Start-up promoten: Hoe kom ik aan mijn eerste 100.000 gebruikers? Meer dan 25 tips!

Hoe kom ik als platform of start-up aan mijn eerste gebruikers? Hoe creëer en behoud ik momentum? Vragen die we wekelijks krijgen bij Van Ons. Hier een combinatie van resources die richting geven. Grof en onvertaald maar steengoed. Boekmarken en gaan: “Start-up: Hoe kom ik aan mijn eerste 100.000 gebruikers? Meer dan 25 tips!”

Een combinatie van resources die richting geven. Grof en onvertaald maar steengoed. Boekmarken en gaan: “Start-up: Hoe kom ik aan mijn eerste 100.000 gebruikers? Meer dan 25 tips!”


  1. Invite all your friends and acquaintances. This should get you your first few hundred to a thousand visitors/users.
  2. Word of mouth. When a site is good, people tell their friends about it even if the ‘viral loop’ isn’t yet perfectly optimized.
  3. Blog and media coverage. 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.
  4. Buying traffic/users. Facebook ads and Google AdWords are the most common.
  5. SEO. Even a ‘social’ site can be structured to generate a bunch of content pages that will do well in search engines. Yelp is great at this, and it looks like Hunch is going that way too.
  6. Viral Growth – Invites. As the other answerers have said, your user flow and service need to be optimized so that users are incentivized to invite their friends.
  7. Viral Growth – Content Creation. Sites like YouTube, Flickr, and Posterous grow largely because users create content that draws in visitors, and some of those visitors convert into users that create more content, which draws in visitors…
  8. Retentie. The oft-ignored aspect of growth is keeping your old users around. If they’re leaving, then you have a leaky bucket and your true active user count lags behind your registered user count. If they love the service enough to stick around, then you can take the time to figure out the right way to get them to invite others.

Sangeet Paul Choudary, Startup strategie analyst

  1. 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. Kickstarter and allow users to spread their cause to the whole world. Users are vested in marketing it. Forget gamification, forget viral design… there is no bigger incentive for users than the ability to spread their creations, beliefs and causes in a manner that wasn’t possible before.  (More at…)
  2. Target a micro-universe: You said it yourself, you want early sophisticated users. 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. (More on how to do that at…)
  3. Widgetify: Be shareable and embeddable: OK, that’s 3 awkward words in one sentence but here’s the thing. Facebook sharing was great, still is… but it’s a fad and is really poor at targeting savvy users who have, over time, become desensitized to what gets shared on Facebook. Instead, ensure that what gets created on your platform can get shared where your savvy users want to share it, namely on blogs and niche forums. YouTube got traction because MySpace users (musicians) needed a way to share videos and Youtube offered them a solution.  (More on this at…)
  4. Fake it till you make it: When users come initially to your platform and there’s nothing there, they see little value in using it. Platform usage requires investment; you set up a profile, you browse around… it takes time. Users won’t invest if they don’t see activity. Well, if there isn’t any activity, create some. Reddit did it. Paypal did it. A lot of marketplaces do it. (More tactics on this at…)
  5. Seed the community on standalone mode: Essentially, a user should be able to derive value out of the product even when other users aren’t on it.
    A product that has standalone value irrespective of the network is more likely to get traction among at least one set of users.
  6. Don’t try to change behavior for both consumers and producers:Consider the strategy of NFC players vs. Square.  NFC is trying to change behaviors at both ends by making the user pay with his mobile phone and making the merchant accept payments on a new terminal. In addition to the logistical challenge of proliferating terminals and getting NFC chips out, the chicken and egg problem becomes more difficult to crack as there is a barrier to usage for both parties. Square, on the other hand, introduces new behavior for SMBs (accept payments using your phone) but the consumer behavior remains the same (pay using the credit card). This was one of the reasons Square disrupted retail payments when everyone was expecting NFC to.
  7. Provide a service for producers that enables them to interact with their consumers: This is so obvious, it’s often ignored. Your producers already have consumers. There, that’s the solution to your chicken and egg.Loyalty startups like Shopkickalso do something similar. Get the producers, get their consumers on the network, cross-promote other producers to these consumers. RInse. Repeat.
  8. Provide access to new production infrastructure that the user would use even if the network was a ghost town: When Youtube started off, users didn’t care if there was a network of potential users, early users were happy enough to have a facility to host a video easily and embed it on their sites.
  9. Get a marquee player or seed your own content: An extension to the above point, sometimes, signing up a top-notch producer can help draw consumers in, especially if you serve as an exclusive channel for that producer. Once consumers come in, other producers can be signed on and the network grows.
  10. Make the transaction the focus of your product and minimize the traction required on both sides for the first transaction to take place: Easier said than done. But this is what Groupon did VERY successfully.Groupon solved this by doing 2 things very well:
    1. Solving for the buyer: Focusing on a specific transaction and attracting buyers to a current and live transaction rather than a (dead) marketplace with a potential for future transaction
    2. Solving for the seller: Allowing the seller to back out if a minimum number of buyers were not achieved
  11. Make the two-sided network one-sided: Target a specific group which has both the consumers and producers of your service and where the lines between them blur. Even if they are two distinct types of users, the members of this group fulfill both requirements, or at least some of them do. This is important because the WOM required to spread the word among the producers simultaneously spreads the word among the consumers  as well since they’re part of the same group.
    This is what worked for Etsy. People who make crafts typically like to buy from other craftspeople. This really helped them target exactly one group and spark transactions within that successfully before branching out.
  12. Piggyback on an existing network: Piggyback on a thriving network as long as your platform is contextual and complementary to that network.
    StumbleUpon benefited a lot from being one of the first plug-ins on the Firefox browser. It was a natural complement to a browser which is essentially used to find information. It was one level of abstraction above Google’s “I’m feeling Lucky” if i could put it that way.
  13. Steal: There are a lot of niche classifieds and ecommerce sites that compete with Craigslist. Quite a few of them started off by posting listings on Craigslist and directing the traffic to their site.
  14. Focus on superconnectors: Remember, Branchout gained rapid adoption the day Michael Arrington downloaded the app. He had a large following on Facebook.
  15. Be exclusive but be smart about it: Create scarcity. More at…

Zijn boek over dit onderwerp: Platform Scale: How an emerging business model helps startups build large empires with minimum investment
En als laatste, abstracter maar daarom niet minder interessant:

Startup Metrics for Pirates door Dave McClure (investeerder, San Francisco, 2010)

Dit artikel is een verzamelwerk met (veel meer dan) 25 tips over het verkrijgen van je eerste 100.000 gebruikers. Informatie komt van verschillende bronnen. Belangrijkste is het hieronder genoemde artikel op Quora.

Succes met jouw platform en start-up. Work it harder, make it better, do it faster, make it stronger!

Bron: Quora, Startup Traction: How do social sites (e.g. Hunch, Foursquare, Reddit, Digg) go from 1 to 1000K
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