A few years ago, I worked on a product called Kloudsec. It is a content distribution network (CDN) not unlike Cloudflare. And it was a great product. Oh, the product is also dead -- because I got way too many users.
How do you even begin marketing a niche product that caters to website owners that do not even know that they need it? After many years of experience, I have a few tricks up my sleeve.
I will talk about the trick I did with Kloudsec and how we got to 1400 website owners using Kloudsec in the first month of our launch.
This strategy is simple -- that is to talk to your target market. Let's break that down into steps:
Step 1: Know your customer
Kloudsec is a product does two things very well:
- It makes your website load super fast
- It provisions your site with a HTTPS certificate (so you get a green colored lock on your address bar)
But to use Kloudsec, our customer has to do one thing: He/she has to know how to switch the IP address of your domain name. For example, switch nubela.co to point to the 220.127.116.11 IP address.
So the ideal customer for Kloudsec has to be technically savvy.
Step 2: Which choke point do they hang out?
You don't have to find a community that contains ALL of them. But the larger the group, the better. This choke point has to have a certain quality:
- You need to be able to send messages to individuals
- You need to be able to list these users who are your perfect customer
Step 3: Find an opportunity
You see, at the point of Kloudsec's launch, many developers had static pages on Github, called Github Pages. It also happened that at this point, Google began prioritizing websites that support HTTPS. So if you want your Github Page to rank higher on Google, you want to give it some HTTPS goodness.
The problem is Github pages do not support HTTPS. Neither does Cloudflare (then).
Kloudsec was the only solution that does this.
Step 4: Spam
So I wrote a script to crawl the most popular Github users, and I searched for users who had a repository that powers a Github Page. Once I identified that, I segmented these users into two lists:
- For Github users who had a public email address
- For Github users who did not have a public email address
For users with a public email address, I will contact them by email with my favorite mail merge tool, personalize the template and send them out.
For users with Github Pages without an email address, I will raise an issue on their project stating that their website lacks HTTPS and how Kloudsec can help.
Step 5: Talk
People will reply, spam is always numbers game as long as you get good at writing creative cold emails. After that, all you have to do is to talk!
And talk I did. Kloudsec had rave reviews, see:
Spam as sales, Spam as spam.
Spam has a bad rep and people are afraid to spam. You shouldn't. When we think of spam, we think of unsolicited emails. The thing is everything about (outbound) sales is unsolicited. Cold calls, door to door knocking, flyers, voucher distribution, etc.
But do you realize that personally, unsolicited approaches that solve your problems do not ever like spam? Here's the thing. Out of 1000 people, there will be some people that find your product is the game-changer that they have been waiting for. Find them. And for the rest of the people who do not care, be kind.
The secret of this method is the choke point
Find the community that allows you to talk to your users of your target segment. And if your product is great, it'll grow eventually.
I have replicated this strategy for three products at least. It works as long as your product does not suck and your outreach content isn't bad.
PS: You can find out more about how Kloudsec died in the post-mortem I wrote here.
PSS: Happy Father's Day to every dad out there!