Today we're taking a look at Popsy, a SaaS tool that lets you turn a Notion page (or pages) into a website in just a few clicks. It's a super-convenient option for those wanting to build a website quickly. But it also allows those lacking a natural eye for design to create websites that both look professional and function well.
Impressively, in less than one year, the Popsy team has managed to grow the SaaS company to over 5,000 users with $0 marketing spend.
We chatted with Popsy’s manager of Growth, Gal Lamovšek, to find out how they did it.
Create websites in minutes
Popsy's mission is to help people create websites quickly, easily, and for free, using Notion.
There are many potential use-cases Popsy can solve, but some of the most common include websites that showcase personal portfolios, resumes, landing pages, product drops, creator pages, influencer portfolios, local business information, and even online stores.
Using Popsy is really as simple as taking what you have created in Notion and connecting it to Popsy to transform it into a website. If you’re inexperienced with Notion or don’t want to start there for any reason, Popsy also offers pre-built templates.
Popsy was built and entirely self-funded by Mlex in August 2021.
We entered a very competitive and saturated market. So far we have grown to over 5,000 users without any funding. In a market that’s so tough for SaaS companies to thrive in, growing this quickly is really exciting for us!
I know there are a lot of others in the no-code community building SaaS companies, so I wanted to share some insights into how we grew that will hopefully inspire and help others on the same path.
7 strategies and channels that helped us grow to 5,000 customers
1. 100% free
We’re not the first tool to offer the ability to build websites from Notion. There are plenty of other solutions readily available, so we needed to set ourselves apart.
We noticed that the price of our competitors was a pain point for users. So we worked on solving that by offering Popsy completely for free, including hosting. Popsy is also one of the simplest and easiest-to-use solutions out there.
This, coupled with the fact it’s free, removed much of the barrier to entry that users experienced with other similar tools. It made us a very attractive option.
2. A ‘Made With’ badge
We put a clickable ‘Made with Popsy’ badge on all of our free websites.
Although we’ve recently introduced a paid plan which gives the option to remove the badge, this tactic has been one of the best organic traffic generators. As Popsy sites are shared and seen, we gained new customers without having to go out and find them.
I would recommend this simple-yet-effective tool to everyone where possible.
3. Community launches
Launching your product in communities applicable to your niche is not just highly recommended; it’s a necessity.
Our niche is really anything and everything related to Notion and no-code. Thanks to Notion’s amazing community, we were able to introduce Popsy in their subreddit which today has over 200,000 users. This introduction alone got us more than 700 users!
We also promoted Popsy on Indie Hackers, a community of >20,000 people interested in no-code and Notion. This got us even more new users.
As well as promoting your product to interested communities, collecting user feedback and learning from it is also extremely important. We made sure we were really active in communities and talking to people directly.
Build genuine relationships on a personal level, ask for feedback, what features are they missing, etc. Every opinion counts. Create what the public actually wants.
Niche communities can be very engaged and provide a lot of value. But you need to make sure you provide value in return. Don’t just self-promote and post spammy links. Solve users’ issues, post free and helpful resources, teach people something new! You can start with easy stuff like how to use your tool to improve their tasks, workflow, etc.
4. Growing Twitter
No marketing tactic is guaranteed to be a success, but being active on social media has worked wonders for us!
It’s mostly about knowing where your target customers hang out. You need to meet them where they are. Our ideal users hang out on Twitter, so this seemed the perfect place to start.
It’s much easier to promote your product and gain initial followers if you already have an established social media presence as a founder, but we didn’t have that luxury. So our core strategy is built around bringing value to our followers with every tweet.
We started by posting links to exclusive resources, such as our custom Notion icons and illustrations, that people could get for free if they retweeted. We also:
- Post engaging product updates (building what the public wanted in our roadmap)
- Showcase creative ways to build websites with Notion, which also doubles up as growing awareness of this as a concept
- Share tutorial videos and animations from our YouTube channel
We’ve also found that engaging our own creator community works really well.
We have a growing group of people building and selling their own Notion templates or selling digital art through Popsy sites. We started retweeting these people, commenting under their tweets, and finding ways to collaborate and work together.
This has significantly upped our engagement rates and created our own very active micro-community. Staying on top of social activity is time consuming, so using a tool to schedule your tweets throughout the day is really helpful.
I personally recommend Tweet Hunter, without which this work would be impossible!
5. Active and quality customer support
We built a framework to easily and automatically collect user feedback. Our process sends automated emails to users who stop using our tool or never get to publishing a website, asking them what was wrong, how can we improve user experience, is there something we can do for them, etc.
But, collecting feedback is somewhat pointless if you don’t also make sure you provide active and quality customer support. Users must be able to contact you easily. In our case, we provide accessible buttons that redirect users to live-chat from within the tool.
What’s more, our team meets daily to discuss new features and try to implement/fix them as soon as possible. We make it personal! We treat our users with the utmost respect by talking to them continuously and building relationships.
People like to feel like they’re being listened to, and by a human, rather than a bot. We also find that users are much more likely to recommend services to their friends and colleagues if the customer support is of a higher quality.
6. Cold email outreach
Cold email outreach, if done properly, can be one of the best ways to start building personal relationships with creators, influencers, bloggers or businesses in your niche.
But it’s also perfect for acquiring new customers, especially if you know who your target audience is. For us, working on a product directly related to another tool (Notion) has a distinct advantage: our target audience is already defined.
But aside from cold outreach to our target market, it also worked from an SEO point of view. We spent a lot of time reaching out to bloggers and creators writing about all things Notion to secure backlinks in their blog articles, newsletters or tool directories.
Most of this work was done manually, but we’ve also used Respona to send automated (yet personalized) emails.
Having said all that, there’s no perfect recipe for cold outreach, but what worked for us is:
- Personalization. Let people know your email isn’t from a bot but an actual person.
- Super short copy. Most recipients won’t read long paragraphs, especially from someone they don’t know.
- One CTA (call-to-action). We used a short introductory video instead of a direct link to the product.
- Closing with a question. For example, “Would you be interested?” prompts the recipient to answer your email. After they respond, have a follow-up email prepared with more instructions, a link to your product, etc.
These techniques helped us gain more than a 70% reply rate for cold outreach, which was great!
7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There’s no doubt that SEO is a long-term game. But by starting early you will be able to see results sooner. I’ve divided our SEO activity into 5 main actionable tips we used to start ranking higher and reaching our first 5,000 customers.
- The most important is keyword research. You need to know what your target audience is searching for and optimize content accordingly. To start, narrow down to 3-5 main keywords and produce content around these, including your homepage. To see which keywords you can rank for, use tools like Ahrefs, Semrush or Moz. Read their step-by-step instructions to ensure you’re starting out properly.
- Producing quality content based around your main keywords is essential. You need to be consistent and post lots of optimized content, such as tutorials, blog articles, newsletter issues, guest posts, etc. Always make sure your content is in line with your keywords and is linking internally (lead users from one article to another, from one tutorial to another and so on). This will also help with site links (Google displaying relevant pages linking to your homepage in search results).
- Nailing on-page SEO is crucial. You need to optimize title tags, meta description, URLs, images, alt text, keyword placement, internal linking, and so on.
- Just as important is off-page SEO. This often refers to link building, which you can accomplish by writing guest posts, submitting your tool into directories, posting on Quora, Reddit, Indie Hackers, Makerpad (hence this article!) and other communities. But it also applies to any work you do outside of your page: raising brand awareness through social media growth, for example.
- Page speed. To compete on Google, you must optimize your page speed to the best of your ability. Compress files, optimize code, minimize or lose redirects (because this increases wait time for the user), use browser cache, improve responsiveness, optimize images, etc.
Hopefully you’ve learned something new and feel inspired by some of these techniques have helped us grow Popsy to where it is today. Thanks for reading and please reach out if you have any questions!