How Did Content Distribution Drive over 800% increase in Sign-ups?

Content distribution plays a critical role in improving sign-ups for your app. We’ve followed this strategy to improve our sign-up and go-to-market at Krunch. 

We were a startup initially struggling to gain visibility and user engagement. Krunch’s journey from minimal brand recognition and low user sign-up rates to a significant increase in both due to a content-led growth strategy forms the core of this blog.

Backdrop

Six months ago, Krunch as a brand was only known to those who had heard of it from someone else or via a message seen on Twitter or the Slack group. Those who had seen a reference to Krunch on third-party platforms didn’t pay any attention to Krunch’s value proposition even though it was solving a key problem of measuring developer conversion for them. It is mainly because Krunch wasn’t a known brand of any sort, and people didn’t know what it stood for, so it never got a second look. 

When we looked at the most common metric, i.e., traffic to the website, we were struggling. We generated 238 unique visitors over two months, with an average of 4 unique visitors a day. It was the twilight period before Krunch adopted a content-led growth strategy. Of which, on average, 8-9 visitors signed up to use Krunch over those two months.

Between Aug – Sep 2023, Krunch’s website had sporadic visitors and were not returning  

Outreach efforts to drive sign-ups

To drive more sign-ups, we attempted direct outreach via email and social media (Twitter and Slack). We created a target persona based on 1-1 interviews we conducted previously. We identified the target audience as heads of developer marketing, dev-tool growth marketers, DevRels, Developer Advocates, and Developer Content creators. Since Krunch measures how each content converted developers into users, this was the best segment to target.

We tried out different messaging over email with targeted subjects and content of emails, as well as messaging via Twitter DM. We were doing this without any real efforts to create awareness around who we are or what we do. It led to a disappointing conversion, where we had a response rate of 0.7%. 

With three team members investing their time and effort over weeks into this, it was a complete misfire and set us back a few months. At the time, we were scratching our heads to know the underlying reason for the lack of response.

Struggling to get a ROI

We were targeting the right people, the value proposition in our head seemed correct (and we did a lot of 1-1 interviews before crafting the value proposition), we were solving a real problem for our users, and they currently had no other way to do this. Yet when we directly reached out to them, there wasn’t much excitement to try out the product. We saw similar behavior on our Slack support channel, too. The existing user base was neither excited with our updates nor as active as we’d have liked them to be. 

And we were going for literally 24-hour support for our Slack channels, so no user was left waiting. As founders of an early-stage company, we were doing all that was humanly possible to adopt users and raise awareness about our platform.

So, to summarise, this is where we were before investing in content creation and distribution:

  • 4 – 5 sign-ups a month
  • No real engagement on the Slack Support group for feedback
  • A lot of time and effort invested by the team to bring users on board
  • 0.7% conversion to sign up for cold outreach
  • 2% conversion to sign up for warm outreach
  • 5% conversion to partner referral
  • No real brand identity

So, how do we turn this around?

To give you a short version of what happened, here is the summary of the next two months as we made content distribution the hero of our outreach to sign-up users.

–   Content generated 164 visitors to the website, with 93 visitors signed up for the app

–   46 sign-ups a month

–   Regular feedback and interaction from the Slack community

–   Direct outreach response rate changed from ±1% to a striking 80%.

It was clearly a considerable turnaround. Whatever we were doing, we got more positive responses from our users/leads and, most importantly, sign-ups; albeit it had only been two months, the signs were promising.

What did we do differently this time that moved the needle on user conversion?

In a nutshell:

  •  Our website and messaging were completely revamped
  • We created a series of compelling blogs that addressed the key concerns of our community 
  • We distributed these blogs across various platforms to ensure maximum visibility and engagement

Let’s take a deeper dive into each one of those.

Our website was the key gateway to our audience. The previous version was designed and developed by the founders with minimum effort. We decided to invest more in messaging statements.

We spoke in depth with our users and asked them what they think Krunch is solving for them. Coupled with our vision of the product, we came up with this messaging statement:

This is what the hero of the old website said: 

Krunch old messaging

And we changed this to,

new messaging on landing-page

While content distribution was the key lever that unlocked a higher % of user response for us, it’s important to note the changes to the messaging directed visitors to our website. If that leg of the journey were inadequate, we’d have lost that uptake in sign-ups.

Our assessment showed that the key impact of the change in the hero message was the response rate of direct outreach via email, Slack, and Twitter DM.

Comparison of the response rate between pre and post-content led to growth

Response to direct outreach with the previous one-linerResponse to direct outreach with the latest one-liner
0.7%80%

We had a very detailed discussion with our GTM team and went through about 8 to 10 different iterations of this message in the same discussion. So, there was no easy way to reach something like this.  

The Level Up   

The next lever we pulled to achieve this turnaround in sign-ups was content distribution. The instant impact of this was in terms of visitors to the website, sign-ups, branding, and a more interactive community.

In terms of content distribution, knowing what content to write was key. Having been part of the Devrel community for the last 4 years, one key aspect with respect to content was apparent: if you write helpful content for your community, they’ll respond and help you out – you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. 

We gathered a lot of information about the repetitive questions being asked in various Slack communities by different community members. We then did a Google search on these subjects, and whichever topic we felt didn’t have adequate content available, we chose to write about that. There was a clear indicator that there was a gap in the content world on certain subjects that were important to our community, but there simply wasn’t enough material available.

We set a target of writing 6 – 8 blogs a month and release those on –

Why these platforms specifically? 

The thought process was simple. The content that our community would often share would come from one of these third-party platforms, giving us a clear indicator of their choice and where they got their information. So, it was a no-brainer to distribute content where our community was present to consume them.

 With the right topics and distribution channel, we saw the dividend in the form of visitors to our website:

Before we started distributing content, website visitors looked like –

After we started distributing content, website visitors looked like  –

Another key direct outcome of this content distribution strategy was brand awareness and recall. We started to notice a  growth in response rates to our direct outreach, and the increase in sign-ups further reinforced our confidence.

 Comparison of signs up to Krunch pre and post-content led growth tracked using Krunch

Monthly sign-ups before Krunch had a brand identityMonthly sign-ups after Krunch had a brand identity
4 – 546

Another desired impact content distribution started to have for us was Google started to rank us. We leveraged the SEO wizardry of third-party platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Dev.to, Medium, and Hashnode to get promoted in Google. And when our community was still searching for those commonly recurringly asked questions in Google, our blogs started to come up in the results! 

This was a big win as it created direct awareness of Krunch in our targeted user base. Furthermore, we used Krunch to track our sign-ups from our blogs. 

Role of the Krunch App

The Krunch app reported the conversion of link clicks in the blog and, thereby, sign-ups to Krunch. The app was critical in us understanding the ROI of our content distribution effort and telling us what content style was working, which channel to focus on and where we were getting the most conversion. Here, we were able to see from the Krunch app that most of our signups came from a tweet promoting a blog about a quick guide to content distribution and  a post from Linkedin about Hackernews Launch. This level of insights wasnt available to us in Google Analytics as it only showed the channel, which wasnt very helpful

Finally, we experienced two additional outcomes of content distribution; while maintaining our primary goal of generating sign-ups using content distribution, we realized –

  • Our community appreciated our efforts to solve their problems via blogging, so they became more engaged with us on Slack. They get more and more excited and responsive towards product launches. They answered our questions and asked us more openly now than ever. Our outreach via blogging helped us create a relationship and forum for our community for this interaction, which was nonexistent previously.
  • Lastly, we also started to discover newer user segments that were interested in Krunch. Looking at the sign-up data, we identified micro-communities that were interested in using Krunch but had yet to be identified thus far.

In our experience, resources required to achieve this –

TeamCEO, CTO, and a GTM expert
EffortOn average, 4 hours a day per person
PlatformsNotion to manage the project
Meetings±30 minutes a day to review everyone’s progress with one longer call per week
Tracking content performance beyond the websiteKrunch
Tracking website performanceGoogle Analytics
Creating Content±25 hours per content

Summary –

  • Initial Challenges: Krunch initially faced low website traffic, poor engagement, and a lack of brand identity, resulting in a mere 4-5 sign-ups per month and a disheartening 0.7% conversion rate from cold outreach efforts.
  • Strategy Shift: The turning point was adopting a content-led growth strategy. This involved revamping the website, focusing on blog content relevant to their community, and distributing it across various platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium, Hashnode, and Dev.to.
  • Impactful Outcomes: The new strategy led to a dramatic increase in website visitors and sign-ups, with 46 sign-ups per month and an 80% response rate to direct outreach. There was also enhanced engagement in the Slack community and brand recognition.
  • Content Distribution: The key to the success was identifying content gaps and creating valuable blogs. This improved search engine rankings and brand recall and even helped identify new user segments.
  • Resource Investment: The effort involved a dedicated team, including the CEO and CTO, spending significant time daily on content creation and distribution, project management, and tracking performance using Krunch and Google Analytics.
  • Broader Benefits: Apart from increased sign-ups, the content distribution strategy fostered a stronger community relationship and provided insights into additional user segments interested in Krunch’s offerings.

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