How Microacquire grew organically from $0-600k in 1 year
A comprehensive overview of how the Forbes featured start-up became one of the most exciting platforms in the tech community.
If you've ever wanted to build your own micro SaaS, there is a chance you have heard of Microacquire. It's one of my favourite online businesses out there because of their immense scaling capabilities utilizing simple marketing techniques.
They are currently the new pretender in the acquisition marketplace market - competing with the likes of Flippa and Escrow (businesses that have been around for more than 10+ years!)
However, neither of those competitors achieved the astounding growth of Microacquire:
2,110+ Premium subscribers
300+ Acquired startups
All in less than 2 years
They have rapidly become a major threat to established companies in their market, and became the go-to way when selling your online business.
So, how did they do it?
Essentially, they combined SEO, Free content and Producthunt to promote their brand among their target market. Their brand image is easy to remember and the landing page feels very well tailored.
To explain their growth, I've split the articles into 4 pieces:
- About Microacquire
- Brand Image
- Summary and tl;dr
- Writers Note
Microacquire is a private company, founded solely by Andrew Gazdecki, the former CEO of Bizness Apps and Altcoin. He created Bizness Apps while still in college, and grew it to $10m ARR, then sold it to ESW Capital for an undisclosed amount, after 8 years of working on it. In 2017 he has been featured in the Inc. Magazine's 30 under 30 Entrepreneurs.
In January 2020, he launched Microacquire (As stated, out of personal pain), a Start-up acquisition marketplace, targeting micro SaaS companies & personal projects.
It took his team just 1 month to get from $500K ARR to $600K ARR
I noticed Microacquire has 3 major traffic sources, namely:
Producthunt Ads & Launch
SEO & Reffering Domains
Great Content Marketing
Disclaimer: I don't have access to all the data behind microacquire's marketing, but I've used available tools and done hours of research to assure the data is as accurate as possible
Their landing page consists of many well fitted parts that target their customers really well, however, I'm gonna hit you with a spoiler: it's content & press coverage that enables them to grow so fast long term.
So, let's get to it.
How did those traffic sources enable them to grow so fast?
Producthunt Ads & Launch
Producthunt is one of the best known websites in the start-up community. When you launch, it might be a good decision to do it on Producthunt.
PH ads always appear in the fourth row of the launch feed. Instead of pointing to the producthunt launch page, the banner-like ads redirect straight to the website
Since their launch, when they became #1 product of the day, they have amassed more than 3450 upvotes.
PH's traffic averages at about 1,000,000 unique pageviews per month. Ahrefs shows that Microacquire gets almost 350,000 organic traffic from their ads and launch.
Additionally, they have been featured in the producthunt newsletter, which is sent to about 300,000 - 400,000 people, according to GMass
However, as GMass describes it, customer interest falls with time. It turns out that people simply stop clicking after seeing the ad for so long.
What producthunt is great for, is creating brand awareness
As simple as it gets, the company has created a strong community around its product, which makes it much easier to grow because of word-of-mouth marketing. This makes it worth it for them long-term, even if customer acquisition costs are very high, compared to other traffic sources.
Considering that Producthunt's community cares the most for creating new projects, showing them an easy way to buy and sell them is a simple solution for quick growth.
SEO & Reffering Domains
Microacquire gains A LOT of its traffic from SEO.
Those are numbers from just organic keywords and their pages. As you can see, they rank number 1 in "sell startup", "buy startup" and "buy startups", keywords with more than 250m+ results - they lay down a very specific target market and search intent.
You can also notice they their top 5 pages include not only their main page, but also their content like the SaaS valuation calculator.
Then, let's take a look at their reffering domains:
As you can see, those are some juicy backlinks, from big brands like Businessinsider, Techcrunch, Neil Patel, INC, Entrepreneur and Producthunt.
They gain more than 50 000 000 organic traffic from the first 5 websites alone.
Those numbers sure do look impressive considering how young the company is, but other traffic sources matter too. Now let's take a look at the last source I'm gonna cover in this article!
Great content marketing
This is, hands down the most important traffic source in their current strategy, even if it isn't obvious at first.
Microacquire has more than 30 E-Books, articles, blog posts, podcasts and videos, all listed for free on their website. There is no paywall, the website doesn't force you to register to read it. All it is is pure value for a potential new user.
Also, their top 5 pages AND organic keywords are all from the resource page:
During the 1 year growth period, Andrew has published a completely free Collection of E-Books that cover the topic of microSaaS acquisition
This download filled with free content has reached #3 product of the day and almost 300 upvotes. It may not sound like much, but a simple 350+ upvote launch has driven the traffic of another SaaS company, HappyMeter by 624%
624%. Let that sink in.
Apart from having the opportunity to get a traffic jump for free with Producthunt, amazing content also benefits other people and creates countless other opportunities for a user to register. Articles and podcasts like that are shared daily on websites like Hacker News, between friends and co-workers through Slack.
It's a win-win for both the reader and the company. After all, who doesn't like free information?
One of the best investments a company can make is creating a strong brand image and identity.
Microacquire absolutely nailed how other people perceive their online activity, and you can replicate this strategy with some twists.
Look, I'm not trying to tell you that they are some multibillion-dollar company - They had less than two years to grow. But how fast they grew is a whole different story.
Let's reverse engineer how their team has managed to create such a strong brand image in so little time, then!
Landing page breakdown
This is the first thing you see when opening the Microacquire website, and first impressions matter most in marketing.
This simple page contains every single thing they need to make a website visitor a user.
These are the things that make it work:
- Notice the second half of the headline "Free. Private. No middlemen.". It puts strong emphasis on pain points of the market they are in (Other platforms/alternatives are expensive, slow and rely on middlemen to make deals happen).
- Both the "300+ sucessful deals" line above the headline and the logos of well-known and trusted companies establish immediate trust by showing their experience.
- A big CTA button is present to ensure you register and check out the listings on the platform.
- Sub-headline briefly describes what their unique selling proposition is, and once again establishes trust with telling the visitor that they can join the "30,000+ trusted buyers" through Microacquire.
- Short, 60 second video for people who'd rather watch a quick overview than read everything (the play button could be a little more visible, though).
Then, the website is sectioned into 8 different parts:
This section shows a nicely animated diagram of how buyers and sellers get connected through the platform - it's easily readable and once again, explains the unique selling proposition through the large headline.
Here, you can see the website showcasing its metrics feature. On the right side you can see a well fitted interactive widget that lets you browse all the different metrics you'd want to see as the target customer. There's also a Jeff Bezos quote which compliments the rest of the design and establishes trust by showing a familiar face in a sneaky way.
A testimonial showcase that covers the whole page, once again, it shows the Microacquire team knows the importance of social proof.
A mirror to the section I mentioned before. Does everything that needs to be done, including: showing the USP, its ease of use, and a Steve Jobs quote used as sneaky social proof
And last, but not least, my favourite one:
It's a very simple diagram, but it explains the whole workload of selling your startup in about 3 seconds, visually. It references the pain point, and shows how their product solves it.
Then, just before the footer there is a CTA part with familiar logos of big brands like Stripe or Paypal. It shows that the more social proof you can get, the better for your brand image.
If you, as a visitor still don't know whether the service is for you, you can message the custom Microacquire chatbot, which sticks to your scrolling motion and always resides in the bottom right corner.
Although the landing page is a very important part of the brand image, there is one more thing that makes leads hot like no other - building a community on social media.
Social media presence
Microacquire doesn't have a huge social media following, but it's still useful for potential leads and users. What they do now is mainly update their followers on new listings and deals that get posted on the platform.
Those simple posts follow the same template and are most likely posted automatically. There are, on average, 4 tweets like this per day + some retweets about other company news like being featured in articles.
The links in those posts then redirect straight into their landing page, where the information on said companies is clearly visible.
As you can see, there are multiple CTA buttons that push you to register to view more listings. The sign-up form is really straightforward and well designed, it also lets you sign up with linkedin which makes life a lot less painful. It's always good to point the user directly into your website to close the content loop.
I value your time, so this summary will be pretty straightforward.
To reintroduce the 5 most important traffic sources microacquire has used to get clients on board:
- Producthunt - Their team knows very well how to use this site to his advantage. They have launched as a company, relaunched two additional products that became "top 3 of the day" and kept expanding their reach by utilizing the PH ad system.
- SEO - By using press coverage, backlinks and keywords, they have positioned themselves #1 in many keyword categories. This has also been made possible by another traffic source, content marketing.
- Great content - The company has published more than 30 podcasts, articles and videos on their resources page. This content is free to access for everyone, which means word-of-mouth marketing and republishing it on producthunt made it a popular source of information when searching for advice on selling your SaaS. This creates a good following among their target market and makes the name familiar even to people who aren't. This is a great long-term investment with an ROI that is very hard to beat.
- Branding & great landing page - Their logo, name and color scheme is easy to remember, which is very important on a subconcious level. This is what potential clients see first. Then, it's their landing page, which they nailed. It's interactive, it's easy to read, has a very fast loading time and has loads of incentives which convince you to register. Their social media features their listings, which evokes curiousness in the mind of a warm lead.
As you can see, those marketing channels aren't complicated. If you wanted, you could explain it to a 5 year old. It's what makes them great.
This is the ultimate lesson for any field, not only business or marketing. Make things simple - if it worked for Google when choosing their landing page design, Lotus when building their cars or Dieter Rams when designing home appliances, it will work for your SaaS business.
Thanks for reading the article, I appreciate it and I'm flattered. This is the first blog post on ventis, or the first unpaid blog post I've ever written.
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Til next time!