, Zein Kahn tweeted about ChatGPT2d and featured Superus in his newsletter. You can find the tweet here:
This particular tweet about Superus reached an impressive 1.3 million views.
Later, Riley Brown created a video for Superus that received almost 140k views and 10k likes (absolutely crazy!!!).
The way he described the product as "ChatGPT on a VISUAL MAP" inspired me to rebrand my own project as mymap.ai later on.
Chapter 4 - More volunteering help from influencers
Following that, I observed a seems-like network effect among influencers. It was fascinating to see how more and more influencers began tweeting about Superus and ChatGPT2D.
I never imagined I would have such a steep curve on the MRR graph for my own product. In fact, I thought it would take me at least 6 months to reach 10K MRR. Yet, here I am:
- Luck is important, which may surprise you.
- What worked for me might not work for you. Every successful story is 99.99% irreplicable.
- Reaching the break-even point is incredibly satisfying!