“So, basically we’re trying to figure out how to find someone like you.”
I was talking with a founder of a SaaS company who was just opening a position to hire their first marketer.
He asked if he could ask me a few questions about my role, my day-to-day, and how to find someone similar to me who could balance both strategy and execution in a small, lean business.
After telling him about all the things I have my hands on as the Head of Growth for Baremetrics, we started talking about where to post the job for the best reach.
Fortunately, there are so many great places to post jobs today. Big sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, and Indeed. Tech-specific sites like AngelList, Product Hunt, and Y Combinator. Also, remote-only sites like We Work Remotely, Remote OK, and Remotive.
But nothing seemed to serve the marketing community very well. Most job boards in the tech community are very product-focused.
The founder wasn’t sure how well their job posting would reach the marketers they want.
“Man... if I had the time, I feel like there’s something here. Job boards are a great business model and we sure have the budget to find the right candidates.”
“You’re right. Thinking about it, I think I’ll build something!”
The idea was simple: Create a job board specifically for marketers looking for in-office and remote marketing jobs in tech, SaaS, and e-commerce.
But first, marketing
One thing I’ve learned is that before even building something, it’s important to have a grasp of what marketing you can employ. You don’t have to have an exact answer, but it makes things a lot easier if you know there are a couple of strategies that can give you a head start or just make things easier in general.
I knew that a job board would present the age-old “chicken or egg” challenge. How do you get traffic if you don’t have any job postings? How do you get job postings if you don’t have any traffic?
And even if I did figure that out, how would I get sustainable traffic to the site for both marketers and companies looking to hire marketers?
This is why it’s important to consider marketing before even starting to build something. Contrary to popular belief, marketing is just as essential as the product itself.
Build it, and they will not come.
My hunch was that I could probably use a couple of marketing channels for an initial bump:
- My personal network
- Product Hunt
But launching only gets you so far. I also needed to explore more sustainable sources. Based on my own experience, SEO and email tend to be some of the best sources of recurring traffic. So my investigation started there.
To explore SEO, it’s actually fairly easy to go see what’s working for other niche job board sites.
My personal preference is Ahrefs, although you can probably do something similar to a certain degree with other keyword research and SEO tools.
The first place I started was to look at other job boards.
Going to the Top Pages panel will take me directly to which pages get the most organic search traffic.
I can even filter to search for marketing related keywords.
Another way to search for relevant keywords is to go to the Organic Keywords panel and do a similar search function.
With a few clicks, I can also generate thousands of keyword ideas based on related keywords and questions.
After looking at a few other job board sites I began to notice a few trends and compile a list of keywords.
With several low difficulty keywords with high search volume, there are definitely some good opportunities here.
I also knew that the email list would be a key component. An active and engaged email list will not only be attractive for job posters, but also a source of returning traffic.
And seeing how the email lists of these job sites grew to be so large, I was confident that I could replicate a similar model over time.
Figuring out how to build a job board
Now that I felt confident about the marketing side of things, I started to explore actually building out the job site.
At first, I looked at some of the turnkey solutions. Then I thought about Wordpress and job board plugins. Then I thought about just starting with an email list and a landing page.
But nothing really fit my vision and didn’t offer the flexibility I wanted to deliver on some important details.
And then I remembered a tweet Ben Tossell shared on Twitter. It was a gif showing a new tutorial for a job board using Webflow and a few other co-code tools.
I’ve been a Webflow super fan for years and knew that I could probably pull something off from scratch myself, but it’d just take a longer than if I had a little help.
And then, lo and behold, a quick Twitter exchange lead to Ben being generous enough to gift a MakerPad membership for free!
What are the odds!
Even though I hadn’t done anything yet, I knew it was all going to come together. I was confident that it was going to work.
"From conception to launch, it took me about 3 weeks. But in those three weeks were very sporadic amounts of time spent on it. I’d estimate that I spent 20-30 hours total"
Getting to work
After following the MakerPad tutorial I started to tweak, personalize, and style it to give it a life of its own.
The instructions were fairly straightforward. Webflow is the actual job board, a Typeform is embedded into a page of Webflow to capture job postings, the Typeform sends the data to Google Sheets, and then a Zap sends it from Google Sheets to the Webflow CMS.
It’s rather straightforward if you’re nifty with Webflow and Zapier. As always, it just takes some patience and trial-and-error to sort through the nuances.
And just like that, I had a functioning job board!
Now to find a domain.
After some brainstorming and checking to see which names and domains were available using Launchaco, I found something I liked.
Next up was to develop the brand a bit. I’ve used quite a few logo generators over the years but Looka has been the best for me so far.
Looka delivers a great pack of brand assets including multiple versions of your logo, colors, and fonts.
Drawing some inspiration from Mailchimp and Postmark, I decided I wanted something different than most job boards. Yellow stands out like a sore thumb (in a good way) and is barely used among other startups, which would make it easier for me to stand out.
Within just a couple hours I had a brand: Hey Marketers.
It’s not perfect, and it’ll evolve, but it’ll get the job done.
There’s a temptation to knit-pick and want everything to be perfect when you launch.
The reality is it’s never going to be perfect and that most times, good is good enough.
They say that half of your time on a project is spent on the “last 10%.” Fight the temptation. Just ship it!
Then all that was left to do was to incorporate my new logo and branding to the job board. Webflow makes this incredibly easy as you can apply global rules to components and easily change the style of classes so you only have to make a change once for it to apply to the rest of the site.
Building some extra features
While I didn’t have to, I decided I wanted to launch with a few more features to the site:
- A “Resources Library” full of hand-selected books, podcasts, guides, and other sites.
- A blog to feature some of my stories and other marketers
- Marketing job description templates
Ben Tossell also has a tutorial for making a “directory” of sorts that allows you to display items in a grid and filter by category. I compiled all my favorite books, podcasts, guides, and other sites into the CMS and then built out the resources page where it would be stored.
The blog was fairly simple, as I knew I wanted to get something bare-bones out and worry about making it more sophisticated later. It basically just had to capture email addresses and display each post for it to be the “minimum viable” solution. And the same with the job descriptions. In fact, it was quite literally a copy and paste from the blog.
Creating each job description was the most labor-intensive part of it all. I decided on a basic structure for each one and then had to go source the template for each one. Again, they’re not perfect, but they’re good enough. I’ll come back and make these great another time. For now, I needed to keep moving forward.
Chicken or egg?
As I mentioned before, a job board has the classic “chicken or egg” conundrum since traffic and job postings are interdependent. No job postings = no traffic. No traffic = no job postings.
But it actually isn’t so black and white.
Every marketplace model always starts with the supply side, whether it’s filled artificially or for real. For Uber, it was drivers. For TopTal, it was developers. For Hey Marketers, it’s job postings.
So I began backfilling the site with open jobs from the last 3 weeks. Many employers only have a hiring window of 4-6 weeks and I figured that by the time I launched the oldest jobs would be just about to expire. One-by-one, completely manual, I entered over 100+ into the Webflow CMS. It took me a few days, and I don’t think I would’ve survived if I didn’t have Parks & Rec playing while I did it, but it got done.
And now that the jobs were there, the site was built, and everything was functioning, the clock was now ticking.
Every day that I don’t launch is another day that the jobs get older and less interesting. Every day that I don’t launch is also another day I wait to actually make money from this project.
This pressure is good because it forced me to launch earlier than I expected.
Preparing for launch
One thing I’ve learned is that if you don’t want to do it, you should probably do it. Being uncomfortable means you’re growing. If it makes you scared, try it.
For the first time, I announced that I was working on a new project on Twitter.
It wasn’t even a launch. I was actually just looking for help to get more job postings.
But the word spread and before I knew it, I had people coming to the site and using it!
This tweet alone got an incredible amount of reach — more than I expected.
And while it’s certainly not much, it’s still a considerable amount for an accidental announcement.
From there, I added a few more jobs and resources, made the finishing touches, and then started planning for the launch.
From previous experience, Product Hunt is a great way to launch a new project. If you’re unfamiliar, Product Hunt is a website and newsletter of the best new products, every day. At midnight Pacific Time, every night, new products are uploaded and launched on the website and then users vote for the products they like, creating a daily leaderboard that surfaces the most popular products.
If you can manage to get an initial boost and be one of the top products of the day early in the day, it gives you a head start over many other products vying for votes and produce a lot of organic reach for you that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
I highly recommend reading Product Hunt’s own How to Launch on Product Hunt guide. There are right ways of launching of Product Hunt, and many wrong ways.
After planning out what I was going to say, collecting screenshots, and then creating a plan for the day, I fought to stay awake until midnight to upload to Product Hunt.
Except I fell asleep!
I had an extra early morning and then also spent the evening playing basketball for a few hours with some friends and didn’t get home until around 11 PM. I was in bed waiting to push the submit button when I fell asleep.
Lesson learned: Don’t try to launch a product in bed because you might fall asleep.
The next morning I woke up around 6:30 AM and immediately got to work, having realized that I fell asleep and was now a little bit behind. Even though I could’ve waited another day, I decided to just ship it and do my best to make up for the lost time.
I got it up in Product Hunt, posted to Twitter around 7:30 AM, emailed a few friends and founders, and then got work at my real job.
Not as large of a reach but still happy with the response!
And a decent amount of traffic to the site.
And Hey Marketers was the #5 Product of the Day on Product Hunt!
Not too shabby.
Getting my first sales
While I’d rather not disclose exact numbers, I can safely say that since launching, Hey Marketers is profitable and turning out to be a nice revenue stream.
Most sales have been done by me reaching out, rather than someone organically posting themselves, since the site is still new and there aren’t many marketing channels to post a job yet.
Finding the hiring manager of whoever posted a job and then using an email finder tool like Hunter to send an email asking if they’d be interested in posting to my site.
Replying to tweets that announce a job posting has also proven to be effective.
It’s surprising what can happen with just a little extra effort and not being afraid to be rejected!
"Every marketplace model always starts with the supply side, whether it’s filled artificially or for real. For Uber, it was drivers. For TopTal, it was developers. For Hey Marketers, it’s job postings."
The path forward
I couldn’t be happier with how Hey Marketers has turned out so far.
From conception to launch, it took me about 3 weeks. But in those three weeks were very sporadic amounts of time spent on it. I’d estimate that I spent 20-30 hours total.
It’s still very much a side project and will continue to be. So far I’ve managed to do it all on nights, weekends, and some brief early mornings. And I plan to continue that routine indefinitely.
My single biggest challenge is going to continue to be marketing, as with 99% of projects.
SEO is my main focus so I’ll be aggressively pushing out new content, building links, and optimizing pages as much as I can.
The “product” itself will continue to evolve as well.
As of this writing, I’m using a pay-what-you-want pricing model to post a job. Pay as little as $1, or as much as $500!
This gives me great data to go off of initially and is also fair since it’s a new site, but within the next couple months, I’ll need to pick a starting point and slowly increase from there. I may also introduce annual subscriptions to post as many jobs as you’d like.
But for now, I’ll continue to get more jobs on the site, spread the word to marketers, and help marketers find their next great career opportunity in tech, SaaS, and e-co