Our startup is stuck in a rut after developing our 1st product. We've got our friends & family on board and now growth has stagnated. How can we grow?
Our 1st app is called Radial and is a music streaming service for your smartphone. Our motto is 'Socially Ubiquitous Music'. We're working out of Trinidad in the Caribbean so we chose to use Trinidadian music as our niche market for now.
We want to acquire more users and we've tried Facebook ads, Google mobile ads as well as approaching people within our own networks. We have Facebook & Twitter accounts for Radial as well.
It seems like quite a few people have rallied around your question!
If you're working out of Trinidad and focusing on Tridadian music, you couldn't be at a bigger advantage! Think about the big mobile tech players in the industry right now: what do Rdio, Uber, and Snapchat all have in common? Not only are there gigantic social aspects to their technology, but these guys show up to so many different events each year, it makes my head spin!
The bottom line is this: when it comes to targeting users for growth, a few things need to happen. Not only do you need to know exactly who your customers are, but you need to adapt your experience enough to build something that they deem "sharable." People are afraid to look dumb in front of their friends with a less-than-apt application, so they'll be hesitant to do so until the experience knocks their socks off. Keep generating feedback, creating positive incentives for users who have stuck around, and NEVER, EVER stop tweaking your software to make your customer experience a delight.
Additionally: show up places! Sponsor different events in Trinidad where you think valuable users could be, and give them a reason to sign up to use your application. When Rdio started their first growth initiative, they gave every single customer a free month of premium, ad-free service. Since then, their growth has exploded, because people referred their friends to Rdio instead of Spotify, simply because the customer experience was more worthwhile.
Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
Referrals, referrals, referrals. You need written testimonials and referrals to grow. Since I do not know about your app, then I would say that these two items are the most important. If it is a paid app, then give it away for free for up to 500 users...then charge for new users to use it.
The question doesn't state platform. If its droid i can prolly help you out. Haven't seen your app yet, but i'm giving you a set of most common issues in 'first apps'.
Some quick pointers:
1. Compare average session length to other apps in your category. If its longer, its good. If its shorter, your flow prolly needs rework.
2. make sure the user gets what they want in not more than 3 interactions.
3. On droid its all about ASO (app search optimization). If you're getting getting over 1000 downloads each day, its a good start. else you may want to think about renaming/rebranding your product depending on search trends in your target market. IMHO, the only guy looking for 'radial' in trinidad would be a caucasian looking to buy spare tyres on his mobile (which too is hardly a possibility).
Just checked droid, you're there. I'd strongly recommend a lot of work on your pre- installation marketing. what the app actually is, is not half as important as whether users are searching for it or not. For a startup, you need to go with a recognized search term/name in your target market, you dont have the funds or the resources to build brand recognition from scratch.
Feel free to message me in case you need further pointers, no strings attached. All the best,
The unfortunately reality is that building a good app today simply isn't enough. App Stores have now become a crowded space where the best apps don't necessarily rise to the top. Having said that, there are creative ways to get people onbaord. The best way to start is to engage prospective clientele with a simple and easy to digest description of what you are offering. A good way to do this is through an Explainer Video. Explainer videos allow you give a brief, simple, and engaging 60 seconds description of your product. Checkout PowToon (www.powtoon.com) to get a better ideal of how Explainer Videos work etc.
On another note, getting traction involves having a laser tight focus. Take your first wave of people who are not in your circle of family and friends, engage them by inviting them to be involved in improving your app and, most important, find out why they were drawn to your app. Too often we assume that we know why people are using our products. Another good approach is to seek early adopter types. The reality is that there are early adopters out there who try things just because they are new or different. An explainer video could help you to find some of those early adopters.
I'll be sure to checkout out your app now and give some other useful tips.
You'll need to create 1-2 more niche markets outside of Trinidadian music or find a trend-setter outside of Trinidad and a place where Trinidadian music is well received. Easier said than done, but it is possible and there are alot of variables.
Freebies are a great way to gain critical mass. Read The Tipping Point. How about turning your business over to your end users. Ask the end user customer to purchase app...???....then ask them to find 3 more users. When they have their third customer signed up their app is free....or they get a free upgrade. You can work it out from there. Now you have turned your customers into advocates. Strongest form of advertising you can buy. All the best - Casey
I would suggest looking at target communities in metropolitan areas globally and seeing if you can't offer your service on an existing product to get the word out. Providing authentic new music perhaps to a float at the Notting Hill carnival, or a freebie membership on a new Caribbean focused food might be possible ways forward. Most of all you need to focus on Provenance Marketing and the most likely early adopters whilst you establish your identity.
Andre - there is a lot of great information provided here and I'm hoping I don't simply echo what ha been said. I quickly scanned the comments. What we don't know is what kind of information are you gathering from current users. Some questions you could answer that may help this forum help you more might be:
1. What were your goals for new users and what have you experience? Has reality exceeded plans?
2. What is the demographic you are aiming for? How big is that group and how can you segment it?
3. Have you surveyed current users to find out how their experience has been?
4. What are your usage numbers? Are users using the app often, not so often, etc.? Are these numbers what you had anticipated?
5. You mention that since you're working out of Trinidad you chose that music style and niche "for now". That suggests that the music isn't the focus here but the app. Is that correct? If so why?
6. What is the mission for the company? Does your service meet that mission statement.
Hope this helps...
Okay, so you are a startup and its your 1st product. How long have you been operating? What is your focus area - the app or the business? Think over it. If you see downloads and likes and some great comments from people in this forum, you have nothing to fret over. You seem to be on the right track with your business theme. What you should now focus on is (1) spread the word about your 'business' and (2) reinvent your app thru features based on feedback. Remember, this app is not the business, its the start of your business.
Paige makes a very valid and important point. Not only do you need frequency and reach, but a powerful advertising message for it to work. I have heard many people claim they have tried different types of advertising and because they did not generate sales, they concluded that the medium or advertising in general did not work. Advertising and most media does definitely work - it was their ad and/or their media plan that failed.
Also many people, like Krishan who commented a few days ago, believe word of mouth is a replacement for advertising. If you believe in word of mouth, which you should, you should also understand that NOTHING generates more word of mouth on a massive scale than advertising. That is one of its primary goals. Those who believe most in word of mouth, advertise.
You mentioned earlier that for budgetary reasons you have not built a website. That is your top priority by far. All interest you generate in advertising, social media and word of mouth should be driven there. Earlier attempts at FB and Google ads were greatly impeded by not having a website to take them to.
Lastly, once your site is built "affiliate marketing" is something you should research and explore in great detail. You could cross promote and/or trade with similar and compatible products. You could sell your product in volume to a bigger company that wants to include it as "value added" proposition on their own sales. You could sell another companies product on your site in exchange for them selling your product on their site... there so many possibilities with affiliate marketing. Best of Luck!
Traffic generation is always tricky. It is difficult to answer your question without knowing your skill sets -- You said you tried facebook ads, google mobile ads --
The question is? Did you do your demographic research first? What sites do the people who use your service hang out -- Where can you reach them?
Did you do any research on other media providers similar to you? Where are they spending their money? Where are they running their ads? Have you done conversion optimization and testing on your ads, your landing pages, your traffic sources???
or did you just run FB ads? -- or did you just run mobile ads? with no research - no conversion testing -- These type of activities are critical to success in my opinion.
Yes agreed with Akash. Upgrade your app, with freebies and also improved features. You could probably use local fliers to tackle local market. Word of mouth is important too. If the app Radial has features which induces better leisure, I am sure it will be better marketed as everyone would want to buy your app. Keeping people happy will do much better goodness to your business!
It takes time to build a following and acquire users. In advertising and social media it is about reach, frequency & repetition. Trying ads once does not count. Potential customers must be exposed to your message many times before they notice and make a buying decision. So start building relationships with your friends & followers online, Give them an incentive to try in a low risk way. Help them spread your news.
What's the experience that you're creating? Nobody is buying your product, they're buying the experience they get from using your product - or integrating it into their personal lives.
It's not about 'selling' or 'growing' it's about touching their hearts. The first iPod when it was developed was touted as a way to use technology to reach people in their hearts. If you can capture their heart, then they're a part of who you are - not a customer buying your product.
Touchy-feely stuff - regardless, it's all about the experience that you're creating with your product - especially in the music space. It's got NOTHING to do with the music that you're playing or with the design of the application - or the method in which you're delivering it. If the experience is forced, business like, transactional, observant - then you're not asking for people to be 'a part of' your product, you're asking them to 'use it.'
If people feel like they're a part of making your app better - and that you're intent is to make their lives richer through music, then your app will grow via advocacy, not advertisement.
Very cool app. My suggestions are as follows:
1) Decide if your niche is large enough to match your goals. In other words, Trinidadian music may be your favorite, but is the audience large enough to get your company where you want it to be. Perhaps in the short run it is large enough, which would mean you would add different genres as you decide to grow. Most of the streaming apps out there have an option for choosing a genre, so if I had the choice between one type of music, or many types (and if I can chose to create categories to suit my mood), then I would choose the option that gives me options. That being said, I would download an app with one type of music, if I believed it would deliver better and more unique music that I like.
2) Get every local musician's music onboard, with an agreement that as you promote their music through the app and Facebook, you expect the same from them. At every concert or venue where they perform, have them agree to mention that their music can be heard on Radial.
3) Promote the app through free app portals such as Appsgonefree. Radial will be listed as a free app for a limited time, and people will download the app. Your revenue come from advertisers already, so having a million users will position you to go after more advertising dollars. As you know, free apps can also have upgrades for a small fee, in order to get the professional version, so there may be some type of advanced feature you could develop that would cost a dollar. (I didn't download your app because it is not in the iTunes store.)
4) Develop reciprocal agreements with event coordinators. If there is a marathon event, put business card sized Radial (with QR code) advertisements in the swag bags in exchange for their event being highlighted on your streamed content.
5) Make sure you have built out the back-end. When this baby gets huge, the last thing you want is to have it all crash down because of infrastructure inadequacies.
6) Brainstorm on all reciprocal partner agreements possible. There are probably hundreds of willing partners who will promote Radial in exchange for being promoted on Radial. Music blogs/online publications, dance clubs, hotels, etc. Maybe you could get a hotel chain to offer Radial on their log-in page for guest WiFi.
Let me know if you need advice on cloud computing options. That's really where we like to play.
Jason - Protelligent, Inc.
You can grow your business through innovation of the product itself as well as through the diversification of your communication channels.
You may also have na account on Instrragram which is very popular right now. You may also create your own music communication platform and prepare events where your music type will be presente.
You may also develop joint actions with the hotels where you propose to have your musice to guests who wish to chose your music streaming servisse and at the hotels it also makes since to diversify your music type choice and this is also a type of innovation where you will only have diferent type of services but you will also be known internationally and people from other places of the globe will chose your servisse at a low production cost.
Building on the concept already stated to stay innovative, I would recommend analyzing some of the other larger music streaming apps on the market now. They all differ in certain ways, primarily whether or not music is cached on the device (SoundCloud) or streamed directly (Pandora).
For a SoundCloud type approach, it would be possible for you to have a more unique appeal to the consumer. I believe it gives much more flexibility when trying to find and listen to the music you want. The only issue here is that licensing and copyright laws will potentially alter the usability of the app and the availability of musicians and their albums.
Regardless of what direction your team takes, the most important thing in my mind would be to find and capitalize on something that your app can offer that none of the other big players in the music app space can deliver on.
Lastly, consider posting your app in the Microsoft Windows store. Anybody with a Windows 8 device will have direct access to the app. Their developer community also offers immense opportunity for start-up stage software development organizations (ex: Microsoft Developer Network, BizSpark, Codeplex, Developer Centers)
I would look at something with iTunes, and see if you can build their business into your app. Maybe look at local talent and see if you can contact them and see if they are willing to have their fans listen to them on your app. Try local first then expand to regional and then expand your reach from there. Do not try to capture huge growth without having a stable base first, you will kill your company before you get it off of the ground. Also, ask your stakeholders about their input, they may have some really great ideas for apps, and direction, after all they had vision to believe in your efforts enough to invest, they may be a great resource to drive the growth you seek. LJR
I downloaded your app and used it. It was simple and fast to register and start using the app. Music is cool. Some work can be done on usability as it is no clear that a particular song I have chosen to play has started buffering, so I clicked no. of songs before I could make out.
I will not suggest to spend money on Facebook or Google ads. Best way to promote any app is that user talk about it. If you can somehow allow your users/listeners to post feedback on their facebook or twitter account. Try to tie-up with some live concerts and if you can partner with them, they should promote you as online streaming partner. Post as much as you can on music websites or blogs and write about your app.
All the best!!