Getting the first 1000 users; Marketing 101 [Part I]

18th Jul 2012
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You’ve got an idea for the next Big Thing? Awesome! How are you going to get people to know about your existence? Not sure? Here is a step-by-step process to a compelling marketing plan that will attract first 1,000 users to your service. Why only 1000? It’s because you would first want to get a manageable number of users from whom you can learn from, monitor, and engage.

Before we get down to marketing plan, you better believe that your product is a compelling solution to a problem that a lot of people want solved. If that’s not the case, marketing will ONLY help you fail faster.

First step: Get your basics right!

Get Yourself a Domain Name and a Coming Soon Page

Get yourself a domain name; it’s okay if you don’t love your domain name as you can always change it later. Don’t let domain name slow you down.

Once you get your domain name, you should use unbounce, Launchrock, and few others to create an interesting ‘Coming soon’ page. You don’t need a programming background to create this page. Remember, ‘Coming soon’ pages play an important role in converting a visitor to a user; so spend some time before you freeze on one. Here are few examples.

Setup social network accounts: Set up a Twitter, Facebook and a LinkedIn profile. Name of the account should match your company/domain name. Link your social network accounts from your site and vice versa. Also, create profiles at other relevant places e.g. crunchbase.com.

Add Link and value proposition to Your Email Signature: It might seem obvious but most people don’t do this.

Start talking

Shout: Tell/Shout your friends, family, colleagues and everyone you know that you are onto something big. Get in touch with them through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, face-to-face, personalized emails and obviously phone calls. Your personal contacts will help you build early traction; don’t be shy instead be persistent and irritating, if necessary. Get them to like your Facebook page, sign-up on your coming soon page, follow you on Twitter, etc. Don’t just mention about your start-up once or twice on social networks as information overload will ensure that your message gets lost. Post the same message multiple times on the first day and during the entire first week.

Start Posting: Make this as a part of routine. There shouldn’t be a single hour or day when you don’t post and there shouldn’t be a single medium where you don’t post.

What to post? Post your office pictures, employee’s pictures, business card, relevant articles and obviously interesting videos and other usual stuff that you come across on the internet every day. By the way, you can’t just post random stuff. Make a proper plan on what you need to post. Your posts should be intriguing enough for people to get attracted.

Force actions: Ensure that your employees, partners, friends and family also get in touch with their network to share about your start-up. If you feel shy doing it, shutdown your start-up right away because ‘selling’ is probably the only thing you will focus on in coming months. If you can’t sell in your network, how will you sell it to strangers?

Don’t make sharing process difficult for your near ones otherwise they just won’t do it. E.g. send them an email draft so that they can straight away forward to their near ones. Send them a tweet, so that they can straight away retweet.

More in the posts to follow.


About the Author:

Pallav Parikh, a corporate professional with 10 years of experience intertwined with 3 attempts at starting up. Pallav is an avid reader about the startup space and especially in the internet domain.

Twitter handle: @pllv

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