Nischal Shetty, CEO of Crowdfire: ETC – The Zero to Ten Million Strategy.
Ego, Temptation and Curiosity: The secret behind rapid customer acquisition.
January 15th, 2016
Have you transformed your idea into a great product? Great! However, a product will hold no value if people don’t use it and that’s the reason many products fail. I believe that it’s not only safe but also essential to have a smart growth hacking strategy during the early days because it plays a huge role in shaping the future of the product. Looking up online, you’ll read about different strategies adopted by different companies. Learn from the best and leave the rest.
When we launched Crowdfire, we sent out mails to our networks, and popular blogs. TechCrunch’s writing about it came as a big break and that’s how we got our first 5-10K users. Lesson: Pull all your PR strings when you launch. Usually, you will get your first batch of users from popular blogs (and there are so many now!), but believe me when I say this, it will not last long. How will you find more users after this? One of the best ways is through your existing users. It sounds too mainstream, but plenty of famous (and successful) companies like WhatsApp, Uber, etc. attribute their insane growth to word of mouth.
Back in 2012, we were bootstrapped and wanted to grow big without spending a bomb on marketing. There are some common and smart growth tactics used by many companies, but no one has given it a name. So, we came up with a strategy that has got us over 13 million users (and still counting). A strategy that I like to call “ETC”. It stands for Ego, Temptation, and Curiosity.
Since we already had our users’ data, we developed this feature called “Tweet my stats” in Crowdfire. Every time they logged in, they would see a tweet box with a preloaded text showing their stats, and a link to the app. Surprisingly, a lot of people started tweeting it out. Why, you wonder? Because it soothed their ego and they wanted to tell the world about it.
Many successful companies use ego-gratification as a way of marketing and do well. Ego gratification comes in different ways – by making you feel elite or exclusive. For instance, there’s Apple’s famous “If you don’t have an iPhone, well, you don’t have an iPhone” campaign. Coming to exclusivity, when Gmail started, it was “invite only”, and created huge buzz because everyone wanted to be a part of the exclusive club. Those with Gmail invites would want to show off to their friends that they had the invites and while doing this they were actually helping Gmail grow!
Temptation is the answer to the question in a user’s mind: “What’s in it for me?” People will jump to use your product if you incentivize it, i.e., tempt them with benefits. It is cheaper than paid marketing, and is effective. We offered our users to tweet their stats in order to unlock new features. Not only did the temptation to use new features made them tweet it out but this tactic also helped us find more users.
This is where we can talk about the hack that helped Dropbox grow from 100k registered users to 4 million registered users – that’s 3900% – in just 15 months. They started their claim-to-fame referral program where if one person who has Dropbox refers another, they both get a 500MB increase, pending signup.
Once you have got people to download your app, it’s important that you retain them. Holding users’ attention is difficult considering the tremendous competition in the market. It’s when building curiosity helps and keeping the users coming back to your product. To exploit this, we started sending out mobile notifications to our users about their stats – like – “10 people unfollowed you today”. They would have log on to the app to find out who.
LinkedIn is a classic example of building curiosity among users. Their notifications like “10 people viewed your profile” make you curious enough to log on to the app and find out. They also bank on “make ‘em curious” factor to make people go for LinkedIn Premium.
Yes, marketing a product is important. Building a product worth marketing is no less important either. Don’t build multiple products and get distracted. Build one product and build it right. All the best!