Growth December 1, 2019

How did you gain your first 100 users?

Andrew Garber @Garberchov

I am in my Alpha/MVP stage right n ow and I am trying to gain my first 100 users, how did you do it.

  1. 10

    The first 150 people to visit Indie Hackers I emailed one at a time. I found their posts/comments all over the web, but mostly on Hacker News, then tracked down their contact info, then sent them a handcrafted email.

    As for advertisers, back when I was finding sponsors for the website, I found them via a mix of content market and cold emails. The content marketing was via the Indie Hackers interviews. They brought in a lot of traffic, so I added an inline blurb that said something like "your ad here." They also netted me a lot of mailing list subscribers, so I did the same thing in the mailing list.

    Cold emailing was more effective, however. I probably only emailed 15 people total, so I reached significantly fewer people than my ads, which reached many thousands. But since I was targeting specific sponsors, I had much better results, and probably made 80% of my revenue from those 15 emails.

    1. 2

      Thanks for sharing this, @csallen! I used to do some cold emailing too but it didn't really work out. Almost all of them ignored me even when I personalized each email. Maybe I just did it wrong.

      However, what I find to be effective is to share your products in online communities like Indie Hackers, YC startup school, Hacker News, Reddit, Twitter, Medium etc. Until now, the majority of oneprofile.info (my startup)'s traffic and users are from Indie Hackers and Hacker News. Here's my web stats https://simpleanalytics.com/oneprofile.info

      Either way, I suggest you to do both and see whichever works the best. Good luck, @Garberchov!

    2. 1

      What was your pricing strategy in the start? Did you offer low price for initial sponsors? or did you go for aggressive pricing strategy right from the start? What is the best pricing model in your opinion for an initial start?

      1. 1

        I think my first sponsor paid $750. I recommend starting high!

        There are plenty of fish in the sea, i.e. tens of thousands of potential sponsors. Worst-case scenario, some of them say no to you.

        In terms of outreach, I saved my ideal sponsors for last. I never actually got to them before the Stripe acquisition happened. Funny enough, Stripe was my #1 ideal sponsor.

  2. 1

    We launched on Hacker News and managed to get on the front page. We posted our app with the title "Show HN: Turn any device with a browser into a security camera" and a link to our product https://viyo.io. Then we made the first comment and just gave a little background about us and the product.

    You can see the post here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21473220

    We were able to get ~6000 unique visitors to our site and got 130+ signups from this so it worked out fairly well.

  3. 1

    For Early User Growth I personally reached out to people I found on Twitter and IndieHackers. I sent them a DM or email asking if I could have a quick call with them to ask some questions about how they've approached early user growth so far. Some were still in that phase, some just closed their company because they couldn't get users, and others just got out of that stage.

    I also left some comments on IndieHackers in threads related to my product.

    The real growth came when I posted a milestone on IndieHackers that I got 35 pre-launch sign-ups. Within 24 hours I got another 120 sign-ups just from that milestone.

    PS: if you need some inspiration, I published a page about how 30+ companies such as Apple, Amazon, ProductHunt and GitHub got their first users, which you can find here -> https://earlyusergrowth.com/startups