Alex Zaccaria is the co-founder of Linktree. He built the tool as a workaround custom index page for all the links you want to share with your social followers - not just the one link the platforms give you. What started as a side-solution for his Australian agency clients built in one night soon gained a worldwide user base, packed with celebrities and big brands.
In this interview with Alex Zaccaria, we hear about the pivotal moments in Linktree’s journey and the steep learning curve that comes with managing and scaling your own product. Alex also shares why he still stays so close to super users, whilst also ensuring the free version remains available for anybody looking to share their content with a wider audience.
Hi Alex. How would you describe Linktree?
Linktree is a tool that helps people do more with their content online. It’s made for all the places where you only get one url link, like Instagram or Twitter. For people creating lots of content, it’s incredibly frustrating to keep updating that link, and it means their audience can’t find content beyond the latest post. But it’s also useful to point people to all your content from places like Youtube, Facebook and Twitch too.
With a Linktree profile you can link to multiple places, whether it’s your blog, your email sign-up form, your booking form, your Whatsapp group, your Amazon store, your latest track on Soundcloud…the list is endless!
Tell me about the germ of the idea. What inspired you to create Linktree?
I run a digital agency in the music and entertainment space with my brother Anthony and friend Nick. We work with a lot of festivals, artists, labels and brands – we’ve always been in that line of work in one way or another. That meant I could see first hand that these types of businesses were so limited by what you could share online. Especially when you have multiple things going on and places you want to send people to!
I built the first iteration of Linktree one night, and had it up and running the next day. Job done, or so I thought!
How are you found the experience of launching and running Linktree so far? Has it thrown up any expected surprises?
Absolutely – the way it took off was total surprise. We just built it to help out our mates and our clients, never for a minute expecting to grow to a business that had customer support, marketing and development teams! Things just lifted enormously after Alicia Keys signed up one day. From there it’s gained real pace around big users like Jamie Oliver, Vice, Expedia, Eva Mendes, Naomi Campbell the World Surf League, Billabong… It’s fascinating to watch as huge groups of users sign up almost immediately after an influential figure they follow sign up. Like all the aspiring chefs and food obsessed bloggers jumping on board once Jamie Oliver and Ottolenghi started using Linktree.
Scaling rapidly has been a wild ride and a real learning curve as we’ve become a product company.
"We’ve learned every step of the way, countering things as they arise – learning about churn, delivering excellent customer support, how to best harness the power in data, how to work with global partners."Alex Zaccaria
Who is the typical Linktree customer?
With 4m we’re super lucky to have an incredibly diverse audience group! We’re used by publications, artists, celebrities, fashion and beauty influencers, YouTube stars, sports teams, brands…the list is endless.
But the main part of our user base is people like you or me who are on social media, can sense the digital world is changing and want to do a bit more. They really are doers – so many of our users are people with a side hustle and micro influence. Like mom bloggers raising a family and earning a bit of affiliate money on the side, or fitness instructors growing their local community. They are such an inspiring bunch – it keeps us working hard thinking about how we can help them and what they might need next.
Why do you think the modern marketer or creative needs to worry about converting Instagram attention?
With more than 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is an enormous and fast-growing platform with huge business potential. Consumers are now used to absorbing information incredibly visually, and Instagram owns this space. It’s a really valuable tool for brand storytelling, allowing you to not only share the polished side of your brand, but to be more real or vulnerable through the more transient Stories tool.
Not only that, but its ability to create hyper-niche communities is the next frontier in influencer marketing.
You have an incredibly generous free Linktree plan. What would you say are the main benefits of upgrading?
Thanks! We love our free users, so we like to make sure the free product is still very useful. With our $6 a month Pro package you get more creative freedom over the look of your profile, choosing custom palettes and fonts. You can also get access to social icons, can remove the Linktree logo and can use neat features like priority links and integrations with Mailchimp and Facebook. On top of that, you get priority support. All for the price of two coffees. Or one matcha latte, if that’s your vice.
What are your future aspirations for Linktree?
We’ve got some super exciting things coming up in the near future – a bunch of really meaningful product releases that come directly from user requests that will give them even greater freedom, as well as a huge collaboration that will be really meaningful to our entrepreneurial users. The product is going to expand a lot this year. We’ve already built a lot of new features that are in testing and we’re excited to roll out soon.
"Looking further ahead, we will keep listening and exploring new developments in digital – especially ones that give individuals platforms for content. These are the places our audiences need to be, so we need to ensure Linktree represents that content best."Alex Zaccaria
Have you got any advice for anybody else wanting to create their own marketing tool?
Get to know who your audience really is, those who make up the bulk of your user base. Everyone has aspirational ideas about the professionals who they’d like to use their product but solely designing to their needs can be distracting.
Once we started prioritising which functionalities would impact the widest reach of our users, we found that the product marketed itself!
Apart from Linktree, what’s your favourite digital marketing tool?
In terms of helping us really connect with our audience, it has to be Intercom. The software helps us amplify our support efforts to the point where one (small but growing!) team is able to serve our global audience from HQ in Australia. The chat integration lets the user know we’re right here – something that’s incredibly important to us but would be hard to scale without Intercom. It’s also really trackable, so as a team we’re all able to jump in when someone needs assistance.
Our level of customer support is what I think keeps us ahead of the other competitors out in the market now. Sometimes our users discover Linktree before they’ve even got an Instagram account – we’re here to help them as much as we’re here to help the digitally native fly! And without that feedback loop, we wouldn’t be building tools that reflect our audience – they’re the biggest inspiration we have.