Crayon is the most comprehensive marketing design search engine on the web. It’s the new way for marketers to get great ideas about what to build.
It’s a huge idea in a huge market.
And on November 24, 2014, we had exactly 9 users.
This is the story of how we got our first 15,000 visitors (short answer: Product Hunt), and how we launched the Product Hunt Marketing Design channel so you can get inspired by over 30,000 marketing designs from the 10,000+ startups on Product Hunt.
A typical day at Crayon headquarters used to go something like this
[silence for many hours while we write code]
[someone] “We should get more user feedback, you know, make sure we’re building something users want. We should launch.”
[someone else] “But we’re so close on feature x. We should finish that first. If we launch too soon, everyone will say we’re lame because we didn’t finish feature x.”
[person #2] “That’s a good point. Maybe we should just launch.”
[person #1, putting headphones back on] “I’m gonna keep working on feature x while we think about it… it’s so close…”
[silence for many more hours while everyone writes code]
Then one chilly November afternoon
Even though feature x wasn’t done yet (smile), we decided to at least change our LinkedIn profiles to say we worked at Crayon, and get a few of our LinkedIn friends to sign up.
This seemed like a reasonably bite-sized thing to do, especially since we’d been working on Crayon for nearly 6 months and all our feedback was good so far. (Admittedly, our feedback had come from our 9 users, our spouses, and our children, who are toddlers.)
So we changed our LinkedIn profiles.
Over the next 24 hours, we signed up 20 or 30 users from our network. We felt good. Dude, after all, in startup circles we call that “greater than 300% daily active user growth”.
Featured on Product Hunt
Crayon finished the day on Product Hunt in the #2 spot, just below our arch rival, Batch Insights. (Just joking about the arch rival thing. We don’t know the folks at Batch Insights, but they seem like nice people, and they wrote a good post about their experience on Product Hunt also.)
Product Hunt sent about 15 thousand people to Crayon over the course of the next week. We had over 250 active concurrent users at one point. It was awesome.
And lots of the users that came from Product Hunt have become frequent Crayon users, creating Collections of marketing ideas and drawing insights for their projects.
Lots of Great Feedback
We got some really awesome feedback from the Product Hunt community.
“This is absolutely and completely amazing. Perhaps the most useful thing I’ve ever encountered on PH. I sometimes feel like I spend 90% of my time searching for inspiration and 10% actually designing. Scrolling through Awwwards has gotten increasingly less useful because most of the sites showcased are now just flashy agency portfolios rather than actual products making money in the wild. THANK. YOU. SO. MUCH. for creating this. To top it off the filters are amazing. I regret the days I spent not knowing about it.”
We also got lots of phone calls and emails with comments like this one from the VP of Marketing at a large software company:
“This is a huge benefit you’ve built for the marketing world… I was on your site all day working with my team of 9, and I think everybody now has it bookmarked, etc. You helped me solve some problems I’ve had for a year where I couldn’t communicate to the team what I wanted in a landing page, and showing them page after page very quickly helped me communicate it.”
We also got a ton of specific product ideas, and launched a bunch of new features in rapid succession:
- Added half a million iPhone 6 designs
- Enabled people to make Collections Private
- Launched a collaboration feature so you can add teammates or clients to a Collection and save/comment marketing ideas together
Then, we had a Big Idea: add a Product Hunt category to Crayon to feature the marketing designs of top startups
After getting tons of traffic and lots of awesome feedback, we were feeling particularly warmly toward our friends at Product Hunt.
So we did what startups do when they feel warmly toward one another: we integrated with their API.
Product Hunt is incredibly good at showcasing the best new startups. And the best new startups tend to put out awesome marketing designs because:
- Startups tend to be innovative, so they often try new marketing tactics and push the bounds of what’s been done before
- Startups tend to have top-notch UI/UX talent, so they can execute really creatively and do remarkable marketing
By integrating with Product Hunt, we’ve been able to launch a new category on Crayon that enables you to view over 30,000 marketing designs for the 10,000ish startups that have been featured on Product Hunt.
Since Crayon users often want to see just the “best” marketing designs, we’ve also added a category on Crayon for the marketing designs of startups that have finished in the top 5% on Product Hunt.
These are arguably among the most innovative companies around, and their marketing designs are awesome.
Here you can view all the home page designs for top Product Hunt startups on iPhone 6:
We also crawled in lots of interior pages from the Product Hunt startups, including team pages, trial pages, jobs pages, pricing pages, etc. (At the time of this writing, the servers are still cranking, so more will be showing up over time.) For example, here are the Product Hunt startup team pages:
And here are two Collections I’m personally working on that capture some of my own favorites from the startup marketing design channel:
3 conclusions, and thanks for reading
1. If you’re thinking of launching a product, you should definitely change your LinkedIn profile and get featured on Product Hunt. We highly recommend it. :)
2. If you’re into startups and marketing, you should check out the new startup marketing channel on Crayon.
Thanks for reading!