Mobile App Success Story: How Mint did it

Let’s talk about money. Have you ever struggled to manage your budget? If you find very difficult to keep your finances into one place maybe you didn’t use the right tool. As you probably know there are solutions developed for solving almost any problem and we agree that app stores are filled with financial apps. But today we will discuss about Mint, a mobile app built with the purpose to help people when they need to deal with their spending and saving issues in a simple and efficient way. Besides the fact that the app was free for all users from the beginning there are other factors that contributed to its success. In this article we will see the story behind Mint app.

Brilliant Idea

Everything began in 2007 when Aaron Patzer created a free, personal money management software which was the winner of $50.000, the prize of TechCrunch40. The idea came from his personal experience when he needed to handle the budget for one of his startups. But before starting to write the code for it, he asked everybody if they would use this type of service. He went with the philosophy that instead of creating a product and then asking for feedback it is better to validate your idea first and if the results are positive then you should build it according to the opinions received. Two years later, in November 2009 Mint was acquired by Intuit for $170 million. That’s impressive, right? Not to mention that Mint already had almost 1.7 million users by that time.

Image Source: https://techcrunch.com/2007/09/18/mint-wins-techcrunch40-50000-award/

How Mint Did It

Let’s discover the fundamentals behind the rapid growth of Mint and more importantly how you can adapt those key points for your personal situation.

Image Source: https://www.slideshare.net/hnshah/mintcom-prelaunch-pitch-deck/9-Business_Model_User_Gather_User

Security

What is the biggest concern of all when it comes to financial information, credit cards and money? Well, the first question that arises is: How safe is the data I am sharing on this app? The security provided by Mint was the main challenge of its creators. Therefore, after they managed to solve it they assured every customer about the advantages of using Mint regarding this aspect. Moreover, an entire page on Mint website is dedicated to Security measures. This element convinced users to trust the platform. Proving that the app offers a “Bank Level Data Security” was imperative for the success of the entire business.

Image Source: https://www.mint.com/how-mint-works/security

Referral Solutions

Everybody is thinking how a platform which offers free services is able to maintain itself and to bring profit for its owners. The answer is simple. The company receives a specific fee every time its users create an account or make a transaction for some sponsored products recommended by Mint. You will understand better if you read what Aaron Patzer said in an article for Mashable: “It’s free because we make money if we can help users make money”. We shared with you the benefits provided by a referral program and we highlighted that this marketing technique offers the right environment of a win — win situation for both parties involved. This strategy is suitable also for Mint users because the solutions presented are tailored according to their needs.

Image Source: http://mashable.com/2011/09/27/mint-aaron-patzer-interview/#ZteyhOMzESq0

Content Marketing

You know the idea behind content marketing, don’t you? Create a community through useful content so users would be impressed enough to try your product. That works also for Mint. If you open the blog section, Mintlife on the official site you will find really helpful advices about handling your money and tips on how to save more. They share all these posts without any visible intention to promote Mint app. The main takeaways from this are to post frequently and to provide interesting articles for a better lifestyle. It is simple but very effective. The results will come in terms of downloads or sign ups.

Image Source: https://blog.mint.com/

Reddit

As an effect of the above growth hack, posting on sites like Digg, Reddit, Quora was a great strategy for driving organic traffic for Mint. If you read our article, The Niceties Of Using Reddit For Mobile App Promotion then you know how difficult is to promote an app on Reddit. But if you manage to offer useful information regarding a topic then you will gather a lot of members for a specific subreddit and of course a strong user base for your app.

Press Coverage

Mint’s owner concentrated his strategy on PR from the start. It requires a lot of time to give interviews and to talk with the press but if you understand the advantages received when you convince reporters to write about your app then you can see the long term effects which come from this marketing tool. You can take a look at some articles that appeared over the years telling the story behind the great success of Mint and the huge exposure gain by the platform. After that you can decide if press coverage is also a good technique for your app.

Image Source: https://www.mint.com/press

Bonus Tip: Solve people’s problems.

Despite the fact that Mint wasn’t the first or the only financial service on the market it was still a successful business from the start. That happened because it was created as an intuitive tool for people to deal with their financial tasks. Its simplicity attracted users and every element from the rapid way to create an account to the helpful procedure of categorizing every spending contributed to the fast growth of this app. You can take a look at what others do and if you make that better than you have a valuable product.

Image Source: https://www.slideshare.net/hnshah/mintcom-prelaunch-pitch-deck/6-Value_to_User_Finance_Online

Final Thoughts

We dedicated this article to a sensitive topic which is building and promoting a financial app. There are many elements required when you provide a product that handles people’s money, but if you keep it simple and you care about your users’ opinions you will manage to offer exactly what your customers need. Take these growth hacks from the beginning of Mint and apply them to your app if you want to make sure that you are on the right track to success.