Grew startup to 23 Million users and sold to Match.com. I offer actionable feedback on growth hacking, viral marketing, Facebook, mobile and more. I've advised 100+ startups including those backed by investors such as Accel, Bessemer, and Y Combinator. Grow your userbase without paying for it.
Depends on a whole bunch of factors. Do you have money to spend on online ads? Do you have people in house to build growth features? How niche is your website? Are there existing distribution platforms you can launch on? The following strategies have worked for me well depending on the type of product:
1. Building viral growth features directly into my site to amplify traffic (lots of potential here depending on your product/site)
2. Spending on online ads on Google, Facebook, etc. (if you want this to be sustainable, lifetime value should be significantly more than cost of customer acquisition, but this might not matter in the short term)
3. Generating PR (hard and short-term but when it works, it works)
4. Striking partnerships with other high volume sites OR getting on a platform that gives you immediate organic distribution. If you can get promoted by the platform, that can REALLY help.
5. Content marketing, SEO, etc. are slower but can be important in the long run
I've typically found that one strategy works best for any particular site so it's important to iterate until you find the best one.
Sounds ambitious! What are the key challenges for you? Are you able to develop the product yourself, and just looking for ideas of how to grow it to millions of users? Or do you need to find people to build the product/app itself? There are lots of resources available for both.
One of my former startups was covered in many publications (Techcrunch, USA Today, NY Timers, Venturebeat, etc.). We used multiple consultants and PR firms with varying results. I've found that if you have something very newsworthy like a product launch, consultants can use their relationships to amplify your coverage. Especially if the consultant/firm specializes in your industry.
However, I think of hired PR more as an amplifier. If you don't have newsworthy stories, it's hard for them to generate great press. The companies themselves typically need to generate these ideas, which can be a lot of work. It can be a lot of fun too, but you have to make sure it's a good use of time and focus versus everything else you could be doing.
I normally try to brainstorm along various categories of stories: product/feature launches, interesting stories based on data (OK Cupid and Pricenomics are great at this), customer success stories, guest posts by the founder, etc.
Finally, I think many great startup founders form real personal relationships with journalists. This isn't easy to do, but if you actually become friendly with writers they are much more likely to at least consider posting about your company. Good luck!
I've performed hundreds of pricing page tests in the past. It's hard to tell in advance what will work.
There are a few things I'd recommend to generate ideas for tests:
1. Talk to users who have visited the subscription page and converted. Ask them what made them pull the trigger and what made them almost decide not to subscribe.
2. Talk to users who visited your sub page and did not subscribe. Ask them why not.
3. Study the best pricing pages in your industry and outside it for ideas.
Once you have a queue of ideas, I'd test copy, design, plan features, pricing, term lengths, payment options, incentives (trial, discounts, etc.) to find out the order form that makes the most sense for your users.
Simplicity is a great goal, but there are so many factors at play that testing is critical to understand the business impact of various membership plan designs.
First, make sure you have a good lawyer who has a lot of experience in early stage deals. Glad to recommend some for you if it's helpful. In terms of your questions:
1. If you don't know the investor well, check references, ideally with entrepreneurs they have funded. Meet the investor several times to ensure that you'd want to spend time with them in the future.
2. The angel investor can provide guidance, but as the CEO/founder, it is up to you to drive the company, figure out what needs to be done, and do it. The investor provides capital, and you runs the company.
3. Most entrepreneurs take the funding, work on their startup for a few years, and then go bankrupt. If you don't have a sense of how to make the company successful, surround yourself with experienced people and do everything in your power to figure out how to be successful, the byproduct being that you will have given your investor a nice return.
There are various ways to target specific people, although you need be be careful relative to the social networks' terms and conditions. If these people have opted in to your list, you can use Facebook customer audience retargeting to promote stories in their feeds. If they haven't opted into your list, you may have to find ways to reach out to them directly. There are lots of strategies for this, but it really depends on the specific reason you want to reach out to them.
Since the products from the old versus the new business are very different, it's unlikely that this strategy will be very effective. If you do email this list, I'd consider the following:
-send a personal text based email, not a fancy HTML marketing email
-thank them for their past purchase and let them know that you are starting a new business and would love their feedback/support
-give them a very easy way to opt out of future mailings.
Safest thing is probably to give them an opportunity to sign up for your new list. Glad to chat more about this email and other growth strategies.