Why A Link from TechCrunch Will Not Make You Rich

When I talk to people who are thinking about launching a software product, whether a high-growth or Micropreneur endeavor, from time to time I hear that if they could get to the front page of Digg or get a mention on TechCrunch that they would be “set.”

The problem is, your market is most likely not the people who read Digg. Nor the people who read TechCrunch.

And if it is, you’re in for a tough ride. This audience is fickle, moves quickly, and looks at a lot of sites for about five seconds before clicking the back button. If you do get the big swarm of traffic run the stats on how many visitors stay longer than 5 seconds…seriously.

When I’ve been on the front page of Digg more than 90% of that traffic has stayed on my site for less than 5 seconds. That’s not a market, that’s a drive by.

When you receive 50,000 visitors from one of the major media sites you will be lucky to convert five sales. Five measly sales. That has to win for the worst conversion rate ever.

The reason? They are not your market.

When looking at your marking plan you should actually be thinking:

If I could get on the front page of [small-but-very-focused-niche-website].com…

Find the website(s) where your real market – the people who will actually buy your product – hang out. The competition will be less and your conversion rates will be orders of magnitude higher.

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6 comments ↓

#1 Vitaly on 09.23.09 at 12:45 pm

You have completely turn my way of marketing around, I have always tried to get on the big sites but when I do I don’t get much benefit from them.

Working on getting the word out about howsthe.com has been tough but I will give your suggestion a try.

Thanks, for the advice.

#2 Ricardo Soares de Lima on 09.23.09 at 12:54 pm

What you said makes sense. The popular 15 minutes of fame became 5 seconds of fame in the era of internet.
It was great to find your site, I’m leaving my job to work creating my own products and try to make a living from it.

#3 Daniel Barnett on 09.23.09 at 6:07 pm

Agree 100%. When we launched the first version of our product a few years back, we got great write ups on a number of top tier tech news sites.

And we got crazy, mad traffic. But sign ups were less than 0.01%.

We were becoming nervous that our product, our site was all wrong until the realization hit home.

Techies are not our customers. Small business owners are. Small business owners rarely read tech news…

#4 Adam Wride on 01.19.10 at 11:13 am

I would bet the “real market” is only partially to blame for the low conversion rate. Most folks get put up on TC or other prime time blogs before they have their product/market fit. You shouldn’t be marketing until you have that fit. Balsamiq has never been covered by Techcrunch (they purposefully avoided it). They are now doing $1.5M a year in revenue. I’d bet that if they got a full on post on Techcrunch that they would convert a very high % of those visitors – because they are ready.

#5 Startup Marketing: The Nine Levels of Traffic Quality | Software by Rob on 02.05.10 at 1:56 am

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#6 Why You Should Start Marketing the Day You Start Coding | Software by Rob on 10.29.10 at 3:21 am

[…] This article is #7 in a series about startup marketing. The first 6 (not required before you read this one) are available here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6. […]