How I gained the First 100k Users for my App

Gaurav Sharma
Jun 12 · 4 min read

You have finally created the perfect app. Its sleek, beautiful and fast with all the bells and whistles that you had dreamt of.

But where are the users?

Any app, no matter how perfect will fade into oblivion if it doesn’t reach its target audience. We must aim for the inflection point where the app’s popularity will kickstart the positive feedback cycle and it becomes self sustaining.

As an individual developer funds can be tight and walking the well worn path of Ad-Marketing doesn’t seem to bring the best bang for the non-existing buck.

Here’s how I did it.

Disclaimer : These are my observations and the consequent actions over them. Take them with a grain of salt.

App name and description are the key factors of getting organic traffic for your app.

A simple description won’t cut it. Go to the ASO tools that allow you to see the ranking of a phrase (eg. sensortower.com) for your App store and use the best phrase in the name and description.

sensortower.com

Blindly posting on social media rarely produces any measurable effect on your app statistics. You need to scour the web to find out where your users are most congregated at.

Search for subreddits, facebook ,telegram or even slack groups that are about the use-case that you built your app around. Example — You built an android app that’s an e-book reader, then find groups that have people who love to read!

Above approach will give you your first 500–1000 loyal users.

A Loyal User — User who keeps using the app for an extended period of time and will spread the word around.

A surgical approach to gather first 1k users will be key to gain further traction and then you can reuse this approach to gather more users.

Users of an app love it when the developer is not a faceless, voiceless corporate bot. A personal touch to any review or any mail will not go unnoticed.

The good-will you create with your communication alone will garner many positive reviews for your app and in turn increase the app ranking.

Everyone wants to make money from the hard work they have put into their app but preemptive greed will do more harm to app than you can possibly imagine. Launching an app with an Ad at every nook and corner will drive away the user faster than Usain Bolt from the start line.

“Well that’s a no brainer”, thought the reader while contemplating on the time he/she wasted on reading this story.

Here’s a rebuttal :

While developing an app, you have a list of features you would want to add but when a user comes up with a new request, try to keep it as a priority. Any defect should also be fixed as soon as possible with a reply on mail or on the review of the affected user.

When the user can see their requests being molded into reality then they turn into a Loyal User.

Your App can be fast and can have all the features your user might desire but if its cumbersome to use and requires a tutorial to be able to get started with then you might suffer from high uninstall rates.

For a backend developer, UI doesn’t come naturally and UI design principles are completely foreign to us. But creating a simple app with an uncluttered and clean UI will not take much of your time.

Also, take care about the UX (User experience) as well. Give your app to someone uninitiated and record how much difficulty they are facing and tune the UX to avoid it. (Do not give it to fellow devs! Unless we are the target audience)

Best of luck with your App!