This is the 3rd series of Bootstrapping Stencil.
It has been a month since my last update and the product has received numerous changes. I have pushed various improvements and features in which you can read here.
However, on the marketing side things haven't changed much despite all of my efforts - the sign ups rate are really low and the page visits for https://www.usestencil.com are dwindling down. It is averaging around 15-20 visits per day which is atrocious.
Here are few things that I tried to increase traffics to Stencil and their outcome.
This is one of the first thing I tried because they were mostly free and only require efforts from my part.
I scouted multiple marketing agencies, did research on what they do and came up with how Stencil can be used to save their time and marketing cost. I really try to emphasize on time and cost saving.
All of the emails sent were personalized with a video/GIF of a demo that matched their use case.
No one replied. Not sure on the open rate because I don't like spy pixel.
- Finding emails for each agencies are harder than I thought. I mostly had to send these emails to their generic email addresses like
email@example.com, etc. This might also be the reason why no one ever responded.
- It's really tedious to write personalized email.
- It's emotionally draining knowing that a lot of efforts are put without seeing any result.
Paid Google Ads
My initial plan with Google ads was to run it for a month but I cut it short to just two weeks after a disappointing result. I had high hope for Google ads to bring more traffics but that didn't happen.
- Very low leads and leads that I got were of very low quality.
- The ads were displayed to non-Stencil related business.
I was not sure if I should continue with the ads and continue tweaking the settings to optimize the ads performance better but the early result was discouraging. So, I decided to try a different distribution channel.
I joined several digital marketing groups and started interacting with the communities, and obviously planting the link to Stencil here and there 🤫
- Posting in FB groups feels like IRC all over again where conversations are ephemeral and it's really hard to keep track of anything.
- Too much and too frequent posts from other group members that make it feel impossible for your posts and comments to be noticed.
- Very low quality content where everyone is trying to sell. It almost feels like spam.
This leads me to thinking whether I should be bothered to do Facebook Ads. I haven't decided on this yet. While the quantity is there, I am not sure about the quality.
The holy grail of all marketing strategies. I have moved my focus on this for long term strategy. This is going to take a while before I can see the result. At least that's what I have been told/read.
- Made a new blog to write more marketing related contents, https://blog.usestencil.com. Previously everything is written in the documentation site but I feel this sort of content doesn't belong there.
- Writing more blog posts, guides, etc on weekly basis.
- Subscribed to https://katlinks.io/ to see where I can improve my SEO. Still learning the rope.
In one of the No-Code Asia meetup, we were discussing about building audience in Twitter by tweeting daily. There's even a challenge called #Tweet100 for this.
I didn't join the challenge because I wanted to focus on quality tweet rather than just a random thought for the sake of tweeting. Instead, I decided not to tweet at all for the past 2-3 weeks to see how it will affect my traffics.
Frankly, I wasn't convinced that tweeting a lot can help with building audience or even help with marketing Stencil. Twitter can also feel like everyone is trying to sell you something.
As a result, there seems to be less traffic from Twitter based on analytics and my followers count are stagnating. So I guess there's some truth to that.
- Twitter can actually help drive traffics to your site (obviously).
- Building audience on Twitter might be a good strategy to focus on.
Built Interactive Demos
Talking to few friends who were checking out the site convinced me that,
- They weren't sure what the product is about.
- It focused too much on the features instead of the benefits.
With those two points in mind, I revamped the main landing page of Stencil to focus more on the use cases.
I also added few demos to showcase how Stencil can be used so visitors will have better grasp what the product is all about.
- Focusing too much on the product features might be the wrong approach - visitors are interested in solving problems so focusing on benefits might make more sense.
- Demos are a great way to engage with the visitors - time spent on landing page actually increases although it doesn't correlate with sign up rate.
What's exactly is the problem?
I feel like I did a lot to attract visitors but the effort and the strategies did not come into fruition.
I feel like I have a really good product (I'm biased of course) and there are paying users. That surely validates the market. What is lacking is product exposure to the masses - the correct audience.
My site doesn't have enough traffics, that leads to very low sign up rate and thus lesser conversion.
What am I going to do?
The focus is to bring more traffics to the site and let probability handles the rest. My conversion rate is pretty decent around 4-5% and with enough sign ups there bounds to be conversion.
Here are what I am planning to do more:
- Increase Twitter audience through personal/business account.
- Improve SEO by pushing more tutorials, guides and other marketing related information.
- Maybe try either Twitter or Facebook ads.
- Build free tools and start marketing them too.
- Implement "Sign in with Google account" to allow for visitors to try the product seamlessly. This is low on priority because I don't have enough traffics to warrant this.
Anyway, this is all I have and hopefully things are improving soon. I hope you learn something from this too.
If you haven't read the previous newsletter, you can find them here.
I'll see you soon in the next issue! 👋