MegaMaker - What you'll get this year

I've decided that in 2024, the main theme of my writing will be marketing and growth tips for SaaS founders.

Why?

I listen to a lot of bootstrapping podcasts. A recurring sentiment by founders on those shows is:

"It's so much harder finding good marketing channels for SaaS companies today than 5-10 years ago."

Getting a reliable customer acquisition machine running isn't easy; recently, it's been even harder. Every channel has so much competition: SEO, content, affiliates, ads, social media, PR.

Marketing has always been about rising above the noise to get your product noticed, but there's more noise than ever.

During my year-in-review, I asked myself: "How can I be most helpful to the bootstrapping community?"

Many indie founders seem to be struggling with these

Real-world case study

Back in 2018-2019, when Jon and I were building Transistor, we shared our journey publicly (both on our podcast and in writing). This included sharing our revenue numbers plus the experiments we ran to build and grow the product.

I think it was good for us to stop sharing our MRR numbers, but I missed the energy of working in public and sharing our lessons with the community.

Transistor is six years old, and I'd like to re-ignite its growth.

According to the "Law of Large Numbers," growing 30% month-over-month is much easier when you're at $1,000 MRR than $100,000 MRR. You can hustle for an additional $300 in MRR, but growing revenue by $300k is significantly harder.

Transistor has never had a month where MRR shrank, but I'd love to increase our month-over-month growth rate.

So this year, I'd like to return to "build in public" and share some real-world experiments, tactics, and learnings from my work at Transistor.

A lean marketing approach

I used to invest heavily in marketing automation, tracking, attribution, configuring funnels, and retargeting. But after 16 years of doing marketing for SaaS companies... I'm convinced that 90% of it is unnecessary.

Ultimately, the only marketing metric that matters is which marketing efforts are generating real revenue.

The challenge is that most analytics tools, like Google Analytics, force you to give an "approximated value" for each conversion event.

Back in 2019, I realized that I could use Rewardful (the software I use for affiliate tracking) to track any link-based campaign. For example, if I was doing ads on Reddit, I could create a link with an attribute called ?via=reddit-spring-2023.

The advantage of this approach is that Rewardful connects campaigns to real revenue in Stripe. As soon as a visitor clicks a link, it tracks them through the funnel ("Started Trial" --> "Converted to Paid").

This means for each marketing experiment I ran, I had a dashboard of Visitors, Leads, Conversions, and the total amount of revenue earned.

Since I started talking about this in 2019, I've noticed other founders talking about this approach as well:

In 2024, I plan to expand on this approach: identifying the marketing activities that we know are generating real (Stripe-verified) revenue.

How you can help

If you're excited about this year's newsletter theme (real-world marketing experiments), please help spread the word about the newsletter.

You can also share my post on Twitter, Threads, Mastodon, LinkedIn, and BlueSky.

Or, you can reply to this email and let me know if this theme excites you.

Cheers,
Justin Jackson
@mijustin

PS: If you've got a specific marketing challenge you'd like me to cover, let me know.

This newsletter is brought to you by:

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