500 users in 4 days

By Joshua Tiernan

Remote Circle is a remote jobs board designed to take the pain out of finding a remote job. Specifically, it allows you to filter your jobs by timezone and many categories and skills.

This is how we launched it and acquired our first 500 user sign-ups in 4 days.

Halò 👋

If you have read my previous post, you will know that there was an earlier version of Remote circle, released in late 2017. After a few short months of running it, we decided to start again after speaking with many candidates and companies and realising that we were missing a few key details. This gave us a bit. of a head start as we had effectively had a pre-BETA and learned from our mistakes. We spent some time establishing the features we thought the new site would need and then we built it. We knew from previous experience that getting people on board was the difficult part, so we were a lot more intentional about it this time. We created a Trello board with a full schedule that started from 1 week before the launch of the BETA, all the way through to the end of the BETA. This was our pre-launch roadmap. It took some time to put this together, but once in place we were able to work through it systematically and be a lot more productive. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have everything planned in advance so that on the BETA launch date, all you need to do is outreach.

We had a set date to launch the BETA and we made sure we had everything in place prior to this, so that our launch day would be as productive as possible.

We had a small audience of a few hundred people on each network which we could use. I deleted all posts from the earlier version of Remote Circle and we set the bios to “Remote Circle 2.0 coming soon”. On the day of launch, we added our pre-written bios and updated the logos to a version with “BETA” on it. We also had 10 posts scheduled in Buffer to go out throughout the day. We had graphics created for each of these posts including a big BETA graphic for the initial launch tweets, screenshots of the main views of the website and a graphic drawing attention to the main selling point of Remote Circle, the “Timezone” field which allows users to filter jobs by their own timezone. A lot of the posts throughout the day drew attention to this feature as it’s something that sets us apart at this early stage.

After the first day, we simplified the social posting to 2 posts per day on Linkedin and Facebook which basically just kept users updated on the progress of the BETA. We used Twitter as our main platform for engaging with users. We followed new subscribers to the site and we also posted polls to get user feedback on various features. We use Hotjar as our feedback solution where users can submit their feelings towards the site. If we saw any recurring pain points in the feedback, we would fire out a poll to our Twitter users to confirm if they would like us to make the change. This allowed us to decipher user needs really quickly and rapidly change features when required.

I also manually reached out to some users on Twitter to ask them if they would like to join the BETA early. I did this by running searches of users who had previously tweeted about remote work and then reached out with personalised messages for each user.

I was already a member of multiple Facebook groups for remote work, as well as various other groups also. I published a post on these groups to let them know about the new site and it’s features. I tried to stop that from being spammy by tailoring each post to each group so that it was genuinely useful. I did the same with Linkedin groups.

I wrote an article about the launch of the BETA and why we were doing it. I posted this to Medium, Linkedin and Facebook notes on our Facebook page. I then shared it from there to Hacker News and promoted on our social pages also.

We had an existing mailing list of around 400 subscribers from the first version of Remote Circle, so we created a Mailchimp campaign to give them early access to the BETA of Remote Circle 2.0 and sent this out in the morning. Mailchimp then recommended that we send it the following day too, so we did this also.

When users signed up, they were then taken to a welcome screen to thank them for joining the BETA and were told that we would contact them soon with a link to the BETA. There was then an option to skip the queue by sharing on Facebook, Linkedin AND Twitter. It seems like a lot to ask but we were just wanting to test if this approach would work. In theory, if every person was to bring more than 1 other person to the site then we would achieve virality. This is called the virality co-efficient if you would like to read up on it. Amazingly some people did actually do this(around 30) but the effects of being shared didn’t seem to bring results. We simplified the CTA by just asking for a Twitter share instead of all 3, this increased the number of shares, but again didn’t move the needle much in terms of traffic or new sign ups. We then got some feedback from 1 user that they felt we had too many steps in the sign up process and they weren’t really happy about having to share on social media when they hadn’t even got access to the BETA yet. So we decided to just remove the popup step completely so that when a user signed up, they got immediate access to the BETA. Much simpler.

And that’s pretty much it. The result of these steps was over 500 users signed up in the first 4 days although some of this is probably organic through users sharing the site with other people they know. If that was you….thanks

We use Hotjar as our feedback tool and we have a 6 step poll that pops up after the user has viewed the main jobs page for 40 seconds. We have several questions that we ask in this poll, which are:

  1. How useful do you find the timezone filter?
  2. How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague? 🤜🤛
  3. What’s 1 thing you DON’T like about the site? 😡
  4. What’s 1 thing you would add? 🤔
  5. What role/roles are you looking for? 🤴
  6. What is your biggest challenge in finding a remote job? 🏔

Around 5% of users responded to the poll, but it was enough to see patterns in the feedback. The question that really interested us is “What’s 1 thing you DON’T like about the site?” as it allows us to see what areas need improvement. 2 main things came up:

  • More categories needed(some users would like to be able to view jobs by their specific skill e.g. Javascript)
  • Timezones can be confusing(some users aren’t sure what their timezone is in UTC so they had to Google it and then come back to the site)

Neither of these were surprises really as we had already hypothesised that these features would need development, but they were too much to be rolled out in the MVP. To verify that working on these features was desirable, we ran some polls on Twitter and were able to very quickly confirm that this is what users want. In most cases 100% of users were aligning with the feedback.

Other than these 2 pain points, the other feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The great feedback coupled with the rapid user acquisition, helped prove our other MVP value and growth hypotheses so we were comfortable to push ahead and start working on these other features. So after 4 days of BETA, we pulled back on all marketing efforts and started working on these new features. Once we have these features in place, we can then push ahead with user acquisition again and get another wave of feedback.

And that’s about it. The BETA has now been live for 1 week and despite ceasing marketing outreach, the number of sign ups has still grown organically and we are now sitting at over 700 users.

For everybody that has signed up in this first week, given us feedback or shared RC with other people, thanks so much! 🤜🤛 We really appreciate everything as it’s all moving towards building a better product and platform for finding remote work.

You can join me on Twitter where I will be posting more updates on the progress of RC.

If you have any questions, feel free to post in the comments below.

I’ll be publishing a new post every Friday with an update on Remote Circle and my learnings. Feel free to follow me to stay up to date.

Thanks

JT 🤜🤛