If you're starting a new business, creating a strong user base and put it on a path of exponential growth is your ultimate job. Most startups die because they fail to get any traction, and the lack of users ultimately kills them. But let’s assume you have a project that effectively solves a problem that your competitors have. Then, unashamedly assume that their customers are your customers. After all, those are the people who face the exact problem you’re trying to solve. You just have to figure out how to reach them. Here are a few simple marketing strategies that anyone can follow.
One great way to create your core user base is to make a list of competing products and aim for their follower bases on their social channels. Follow them and reach out to them directly with a personal message. Don’t try to sell them anything outright. Instead offer a free trial of your product and ask for their advice. Focus on building relationships and show them the solution you have. Let the product speak for itself before you ask for any commitment. The ratio of how many customers you can convert will not be too high, but it’s a start to build your own base and get loyal advocates on the ground level.
Next, make your base work, and have your users get more users. Just understand that nobody will work for free. But if your product is good, your users are likely willing to share it with their friends as long as you grease a deal for them. So build an "Invite your friends" feature into your product. Offer credits or discounts to both the people who invite their friends and the people who join as a result of the invitation. Make the reward so valuable that your users can't help but spread the word about your product. With this strategy, you'll be able to double your initial user numbers in no time.
Now, once you have a base you can build on, go for a launch. It’s a surefire way to get a whole lot of attention quickly. And a well-executed launch can put you on the map right away, and can get tons of new eyeballs overnight. Of course most startups wouldn’t want to play their ace this early in the game, but here’s a little secret about this very unique kind of card game: You have as many aces as you want. Ok, after a while it can get a little suspicious, but at the end of the day a launch is just another marketing tool at your disposal. Just ask the CEO of Airbnb:
Instead of going all-in on one launch, plan on multiple ones at different user base sizes. These are all opportunities to promote yourself, get attention, and give discounts and special promotions without compromising the product’s value.
Don’t be shy, it’s a dog eats dog world out there and you need to make a splash. Use these techniques, rinse and repeat, and if you fire on all cylinders, that will put your business on a path to exponential growth.