From 0 to 6000 customers with successful Appsumo and Product Hunt launches

Bootstrapping can be a tough job, but it gets way easier if you listen to your customers and build the product they love. Read Vedran's biggest takeaways on how to bootstrap a B2B SaaS company.

From 0 to 6000 customers with successful Appsumo and Product Hunt launches

In this post of MF 1000s, we will cover the story of LeadDelta and how it got over 6000 users using AppSumo and Product Hunt.

The content of this case study is taken from the podcast episode I recorded with Vedran Rasic, who is the CEO and co-founder of LeadDelta.

Prefer audio over text? Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcasting platform:
- Apple Podcasts
- Spotify 

Let's dig in.

How did Vedran get the idea of starting LeadDelta?

Vedran was the chief revenue officer at Autoklose. He used LinkedIn to scale that business, but soon he realized cold mass spamming people would not work anymore in the future, and we are heading towards a world built on warmer connections where people will buy from people they know and trust.

He also realized people don't use LinkedIn for messages only; they tend to stay on the platform for content consumption.

Also, at this point, Vedran had been on the platform for 12 years and collected many connections. He couldn't figure out what to do with those connections. So he figured he would solve this problem and build a product for managing social interactions.

He decided to buy an MVP for his idea instead of creating one himself. The person who made the MVP for LeadDelta now works as an advisor for the company.

Learning #1 - Very often, the problems you experience other people experience as well.

How did Vedran find a suitable MVP to buy, and what did the whole process look like?

Vedran used MicroAcquire and Indiemaker to look for MVPs he could buy.

Indiemaker was a perfect site for this purpose as all projects on the site are around 1k euros. So you can go there and use different filters and look through various apps to see which one appeals to you.

Vedran advises going for a project that has a good story behind it. If you can figure out why the person is selling the app, you can uncover many insights that may not be evident in the product listing.

Vedran also advises being careful of apps that are just a copy of each other.

He was about to buy such a project, but luckily he did a quick google search of the code to figure out numerous websites were selling the same code and story.

Vedran believes you should be comfortable spending $1000 to $10,000 in this process and then fully commit to it. It is also an excellent opportunity to meet a lot of creators in the process, and if they are interested in selling, they will reply within a day.

You can initiate communication via email and then get on a call to figure out the person's background story and product.

Always try to keep the person around because most honest creators on such platforms love their products and want to see them grow, but they don't know how to take them to the next level.

It would be best if you aimed to find such passionate people on the platforms.

Learning #2 - To save a couple of months worth of time, you can acquire one instead of building your own MVP.

With emerging acquisition marketplaces such as Indiemaker and MicroAcquire, you can acquire an existing product for under $10k in less than a week.

How did Vedran test his assumptions after buying the MVP?

Vedran knew he wanted to do something around managing connections.

The MVP he bought had some Linkedin automation features, but he did not want to be in the business where he was fighting a trillion-dollar company.

He knew he wanted to be very public and transparent from the beginning. So he decided to remove all the automation features that Linkedin would disapprove of.

Vedran planned to work with first-degree connections and get permissions from users.

The plan was to create a simple product to help people manage their connections better.

He basically invented the new product category and called the social capital manager.

He decided first to target high-level senior individuals from his LinkedIn connections because he figured when these people go on Linkedin, they are exposed to a whole bunch of fluff and distractions that they do not want to see.

High-level executives like these wanted a beautifully designed table with all their connections in one place.

First 100 users

Vedran created a landing page about people deserving a way of managing their social capital and sent the message to his LinkedIn connections (Here, you can see how the landing page looked like).

Note #1 - Although Vedran's landing page is good, the only thing I would personally do differently is attach at least some price to the product.

I know the whole idea was to get as much feedback from the early users as possible - but I think the best way to validate an idea is to have a group of people who pay for your product.

The message resonated with his audience, and he managed to collect his first 250 free users through the landing page.

Since the people related to the problem Vedran was trying to solve, he got an 11% conversion rate on his landing page.

Within two months, he had a version of LeadDelta up for people to try. Although it wasn't perfect, the folks who wanted to test the product were happy.

People should not wait for their product to be perfect before launching it to the public.
- Vedran Rasic, CEO of LeadDelta

He later launched the product on the Chrome store after seeking advice from a few Chrome Web store experts.

Within a few days, he secured a spot within the top 5 positions for the best keywords, which helped get LeadDelta additional traffic and conversions.

According to Vedran, creating a product for a social network like LinkedIn has both pros and cons.

The con is that LinkedIn can decide that they don't like Vedran's product any day.

But on the other hand, Vedran knows who his users are, their problems, and core desires.

So it's easy for him to target and get in touch with people who are likely to buy LeadDelta.

How did Vedran optimize his app to be in the top positions on the Chrome Web Store?

According to Vedran, you must keep the following points in mind while launching on the Chrome Web Store:

  • You need to ensure you have good and high-quality imagery to go along with your product description.
  • Ensure there are no spammy brand mentions on the images that may mislead users.
  • Make sure you double-check the KW density; for example, LeadDelta has a solid density of "LinkedIn" as a KW. So if anybody searches for Linkedin CRM on the Chrome Web Store, they'll get LeadDelta as one of the results.
  • Reviews also play a significant role in the ranking of products. So try telling your users to leave reviews and help spread the word.
  • Do not try shady tactics to get reviews. If your product is good, people will gladly support you.

How did LeadDelta go from 500 to 6000 users?

Vedran didn't want to raise money and wanted to run LeadDelta as a bootstrapped business.

Also, he didn't want to put a lot of money into the project because he had heard of many incidents in the past where people invested a lot of money into creating beautifully designed apps that did not work.

He believed in slow growth. So he decided to share his story on LinkedIn with his decent-sized following, who were more than happy to support Vedran on his journey.

His team also doubled down on content.

Vedran also used to take 15-minute zoom calls with every user they onboarded.

This way, he discovered that many people from influential companies like Bosch and Visa were using his product.

Getting big companies onboard was an excellent achievement for LeadDelta.

All this was made possible because of his compelling LinkedIn content and story.

Learning #3 - Always try to get as much feedback as possible from your customers.

You'll be amazed when you discover some deeply buried secrets, desires, and problems they have.

Then use that entire knowledge to your advantage by creating content that solves those problems and helps your potential customers fulfill their desires.

Another approach Vedran took was never to talk about his competitors. But instead, he decided to focus on a common enemy.

For example, a common enemy of his and his target audience was "neglecting one's connections."

Also, he had a common goal. A goal is to help self-made people make progress gradually with the help of others by utilizing opportunities within their network.

Another essential trick that helped LeadDelta reach 6000 users was the constant update releases made by his team.

Vedran reveals that the audience doesn't know how hard it is to build any feature into the product. So if you keep shipping something tiny every week, the users will feel excited because they feel the project is constantly evolving and growing.

Vedran also doubled down on the relationships he had on and off LinkedIn and made sure people helped spread the word of what LeadDelta did and what it stood for.

Learning #4 - Build a narrative that connects your brand with your customers.

Identify the common enemies. Have the same goals. Help each other out on your journeys, and you'll soon have a loved and respected brand.

How did Vedran effectively communicate the idea of having a common enemy and what his company stood for?

Vedran doesn't have any straightforward answer to this as it differs from product to product.

You need to figure out a channel that works for you. In Vedrans' case, he knew his ideal audience was on Linkedin.

So he used his and his colleagues' profiles to communicate his vision regularly.

Other creators may find their ideal audience on Twitter, Instagram, Quora, Reddit, etc.

Vedran knows being just on LinkedIn won't be scalable in the long run once they cross around 50k users, but right now, it's working for LeadDelta.

He also makes appearances in relevant podcasts and participates in different communities to spread his message.

Being consistent on LinkedIn and giving his audience updates about his journeys and challenges also helps strengthen relationships.

Learning #5 - Write content that solves your ideal buyer's problems, and distribute it to places where they hang out.

How does Vedran establish trust among his audiences and customers?

Vedran believes you must have a strategy for fair marketing. Always stick to your words regarding deadlines, offers, and discounts.

Being clear about the end and start dates and managing your customers' expectations goes a long way in running a successful company.

Choose your narratives and storytelling very carefully because people will get confused if you keep changing them.

Vedran believes people trust on a subconscious level.

He never uses statements like "safest LinkedIn app" for LeadDelta because it has the opposite effect on people as soon as you put something like that.

They start to question the safety of the product.

Learning #6 - I know it sounds ironic, but you need to be a trustworthy person/brand to build trust with your audience.

Stick to your words. Stand behind them, and build relationships with your audience by offering value. 

How to have a successful Product Hunt launch?

Vedran launched on AppSumo first before moving to Product Hunt.

He did not want to spend a lot of his own money developing the project, so he decided to crowdsource from the market.

So he planned on offering lifetime deals for LeadDelta through platforms like AppSumo.

Initially, LeadDelta failed to get into AppSumo because the testing team did not approve of the product.

But Vedran did not give up.

He went to one of the biggest Facebook groups affiliated with Appsumo, made a deal with their top affiliate, and started selling many units.

He then took screenshots of the stripe payments and sent them back to the Appsumo team.

The AppSumo team took notice, and within a week, LeadDelta was enrolled on the platform and made around $250k to $300k in gross revenue.

Learning #7 - When the doors close in front of you and you don't have the key, use your creativity and imagination to open them.

Their burn rate was around $10k per month, so they had plenty of time and headroom to switch from lifetime deals to subscriptions.

Before switching to subscriptions, Vedran also launched the product on Product Hunt.

He asked his friends and followers to go online and write reviews for Leaddelta.

Then the community picked up, and the product launch was a great success. The launch had over 600 comments and 35 5-star reviews.

The lifetime deals sold very well on Product Hunt as well.

Later on, Vedran also built a course on how to do a successful Product Hunt launch.

Learning #8 - Use the power of your community and customers for a successful Product Hunt launch.

According to Vedran, it is important to calculate your unit economy before offering lifetime deals.

Vedran sees lifetime deals as a great way to raise capital from the community.

He also believes many of his existing lifetime deal holders will upgrade to team accounts in the future.

What's up next for Vedran and LeadDelta's growth?

LeadDelta's current ARPU is around $17, which is very low for a B2B app.

The growth in MRR of the company is slow. So Vedran plans on incorporating team account features into LeadDelta as soon as possible.

He already has an established demand for the feature because 10% of his existing users want to pay extra to add team members to their accounts.

What are Vedran's secrets to growing a SaaS business?

According to Vedran, the secret to his growth has been listening to his customers.

So he advises everyone to set aside at least 15 minutes a week to talk to their customers.

He talked to 100s of customers at LeadDelta to better understand their biggest pains and core desires.

Also, every entrepreneur must love what they build, so do not build a product in a niche you aren't passionate about.

Listen carefully and choose carefully.

What are some of the books Vedran recommends for all SaaS entrepreneurs?

Vedran has stopped reading business books as he feels most of them can be boiled down to a few pages.

But he does read fiction and autobiographies.

He believes history keeps repeating itself, so autobiographies can help you learn valuable life and business lessons.

He recommends reading the autobiography of Henry Ford and the book called "From Immigrant to Inventor" by Mihajlo Pupin.

The Bottom Line

Scratch your itch and then find people who have the same problem; Vedran found out he had many connections and didn’t know what to do with them.

Likewise, think of a problem you are facing in your life.

Always listen to your consumers for feedback. Those 100s of calls Vedran made paid off in the end because he knew what his audience needed.

Be consistent and keep building meaningful relationships; Vedran was active on LinkedIn for 12 years before he decided to launch his product.

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