This blog article is based on the 3 Things This Week’s edition dated 21st June 2018. The theme of this edition is “existing platform based marketing”, one of the uncommon traction channels used by many startups!
Existing platforms are websites, apps or networks with huge numbers of users – sometimes in the hundreds of millions – that you can potentially leverage to get traction. Major platforms include the Apple and Android App Stores, Mozilla and Chrome browser extensions, social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as newer platforms that are growing rapidly (Tumblr, Snapchat, etc.).
App Stores – With the number of smartphone users well above one billion and growing every day, we’ve seen an explosion of apps reaching millions of users in short periods of time: months, rather than years.
Social Platforms – The use of social sites is constantly shifting as people change where they communicate online. Newer social platforms like Snapchat and Vine are adding users at a dizzying pace, and we’re sure others will follow them soon. Even though keeping up with the evolution of social platforms can be challenging, they remain one of the best ways to rapidly acquire large numbers of users. In fact, it makes sense to focus on platforms that are just taking off.
Add-ons and Extensions – Browser extensions (in Chrome) and add-ons (in Firefox) are apps you can download for your web browser. The most popular browser extension is Adblock Plus, which blocks ads on major websites. Other popular extensions help you download YouTube videos, save bookmarks across computers, and save your passwords. There’s a reason add-ons are such a popular way to spur growth. Web users visit dozens of different sites every day; to establish yours as a site they consistently visit can be difficult. An add-on allows users to get value from your product without consistently returning to your site.
Other platforms – There are thousands of other large sites and marketplaces that you can target to get users. First, figure out where your potential customers hang out online. Then, create a strategy to target users these existing platforms. Sites like Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, Tumblr, GitHub, and Behance have all helped startups build traction.
Here are this week’s 3 things:
The fastest growing networks on the internet – Airbnb, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat – may not have spent much on marketing, but they all have one thing in common: Each of these networks piggybacked on top of another pre-existing network. Facebook and Bebo grew on top of the network embedded in our email. Many networks, including Instagram, grew on top of Facebook itself. For a while, Airbnb grew on top of Craigslist, while Snapchat and WhatsApp have leveraged the mobile phone’s organic network, the phone book, to create networks native to mobile. To get enough users on board to create network effects, you need to piggyback upon another network. Piggybacking on a thriving network works wonderfully, as long as your platform is complementary to that network and delivers additional value to the users there. Get some insights on piggyback marketing using existing platforms from this article.
Thing #2: Evernote – The $0 Growth Engine
Evernote is one company that used existing platforms – app stores and chrome extension as a traction strategy in the different phase of its growth. When Evernote was readying to launch, these app stores were brand new distribution channels, giving companies like Evernote instant reach to millions of users who were eager to add new, valuable apps to their smartphones. Evernote didn’t rely on just one AppStore launch, each new store, each new platform was a priority to the Evernote team in the early phase. Read this article to know how did they get those first 100,000 users?
As per the recent statistics, there are more than 1.4 million apps on Apple’s App Store. For the Google Play store, the number is 1.5 million. The competition in the app market is fierce. In such a situation, it is becoming harder and harder to get the initial traction for apps. If you want to use app store as a traction channel, then this article is a great guide to master the art. This guide says, one of the main ways, the users find your app is via the search feature of the App Store. ASO – App Store Optimization – is a set of basic practices you should follow to make sure that your app shows up in the App Store search for the terms related to your app. Dive into some of the tips related to ASO, and on how you can use app stores as a traction channel.
Have you used this channel for traction?