📂 How Roam Research reached $1M ARR in two months

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Roam Research is a fascinating case study on grassroots marketing.

Despite the founder largely denying any intentional "marketing," it's no accident that Roam skyrocketed to $1M ARR immediately after starting to charge users.

twitter profile avatar
Conor White-Sullivan πƒπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
Twitter Logo
@Conaw
How many companies have hit $1M ARR within 2 months of starting to charge? I know at least one, but curious if there are others.
July 20th 2020
32
Retweets
649
Likes

So what did they do?

The first key was actually choosing not to charge at all for an extended period of time.

Freemium without the premium... free.

Their scholarship program for researchers was widespread amongst academics as well.

twitter profile avatar
Conor White-Sullivan πƒπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
Twitter Logo
@Conaw
July 26th 2020
0
Retweets
27
Likes

Several months (over a year if you count their beta) of free use without charging built a massive reservoir of pent of revenue.

So when they finally put up the paywall, the floodgates were opened and money started pouring in.

When the product is completely free, it's fairly easier to:

  • Build up a massive backlink profile of people linking to your product
  • Encourage influencers and people with big followings to try out and talk about your product
  • Cultivate a large Slack community
  • Hype up your product on Twitter and amass a large personal following

Here's a screenshot shortly after they launched:

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Influencers like Nat Eliason created a course on how to use Roam.

Francis Miller, another early Roam user, set up RoamBrain.com to compile all the guides and content about Roam.

Productivity is a huge genre on YouTube, and once a couple YouTubers got a hold of it, many more followed suit.

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Founder Conor White-Sullivan masterfully picked fights on Twitter that brought a massive amount of attention to Roam.

Exhibit A:

twitter profile avatar
Conor White-Sullivan πƒπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
Twitter Logo
@Conaw
Brings me back to winter 2019 - when @RoamResearch had less than 5k in the bank and no leads on investors. @NotionHQ was famously turning $$$ away, so gave @ivanhzhao a demo, offered to share our research if he would invest or help us raise. "We have enough ideas" he said... twitter.com/NotionHQ/statu… Notion @NotionHQ πŸ‘€ Backlinks are finally here!! Now whenever you make a link to another page, a backlink is created automagically, so you can see the connections between your thoughts & pages. And there's lots of new shortcuts to [[link]] and +create pages as you type. pic.twitter.com/npnvtmsUea
September 17th 2020
60
Retweets
849
Likes

Exhibit B:

twitter profile avatar
Conor White-Sullivan πƒπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
Twitter Logo
@Conaw
We've started going through @fortelabs' blog series "Just in Time Project Management" in our company Roam graph. Ideas are mostly good... but @MikejNorman found a LOT of places where Tiago is internally inconsistent, and has block-refs to prove it. So... do we release publicly? pic.twitter.com/Z7uhBI1Xo3
Video or Gif
May 13th 2021
5
Retweets
94
Likes

Evangelizing "tools for networked thoughts" built a cult-like following with grassroots adoption amongst academics, then silicon valley thought leaders, then productivity gurus, and then the rest of us.

The last published numbers put them at around $3M ARR.

twitter profile avatar
Conor White-Sullivan πƒπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
Twitter Logo
@Conaw
October 24th 2020
23
Retweets
943
Likes

Impressive for a "B2C" app!

β€”Corey

p.s. did you see that I launched my new course, Marketing Like A Media Company? Would love for you to check it out →​

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