Webflow has the appropriately named Showcase
page where users’ work is displayed. Imagine being a designer and seeing all the cool websites being built – by designers alone, without devs! – in Webflow. Of course you’re going to sign up! We flow makes it easy to share your work publicly via the dashboard settings. Win for users, win for Webflow.
Create An (Internal) Expert Network
If your tool isn’t simple or you expect that it’ll be implemented or managed by consultants, you can create an Expert Network. Your early users have an expertise that they want to monetize. So why not publicize that expertise to increase referral leads.
I know of a few webflow designers (are we calling them visual developers now?) who get most of their business from the Webflow hire section
Now if you’re aiming for the enterprise, you should internalize this expert network. This is what Airtable
have done. Entreprise being a different beast altogether, you want a tight feedback loop between product and users only possible via an internal support team.
The Holy Grail: a Marketplace
You’ve got users, you’re leveraging them to create SEO and (internal) experts are promoting and implementing your tool. The holy grail of software is creating THE application your users lives in (and can’t live without).
Now, with a lot of interest comes “gaps” in your product. It’s not that you’re missing core functionality but that there’s an increasing number of use cases you aren’t ready (or want) to satisfy. Entrepreneurship being what it is, someone out there is going to fill those gaps.
Airtable’s also got an ecosystem that it does not control. For instance, Table2site
(create websites from Airtable) or Miniextensions
which is literally a marketplace for Airtable.
Withiut proper support, the ecosystem is shaky: changes in the product could break implementations at any moment. Why not internalize the applications by offering a stable integration route. You promise to maintain a level of stability/integration, and, in return, 3rd party tools offer you a % of revenue through a marketplace. Users will trust that integrations are maintained (win), find your app more useful (win) and you make more money (win). Just don’t go charging 30% of revenue to cut off innovation in your ecosystem as Apple did.
I expect Webflow and Airtable (through blocks) to godown this route in 2020.
This isn’t sequential
A caveat here is that although getting dedicated users always comes first (in my mind), the following steps really depend on your tool and market. Zapier built a marketplace very early (4th blog post)
because its core to their product but has only recently created an expert’s marketplace. Whereas Webflow prioritized the expert network to spread the word.