I hate marketing. I love coding. So I build marketing features.

Indie Hackers who code know what I'm talking about: marketing isn't as fun as coding.

But we also know marketing is necessary to pay our rent...

So I'm trying a new approach: I build marketing features like referral systems.

When I run out of ideas, I gamify the referral experience like

  • "Earn X if you refer Y friends"
  • "Earn 3X if you refer 2Y friends"

What's your hack for marketing? How do you find joy in it?

  1. 2

    Engineering as Marketing can be quite powerful.

    In the end, having a remarkable product and one that's worth telling people about is all in the engineering of it anyway.

    For example, we have a chrome extension that is super simple to use compared to alternatives (click one button) and someone picked it up initially and then shared it in a large discord.

    All the effort went into the engineering of the feature, with some marketing efforts to get the initial spark.

    The problem is you still need that initial spark and you also need to make sure you're actually solving a problem people want to talk about.

    Can't skip on those.

    1. 1

      Definitely! Product|Market fit is #1

  2. 2

    Marketing is hard and can be rarely gamed by doing what others are doing.

    I learnt this the hard way with affiliate system and other marketing tactics.

    1. 1

      It's definitely less reproducible than code.

      If you use the same stack and need a feature done you can ask for a framework to help you with and implement it.

      Most comment sections are built exactly in the same way concept-wise and it works.

      Marketing has a lot more chaos and luck involved.

      1. 1


        Rebuilding existing software is 10x easier than creating new software.

        Redoing marketing tactics is worse than creating new ones.

        It is a different beast.

    1. 1

      "Single-purpose tools that solve obvious pain points are best."

      I'm going to leverage this and build micro-apps. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing Gabriel.

  3. 1

    Hmm, it is a waste of time for SaaS founders with smaller customer bases. Historically referral systems work with 3% of your customers and when pumped maybe 6%. Better is REAL viral loops.

    1. 1

      I hope the gamified part would make the referral system more efficient. I'll share the numbers here once it's relevant.

      Are real viral loops the fact users are sharing your app organically?

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