This article was inspired greatly by the work of KP & Kevon Cheung. Be sure to check them out!
Marketing and sales are hard.
Coming up with fresh, fire pieces of creative on a daily basis quickly becomes overwhelming for most creators. Especially when you'd rather spend that time building out your side-hustle.
You start wishing there was a rich source of content inspiration, readily available, that'll never run out...
What is #buildinpublic?
Build in Public started as GaryVee's marketing advice:
"Document. Don't Create."
Gary recognised that most entrepreneurs are already doing 100 things at once.
They don't have time for side-quests like marketing or creative.
By streaming, recording, and editing their activities, founders are able to create a great amount of value for people who wanted to be like them, or wanted to be their customers.
Fast forward to the NoCode acceleration. Or in Pokémon terms:
Most NoCoders start at LVL 1, and are still learning about all the aspects of building a business. That includes sales & marketing.
The solution was brilliant in its completeness and simplicity: KP coined #buildinpublic.
Most makers are passionate builders, but less passionate sellers.
Building in public gives them the best of both worlds: build, as a means of selling.
The promise was simple: Just share your building journey and you will attract customers as a side-effect.
The rationale behind it
Your thoughts, ideas, obstacles, tips, resources, process, etc. as a maker will almost always resonate with someone else who is on the same journey.
Since you have them anyway, why not just share them?
What is #buildinpublic really?
The strength of #buildinpublic is in its simplicity & versatility.
It has multiple applications:
I. Sales – a way to sell your product
II. Marketing – a way to build your brand, establish your moat
III. Networking – a way to build meaningful connections, partnerships & friends.
IV. Product Development – a way to Validate and build iteratively
V. Community-building – a way to build audience-first.
I. A Sales Strategy.
Building in public sells products.
It does this in three ways:
1. Indirectly, your potential customer develops familiarity with your product and will become invested in its development. This is amplified if their feedback directly affects the end result.
2. More directly, building in public allows you to give low-key product demos.
Both live and recorded demos are a large part of SaaS sales strategy, because it creates that 'aha' moment for the customer.
By regularly sharing short (<1 min) screen recordings of something you've built, you're stealth demo-ing your product to your customer.
3. Going fully direct, you can simply use #buildinpublic to grow an audience to make an offer to. "The next 10 copies are 20% off!"
Follower-exclusive offers are a great way to reward early-bird loyalty.
II. A Content Marketing Strategy.
"Marketing is wrapping what you want to say, in something the customer wants to hear."
Content marketing means to create value in the form of content (articles, videos, podcasts, ... ). The goal is to attract customers through valuable content – versus ads, which rely on money.
This means your reach depends on how many people like & share your post. Not how much money you throw at your platform of choice.
This is perfect for indie makers. They often don't have a ton of cash to invest into their business, but do have interesting learnings and experiences to share.
So, with #buildinpublic value is created and amplified by transparency.
Your thoughts, ideas, and parts of your process can be major eye-openers for somebody just starting out on the same journey.
III. A networking opportunity.
An additional upside to putting your work – your specific knowledge – out there, is that not just potential customers will notice you, but also peers, potential partners and supporters.
Some of them might lead to collaborations, mastermind groups, or even close friendships.
As Venturism co-founders, Marcus & Jelmer met because of a single piece of content, shared in the 'promote-your-stuff'-channel of Lenny Rachitsky's community, almost as an afterthought.
With #buildinpublic you expose yourself to a type of serendipity that can lead to major upsides.
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IV. A way to build products
The best way to improve your product?
The worst imaginable outcome for any maker is launching a product nobody wants.
The antidote to that is validating your ideas by talking to your customers early and often.
Share the problem you discovered. Outline that idea.
Share enough of them, and you'll start getting responses from people who are interested.
Before you know it you'll have found your tiny, personal Niche.
A small piece of the market only you can compete in.
Something defensible that gets you excited, and sets you apart at the same time.
V. An audience-first mentality
The internet is rapidly developing into a vast network of virtual villages.
Community is the name of the game, as even the most niche of audiences claim their piece of virtual land and turn settlement into tribe.
Paid distribution is democratised. Anyone has access to the same digital ad channels, and consumers are beyond fatigued. That means your ads will compete with everyone, to reach an audience that isn't interested.
The way to stand out is through authenticity, and personal connection. No ad budget can compete with that.
The goal is to attract your audience before you have something to sell. You do this by adding value, building in public, and paying personal attention.
Document the journey you were going to go on anyway. Share it with the world, and watch what happens.
Soon, you'll have your own micro-tribe of people who share the same: passions, goals, and obstacles as you.
The best part? Once you launch a product, the customers will already be there.
VI. What is #buildinpublic NOT?
A growth hack.
With #buildinpublic you won't see results right off the bat. It is not a strategy for short-term thinkers, or anyone looking to automate their marketing.
It is still very much a hands-on marketing approach, that requires you to care about your audience and about what you are building. You cannot script it.
The power of #buildinpublic is in its compounding effect. Meaning the results will only show after being consistent with it for a longer period of time.
A big part of that is interacting with 'the people in the comments', and genuinely being helpful.
Then again, for people with a tendency to build (but not to sell), building as a means of selling is as close to a shortcut as they can get. It is that powerful.
The central thesis of content marketing is that you can attract people by sharing value first. Shouting "Buy my stuff" and spamming people with your product-link is not that.
The goal – in part – of #buildinpublic is promoting your stuff, sure, but it's not the means.
Instead, it is about being so helpful and attentive upfront, that people will forgive you the 10-20% of self-promotional messaging that you sprinkle in.
A Strategy for people who get overwhelmed easily.
A potential downside of building in public is the amount of notifications that will come your way.
We recommend turning those off entirely anyway, but even just dealing with the exposure, likes, comments and DMs from people 'wanting' something from you can be overwhelming at times.
If that is not for you, #buildinpublic might not give you the results you are looking for.
A Solution to all your startup problems. (though it comes close)
As versatile as building in public is, there are still a million other things you have to do (and do well) to be a successful founder.
Even if you do everything right in the context of #buildinpublic, there are many other factors that might cause your product to fail. We built Launch.OS to help you with that.
TL;DR – Why build in public?
"When done well, build in public combines your momentum with an enthusiastic community that generates an organic word of mouth" – KP
- Social Capital – You will build an audience.
- Belief Capital – You will build credibility as a maker.
- Networking – You will meet interesting people.
- Serendipity – You will experience major, unexpected upsides.
- Validation – You will know what your customers want.
- Accelerated Learning – You will learn from peers & friends.
- Neo-Moats – You will find and establish your Niche.
- Accountability – You will have a support & accountability system.
Enough reading. It's time to #buildinpublic!
To be Continued...
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