Building An Audience Pre-Product

Published on February 14, 2020

Launching a product with an already established, but more critically, engaged, user base is a challenge. How does one take comfort in spending big on user acquisition at product launch without knowing whether your product has affordable and accessible audiences? It’s a challenge that confronts most, if not all, product facing businesses. Solve is no exception.

Solve is building something special and unique. In preparation for its launch, our product must have a targetable audience to convert that’s scaleable. A strategy we’ve employed to grow that addressable user base as much as possible depends on three key factors: (1) Collect direct consumer information, such as emails and phone numbers. (2) Build off-platform audiences. (3) Engage the audience your building with premium content.

Collect Direct Consumer Information

Building a website to collect user information is table stakes. This is where the world can go to view your business and see what you’re up to, if you’re hiring, how to contact you, and more. Even when in stealth mode, which is where Solve is currently, it’s imperative to provide a place for, at minimum, email collection. Email is a formidable data point. Additionally, using Facebook Ads Manager, you can create valuable lookalike audiences from your email list. Moreover, pixeling your website provides you retargeting capabilities. We’ve taken our landing page a bit further with low-level keyword bidding and inclusion in all of our off-platform efforts, such as social media.

An additional tactic Solve has employed is viral growth experiments. As the name suggests, these are one-off campaigns aimed at aggressive growth in short periods of time. We tested two such campaigns in 2019: Bad Taste Test and Ice Challenge. Both campaigns were leveraging core behavioral tendencies of our perceived user base to drive viral organic growth.

Build Off Platform Audiences

If you’re ignoring social media, you’re ignoring highly convertible audiences. Your social media followers can be some of your most efficiently acquirable users. They’ve shown interest in your product and brand by following you, so they’re naturally keen to learn more. And you can reach them directly through non-paid means once they follow your various social media accounts. Some social media platforms don’t make sense for your product, so it’s not always a shotgun approach that’s best. For Solve, given we’re video first, we’ve built our core audience on Snapchat and continue to serve them premium content weekly. We leveraged Instagram Stories as a proxy for our vertically produced video on Snapchat to quickly scale a presence on Instagram, where we’ve now got 170K follower in less than a year. Given the ad capabilities of Facebook Ads Manager and Snapchat Ads, we can efficiently reach our social media audience with targeted ads, and further audience reach is attainable with lookalike and lookback windowed audiences. Efforts in off platform social channels can pay dividends to your future user acquisition efforts.

Additionally, we’ve launched our own podcast, essentially taking our industry best video content and converting it to audio. But these are all new stories and the podcast cleverly uses sound to engage listeners. As we continue to grow our podcast audience we open up inventory from which we can cheaply and efficiently fill to market our core product.

Engage Growing Audience with Premium Content

Collecting user email addresses and building your off-platform audiences provides you an addressable user base when you launch your product. But that user base will quickly diminish and become uninterested if you do not engage with them and provide them premium content. It’s not enough to acquire their email or follow. You need to be aggressively creating new and interesting content for them to consume so they don’t forget you, or worse, leave you before you even launch your product.

Solve continues to support its Snapchat and Instagram audiences with weekly episodic content publishing. We reach millions of users every week. On Instagram, we also produce in-house feed and story content on a daily basis.

Our podcast has proven to be a key content offering. Not only is it building new audiences on its own, but we’ve cross promoted it on our social media. This approach creates stronger bonds between your audience and your brand because of the additional touchpoints.

In conclusion, Solve has taken a sort of 360 approach to its audience growth efforts. The formula we employ is simple: easy to find and follow + consistently rich and engaging content. It’s a recipe for strong and loyal audience growth that can be leveraged for efficient product adoption.

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