Question

How did you learn to build distribution for your products?

There's so much content online about how to get to product-market fit, but content around how to build distribution for your product (using content, Google ads, etc.)

If you've built distribution for your product over the years successfully and put customer acquisition on autopilot, how did you do it?

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#around #Zapier #Slack
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maguay's avatar
2 years ago

Content marketing and SEO, which were some of the best ways to bring in customers for Zapier (my previous employer) among other places.

One of Zapier's earliest smart marketing tricks was to build a directory of every app integration on their platform, along with permutations for pairs of integrations. So if you searched for, say, "Google Sheets Slack" or many other pairs of two apps, you'd likely come across a Zapier page. And that was perfect because people googling those two products likely wanted to connect them and would be a likely customer for Zapier, and Zapier's page showed how to do that.

Then, with more traditional content marketing, the editorial team wrote guides on how to do specific things that people would search for—showing how to do them in the tool itself, and then how to simplify and automate it with Zapier. That again got people who were looking for a solution to discover the product. Much further up the acquisition funnel, broader content such as best app roundups made their site a destination for people looking for almost any business software, which can then convert visitors into customers when they buy software and want to integrate it with their existing tools.

The best thing is it works over time, where you make the content today and it keeps bringing in new customers for years after, without any additional investment—though if you maintain the content, it'll have a stronger chance at ranking well for a longer time.

@NBnite mentioned something similar in recommending content marketing as the best way to sell online in another discussion; be sure to check that out too!

2 points
shankarganesh's avatar
@shankarganesh (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

Thanks Matthew! I'm aware of all the great content you wrote for the Zapier blog (and even before!). I just feel that content marketing is too crowded a space - sure there's space for a new angle even on topics that have already been written about, but it's really tough to go up in search results.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @shankarganesh )
2 years ago

Thanks, appreciate that!

I think there are still opportunities from a few angles:

  • Queries filled with older content can be easier to overtake in search rankings. Google does watch publication dates, so something well written this year has a shot at ranking above existing items from several years ago.
  • Smaller niches often have little content about them. Sure, all the easy top-level queries may be taken, but put a couple nouns together with a verb (so, in Zapier's case, "save slack links to an Excel spreadsheet" type stuff) and often there are few if any things that directly answer the question. Sure, they'll get less traffic overall as fewer people search for them, but the people who do really want an answer to that specific thing.
  • New niches are always coming out. There may be a million recipes for chocolate chip cookies, but no one seems to have written one for duran chocolate chip cookies (which admittedly is likely a terrible idea, but still). Make a new category, or jump on new ones for your topic area, and you can establish a voice about something no one is searching for today but that many people may search for in the future.
1 point
shankarganesh's avatar
@shankarganesh (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

This is great. I'm actually working on a side project right now - a tool that allows you to "mail merge" using Gmail + Google Sheets. I've been thinking about writing good content on the site that helps with search rankings, but 'mail merge' has existed for ages and there's so much that's been written about it.

I'll probably think of some niche ideas around mail merge. Thanks - these are good tips!

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @shankarganesh )
2 years ago

Oh super cool; that's easily my most-used Zapier use-case (and, for what it's worth, almost every business spreadsheet use-case could be a stand-alone SaaS app).

My suggestion here that I'm sure you're already working on is to figure out why and when people need mail merge, and target those queries. If you find people who don't think to google "mail merge" but do think to google something closer to the reason they want to mail merge, you'll have a valuable tiny niche audience.

2 points
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