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5 Amazing Growth Strategies To Get Your First Million Users

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www.sparkpage.com You’ve built your product. You’re proud of it. You want to show it off and engage with users. But how?


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www.sparkpage.com It’s often a struggle getting from zero to a thousand, or one thousand to ten thousand, or any user significant growth really. So, we here at SparkPage, decided to do some research.


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www.sparkpage.com We found the best of the best out there. The companies that grew big fast. And we are profiling their growth stories.


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www.sparkpage.com We have squeezed them into 5 actionable growth strategies. And we are showing you how you can use them in your business’ onboarding strategy. Let’s get started!


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www.sparkpage.com Everyone enjoys being a VIP. Someone who is in the inner circle and has something that no one else has.


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www.sparkpage.com Smart apps use this feeling to their advantage, as a reward to encourage the first trove of users to sign up. Pinterest, Spotify, Facebook...They all were initially invite only. And it got them noticed!


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www.sparkpage.com Mailbox are an app that used exclusivity and blew it out of the park.


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www.sparkpage.com At first, they let users download their app before it “launched”. Users were greeted by a page prompting them to reserve a place in line.


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www.sparkpage.com After registering, Mailbox showed them the number of people on the waiting list before and after them. Pretty genius, right?


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www.sparkpage.com People started sharing their number, taking pride in how high up the queue they were. The buzz was palpable with Mailbox.


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www.sparkpage.com This one simple screen got people excited, got them tweeting, and got the press interested. They were being talked about pretty much everywhere.


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www.sparkpage.com So how did they take this buzz and turbo charge it? By adding referrals into the mix! Users waiting in line were given the opportunity to skip the queue if they tweeted about downloading Mailbox.


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www.sparkpage.com Double genius! The number of people signing up and queuing grew by the thousands each hour.


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www.sparkpage.com Within a week, they had 500,000 users signed up and they hadn’t even launched! It was so successful that Mailbox was quickly snapped up for €100 million within two months of launching. Impressive stuff, huh?!!


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www.sparkpage.com Equally clever is About.me’s story. Just like Mailbox they used exclusivity. However, where Mailbox used it for virality, About.me used it create a sense of scarcity and urgency.


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www.sparkpage.com They wanted to offer a personal profile page to every user on the web. But here’s the catch – once one John Smith signed up, about.me/johnsmith was gone.


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www.sparkpage.com Users had to act quick to secure their vanity URL.


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www.sparkpage.com People clamoured to ensure they got their own URL before anyone else. About Me experienced an amazing reaction as they gained 400,000 users within a few months of launching. Amazing results!


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www.sparkpage.com Does your product have a scarce aspect that benefits users on a first come, first serve basis? If not, can you craft one? The caveat, of course, is not to use exclusivity excessively. Be smart about it.


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www.sparkpage.com Like with user onboarding… With SparkPage, you can send smart messages that use exclusivity to get your user to convert. Sending messages like “Only one day left on your trial” or sending users special exclusive offers for your app is a perfect and attainable way to use exclusivity!


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www.sparkpage.com As an emerging app, you are likely to be lacking resources. It takes time, money and people to reach an audience of a million users. All of which you simply don’t have.


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www.sparkpage.com That’s why smart marketers piggyback.


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www.sparkpage.com Started in 2009, Imgur was born out of frustration. The founder had a problem uploading images to Reddit. The available options just weren’t up to snuff, so they built their own.


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www.sparkpage.com They announced the tool in a Reddit thread titled “My Gift to Reddit: I created an image hosting service that doesn’t suck. What do you think?”.


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www.sparkpage.com Well Reddit users thought it was pretty great. Imgur exploded!


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www.sparkpage.com The first few days it received a few thousand hits. By the end of the first 5 months it had over a million total pageviews. And now gets over a billion pageviews a day!


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www.sparkpage.com So what’s the lesson to be learned here? Like Imgur, you should see if your product can act as a tool for an existing massive community.


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www.sparkpage.com Paypal was the best payments tool for the massive community of eBay sellers. Instagram was the best cool pictures tool for the massive community of Facebook users.


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www.sparkpage.com These are all on a big scale. But you can also piggyback in smaller ways. Like social logins for your app.


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www.sparkpage.com Giving users the option to easily login using Twitter and Facebook. Or sending them onboarding messages that remind them to use social. This can be an easily hack to piggybacking.


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www.sparkpage.com If you are an app who isn’t doing any form of content marketing, you’re missing out! There is a community out there just waiting for you.


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www.sparkpage.com Our last strategy talked about providing tools for them. Content marketing is similar. You’re trying to bring the same value to the community, but with education, information or entertainment instead of a product.


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www.sparkpage.com Blogging, podcasts, video... they all are tools that can help. It’s just finding what you believe will reach the right people.


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www.sparkpage.com The Buffer case study is a perfect example of just how successful building a community can be. Their founder Leo Widrich has been outspoken about his use of guest blogging and the success that came from it.


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www.sparkpage.com Spanning over 9 months Leo wrote over 150 guest posts on a multitude of blogs. He made content marketing his primary focus and central to Buffer’s marketing strategy.


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www.sparkpage.com He would get published wherever and whenever he could. And the results speak for themselves. As he said: “Solely through guest blogging we’ve acquired around 100,000 users within the first 9 months of running Buffer”


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www.sparkpage.com That’s 100,000 users all down to tapping into communities and utilizing guest blogging to appeal to them. Buffer’s community is online marketers. That’s who their tool helps, but it’s also who their content helps. It’s a clever growth strategy that worked amazingly well for the business.


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www.sparkpage.com Mint.com’s launch was an amazing success. And their marketing team credit community building through content for much of this growth.


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www.sparkpage.com They made blogging and content creation a major part of their marketing effort. And it really paid off.


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www.sparkpage.com They said: “We focused on building out a unique personal finance blog, very content-rich, that spoke to a young professional crowd that we felt was being neglected. Eventually the blog became #1 in personal finance, and drove traffic to the app. Our app didn’t have a high viral coefficient but we had content that was. Our infographics and popular articles became regular hits on Digg, Reddit, etc.”


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www.sparkpage.com The results were amazing and helped them nab 1.5 millions users!


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www.sparkpage.com Every app should be making great content that helps their users. It’s an easy and attainable growth hack.


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www.sparkpage.com Just make sure your users can find it. Like sending videos and guides in a user’s onboarding journey. This is a great way to walk a user through your product and increase conversions!


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www.sparkpage.com Customers trust other customers. And when they see a review, or plug for a brand they trust it more than a message from the brand itself.


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www.sparkpage.com Case studies, customer reviews, referral systems... These are all strategies that have clout. But the fastest growing companies don’t just hope for virality, they engineer it into their core.


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www.sparkpage.com Farmville is a game that have set the standard for engineering viral growth. They made sharing on Facebook an integral part of their game.


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www.sparkpage.com Users start off playing the game alone. However, as the game becomes increasingly difficult players have no choice but to reach out for help.


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www.sparkpage.com A request would pop up in their timeline asking others to help.


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www.sparkpage.com Of course players flooded Facebook with requests to friends for help. Non-players would become curious about what this game is all about and want to join their friends.


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www.sparkpage.com The strategy created spectacular, explosive growth for Farmville. The game at its height had 81 million active monthly users and won social media game of the year. All due to their referral engine!


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www.sparkpage.com Spotify is another awesome example of word of mouth at work.


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www.sparkpage.com In an excellent post, Victoria Young dissected the key Product Features and how they helped Spotify’s growth.


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www.sparkpage.com Interestingly, 3 of the 4 Product Features are designed to create strong network effects. Spotify didn’t wait for word of mouth, they engineered it.


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www.sparkpage.com Oh, and have you seen their numbers lately?


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www.sparkpage.com Engineering a referral machine doesn’t have to be a complicated thing. It can be as simple as prompting your users for a review!


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www.sparkpage.com Sending a quick, laidback email or push notification with SparkPage saying “Hey, want to give us 5 stars?” is a really easy thing to do. And it gets you results!


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www.sparkpage.com Within communities there are influencers. Voices that are listened to, drive word of mouth and get people talking about businesses.


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www.sparkpage.com Seth Godin calls them sneezers, but that’s a bit gross. They affect people’s actions and drive change. Find them!


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www.sparkpage.com These people will be essential in fuelling your growth. Smart businesses identify them and get in front of them.


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www.sparkpage.com Sprout It, a startup gardening app, showed how effective influencers can really be.


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www.sparkpage.com Wanting to build some buzz for their app launch, they ran a social media competition giving fans the chance to win a backyard makeover.


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www.sparkpage.com Fans just had to post a pic with the company’s hashtag. All fairly standard stuff so far...


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www.sparkpage.com The reaction was lukewarm in the early stages. So they went back to the drawing board. They compiled a list of influential DIY and gardening bloggers and reached out with a very simple ask “Want to blog about our cool competition?”


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www.sparkpage.com The results surpassed Sprout It’s expectations. Seven of the bloggers they reached out to promoted the campaign.


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www.sparkpage.com The hashtag reached over 60,000 people, drove 5000 visits to the app and they received 150 submissions to their contest. The campaign was named in Huffington Post’s 10 Best Influencer Marketing Campaigns of 2013.


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www.sparkpage.com The influencers took a floundering campaign and turbocharged it. Not bad for $0 and a few hours work!


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www.sparkpage.com It’s not just businesses using influencers. Even Barack Obama is getting in on the action!


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www.sparkpage.com Obama’s team has been vocal about their desire to find more innovative ways to engage with their audience, particularly younger voters.


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www.sparkpage.com They wanted to show a more down to earth side to the president. And also reach a generation who aren’t interested in traditional media and are generally apathetic towards politics. So they decided to reach out to influencers.


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www.sparkpage.com They picked three YouTube stars, each with a different audience, and gave them the opportunity to have a one on one interview with the president.


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www.sparkpage.com The YouTubers were told to ask their followers, over 15 million collectively, for questions to ask the president. The hashtag #YouTubeAsksObama was also created to get their fans talking and spreading the word.


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www.sparkpage.com It really did get their audience involved. Over the course of the interviews the hashtag spiked with 11,000 impacts.


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www.sparkpage.com The interview, which was streamed live on YouTube, has been watched over 3 million times and has over 65,000 likes.


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www.sparkpage.com Remember though, what Obama and Sprout It did worked because they found the right influencer. And it’s important you do too. They don’t need to have a massive reach. They need the right reach.


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www.sparkpage.com You need to identify correctly who your audience actually is. And then discover the persuasive voice in that community. They can be bloggers, celebrities, social media influencers or business heavyweights.


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www.sparkpage.com Be clever in using these influencers too. Make it known to new users in your onboarding messages that these influencers endorse your product. It is a big draw for your new users!


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www.sparkpage.com These growth hacks aren’t unattainable or even extremely difficult. They just need some elbow grease. And you don’t need to jump in and copy them verbatim.


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www.sparkpage.com You can adapt and adopt them in smaller ways with SparkPage. Incorporate these growth hacks into your onboarding strategy and get amazing results!


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www.sparkpage.com You don’t need excessive resources and an endless well of cash. You just need to make the effort, build the connection and reach out to customers, influencers and your team and find the growth strategies that can really accelerate your growth!


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www.sparkpage.com Resources: http://www.sparkpage.com/5-amazing-growth-strategies-to-get-your-first-million-users/ http://startupworkout.com/100-million-product-launch/ http://untether.tv/2013/quick-steal-these-strategies-from-the-mailbox-app-launch/ http://mashable.com/2013/03/15/dropbox-buys-mailbox/#EX0IkSFxHmqq http://www.quickonlinetips.com/archives/2010/12/about-me-vanity-url/ https://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/7zlyd/my_gift_to_reddit_i_created_an_image_hosting/ http://allthingsd.com/20120515/interview-imgurs-path-to-1-billion-image-views-per-day/ http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2194396/how-guest-posting-propelled-one-site-from-0-to-100-000-customers https://blog.kissmetrics.com/how-mint-grew/ http://mashable.com/2010/02/19/farmville-social-networking-game-of-the-year/#2GT.eJlOgEqX http://www.createinteractions.com/designtech/2015/1/13/spotify-growth-analysis-product-strategy http://www.authorems.com/2012/sneezers/ http://prtini.com/sprout-it-case-study/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-fidelman/the-10-best-influencer-ma_b_4098892.html http://www.augure.com/blog/influencers-case-study-20150129 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbR6iQ62v9k


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