Channel-First Approach to Building Products

When deciding on what products to build next, the very first thing I look for is if there's a marketing channel that can be exploited.

To decide on if the channel works for your product, you should be asking these questions:

  • Is it a channel that's not overloaded by the competion?
  • Is your competition overlooking this entry point into the market?
  • Does the channel have an evergreen aspect to it? That is, does it keep on giving even after you've entered it?

The goal is to find a marketing channel that can keep on working for you without spreading your efforts too thin.

Usually, the perfect candidate for this is organic search. However, with something as broad as organic traffic, you still have to zoom in on it more.

Let's say you're building a product on top of a platform. Chances are that platform has a forum where their customers are asking questions. Since this forum is owned by the platform, people will be searching for answers on Google like

"How do I do X on Y?" where X is the action they want to do with product Y

All you have to do is answer the question while pitching your product and you're good to go. Your goal should be to find as many of these types of threads on forums as possible so you can answer the question and people will discover your product.

This is evergreen because as more people use the main product, they will discover the shortcomings of it and look for solutions to their problems by searching online.

You want to be the solution to these problems and catch their attention when they're searching for a solution.

Another approach you can take is answering questions on social media. This approach is more outbound, as you're answering questions that people are putting out online.

When pursuing ephemeral channels, it's important to systematize the process to stay relevant in that channel.

Here's one approach you can take on social media:

  • Create an account on all relevant social media websites - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, any other niche communities that your product serves
  • Find questions that people are asking around your product
  • Responding to them in a helpful manner, pitching your product

Do this a couple times yourself, set metrics for success (CTR, page views, etc) to track if it's working, and if the data shows that it works, hire someone on Upwork or Fiverr to take care of doing this everyday.

👋🏽 Hi, I'm Tom!

I'm the founder of Vocalmatic, an automatic transcription platform for converting audio and video to text. I write about online business and growth.