Creating a web application is challenging enough, but the make-or-break hurdle is gaining an audience for it. How does a startup with very little money draw in an inundated and skeptical audience to use its service? The shift from agile, responsive technology delivery to a marketing promotional machine can be a jarring transition for small tech-focused teams, and an even greater challenge on the limited, the bootstrapped budget that startups often work with. Here are several lessons on how to start a business learned from companies that drew in the initial audience, and achieved enough traction to escape failure.
Friends and Family
Much like with early-stage funding for technology, one must look for humble beginnings and promote your product to any of your friends and family that will listen. The reality of marketing is that this is the group of people that will most reliably give your website a chance and visit if, if for no other reason than their relationship with you. Of that group that visits it, a fraction may find it useful, and those people may become your biggest evangelists and promoters, all free of charge. The first thousand users of your service are critical from both a success standpoint and for collecting data to find and adapt to your market. Friends and family should almost always be the first option.
Create the Content Yourself
Many of the most popular web applications rely on their user base to create the content, and thus the value of the service. These…