Get $20k in MRR using Side Products

Tweet Hunter has a unique growth strategy – they build tools to solve their market's problems. And then give them away for free.

Publish Date
May 5, 2022
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What does Tweet Hunter do?

Tweet Hunter is an all in one tool for people who want to grow and monetize an audience on Twitter. They provide solutions for everything from ideation with content to publishing and automations through AI tech.
It operates as a SaaS on a monthly subscription. Tom and the team are experimenting with pricing, but it’s been profitable from day one!
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👨‍👨‍👦‍👦 Target Audiences

Creators, founders, freelancers, consultants and thought leaders.
  • People who want to build personal brand and personal following on Twitter.

📝 Briefly describe the growth project

🔬 Product experimentation

Thomas comes from Paid Ads, and spent most of his time optimizing them. He kind of hated it, and couldn’t stand paid ads anymore. He still thinks it’s a good channel, but in the end when you start optimizing fractional percentages of conversion rates it gets boring and stops scaling.
Around this time, Tom started working with previous co-founder again. They didn’t know what product they wanted to build, so they built a bunch of products (that each took only a day to build), to see what worked. Turns out what worked was Tweet Hunter.
The team started promoting it through their small but existing Twitter following (a couple thousand collectively), and posted to Reddit. This got them their first sales back in May of 2021. When starting they didn’t have money to promote the product or even spend on ads. Tom wanted to keep this aversion to paid ads.

🔧 Building “side products”

Tom and his team decided to keep doing what they did best: build products that solve a problem. The idea was to make them free, but in a way that the next logical step for someone using it would be to use the full product. Each side product needed to target people who had some sort of professional dependency on Twitter, and a benefit from scaling audience.Sometimes they set them up under new domains, other times on the TweetHunter domain. They are doing this more often now for SEO purposes.
What are some side products they’ve built?
  1. Powerful Dynamic banner - updates your Twitter banner with a picture of all your followers every time you get a new one.
  1. Unretweet - Un-retweets everything you’ve ever retweeted. People who used to use it poorly but now want to professionally, want to clean up all the shit.
  1. Elon Musk Twitter Quiz - On influencer tweets (”was this tweet written by Elon Must?”
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What’s the approach?

Once a side product is built, they start by teasing it on Twitter. This becomes somewhat of a social strategy, as your market will follow you in order to learn about the new side products coming out (which they will be almost certain to love). After Twitter, they do a Product Hunt launch. If it’s successful, they’ll use this to promote on the page.
After the launch, they stop working on them. The launch creates big spike, but continues to bring subscribers every month. This builds a long term growth machine with a bunch of cool “products” that people will stumble upon over time.
By definition the side projects need to bring their own traffic, so they intentionally don’t spend time continuing to push the these themselves. If it isn’t inherently shareable, they cut it and start a new one. Sometimes they flop, sometimes they work! The team is composed of product builders, so it’s not only the best way for them to grow, but the most fun.
Sometimes they also will purchase competitor tools at the early stage. What to Tweet is a great example of this (let’s you get ideas on what to Tweet). It was a small product a maker built and published on Product Hunt. Tweet Hunter bought for reasonable price and treated it like a side product.
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How do they decide what to build?
It’s somewhat random. They have lots of “shower ideas”. The co-founders will come up with ideas, chat about them internally and then on Twitter to see if there is interest.
They also use them as (paid) test tasks for technical hires. Is a great way to see if someone is both technically capable for the role on the main product, as well as working with the team.

🚀 How does building side products generate growth?

Each side product includes sub-branding and call to actions on the landing page of the sub-products, and within the tools themselves when they sign up.
They don’t do email outreach or anything after to try upsell people who sign up. It’s super easy to use the tools and this is important to the brand. Tom doesn’t want to clutter this.
Plus, they often get people’s emails from Twitter sign-ups, which often aren’t their active emails. What they are doing is essentially a branding play, so it wouldn’t make sense to hurt their email reputation.

📈 How has it gone so far for Tweet Hunter?

Tweet Hunter just hit the $20k MRR mark in a year!
They also became #1 product of the day on Product Hunt.

😍 Why are side products a great growth channel?

  • Builds great brand awareness by solving people’s problems
  • Enhances other growth channels, like SEO and social media
  • Can use for test tasks for new engineers
  • Long term and scalable

🤔 Downsides to using

  • Side products can be difficult and time consuming to build, depending on how it’s done. This can also eat up product resources.
  • Some, maybe even many, will fail.
  • You must be able to consistently come up with side products that genuinely solve problems.

🏗 How to build your own

There is no right or wrong way to build something, and the advantages to each method will heavily depend on what you are building (and for who). So while Tom can’t say how to build the side projects you’ll focus on, he can help decide what to build.
  1. Start with features you’d want to build on your product, but doesn’t quite fit for whatever reason (branding, tech stack, etc.).
      • This is an indicator it’s a good side product for the company.
      • Later on if it works you can incorporate into the full product.
      • Use it as a test task for any future hires.
  1. Make sure the logical next step to be to use the next product.
      • Is the next step to become a user? If not, stay away.
  1. Look at your product and who it helps.
      • Keep the same market, and start listing problems they have.
      • Turn that solution into a small product that you could build.
      • Make it small and free. Shoot for a couple days to build (MVP).
      • Use No-code tools if you don’t have someone to do as a test task.
  1. Ideally it fixes a problem that blocks people from purchasing your product.
      • For TweetHunter, people have trouble getting started from scratch with Twitter. After you start you have to keep going and be consistent. Most people drop off. If they lose interest in Twitter, they’ll lose interest in TweetHunter.
      • Ex. Growth Profit Sharing Challenge - a campaign they did where people would be part of a competition with hundreds of other people who want to grow on Twitter. At the end they’ll be ranked based on criteria, and at the end winners would win part of TweetHunter’s profit. The top 5 rankers are getting .1% of TweetHunter’s profit, and if it’s ever sold they’ll get .1% of the sale. The interesting thing is not just the reward, but it creates a new mass of people who are now ready for Twitter. For 3 months they’ve been actively posting, ranking and trying to win. It’s their exact customer market that will convert (and stick around!). They are about to repeat it with another tool they’re releasing around Twitter streaks.

💡 Advice for someone trying to build something similar?

  • One of the main things they try to stay away from is creating a small version of their product as a free product. It’s not fair to the users who pay. Your side projects must be something different.
  • There is a high chance your side product is going to fail, so assume this the whole way. Don’t spend time and resources building something that might not work.
  • When possible, always try to use templates. Don’t try to do everything yourself from scratch.

To follow Tom and his work TweetHunter, check him out on Twitter!