How do new Apps get their first 500 customers? To grow organically, you need those first 500. So you need to go to the end of the Earth to get those first 500 that love your App. Remember, your App is not for everyone. So provide value to those first users.
Try these strategies
1. Email is still King to start.
So you need an email list. Where can you get a valid email list, not just a spam list?
a) First include an Opt-In on your App landing webpage. Tell about new features coming.
b) Build a facebook page for your App with something to get their attention. But include and email opt-in on your Facebook page. Facebook apps like the LeadPages app allow you to use their landing pages as Facebook forms to collect email addresses.
c) Also, collect emails from inside your App. If you have a signup, then you are good to go.
2. The psychology of persuasion.
What can you place on your landing page, your App Store intro or your emails that will influence the people that are a match for your App and to provide their email for new and exciting features.
3. Blog about the creation of your App. One great place to build a simple but elegant blog is on www.medium.com So if you have a story to tell, then tell it. A timeline of your story on Medium can be valuable for attracting attention to your App. Try to get people cheering for you.
4. Content Marketing
Do you have free content in your App? Do you have ideas to share or strategies? Suppose you have a post card app. Do you have free content and do you have ideas you can share on how to create the best postcard? If so, then talk about it on your blog, facebook page or even your landing page,
5. Get Hunted
a) There's a website called www.producthunt.com. This is where people can hunt for new products or unique and early adopting products. Many important people go on the hunt here for new products. So signup and launch your app here. But there are hundreds of submissions each day. So to get noticed or featured, there is a 24 hour hunt cycle. So start at 8am. Then see if you can get hunters to hunt for your product. Use Twitter! Use your famous twitter friends. Provide them with the name of your app, the url, tag line, platform, some images and brag about your goodies, your Aha! Getting your app hunted drives your visibility in all kinds of ways.
So who are the big influential hunters? Well there's a product hunt leader board here: https://www.yvoschaap.com/producthunt/ So look at the top hunters and see if you can find 30 or o that might be interested in your app and try to target them on twitter.
Producthunt has rules though. Never post your direct product hunt page on facebook or twitter. But you can tell people to hunt for your product on twitter or emails. If possible see if you can find a producthunt influencer to help you get started. If you end up on the front page, you will get tens of thousand of hits in the first 24 hour cycle.
6. Hacker News
Now this site https://news.ycombinator.com requires some technical skills. But, as an app developer, that should not be a problem. So head over to hacker news, look at how others show their product and technology and show yours. If you get noticed here, you will get a ton of traffic. But if you don't get upvoted within the first hour, you are toast. So have some friends ready to upvote you when you launch here.
7. Press release your App.
I'll be writing a new blog just for this. But be sure to submit a press release for your new product.
8. Launch Again
When you have a new feature, use these techniques to launch again.
9. Video Commercial
Now this is not for everyone. A great commercial can be expensive. But a viral commercial can be a game changer for your app. Especially if it is both informative and funny.
10. Cross Promotion
This is where you team up with another app developer and you promote each others apps. This can work sometimes, but I'm not a big fan of this. It's better to cross promote your own apps if you have more than one app.
11. Social Referral
Ok, this is tricky. How do you get people to refer your app. You can offer discounts and other incentives. But if your app is used to send something to someone else, then find a way to make the recipient of the resultant want to get the app that created it. I'll be blogging about this later. I have some fascinating ideas. Be sure to add your email on this blog so you can be notified about some of then upcoming ideas :) Now that is the psychology of persuasion. But there really is some cool stuff coming on this blog.
12. Social Media
Depending on the type of app, target the right social media. For visual or photos apps, target instagram. If your app is about current events, then target twitter. So what you want to do is share about your App on social media from within your App, your landing page, your blog, your facebook page. But make sure it is easy an enticing from within your app to share on social media.