John Jago

Day 77: Marketing by helping

One way to market an internet product is to help people in a relevant community for free.

You have to be careful with this and not self-promote, as that erodes trust and is annoying to people searching for information. For example, you shouldn’t comment on posts in a forum that are slightly relevant to your product with just a pitch for your product.

Instead, you should help people—who might find your product relevant—with their problems. Don’t pitch your product at all. Just be helpful over and over, and eventually some people will discover what you’re building, and if it’s relevant to them, they’ll buy it.

Of course, there has to be some way for them to discover and read about what you’re doing. This could be a short description of what you’re building in your bio on the forum.

There’s nothing wrong about having this “ulterior motive” because you are providing solutions to people’s problems, giving them something of value at no cost, without pitching your product directly. It’s a win-win situation.

Depending on the stage of your product, measuring the results of this would be wise to see if it’s worth the time you spend. If you’re just starting and this is your primary marketing technique, your measurement can be simply whether your product grows at all.

I haven’t tried this approach for Dashify, but I will consider it when Dashify is at a point where I run out of things to build yet think it has potential to grow.

👋 This is my work journal, a series where I write daily about trying to make a living building a bootstrapped software product.