Guest blog post by Maeghan Smulders, Hype & Communications at PasswordBox
Less than two weeks after launch, PasswordBox had surpassed Gmail as the #1 productivity app, reached the top two trending apps in the Google Play store and saw the user base grow from a few hundred thousand beta users to almost a million active users. It was a feat that most startups don’t experience in a lifetime, much less in 14 days. So, what made our launch such a success? By leaving nothing to chance. There is no one thing that’s going to make your launch a success – but here’s a few things that worked for us.
1. One Problem, One Solution, One Product.
Focus is key. Too many startups aim to solve 50 different problems and then struggle with user adoption and retention. ‘It’s got everything! So why aren’t people using it?!?’
PasswordBox focuses on one thing – PasswordBox logs you in to all your favorite online accounts, every time. We know that our product isn’t perfect yet, but we’re dedicated to getting as close to perfect as possible by constantly improving on that one valuable service.
A great product is created by focusing on a problem consumers are facing and providing a solution that is better than the rest. People are learning to love and trust PasswordBox because it works. And it works because we concentrated solely on providing our users with the best password manager experience we could. Now that we’ve established a loyal user base and have more resources, we can build more features that compliment the service we already offer.
Think very carefully about the problem you’re trying to solve and then focus on offering the very best solution to that problem.
2. Optimize Everything
You only get one chance to launch, so you have to make it count. By optimizing your launch messaging, strategy and plan, you’ll stay focused and be better able to manage any hiccups that come your way. (And they will!) PasswordBox focused on 4 days of intense PR/Marketing efforts that included a range of activities. Here’s a look:
- Giveaways: We rented a coffee truck to provide free coffee to all the developers waiting in line for the Keynote speaker at WWDC (in a PasswordBox-branded cup!)
- Marketing: We emailed our private beta users to share the news that our iOS app had been released in the App Store, including a direct link to download it.
- Incentive: As demand for the app went up, up, UP, we switched to reservation mode (similar to Pinterest or Mailbox) to manage the traffic and offered the first million people in line a free lifetime subscription to PasswordBox.
- PR: We focused on a few key news outlets in our field to share the release info with, and sent out a press release under embargo to encourage the media to follow our story.
3. Know Your Influencers, Love Your Advocates
Influencers and advocates can be a make it or break it factor in your launch. Whatever industry you’re in, you have to learn who is generating buzz, who is buzzing and how to get them buzzing about you. In the months before launch, we invited key influencers to test drive PasswordBox and offered our service to select users as a private beta. This not only gave us a very clear idea about what worked and what didn’t so we could refine accordingly, but also helped build an early buzz that got a whole lot louder on launch day.
4. Grade-A Team
Building a great team takes time, focus and perseverance. And it really, really matters. Grade-A team members are dedicated, solution-driven and incredibly good at what they do. It’s hard to get a job at PasswordBox because we look for talented people who love the product, understand our challenges and care about our users. This is particularly important during launch – you’ve got to have a staff of people you can count on and who care just as much as you do about getting it right.
Every launch is unique, but with strategic planning and follow through, you can make a big impact that will get people talking. We hope you’ll implement some of these ideas in your next launch, and let us know how they work for you. In addition, we’re offering a free lifetime membership to PasswordBox for Ecquire readers, which you can redeem here. We’re proud of what we’ve created as a team, so we invite you to check it out for yourselves. With all those launch ideas now running through your mind, who’s got time to remember a password?