CEO Sunday: How I used Reddit, Hackernews and MailSlayer to Promote MailSlayer

By December 18, 2011

Starting a tech business, I have always fantasized about getting “Crunched” by TechCrunch or front paged on Hackernews and Reddit.

I would read posts about how DropBox received 10,000 users just because they were on the first page of Hackernews, or how in 1 single post on TechCrunch, web apps would go from zero to hero.

I started MailSlayer to help solve Gmail overload by adding useful apps directly in to your Gmail workflow that help write, organize and send emails faster. Currently we have 3 apps in MailSlayer; Snippets, which lets you quickly add template responses while composing an email, notes to keep track of who you are talking to and people labels to quickly see who is in your inbox.

As soon as MailSlayer was ready for users, I submitted to Reddit and Hackernews and waited to become a millionaire over night.

For those hoping to read another tale about how great it was to be featured on one of these sites, you will unfortunately not find that here. However, what I can share with you is what I did to gain users by using Reddit, Hackernews and TechCrunch in a totally different way.

While I didn’t get thousands of users from the links, I did manage to get a few, so I made a huge judgement error and decided to write about MailSlayer a few more times on different subreddits on Reddit.

First of all, I did end up getting about 50 users from doing this but I also gained a Reddit enemy named cmdrnacho who has made it his mission to down vote all of my past and future posts because he believes I am a “Spammer”. So I wouldn’t suggest doing this as the benefits of users don’t outweigh the down votes when you next have something important to post.
What I did come to realize from Reddit and Hackernews is that the people submitting articles were tech blogs and startups no different than me that probably get a ton of emails per day and would not only be perfect users of MailSlayer but also would be able to help promote us through their blogs and networks.
So I created the following snippets and started emailing blogs and startups who posted on the subreddits that I thought would be interested in MailSlayer such as r/Startups, r/Productivity, r/geek, r/javascript, r/business etc.

Snippet for Bloggers:

I came across your blog about ____ and thought your article about ____ was very interesting.
I think you and your readers would be interested in our browser extension MailSlayer.
MailSlayer plugs in to your GMail and adds super simple but highly productive apps to your workflow. It helps you write repetitive emails quicker with Snippets, keep track of who you are talking to with Notes and lets you quickly sort and export email lists using People Labels.

You can learn more about how MailSlayer makes email better and can help save you time here:
Snippets for Startups:
I came across your business and thought it was a great idea! I am working on a startup myself and know how hard and time consuming they can be when doing sales and customer service, not to mention trying to spread the word about your products to bloggers, investors and press.

That’s why I created MailSlayer, a Browser extension that plugs in to your GMail workflow to make writing, organizing and sending email easier and saves you precious time.

You can learn more about how MailSlayer makes email better and can help save you time here:
To see how snippets work in action view this video:

I sent these pre-written snippets to a bunch of bloggers and startups that Reddit had made so convenient for me to find and I started getting responses back and in turn had a bunch of articles written about us.

These small articles add up and we started getting tons of signups. Then we started getting written about by bloggers who I had never contacted before, that had found out about MailSlayer through other bloggers and startups and even got tweeted about by a guy in Argentina who had over 500,000 followers.

We now have a continuous stream of signups coming in to this day from these blogs from all around the world and because they are smaller blogs, we don’t disappear off the front page as quickly as we would from TechCrunch or Hackernews.

While I still keep the dream that someday MailSlayer will be on the front page of Hackernews or TechCrunch, I am glad that we weren’t right away. I learned a very valuable strategy that lets me connect with very interesting startups and bloggers daily that can be used in any business.