Breaking out 1 part of your product for free to market your paid product

Clearbit did this:

In Clearbit’s iterative search for new additions to their collection of data APIs, they find pieces of the puzzle that have standalone value. So they make them available for free to anyone, often without even requiring an email address.

For example, the Logo API is helpful and super lightweight API that lets you pull any company logo using just a domain. It basically makes one of Clearbit’s 85 unique data points available on its own, in one API call, for free.

Why bother? Well it turns out the Logo API is extremely popular. It made the front page of Hacker News, officially won Product Hunt, and guess what – a lot of developers and growth leaders read those sites. It’s amazing lead gen. Not the spammy kind. The good kind that actually provides value to users.

The Logo API wasn’t a one-hit-wonder. Clearbit has had repeat success using free products for lead generation. They aren’t just going back to the same well either. Clearbit Connect isn’t an API for developers, yet it was even more popular.

If you have a product, ask yourself:

Which of it’s features could you easily break out that would create value in itself? Could you turn it into a free standalone product that would be a real hit with the kind of audience you’re trying to reach?

If yes, how could you promote this? How much resources (time, effort, money) would this take? What results would it bring? (Of course, you can only guess…)

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