An Inside Look Into How ClickUp Went From $0-$20M ARR in Two Years - Deepstash
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ClickUp: The Numbers

ClickUp: The Numbers

For a company created in 2017, ClickUp has enjoyed remarkable success in the project management space — one of the most competitive software markets in the world.

Let’s look at the numbers.

  • Over 4 million users
  • 85K paying customers
  • $4B valuation for a private company
  • $20M ARR within two years while bootstrapped

How did ClickUp achieve this? By following these strategies:

  • Achieves natural product fit.
  • Executes a product-lead content strategy.
  • Drives brand awareness through social media and videos.
  • Uses feedback to create a better product.
  • Handles shipping new features and bug fixes.

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Finding Natural Product-Market Fit: Determine Your Target Customer

Finding Natural Product-Market Fit: Determine Your Target Customer

The first step to achieving product-market fit is to find out who you want to serve with your product. 

ClickUp seems to have found its ideal target customer early on, considering that the tool was created in the first place to help the founder’s team internally manage their responsibilities and projects.

So ClickUp’s target customer was really anyone who wanted to be more productive or efficient at managing their project — literally anyone.

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Identify Customer Needs that Current Products Don’t Satisfy

Identify Customer Needs that Current Products Don’t Satisfy

After identifying your target customer, the next step is to uncover the unmet or unsatisfied needs of said customer.

In 2017, the project management space was already overflowing with tools, but most of them did only one thing really well, making people have to use different tools for their needs.

ClickUp was created to eliminate the pain of managing different tools and save even more time.

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Define Your Value Proposition

Define Your Value Proposition

How do you make your audience see that you offer a new solution in the market? First, create and define your value proposition.

Your value proposition is expected to set you apart from your competitors and highlight your product’s benefits.

For ClickUp, their value proposition was simple — one app to replace them all and help you save one day every week. Simple, yet efficient. 

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Specify Your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Feature Set

Specify Your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Feature Set

A minimum viable product (MVP) is the barest or most basic version of a new product used to test the market and gain the attention of potential customers.

The idea at this stage is to collect enough feedback from your target audience to understand your product’s strengths and weaknesses to improve it or double down on what works.

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Develop Your MVP Prototype

Develop Your MVP Prototype

Once you’ve decided on your MVP’s feature set, it’s now time to create a prototype. 

The prototype helps you picture how you expect people to use the features you just created. And it is primarily used to access design flaws in your product’s usability.

It is also what brings the MVP feature set to life and presents a way for people to test your product.

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Test your MVP with Customers

Test your MVP with Customers

The final step to achieving product-market fit is to test your MVP with real customers. These customers typically leave feedback concerning the user experience, messaging, and functionality of the tool.

But how did ClickUp find its first customers to help complete the final step to achieving a natural product-market fit?

The answer: Through organic content and word of mouth.

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How ClickUp Attracts Users Through Long-tail Keywords

How ClickUp Attracts Users Through Long-tail Keywords

Every month, over 767K people find ClickUp through organic search. 

A significant percentage comes from specific long-tail terms people are looking for. And these long-tail keywords usually get thousands of searches every month.

ClickUp has other articles that target and rank for long-tail keywords like:

  • Free management software
  • Free Gantt chart
  • Project management tools
  • How to create a timesheet in Excel
  • Agile project management certification
  • And many others closely related to project management.

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Tailored For Team Management Projects

Tailored For Team Management Projects

Since the landing page is tailored to a Team Manager's specific needs, they’ll immediately feel like ClickUp is the tool for them. That’s the power use-case-driven content holds.

Although the template page and landing pages aren’t performing so well in terms of organic traffic (yet), they still target long-tail keywords that ClickUp knows its audience would be searching online. And it’s only a matter of time before they start attracting a lot more potential users.

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Solving Audience Problems Through Product-Led Content

Product-led content isn’t just another buzzword that founders and marketers throw around to make themselves sound smart. On the contrary, it’s a proven method to create content that quickly differentiates you from the competition and highlights your unique value to existing and potential customers.

If you’re not already familiar with the term, product-led content is any piece of content created to address the pain points of an audience while showing how a product (typically your product) solves the audience’s problems.

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Building Competitor Comparison Pages

Building Competitor Comparison Pages

We’ve already established that ClickUp is in a tough industry with many competitors fighting for some share in the same market. 

People want to know how ClickUp and other project management tools compare to each other.

It’s evident that the people performing these searches are way past the awareness stage of their buyers’ journey. Instead, they’re at the consideration or decision stage, and that’s why they’re searching with a commercial or investigation intent.

To match their audience’s search intent, ClickUp created comparison pages. 

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Driving Growth Through Paid Efforts and Social Media

Driving Growth Through Paid Efforts and Social Media

Now that ClickUp had achieved a natural product-market fit thanks to its organic users, it was only a matter of time before they started advertising the living daylights out of their tool. After all, they’re in a competitive landscape.

Aside from the search engine ads we just covered, ClickUp also uses social media to reach a wider audience.

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57 reads

How ClickUp Utilizes Instagram

How ClickUp Utilizes Instagram

  • They create behind-the-scenes content around how business is done at ClickUp. This, in a way, helps the company become more relatable to its audience.
  • They show off their employees. Doing so helps people see ClickUp as a company that values its employees and helps them take a peek at the company’s culture.
  • They share inspirational content. People love to be inspired, and who better to inspire people than a company that makes productivity tools?

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AFRICAN PROVERB- ON THE VALUE OF FEEDBACK

Ears that do not listen to advice accompany the head when it is chopped off.

AFRICAN PROVERB- ON THE VALUE OF FEEDBACK

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First-Movers Advantage and Why You Should Ship as Fast as Possible

First-Movers Advantage and Why You Should Ship as Fast as Possible

ClickUp undoubtedly had some ground to cover considering when they entered the market, and they covered said ground by shipping new features and fixing bugs as fast as possible.

In fact, for more than two years now, ClickUp has shipped a new product release every Friday. As expected, these launches are not always perfect, but as Zeb puts it, “what matters most is progress over perfection.”

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The Bottom Line

For ClickUp, the product-market fit was what mattered the most. Achieving this first allowed them to knock every other thing they did out of the park.

And it’s safe to say that their method works, considering how far they’ve come in a really tough space.

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68 reads

CURATED BY

sheilaja

Product designer

CURATOR'S NOTE

The right way to navigate an SaaS tool.

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