AppSumo is full of overnight success stories, and everyone wants to know exactly how they did it.
Well, each story is different, but in my time with AppSumo, I’ve discovered common themes among the top performers on our marketplace.
These partners don’t have huge investors, nor do they pour thousands of dollars into ads. Instead, they use tangible strategies and stay consistent with them.
In this post, I’ll share with you the top ways products do well on AppSumo. Let’s get started!
Unlocking partner success
Hi there! My name is Kayle, and I am the lead for the Partner Success team on the AppSumo marketplace. Some might even call me “The Guru.”
What is partner success? It’s our relationship with those who list their products on AppSumo (partners) and our desire to assist in their success. For most of my professional life, I worked with entrepreneurs, but I’ve never enjoyed my relationships as much as I have with our partners here at AppSumo!
Being an entrepreneur myself for over 10 years, my #1 goal is to cultivate relationships with our partners on the platform in a strategic and meaningful way. Why is this so vital to listing on AppSumo?
Building strong relationships ensures that both AppSumo and its partners get what they need to succeed. Everyone is at a different entrepreneurial stage in their journey, and therefore the needs of each partner differ.
The blueprint for making serious bank on the AppSumo marketplace
To figure out their needs, one of my favorite things to do with our partners is to book a marketing strategy call. Our partners are from all around the world, which makes my job extra exciting!
Most of these success stories are from a one-man (or woman) show, and let me tell you, it’s very impressive! After talking to hundreds of AppSumo partners, I’ve come across certain recurring strategies across successful products in our marketplace.
Here are some tips to have a successful launch, regardless of where you are in your journey.
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1. Hype it up
One common theme among the most successful products is the hype factor before the launch.
Who would have thought the pregame was so important? Everyone focuses so highly on what to do after their launch that most people forget that there are pre-launch opportunities just waiting to be seized.
Hype things up! Keeping your product a secret might be necessary as you build it, but it takes some time before your launch date to generate excitement.
Join groups, Reddit conversations, Twitter, Instagram, and other community resources to let others know about your upcoming launch. Create a few teasers to really pull in your audience. Be clear about your pain point, what it is, and how your product is solving it.
2. Be transparent
Another common theme among our best products is being transparent. You should strive to practice openness, good communication, and accountability with customers (our Sumo-lings!).
Upholding this transparency creates trust. Most people are understanding about delayed customer support or a much-needed feature update. Customers are likely to leave a positive review if they’ve been treated with honesty and realistic expectations.
Make it easy for Sumo-lings to know exactly what to expect. If a customer has questions or expresses confusion somewhere along the process, chances are that this is the case for many others as well. Malcolm from nichesss is a good example of this, playful and transparent.
Source: nichesss deal page
3. Get reviews
Why is collecting reviews so daunting?
Reviews can feel scary because they create a lot of exposure. This is great in a lot of ways, but can be intimidating to a creator whose product just went live for the first time on a major platform like AppSumo. It’s a sentiment I unfortunately hear all the time from our partners. Most partners won’t even ask for reviews for fear of “bothering” customers or getting that dreaded negative review.
Here’s the thing: Sumo-lings are used to writing reviews. Let’s take a step back. Most people are used to writing reviews anywhere: restaurants, Amazon, music, blogs, Yelp, the list goes on and on.
Reviews are key in creating social proof and nailing down potential customers. If they see helpful and useful reviews from people who have actually used the product, they’re going to be way more likely to buy.
The product doesn’t even need to have a perfect rating. If a group of people is willing to be honest about how a product was or wasn’t helpful, then it creates a community founded on trust. So even if a product doesn’t work for you (and you’re honest about that), it could interest someone else with different needs.
If you think your customers are not confident about leaving a review, make it as easy as possible for them! Throw in a link in your request to help guide them toward leaving one.
Getting rid of the stigma that you’re asking for too much by requesting a review is going to take a mental shift, but it’s one that will highly benefit you in the long run.
We’ve got even more review tips and tricks on reviews in our marketing guidebook. Check it out! Make them fun and easy for your customer!
4. Know your niche
It’s no lie that hitting your target audience is what makes a product flourish. However, many people try to fit their product into all marketing audiences. This is a common pitfall. The more of a niche you have, the better.
Carving out a niche is important because if you try to cater to everyone, your overall marketing and message won’t speak to anyone. Your product is awesome and unique, not one-size-fits-all. How can you get your niche?
The partners I see perform well are usually the ones that don’t try to cast a net too wide. Instead, they look for those unique opportunities to cast a net just perfectly sized for the type of customer they want.
5. Make it pretty
I meet a lot of partners who operate as a one-person show, and these are true heroes in my eyes. They wear every hat in the company and are pretty much never actually off work. When this is the case, it can be hard to acknowledge that work might need to be contracted out. I’ve found that partners who can honestly and confidently delegate responsibilities that are not their strong suit tend to do the best.
You might have a killer product, but your images look like they belong in a brochure from the 1980s. Or you’re awesome at graphic design but not so good at copy. When these parts of a product don’t all line up to be a unified kind of awesome, the product can look and feel fragmented to the customer.
Poor packaging could create distrust and suspicion of the product itself. In fact, a study by Microsoft concluded that the human attention span has dropped to eight seconds, so you only have a short period of time to grab your potential customer’s attention.
Source: Titan Growth
If you need a graphic designer, hire one. If you need a branding manager, get yourself one. And if you need a marketing strategist, you deserve to have someone great.
6. Be flexible
When you’re listing a product, consider getting rid of black-and-white thinking. Let’s go grey, light blue, or heck, even neon green!
Make a plan, try something new, and know that it might fail. The successful partner is someone who can squash that ego down as far as they can, be limber, and invite criticism from others.
You are not your product or the results of your product—you are the creator. And that’s really the best place to be, because you can adapt, edit, and update according to the market and your target audience.
7. Follow through to the end
Sumo-lings are the cornerstone of your AppSumo listing.
Ask your customers and community for their continued support. If they like your product, they’ll want to see you do well. As customers, we’re all busy in our own lives, so don’t hesitate to send reminders or ask more than once. Our community is widely known for our reviews, and most people will be happy to leave one for you.
Follow through with questions and comments. This ties back into being more transparent with your customers. You should aim to answer them swiftly and thoroughly. Gain trust with your community and let them trust their feedback is valuable.
Be sure to build a marketing plan that can be flexible. Create one, try it out, then create another one to see if that version works better. Keep adding to the knowledge you have and the experience you continue to get as you scale your business.
Creating a roadmap also allows your customers and potential customers to clearly see the vision of your company. This is important as you add features and continue to grow in your product and company. Get started with this great post by Toggl on building a successful roadmap.
So what does it mean to truly follow through? It means not giving up. If you fail, try again, be open to feedback, and stay true to your plan.
While no two products are the same (nor are their creators), we can all find common ground somewhere. I hope these strategies are helpful and that you’ll put them to good use!
Our goal here at AppSumo is to help everyday entrepreneurs get up and running in no time. No matter where you are in your journey AppSumo is here to support you in all the ways we can! Whether you’re looking to sell on AppSumo or have your eye on a Select deal, we want to launch, grow, and celebrate with you at every stage!
We’ve gathered a lot of really great ideas from partners, staff, and customers to create this Marketing Guidebook, so take a look! You might find something to take your marketing efforts that extra mile!