Noah Kagan is no stranger to massive growth.
He was employee #30 at Facebook, he’s the founder of appsumo.com which has over 700,000 users and is an 8-figure business.
He loves building things.
This is actually Noah Kagan. ⬇️
At 24, Noah was very proud to be working at Facebook.
Almost too proud, where his chronicling of his work, the blogging of the successes that Facebook had, eventually got him a sit down with the Zuck himself, and got him fired.
He’s started multiple businesses since, and today we’re going to break one of those down.
hauldrop.com — Noah’s newest business venture that he took from 0 to over 1000 users in just under 30 days…
This is how he did it.
(If you want more of Noah’s insights, make sure to check out the video he put together on this strategy).
Goals, Deadlines & Rewards
The first thing Noah did was set goals and deadlines.
For them, it was 1 month and 1000 user.
It seems like setting a target with a deadline, seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised at home many marketers don’t properly measure what they’re doing, or don’t have a deadline which they impose on themselves in order to pause and take count of what is and isn’t working.
By setting goals and deadlines, they knew exactly what they needed to do, and when they had to do it by.
They also said that if they were going to achieve this, they’d buy a $1000 dollar bottle of scotch to celebrate. (You worked hard…. Celebrate!)
0–50 Customers — Ask
To start off with their first 50 customers, they did what they call — hand-to-hand combat.
Literally reaching out to people they knew and asking them to sign up.
The Paul Graham quote comes into mind — do things that don’t scale.
If you’re in a larger company, and you aren’t at the spot where you’re looking for your first 50 customers, then either move onto the next section OR know that this is important when you’re taking a new product to market.
To get the first 50 people to look at your product, you need to go out and find those people (or ask people you know) and get them to sign up and give feedback.
They can be existing customers, if you’re taking a new product to market in a large company, or they can be peers from school or work, if you’re starting out from scratch.
Another iteration of this strategy could be if you’re trying to grow your company’s social accounts.
Literally reach out to your employees, and your friends and family, and ask them to follow your company’s accounts.
If your own employees aren’t following your accounts — why would your customers? (also… those first few customers or followers, it helps if you’ve gotten them personally, because then you can ask them for brutal, honest feedback, on whatever it is you’ve asked them to check out.)
Key takeaway: If nothing is working, and you’re having trouble gaining momentum. Don’t be passive, be active.
50–100 Customers — Share
Noah likes to call this ‘Buffet Marketing’.
You’re literally trying everything and seeing what works.
Experiment as much as possible.
Here’s a few things they did.
- Share with your own community. Share the product with whatever audience you have. Niche down into groups. Post it on a Facebook group. Talk about it on a podcast or YouTube. Mention on your personal Facebook etc. Go to where you have a community, and if you don’t have a community, start to build one.
- Share with creators/influencers. If you have a creator or influencer friend, just ask if they’d share it with their following. There are so many micro influencers, there’s a good chance we all know one or two. The worst they can say is, no.
Key takeaway: Share everything, everywhere. Don’t spend money yet!
100–500 Customer s — Product Marketing
At this level, Noah starts to try and incorporate marketing into the product. Forced sign-up to unlock content, discounts, giveaways, affiliate components, redemption components, or incentives for sharing the product upon registration.
There’s a ton of stuff Noah has dreamt up, that you can test for your business.
I actually recommend downloading the AppSumo growth marketing playbook (free), for some incredible ideas.
Key takeaway: Build marketing into your product, make a great product, gimmicks don’t work.
500–1000 Customers — Refine
Now you’ve tried different channels.
You should have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t.
This is not the time to spend hours trying new things, this is when you should double down.
Pick 3 channels that work really well, and double down to 10x the growth from those channels.
Focus on optimizing the content, the volume, the quality, etc., but just make sure you spend time on stuff that works.
Key takeaway: Now is the time to refine channels that work. Still, don’t spend money on ads until you have revenue, because once you have revenue, and you’ve refined your channels that work — you’ll know where to spend money.
Noah’s Thought’s on 0–1000
- Spam (ask) your friends to sign-up. Every single entrepreneur asked their friends to check out their product when they first started. Get over it.
- Ship your MVP even if it’s not ready. Getting something started, even if it’s not perfect, can get you feedback and momentum you need to really take a product to the next level.
- Different things work at different times. Keep experimenting. Just because something didn’t work at one point in time, doesn’t mean it won’t work in the future. Try it again.
- Marketing can’t fix a shitty product. Is it a marketing problem… or is it a business problem?
Although this breakdown was pretty specific, and geared for entrepreneurs trying to find their first 1000 customers, learn from the states of growth that Noah mapped out.
This same life-cycle of take to market, product marketing can be used for a new product, and idea or a business unit.
Noah is truly the master of growth, and he’s done it before, repeatedly.
Take a note from his playbook.