In this post of My First 1000 Users, we will cover the story of Lemon.io and how it reached $6.8 million in revenue.
The content of this case study is taken from the podcast episode I recorded with Aleksandr Volodarsky, the founder of Lemon.io, which is a marketplace for vetted developers.
Let's discuss Aleksandr's journey.
How did Aleksandr develop and launch Lemon.io?
Aleksandr had a sales background and used to work in an SEO marketing agency in Ukraine.
After a while working there, he moved to Israel and couldn't find work for an extended period.
In Israel, he ended up helping a company find a developer for their project. The company was so impressed by the developer that they referred Aleksandr's service to other companies too.
Aleksandr wanted to create an Uber-like service for developers. Small marketing agencies would submit a task, and Aleksandr's company would assign a developer and complete it within a few hours.
Aleksandr later started doing marketing on Quora and started being active in communities to bring in more clients looking for developers, and that is how Lemon.io was launched.
Sometimes the best businesses are in front of us, but we can't see them without looking deep into our soul.
What is the secret behind Lemon.io's unique branding and design?
When Aleksandr decided to rebrand his company, he and his team spent a lot of time finding out who their ideal client was.
They conducted interviews with their existing clients and prospects.
Aleksandr asked himself the following questions:
- ✨ What is the brand about?
- 👀 What is our brand persona?
- 🔥 What is our audience persona?
The team spent a lot of time describing their customer's persona and every little detail related to them before they passed on their research to their design agency, who came up with the brand image and website design.
The flow of compliments validated the design by Lemon.io's clients and prospects.
Aleksandr went with the name "Lemon.io" because he wanted it to be memorable and didn't want to spend a lot of money buying a premium domain.
ICP research is connected to everything we're doing inside our business - from the brand name, design, our marketing strategies, to the product or service itself.
First 60 clients
Referral and word of mouth have played an essential role in the growth of Lemon.io.
For the first six months, Lemon.io didn't do any marketing; their 60 customers were through referrals from happy clients.
Aleksandr focuses on building meaningful relationships with his clients and spends a lot of time nurturing those relations.
He has no referral fees or affiliate programs of any sort. Lemon.io entirely depends on its capability to bring great results to its clients.
Similarly, Lemon.io never had to promote their company to recruit developers; they made sure developers were treated well and paid handsomely.
The story after the first 100 customers
When it started, Lemon.io was just an extra source of income for Aleksandr, but after getting 100 customers, he decided he wanted to grow it faster.
Aleksandr quit his job, joined a few marketing communities for advice, and started posting on Quora.
He tried to answer two types of questions -
- 🔅 Popular questions about Lemon.io's competitors
- ⚠️ Related questions already ranking on Google search
Readers were impressed by his honesty and how he presented his answers, which led to them becoming Lemon.io's customers. Since Aleksandr followed Quora's guidelines and tips for writing his answers, the algorithm also pushed his posts to more people.
He also ran Google Ads for some popular questions and phrases on Lemon.io's landing page.
The most important to keep in mind when writing on Quora is to never be promotional.
Instead, try sharing as much value as possible. Only mention your website where relevant, or at the bottom of your answer.
I was very active on Quora a couple of years ago, and when I logged in again a couple of days ago, I had something to see:
Invest in Quora, it can have a great ROI, but be ready to play the long-term game.
Gameplan after Quora
Even though Quora continues to get clients for Lemon.io, Aleksandr has also started being active in different niche communities.
He has taken to Twitter to share his journey, build in public and answer people's questions about his services and company. He also works with influencers and sponsors podcasts in order to get more business.
Another thing that is working well for Aleksandr is interacting in small FB groups and communities and then reaching out to its members through Linkedin.
This gives him the advantage of being omnipresent in his small community without spending much on advertisements or promotions.
He also retargets all his website visitors through Facebook and Youtube ads.
Aleksandr did spend some money on SEO, too, but that didn't work well for his company; they managed to get a lot of traffic from the blog posts, but it didn't convert well.
What are Aleksandr's secrets to success on Twitter?
Aleksandr has the following advice for anybody starting on Twitter.
- 🔶 Treat your Twitter homepage as a landing page.
- 🔷 Have a good profile picture.
- 🔶 Your hero section and banner image should tell people what your profile is about and why they need to follow you.
- 🔷 Think about the first thing your audience sees on your profile, the kind of information you want to show them, and the message you want to send them.
- 🔶 Interact with accounts that have a lot of engagement in your niche. Comment on their tweets and retweet their tweets with a comment or quote; this will expose you to their audiences and help you get the initial eyeballs you need to grow on Twitter.
What is Aleksandr's take on outbound marketing?
Aleksandr's team does not spam people with messages. They target their messages very carefully for each company they reach out to.
They contact people who are most likely to answer them and talk to them. Also, they keep their messages very short and to the point.
Aleksandr is good at cold emailing because he writes very rarely, and whenever he writes, he writes something that 99% of people respond to because he gives them value by acknowledging their work.
What's next for Lemon.io?
Lemon.io will continue to work on its brand awareness, influencers outreach and business development.
They plan to collaborate with more channel partners and influencers. They also have plans to expand into new countries.
Recently, they launched into the Czech Republic and are planning to go deeper into Europe and America.
The Bottom Line
Build relationships with your dream customers. Create content with them and be a friend to them.
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