The strategy for attracting the first thousand users is usually very different from the one that will attract the next ten. And if any company that decided to develop an application usually clearly represents its target audience, the key question becomes: how to find it? In the article, we will tell you what methods helped famous applications to attract the very first thousand of users.

Go to educational institutions. Tinder and DoorDash

Tinder founders Whitney Wolfe and Justin Mateen encouraged UC students to use their app. It became clear that many people are very interested in finding out what others think of them and getting to know someone free.

The earliest version of DoorDash’s delivery service was, a PDF of local restaurants in Palo Alto, California. The service team printed a packet of food delivery flyers for $ 6 and distributed them throughout Stanford University. So it turned out that the demand for delivery is high and it is a good plan to develop this direction.

Take advantage of crowds in subways, shopping malls and train stations. Snapchat and Uber

Evan Spiegel, co-founder of the Snapchat app, tried everything to attract users. For example, he went to shopping malls and distributed flyers with advertisements, personally showed Snapchat to people, gave lessons, explained why it was fun, and even downloaded an app for them.

And Uber actively used referral codes, distributing them at train stations and in different parts of California. Rumor has it that aggregator founder Travis Kalanick personally went to Twitter headquarters and handed out coupons.

Pay attention to electronics stores. Pinterest

Service founder Ben Silbermann walked home by Apple stores and changed screensavers on his computers to Pinterest. When someone approached the screen, he said, “Wow, this is Pinterest, it really went to the TOP.” Sly!

Submit to news outlets. Dropbox

Service co-founder Drew Houston created a simple product demo video and posted it in April 2007 on Hacker News under the headline “My YC App: Dropbox – Throw Your USB Drive Out.” This is how the first target users got to know the newly launched Dropbox.

Use the app market. TikTok

One of the secrets of TikTok is the description in the app store. The App Store search engine attaches more importance to the name of the application than to keywords. The team specifically added a long title: “Create awesome music videos with all kinds of effects for Instagram, Facebook and Messenger.” After that, they actively received traffic from the search engine.

Connect in online communities of interest. Netflix

The Netflix team immediately realized that the only way to find their audience was to penetrate all the communities and forums where moviegoers communicate. The Netflix manager began talking to them, but did not introduce himself as an employee of the company. Posing as a home theater lover, he participated in film discussions, made friends with active community members, and gradually told them that a new and convenient Netflix site had appeared on the network.

Invite your friends. Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest

When Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskowitz launched, he told a few friends about it. One of them suggested inserting the news about the site into the mailing list of the local hostel. After sending the letters, several dozen more people joined them and began to tell other people about Facebook. Within the first 24 hours, the number of users reached 1,500.

The founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, specifically distributed the product to successful friends and acquaintances, because he knew that success would come only if we developed an ambitious brand for those who hired high-level professionals.

After launching the app, the Pinterest team also sent out invitations to friends. Many of them did not immediately grasp the idea, but later began to actively use Pinterest.

Create a loss of profit syndrome. Instagram, Pinterest, Spotify

The team at the social networking site Instagram created a prototype and invited influencers in the design and photography communities to test it. They, in turn, shared their impressions on Twitter and created a sense of anxious expectation among subscribers. Because of this technique, on the very first day of launch, users logged into the application themselves.

The Pinterest app was originally an invite-only community. The creator of the site, Ben Silbermann, invited famous designer bloggers there and advised them to admit only people with unique creative ideas. This community was exclusive until 2012 – later the site canceled the restrictions.

The Spotify music service appeared in 2008 and then allowed to launch the application by invitation only: each user had 5 invitations that he could share with friends. This fact created a buzz around the platform and helped create a viral way to promote.

Work with influencers. Twitter, Instagram

The team of the social network Twitter attracted the first users with the help of opinion leaders – due to their high authority and trust of subscribers, 600 people came to the new platform on the day of launch. It’s an effective way to connect with your target audience and create buzz around you.

The founders of Instagram carefully selected their early adopters by connecting with people who could create quality visual content. Early adopters, mostly designers, helped set the right artistic tone by creating good content. In fact, it was the first ever Instagram ad campaign.

Publish to the media. Airbnb, Instagram

The turning point for Airbnb was the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver, Colorado. The founding couple saw an opportunity to capitalize on a massive event during which there was an acute shortage of rental housing. Finding hosts who would offer rooms in their homes was easy. It turned out to be more difficult to convince people to rent them.

At first, the service was specifically promoted only among small local publications – according to the creators, this should have prompted the major media to use the story about the site for rental housing. As a result, major national newspapers did interview the founders of a small startup while covering a large-scale event.

The founders of Instagram did not hesitate to reach out to major US publications and invited them to join the launch of the app. As a result, there were even representatives of The New York Times at the meeting, and the servers suffered from the load.

Look for your target audience offline and online, publish information about your application on news portals and connect the press. Build a community of app users and make it clear that it’s not easy to get into. Most companies have attracted visitors using one strategy, and some have succeeded using several at once. Why don’t you be inspired by their experience?