This morning I came across an interesting company on ProductHunt called Mason.
They have a tool they’re calling “front end as a service” that looks like it’s a WYSIWYG builder for web apps that spits out code blocks.
Pretty straightforward value.
Pretty straightforward audience (anyone building app front ends).
And a pretty straightforward website that has great placement of logos, trust factors, and CTAs.
Their website also shows off their product really well in photos – something that I think a lot of websites miss, especially in SaaS.
Overall, their site has good design. Something I’d expect from a company that sells to designers.
So…. let’s break down their marketing strategy.
At a more abstract level, I think one of their biggest opportunities is not a channel or a campaign. Rather, it’s how they structure their pricing and approach the market.
It’s clear by looking through the site and ProductHunt comments that this product was made with love. The team behind it really cares about what they’ve built, and they use it themselves.
To this end it probably makes more sense to approach the market user-first or bottom-up rather than top-down.
This is the kind of tool I could see being really solid for a new front end engineer, or a designer/marketer who is just starting to work with a dev team building a front end.
In this case, it’s in our best interest here to make accessing and using the tool as low-friction as possible. Make it super easy to sign up, get started, and push a block of code to experience the magic of the tool in action. That’ll get users hooked.
From there, a number of gateways could incentivize an upgrade. For example. Adding more team members, allowing comments/reviews on projects in the app, or saving more blocks of content. You already see this in their pricing page, and I think this could be taken even another step further.
The end result here is that individuals and small companies can use the tool for free. And when they grow or want to implement the tool into their greater team, they push for an upgrade because they love it.
I’d like to see a bigger focus on content marketing here. Their blog is only updated sporadically and it’s all company-focused content. Not much to build an audience. At this phase of their growth it’s all about just putting a lot of quality content out there to start picking up traffic on the tail end of 2019.
Google Ads is another obvious channel. There are almost certainly tons of direct, bottom-of-funnel keywords around design software. The biggest challenge here will be balancing expensive CAC with LTV to ensure they maintain the golden 3:1 ratio and a short payback period. A good Google Ads wizard combined with the right landing page just might be able to find some profitable long tail keywords centered around design software. It certainly helps that there’s a free version of the product.
Linkedin is potentially a great channel as well due to job title targeting capabilities. Like Google Ads though, the question is, are the high CPC worth it? Only some tests will tell.
Reddit has a ton of potential as there are strong design and development communities that likely have engaged audiences. This channel is always tricky but I think this is one team that could pull it off organically, AND through paid ads.
Video as well would be great for these guys. Simple screen recordings of using their tool to design cool things could go a long way. It’s also a great channel for them right now because video advertising is fairly cheap on a CPM basis as most people don’t understand digital video ads well.
Dribble or other social/semi-social platforms around the design community would be a fantastic avenue if they can figure out how to get content out without being too pushy. Like video, this is probably best done by just showcasing cool shit made with their app.
Facebook/Instagram might be a good channel if there are enough targeting options around their target audience. Instagram is a good channel fit because of the visual nature of their product. But I’m not sure if they can actually target the right people. This is probably worth looking into.
There are also a ton of directory sites like G2 Crowd and Capterra that could make excellent channels. Lots of them are pay-to-play (like Capterra) so if they have some cash, they could pay for placement at the top of the listing in design tool categories. I think they’ll probably find an ROI pretty much immediately here if they turn on the channel.
Long term, I think they could push more into true community building. They have the product and the team. It’s a matter of getting the right talent together to curate, build, and moderate a community.
They could also eventually get to conferences/event marketing but I think right now is too early. I suspect other channels will have a way lower CAC and, importantly, a way faster funnel from random person to customer as well.
Finally, let’s break down some tools.
I’m seeing HubSpot, Drift, Mixpanel, and Hotjar tagged on their site which is great. They’re certainly utilizing some good tools there. Hopefully if they’re bought into HubSpot, that means they’ll go deeper into content marketing and email marketing.
Hotjar and Mixpanel are especially solid, to really nail the best experience for new users from hititng the site to upgrading to a paid account.
I’d like to see better use of HubSpot’s meetings/calendar tool, especially for Enterprise users requesting a demo. It’s a great trick to push people there directly into booking a meeting on an embedded calendar.
Also published on Medium.