Attracting users takes more than just launching something cool. If you build it, they won’t come unless people can’t possibly live without it. That doesn’t happen often. Only amazing habit-forming products get users hooked right from the beginning. Even that takes more than a simple feature.

If you focus on building an amazing product, people will find it, use it and talk about it. That is the basic foundation you need. Companies like Twitter, Foursquare, Reddit etc. now have millions. People are activity using them on daily basis. And you wonder how that came about. It’s an entrepreneurs dream to attract thousands if not millions of active users.

Here is everything you should be doing right to attract and retain active users for your new startup. Most of these strategies were shared by startup founders and startup marketing strategists on Quora

1. Almost every product starts with a core audience. Crossing the Chasm is the hardest part. It’s a make it or die stage. Target influencers who can be your evangelists and drive worth of mouth and evangelism of the product right from the beginning. Find a way to promote early adopters and make them feel special. Engage with early adopters and listen to their feedback wherever they leave.

2. Gmail, Maibox, Dropbox, Ello and Google’s recent Inbox app attracted thousands of users through exclusivity, scarcity and urgency. Private and invite-only betas increase user’s desire for access and can help generate some hype.

3. “Make users tools to evangelize. Embeddable widgets that allow users to distribute content across the web are particularly powerful when its their content. Make sharing easy, fun, and intrinsic.”

4. “Create tools of self-expression which are really easy to use: No matter what your platform does, users should be able to create something there which they would want to spread. A user may not want to spread the word about your platform but would definitely want to spread the word about what she created on it. E.g. Youtube grows everytime a video goes viral because users personally invest in marketing it. This is marketing that scales with adoption and super-effective.”

5. “Target a micro-universe: Facebook’s early sophisticated users were at Harvard, Yelp’s early sophisticated users were the tech-savvy crowd of San Francisco, Quora and LinkedIn’s early savvy users were the VCs and startups of Silicon Valley. Find a micro-universe which contains your early sophisticated users.”

6. Share your story with the right bloggers. You can get those first major stories either by coming up with a great pitch, or by working your network to get a warm introduction to the right blogger/journalist.

7. “Do one thing well rather than doing a few things not so well – make sure your product offering is good. Really good. It’s better to do one thing well than spreading yourself too wide. Have a simple product that does what it proposes to do and does it well. In many cases this will also enable you to focus on a niche market first before conquering the whole world.”

8. Buy traffic/users. Yes, you can buy targeted users. With a minimal budget, you can leverage Facebook to your advantage.  “No other company on earth knows more about you than Facebook. Facebook knows your age, your marital status, your hometown, your friends, your job, your likes, your dislikes, your hobbies, etc. Therefore there’s no better way to bring the correct target audience to your site/product, than via Facebook.”

9. Make your app insanely easy to use. “The ease of use of your website needs to be at least inversely proportional to the amount of value you are adding. If your service is providing marginal benefit then it better be easy as hell to use! Conversely if you are providing something the user cannot live without (saving money) you can get away with making them jump through some hoops.”

10. An amazing demo video still works. Even if your prototype isn’t ready, create a demo video of what your prototype will be doing. Dropbox did this and their video appeared at the top of Digg giving them 100,000 email addresses wanting access to their site.

11. Deliver case studies of happy early adopters. Show prospective customers real case studies of how early adopters, influencers or satisfied customers are using your product. People connect with genuine stories of how a product they intend to use has helped others. Encourage your influencers to share their success stories.

Online teaching platform Udemy started their journey to 5,000 online courses by using just 1 case study to attract new instructors. By demonstrating how one early adopter made $50,000 in course sales, they were able to bring more big hitters onboard.

12. Host a Twitter chat on a pressing issue in your industry. Invite industry leaders or influencers in your industry to a Twitter chat to discuss and share tools, resources or tips on pressing problems your audience are facing. Buffer has been amazing at this. They bring together social media influencers to share ideas with their audience. They aim to do this weekly and explore a variety of topics that will help all Buffer fans and users! It has been successful so far.

13. Start working on becoming a thought leader. This cannot be overemphasised. Whatever industry you find yourself, start educating your audience…fast. And you’ve got to be amazing at it. Share your epic content..ever. Each blog post should be focused on one thing: education. Again, Buffer is a great example.

Check out their blog. It doesn’t get any better than that. They have invested so much into their blog and they have one of the most best business blogs out there on sharing, creating, analyzing and converting with social media.


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