Issue #2: Launch, launch, launch! 🥳

My first marketing week: from a new landing page to Product Hunt launch

After an intense marketing week here we are! 🥳

Let’s start with a snapshot of some stats and I’ll then share what happened this week!

Overview of current status

Here are some snapshots of different stats.

NextCommit

Users

In the last 7 days, I got:

  • +62 signups, now at 96 (+182%)

  • 74 active users (sum of daily active users, not weekly unique active users) (it was 20, +370%)

Summary stats (from Clerk)

New sign-ups (from Clerk)

Active users (from Clerk)

Stripe

Unfortunately still no change here 😭. Still waiting for the first paying customer! 🤞 

I’ll elaborate more on this later.

Plausible Analytics

Analytics of the application usage and landing

Google Search Console

Personal branding

I’m continuing to build an audience especially on X. Not only it improves reach and visibility, but the indie hackers and build in public communities have been very supportive and helpful!

X

X Premium analytics

Beehiiv newsletter

Active subscribers

Thanks a lot and welcome to the new 5 subscribers to this newsletter! ❤️

Let’s now dive into the main topics!

CV Analysis

As I anticipated in the previous issue, before starting the marketing week I finally wrapped up this new feature. 🚀

What is it then?

If an image is worth a thousand words, let alone a video 😂

Users can now upload a PDF CV and run an AI-powered analysis that provides insights into two different aspects:

  1. The quality of the CV in terms of how it has been written

  2. The evaluation of the candidate’s skills both in terms of hard skills and soft skills

Each category provides a score in the range 0-100 which is the result of the sub-categories scores.

As I explained in the previous weekly issue, I expect this feature to be a great companion to the job board. ✨

New landing page

This one took me some time, but I’m proud of the outcome! Especially considering that I never worked in design in my 10+ years in tech 😂

Here you can see the difference between the old version and the new one.

Old landing page

New landing page

I still fully relied on Framer and took advantage of the Saas Website Kit made available by Framer which is completely free. It took me some time to get used to decently building a page in Framer, but after getting used to it is quite pleasant.

For the structure of the landing page I used the one provided by Dan in the tree that I shared last week, here it is again.

I had some positive feedback both in X and on WhatsApp and PH (more about the launch later 😝). In a later section, I’ll also analyze the conversion from landing impressions to signed-up users.

Call to action

In the last issue, I analyzed how the call to action redirecting to the sign-up page seemed to cause very strong friction. Given that the job board itself doesn’t require being authenticated, I changed the CTA to go directly to the job board. Now without signing in it’s possible to use the job board, see the first page, and apply the filters. Everything else requires an account.

In a later section, I’ll analyze the numbers again.

Social proof

You might have noticed that one of the sections of the landing page's optimal structure according to Dan is “Social proof”.

I reached out to my network and asked to try both the board and the CV analysis and ask whoever feels to, leave feedback that would have been available on the landing page.

I discovered a great tool, Senja! That’s also bootstrapped and the product looks really good and polished. So far I loved the experience. 💜 

I simply shared the Senja form and I now have some reviews to show! ✨ 

Senja form

I’m using the free plan, but lots of stuff is customizable. You can change the copy of the form, the colors, etc. In exchange, you just keep that badge “Collect testimonials with Senja“ which I think is more than fair.

There are also many choices about how you want to show them on your website.

Senja widget in the Hero section

Senja widget in the “Social proof” section

Another cool thing about it is that you can also import reviews from many different places: X, LinkedIn, PH, etc.

Unfortunately, I realized that there’s also a sad side of social proof, that is some makers are just faking it. 😭 

A few days ago I bumped into a Reddit post where the author was describing his/her project in beta that just landed, and if you look at the landing there were 2.7k+ reviews… 😑 

Is this a “legit” marketing strategy? Maybe yes, maybe no? I don’t know how commonly this happens, but it’s definitely something that feels so far away from the things that I’d do. ❌ 

One of the reasons I’m building in public is because I care about authenticity, and I don’t like these kinds of stuff.

Maybe it’s just the standard and I’m just too naive and not cut for this 🤣

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Analyzing landing page effectiveness and signup conversions

Last week I showed how the conversion from landing impression to signup was very low. That’s the main reason why I decided to change the CTA and completely refactor the landing page.

Let’s recap what I found out last week and how those numbers changed.

The funnels of the previous and new versions are the following:

  • previous: landing → /sign-in route → new user

  • new: landing → /search route → new user

I wanted to verify if the landing page conversion could be improved, and also if I could improve the conversion to new users by letting the users see the value of the board before asking them to sign up.

These are the metrics that I introduce:

  • LPE = landing page effectiveness: this is the first step of the funnel, basically the CTR of the landing page

  • NAUR = new aware user rate: the rate of new users that saw the value of the product

  • NUR = new user rate: the overall rate of new users

From now on when I refer to “impressions” I mean impressions from unique users.

Let’s start from LPE:

  • previous: (sign-in impressions) / (landing impressions) × 100 = 179 / 1800 × 100 = 9.9%

  • new: (search impressions) / (landing impressions) × 100 = 472 / 2200 × 100 = 21.5%

Nice! 🥳 

This means the new landing page captures visitors’ interest more than 2x! I can consider this a success!

Let’s move to the NAUR:

  • previous: (# new users) / (search impressions) × 100 = 21 / 223 × 100 = 9.4%

  • new: (# new users) / (search impressions) × 100 = 62 / 472 × 100 = 13.1%

Another win! 🥳 

This means that also the perceived value increased. Among all the visitors who tried the product, a bigger number decided to sign up in the current version. This probably depends on two factors:

  1. the CV analysis makes the product richer and it’s felt more valuable,

  2. the current acquisition channels are more targeted towards visitors who are more painfully looking to land a job. I’ll talk more about acquisition channels later.

On the other hand, this also leads to two other possible conclusions:

  1. the product is not good enough for almost 87% of the visitors,

  2. the visitors prefer to stay anonymous.

Considering that as an anonymous user, you’re very limited, unfortunately, it makes me think about the first option. 😭 

There are two possible paths then:

  1. increase the conversion rate between visitors to users,

  2. increase the likelihood of a user becoming a paying user.

Increasing the value of the product, or at least the perceived value of the product, should tackle both ideally.

Let’s now conclude with the NUR:

  • previous: (# new users) / (landing impressions) × 100 = 21 / 1800 × 100 = 1.2%

  • new: (# new users) / (landing impressions) × 100 = 62 / 2200 × 100 = 2.8%

The overall conversion rate more than doubled, which is great! 🚀 

Overall everything improved, but the number of visitors that didn’t become users alongside the fact that no users converted into paying customers is concerning. I’ll cover this in a later section as well.

Continue experimenting with ads and sponsorships

This week I kept the Google ad campaign running. But since I shipped the CV analysis I started wondering whether promoting it was more effective than promoting the job board.

Campaign summary stats for the last week

The conversion rate for the CV analysis is slightly higher: 5.8% vs. 4.2%. My best guess is that the CV analysis is perceived as something “newer” or “more different” than just another job board.

On top of ads, I’m experimenting with another customer acquisition channel.

A few weeks ago on X, I bumped into what I would call a “meta job board” 😂: JobBoardSearch. It’s an aggregator of different job boards, and it’s also made and maintained by a solo founder, Rodrigo, and he’s growing a community around it.

I tried a sponsored submit which cost me 88 EUR for a month, and in a few hours Rodrigo pushed it live and announced it in X. Thanks Rodrigo!

I did it just a few days ago, so not much data

Stats for sponsored listing in JobBoardSearch

In basically 1 day it brought 7 unique visitors. If I do a very basic estimation of 210 users a month, this means 88 / 210 = 0.42 EUR per visitor. With my current analytics, it’s hard to see how many of those visitors signed up, but at least I have a reference in terms of user acquisition cost through this channel.

Unfortunately, I didn’t set any UTM tags for the Google ads 🤦, so I cannot estimate that properly. I need to do that!

As you see I’m spending some money on experimenting with different channels. Is it worth it? If we consider the ROI in terms of revenue definitely not 🤣, but I see it as an investment in myself learning new stuff and navigating through these new territories.

Launch!

Before launching on ProductHunt I also announced it on different Subreddits and in HN. 🚀 

Reddit

On Reddit, I first did a brief research on the most relevant subreddits. I simply searched in the search bar for keywords and checked which ones would be good candidates. I then filtered out those that clearly don’t allow self-promotion and these came down to 4 subreddits:

  • r/RemoteJobHunters

  • r/remotework

  • r/WFHJobs

  • r/RemoteJobs

This is the copy that I used:

Reddit post

Nothing fancy, just the classic structure of hook + storytelling.

The engagement was not bad, I had more than 50 upvotes in total and some comments of appreciation here and there. ❤️ 

Positive Reddit comments

However, there’s a comment that concerns me a bit, but I still need to investigate as I got this feedback only from Reddit.

Negative Reddit comment

Here’s the traffic brought by Reddit:

Reddit traffic

HackerNews

Not much to say here, it has been mostly completely ignored 🤣.

HackerNews post

Product Hunt

This was my very first launch on PH and tbh it’s not like I did any specific preparation for it. 😅 

But I was eager to give it a try and experience it!

Without having specific goals and expectations it was just impossible to be disappointed 🤣. Overall it was good as it engaged a few people in the comments sections with most of them sharing support, appreciation, and curiosity.

ProductHunt recap

This is the traffic brought by PH:

ProductHunt traffic

There’s something that happened that I was not expecting at all. Even just announcing the launch led me to a storm of people reaching out and selling PH upvotes! Damn! 🤦‍♂️

After the launch, it got even worse! 10s of emails and DMs on LinkedIn! 🤯 

In the end, pumping those numbers with fake upvotes it’s just a vanity metric, but I understand that the corresponding visibility helps reach your real users, but still.

Fake reviews and PH upvotes market are the dark side that I discovered this week. 😅 

MicroLaunch

I also launched on MicroLaunch which is a PH alternative that is maintained by an indie maker active on X. There is not much to say for now as there’s a queue, so currently waiting.

To push or not to push

This week was hard. 🥵 

Bootstrapping a business can be taxing psychologically, and some nights you just have a hard time falling asleep due to your brain racing and wondering which of all the multiple different paths is the right one. 🤯 

I guess that once you start seeing revenue growth and your business going in the right direction this feeling will be easier to manage, but I’m not there yet 😅. I’m not saying that I’m not enjoying the journey, and it probably might sound counter-intuitive to many, but I guess that other bootstrapped founders understand exactly what I mean. I’m learning a lot of new stuff outside of my comfort zone, and I feel like I’m in the driver’s seat the whole time.

The cost of this freedom of action though comes at the cost of the uncertainty. As an employee no matter what you do you get your paycheck by the end of the month, ofc if you completely fuck up you might get laid off, but it’s a different game.

Now, going back to talking specifically about NextCommit.

One thing that I’m realizing is that B2C seems to be a big pain. People are just way less inclined to spend money compared to businesses. I love the idea of helping people land their dream tech remote jobs, but if I’m not able to generate revenue that would sustain my lifestyle and my family, then I wouldn’t be able to do that. 😭 

As anticipated there are no paying customers yet, and these made me think about a few options that I could try:

  1. make the CV analysis functionality that is paid on a per-use basis (e.g. 3 CV analyses for 5 EUR or something like this) as people might be scared about subscriptions

  2. just bet everything on SEO, wait for it to start getting traction until it becomes attractive for sponsored job posts to generate revenue, and only then continue working towards adding more value while in the meantime I try building other products as well

  3. pivot the product towards targeting staffing agencies and solve their problems, but this would be either be a completely different product or I’d need to handle both sides

  4. pivot the product towards the companies hiring tech profiles, but that would likely move towards building an ATS

Do you remember I talked about RemoteRocketship in the last issue generating 6k MRR with paying customers? One thing I noticed is that it has 200k monthly organic clicks, so SEO might be the answer to both monetizing the supply side and unlocking the demand side.

Targeting staffing agencies is not something that I like tbh, but I need to wrap up my thoughts on these ideas.

I worked on NextCommit part-time the whole of March and the first half of April, and full-time the last two weeks. Tbh I was expecting to have generated at least 1 buck by now 😅. Maybe I’m just rushing stuff in my mind, but it’s part of this game.

I think I could also try to send a survey to all the users asking for feedback, that would probably give me some hints.

Recap on what’s for the next week?

Next week it’s going to be mostly product development:

  • start adding proper pages for each job post rather than simply redirecting to the original post (will also help programmatic SEO),

  • start adding company pages with all the corresponding job posts (will also help programmatic SEO),

  • verify better the quality of the listings (are there really so many expired or missing links?)

From a marketing perspective, I’d send the survey to the current user base.

In general, I’ll also think even more about the upcoming weeks.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed it! 😄 

If you’re not subscribed yet and you’re curious about this journey do it now! 🚀 

See you next week for the next issue or on my socials! 👋 

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