Business Insight

Unveiling Solo Tech Entrepreneur's Marketing Playbook: 13 Strategies for SaaS Growth from Jon Yongfook

February 7, 2024

Today’s Entrepreneur : Jon Yongfook

Jon Yongfook, who has achieved $50,000 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) with his SaaS business, says a 50% product development (coding), 50% marketing framework is the best strategy for solo tech entrepreneurs.

(Source : Jon Yongfook)

Jon Yongfook favors the bootstrapping approach to building a business without outside investment, and he's already built and sold two services.

His current SaaS business, Bannerbear, has generated $68 million in monthly recurring revenue. He now hires employees for some tasks.

BannerBear is a SaaS that automates the creation of social media content and e-commerce banners through APIs and integrations. 

(Source : bannerbear)

Product Development(coding) 50 : Marketing 50

Jon Yongfook grew his monthly revenue from $800 to $6,000 in six months with no outside investment, and now has a monthly recurring revenue (MRR) of about $68 million. As a solo tech entrepreneur, he handled both development and marketing until his business reached a certain level.

Most solo tech founders focus more on product development than marketing. Marketing is either pushed to the back burner or only given a small amount of time. Eventually, they struggle with the lack of users and shut down without anyone noticing. Many services disappear without ever meeting their customers. 

Jon Yongfook spent one week on product development(coding) and one week on marketing. In week 1, he implemented the necessary features, and in week 2, he did marketing, including promotions, sharing insights, and creating contents.

He followed this 50:50 framwork for several years, and the results were successful.

(Source : bannerbear)

*Why he recommends this method

Jon says every solo tech entrepreneur should follow this approach. It's simple, realistic, and natural.

  • Simple: Ratios like 80% product development, 20% marketing are complicated to implement and only add to the pressure. One week of coding, one week of marketing is simple and easy to implement.
  • Realistic: One week is enough time to deploy a medium-sized feature and write a few blog posts.
  • Natural: Stories about what you did during product development, what problems you encountered, and what insights you gained are great marketing material. Even if you don't connect directly with customers, technical stories create advocates for you.

Best of all, with a framework, you can execute quickly and without overthinking it. That's why Jon recommends this method for solo entrepreneurs who are struggling with marketing.

Jon Yongfook's 13 marketing activities

On his blog, Jon shared 13 marketing activities he did over the course of a year.

  1. Share your progress: Jon shared what he was doing as often as possible, including one blog post that landed on the front page of Hacker News and brought in tons of traffic.

(Source: bennerbear)

  1. Writing a technical blog: Jon also turned his technical experiences and insights into blog content as he developed the service. Technical blogs are one of the most popular types.
  2. Tutorial content: Jon created tutorial content for people to watch and follow on topics related to the service and what they can do with BannerBear.

(Source : bennerbear)

  1. Offer a demo: He offered a demo feature so people could try it out before they signed up for the service. When he released a new feature, he also created a demo so people could try it out.

(Source : bennerbear)

  1. Create well-written API documentation: He took care to create API documentation that developers could refer to when using our service (because the better the API documentation, the easier it is for developers to use our service).
  2. Engage with the community: He did live AMAs, wrote articles, and was active in communities like IndieHacker.
  3. Improve the Open Startup page: On the Open Startup page, he included a progress graph showing when he could ride his dream motorcycle and tweeted about it. The idea was to give people something to laugh about, or to pique their curiosity and get them interested in the service.

※ What is an “Open Startup” : A startup that transparently shares metrics related to its business/service (ex : revenue, traffic, number of users, churn rate, etc.) 

*Currently, Bannerbear's Open Startup page has been replaced with a dashboard that displays metrics related to your service.

(Source : Bennerbear)

  1. Get a celebrity congratulations: He got a video from a billionaire named Russ Hanneman congratulating him on reaching $20,000 in monthly recurring revenue. He used a service called Cameo, which allows you to get a video message from a celebrity for a fee.
  2. Advertise through job postings: He posted two jobs on ‘We Work Remotely’ and saw a spike in traffic and signups. It wasn't intentional, but he told himself to remember that his future clients might see the job postings.
  3. Create a free tool: He used some of the features of the service to build a free certificate creation service. It's now on the first page of search results for related queries, and the product gets a lot of traffic from it.
  4. Improve the design of the blog: To improve the user experience of the blog, he worked on the design, category structure, layout, etc.
  5. Implement Ahrefs' suggestions: He checked and implemented suggestions from Ahrefs, which is a specialized service for search engine optimization.
  6. Publish specific information: In addition to hiring two full-time customer support specialists to handle customer support requests, the team created detailed and specific knowledge pages. It made customers able to quickly access the answers they were looking for.

(Source : Bennerbear)

Start with what you can do now

Jon's marketing efforts are all about content. While some of it may be hard to follow right away, there are a few key things you can do right away.

As you develop your product :

  • What new features you created
  • What problems they encountered and how they solved them
  • what you learned

You can start blogging or tweeting about new features you've created, problems you've encountered, and what you've learned.

💡 Even if you're not a developer, you can create content about what people need, what they're curious about, and share the process of building a business. You may not get a customer right away, but you'll find a friend or two who will support you in your endeavor.

Written by Free Worker’s Club (Link)

Original Text: SaaS 2개 매각, 신규 서비스 MRR 5.2만 달러 개발자의 마케팅


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