Everybody knows that startups have no money…
Which begs the question: how are you supposed to acquire users?
Luckily this question has been answered by many wise and intelligent people in the startup world that came before us that have devised methods that either take a little bit of time and quite a bit of ingenuity.
I will now share, in my opinion, the most effective of these strategies with examples of them being utilised by startups that have come before us and details in how to implement them into your business.
1. Email Signatures
This under-utilised real estate can lead to a surprising amount of growth as you never know when or to whom your emails will get forwarded.
Example: Hotmail exploded their growth for minimal cost by adding: “P.S. I Love You, Get Your Free Hotmail Account here.”
How To: Simply add a benefit driven call to action to your email signature and a clear link to a landing page where a potential user can experience that benefit, in exchange for their email address.
2. Double Sided Referral Schemes
What is sweeter than getting your existing users to recruit new users? This can significantly lower your cost per acquisition…
Example: Dropbox pioneered the double sided referral scheme by giving away extra space for both accounts.
How To: Determine your lifetime customer value and then how much you are willing to “purchase” a new user and then optimise your inviting process so it is easy as possible for your existing users to invite their friends and experience your reward.
3. Leveraging Other Platforms
There are companies that have the users that you want and are happy to share, as long as you are able to provide some value…
Example: AirBnb leveraged Craiglist’s traffic to enable hosts to share the article on both platforms, increasing exposure exponentially.
How To: Determine who has the users that you want and devise a win/win/win solution for yourself, the other platform and your new users.
4. Give Away Your Best Stuff
What is the part of your users problem are you able to solve for free? The may be with a free version of your product, an online tool or information.
Example: Spotify offer a free version of their product and then make it VERY easy to escalate your membership to a paid account.
How To: Determine one small part of your users problem that you are able to solve or outcome you are able to achieve for them without making a sale. Then make it as easy as possible for them to experience this.
5. Build Your List
You cannot afford to interrupt people whilst they are watching tv, listening to the radio or reading the newspaper as this costs money. What you can do however, is market to people that have you given you permission to do so.
Example: Virtual Valley enables users to calculate the amount of money they can save through outsourcing, in exchange for their email address.
How To: Identify a part of your product that can help your users in exchange for their email address, you can them follow up with them at a later date to make an offer.
So there we go…
You are now aware of the latest and greatest free startup growth hacks and it is now your turn to implement these into your startup.
However, one last point…
Ultimately, the best startup growth hack is to build something awesome that your customers love. This will then activate the oldest and most effective marketing strategy of all time: word of mouth.
“Tom is the Founder of Virtual Valley, a platform that connects Entrepreneurs and Rockstar Virtual Assistants with the mission of giving Entrepreneurs back 10 million hours of their time by 2020. Tom writes about how to grow your remote business on the Virtual Valley Blog, you can also follow him on Twitter here: @tomhuntio.”
Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and webpage design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.