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Takuya Matsuyama
Takuya Matsuyama

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Inkdrop starts referral program, rather than running ads


Hi, it’s Takuya, the author of Inkdrop. It is a note-taking app that lets you organize Markdown notes across devices and platforms. I’m doing everything for this product alone, including marketing. Inkdrop’s marketing strategy has been basically relying on my blog and it looks like working well, fortunately. Now it has grown enough to have a budget to run some ads. But I don’t feel like doing that because I don’t like ads. Instead, I would like to start providing referral program. In this article, I will talk about why I decided not to spend on ads and to provide the referral program.

Give $2.5, Get $2.5 🙌

It’s simple. Everyone you refer gets $2.5 in credit. Once they’ve finished their free-trial and subscribed an Inkdrop license, you will get $2.5. There is no limit to the amount of credit you can earn through referrals. Credits you got will be automatically applied to the upcoming payments. You can get your unique referral link and check the referral stats here. You can share the link with your friends, colleagues, followers, etc.

I’d like to please people by the ways which I’d be pleased

Have you ever imagined what great ads you will see tomorrow before going to sleep? No, I haven’t. Because It’s just annoying and distractive (for me). So, I’m not able to do great job on running ads or to enjoy it. I’ve tried once to run an ad on Twitter, but it wasn’t fun at all. I even felt like stealing people’s timeline by money. So I stopped it. In retrospect, what worked well were mostly things which make me happy as a user. That makes sense, because you know thoroughly about things that will make you happy and you can do them to users very well. Why my blog marketing worked was just because I wrote about things which I wish I was told.

But relying on a single channel is fragile. Blog marketing works only for those who like reading articles and are interested in topics that you write. So, what can I do further marketing for Inkdrop?

Giving back to the contributors rather than paying ad companies

The big difference from when I started Inkdrop is that I have 1,500 customers now. They sometimes told me “Hey, I recommended it to my colleagues/friends!” — Inkdrop wouldn’t have been possible to grow without their word-of-mouth and I can’t appreciate that enough. I could only say thank you to them because there is no way to give back.

Recently, I announced the plugin developer license, which allows you to use Inkdrop for free forever if you created a plugin, and a lot of new plugins have been published since then. I’m surprised that they have great ideas and skills. And I’m so excited that they even look enjoying to evolve the app together. The product is a niche, but our community is becoming hot. On the other hand, there is a problem that everyone does not always have a plugin idea and a skill to create it, even if he/she wishes to contribute fostering the community.

To solve those issues, I guess the referral program would be nice to provide. It would work as a good incentive to let users write blog posts and tell people about the app. No special skill required. Yes, it might impact the conversations that already happen organically as I mentioned above. Some people don’t like such incentivized sharing. However I personally like reviewing apps, gears and cafes on my blog with affiliate links as you may know. It gives me a few tips and I’m happy with it. This is just like that. At least, providing referral credits to users sounds better than putting it in the pocket of those that track your every move online. Of course, you don’t have to agree with it, because it is not possible to please everyone. I’d like to see what will happen with the referral program :) Let’s foster the community together!

Thank you for all your support!

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