How To Grow Your Online Base From Zero To Million Users

Vaibhav Kakkar 28th Oct 2018

Businesses that grow from zero to million users know that the road to creating this user base is often long and arduous, especially when your business is competing against a number of similar products.

But there are some companies that hit this million mark in a flash. Reason? They rely on smart marketing techniques to expand their reach. Below we have listed down some such marketing avenues that have the potential to take your business from zero to million:

  1. Become the go-to place for your users with thought leadership

Content marketing boosts conversions. In fact, it rakes in conversion 6 times higher than other marketing methods.

If you take a close look at the online landscape, you will find that content is unlocking new potential with its effectiveness (think Netflix Originals). Various brands are investing a large chunk of their budget in acquiring original content. Content is helping companies create authority, expand reach and engage more people.

Take cues from the immense success of Moz, many people still don’t know that Moz (initially SEOMoz) was created as a site to host thoughts and struggles around SEO. Years later Moz gained popularity with the launch of its Open Site Explorer (now Link Explorer) and then became the go-to spot for SEO tutorials through its Whiteboard Fridays.

Similarly, BufferApp managed to take off well by creating an online authority through guest posting. In this process, it grew from zero to 100k customers.

So content can help you earn that reputation and invite more people to engage with you. Here are some tips for writing successful content for your website.

Key Takeaway:

By delivering useful content to your audience and becoming the one-stop solution for their needs, you can enhance your engagement.

  1. Be exclusive

Unless your idea is really unique and hasn’t existed in the market before, your business is going to face competition. To stand out, you must tap into the power of exclusivity.

Take cues from the success model of Pinterest. They kept their platform invite-based, created exclusivity which led to FOMO (fear of missing out). Result? The model caused more and more people to onboard.

So even when you are facing competition from a big rival, you can drive more people towards your brand through exclusivity.

Key Takeaway:

If you make your customers feel special and exclusive, you can create the buzz easily. But make sure that this exclusivity isn’t designed for a very niche audience.

  1. Partner with influencers

For any business to build a loyal following, one way to reach out to potential users is through advertising. But partnering with influential figures in your niche can uplift your brand strategy in a much more effective manner.

Influencers can help you blend into your users’ social feeds and thus allow you to interact with your audience in a less intrusive way. And they can also help you expand your reach.

Lagavulin Whiskey partnered with Ron Swanson and released a 45-minute video. With this collaboration, the brand’s subscriber base went from 5.5k to 23k.

This is what one influencer could do for a brand. With such continuous collaborations, you can grow your user base significantly.

Key Takeaway:

To make the most of influencer marketing, work with a group of micro-influencers ( those with 10k-500k followers) since they can give you access to a better-engaged audience.

  1. Gain more exposure with social campaigns

Social channels are the most effective platforms for gaining exposure to a large audience. Since they offer different ways to target your audience, they can help you reach out to more users.

You can do this with a carefully crafted ad strategy that targets user at different levels. You can use sponsored ads to trigger app downloads, boost product sales and build more awareness. For instance, Facebook lets you use sponsored ads, Canvas ads and in-feed ads where you can use images, videos and even GIFs.

Apart from advertising techniques, social videos can help you gain more eyeballs and hence boost user engagement. If the shareability quotient is high, you can easily grow your list of users.

Key Takeaway:

Utilise the reach of social platforms to meet your potential users at different points in their purchase journey. Ensure that you optimise each of these points.

  1. Offer codes, referrals and reward systems

A lot of companies actually take off well, using this technique. In fact, if you look at the immense success of Uber where they entice users to join with either a free ride or discount. Currently, they boast 40 million monthly active users.

Offer codes and promotional discounts can help your business grow since these create a buzz not just online but also offline. Also, because of their high shareability factor, they are more likely to get popular through word of mouth; the same word of mouth marketing that brings better results than any form of brand advertising.

For learning apps, tapping into your user’s psychology through a reward system can be another great way to boost your engagement. Duolingo uses this strategy really effectively wherein the progress bar shrinks or expands based on your activity. It is crucial to remember that the same app earned 110 million users without spending a dollar on marketing.

Additionally, this positive effect can be extended by incorporating referral techniques wherein a user gets benefits by inviting a new user through referral and the recipient also gets some reward. With this approach, you can keep growing your user base.

Key Takeaway:

With a strategically designed rewarding system - discounted initial offers, rewarding referrals - you can attract more and more users.

  1. Incorporate videos into your marketing strategy

The increase in video consumption is a common trend across all online platforms. In fact, videos have shown to increase buying intent, making it a powerful weapon for marketers to increase their user base.

Dropbox, with its demo video, grew its beta waiting list from 5k to 75k overnight. After their success with this content format, they created an explainer video. It helped them reap a 10% increase in conversion, earning them a 10 million extra customers.

So a video can be a really effective way of growing a small user base to millions. The key is to simplify your brand message using visuals and make it accessible so it helps you reach a wider audience.

Key Takeaway:

Videos are in huge demand and this demand isn’t going anywhere. If you can offer your customer exactly what they want to see, you can achieve your goal of increasing your users.

  1. Go local!

When you are targeting a million users, it is natural to expect that these users might come from different geographical regions and hence speak different languages. And if you aren’t catering to this audience, you are likely to lose a lot of potential customers if you don’t eliminate the language barrier.

Take, for instance, the gaming industry. If you look at the most popular video games, you will find that to cater to their users from different countries, they have their games available in multiple languages. If you really want to reach to a larger user base worldwide, you simply can’t rely on one language.

Key Takeaway:

Always try to ensure that you make your product globally relevant by customising it depending on the target audience. Sometimes, localisation can be the key to getting more people onboard.

Closing thoughts

When you start from scratch, creating a good visibility for your business can be a challenge. To overcome it, you should invest in the right techniques; these techniques can include exclusivity, influence, discounts, localisation, socialising, thought leadership or a mix of these. So put these on your checklists and create your own success story.

Have any more tips to share? Do let us know in the comments.

Authored By Vaibhav Kakkar

Vaibhav Kakkar is the Founder and CEO of Digital Web Solutions, a globally trusted agency with a full suite of digital marketing services and development solutions. Vaibhav believes in building system over services and has helped scale up agencies from scratch to niche-leaders with million dollar turnovers.

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