April 14 0 223

How to Grow an App From 0 to 1 000 000 Users in 6 Months

We are sharing with you a framework used by Noah Kagan to grow the Mint app from 0 to 1 000 000 users. Noah achieved this goal in just 6 months after being hired by Mint as their marketing director. Prior to that, he was the product manager at Facebook and he got the majority of his experience on how to scale an app/software successfully from there.

In this article, Noah addresses the 7 steps quant-based growth marketing framework that he used to achieve this target. This framework can be replicated by anyone to meet the targeted number of users.


Getting Started

Mint is a money manager and financial tracker app that helps users to track transactions and account balances, monitor monthly expenses, control spending, receive bill reminders, and to connect their cash, credit cards, loans, in one place. As soon as Noah was hired at Mint as the Marketing Director, he was given a goal of achieving 100 000 in 6 months for the new platform. He admits that at first he was nervous and thought to himself, "How am I going to achieve that?!".

Fast forward to 6 months later, Mint had over 1 000 000 users which was 10X the original goal that he was given.

To achieve that scale, he used a quant-based growth marketing strategy that he believes can work for anyone else — no matter what your goal is. The key to this strategy is to work backwards and reverse engineer your way to success. Here is the 7-step process.

Step 1: Set Up Your Goal

Before everything, you need to have a clear and measurable goal to aim for. This is the most important part of any marketing strategy. And to do this, you have to start by working backwards from your company’s goal or revenue target.

If the goal is $10 000/month in revenue, start by analyzing how many customers you need?

Step 2: Choose a Timeframe

Without a timeframe, there's no urgency. You need to be able to understand at any point if you're on track or lagging behind your target. So, your goal needs to be within a timeframe. For example; Reaching $10 000 monthly revenue within 3 months.

You can then break your goal down into smaller on-pace targets along the way if that makes more sense for your goal. As long as it has a clear goal and timeframe to accomplish it.


Step 3: Spreadsheet Setup

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After setting a clear goal and end date, now you can build your strategy. The best way to do this is by using a quant-based marketing spreadsheet to plan, track, and measure all of your marketing activity.

The spreadsheet has 8 columns, and here is how to use each:

  • Source: Where are the users coming from? (ex: Facebook ads, Google PPC).
  • Traffic: How much traffic does that channel receive? (ex: impression on Facebook/Google ad) — this is used to prioritize your channels.
  • Click-Through Rate: How much of the traffic clicks through from the source to the website?
  • Conversion Rate: Of those who click through to your website, what % of those convert to signups?
  • Expected users: How many users will the channel bring you? (Those that will complete the signup process and use your product).
  • Status: Where are you with this source? Is it ready to go?
  • Confirmed: Is this happening? Yes or no.
  • Confirmed Users: How many users did this source bring you?

The confirmed users are the most critical column in the sheet. It shows you how many users you generated from that source. Then you can reprioritize your marketing efforts moving forward based on the results in that column.


Step 4: Research Your Sources

Now it's time to narrow down the group of sources you want to focus on. The team at Mint focused on personal finance. So Noah had to target personal finance bloggers and tech professionals.

Here is an example from Noah’s spreadsheet:

To acquire your sources, here are the best channels you can start looking at before priotizing to the most efficient ones for your business:

  • PR
  • SEM
  • SEO
  • Social and display ads
  • Content marketing
  • Direct sales
  • Target market blogs
  • Influencer marketing


Finding the Most Efficient Source

To find the most efficient source, you have to look at where your ideal customers/ users are. Noah recommends using a scoring system out of 5.

Score each channel out of 5 for:

  1. Ease of implementation
  2. Potential impact

Then prioritize the sources with the highest scores i.e those with the highest impact and have the easiest implementation.

Now you can focus your time on the maximum/ high leverage activities while keeping in mind the timeframe and budget.

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Here is Noah’s scoring table for example:


Step 5: Set Your Targets

Now it's time to set targets for each source — giving you something to measure against. You can use these targets to see what works and where to adjust.

You can set up targets by using tools like Similarweb or Semrush for web traffic.

Make targets around the outcome you want from the source — not only with the CTR and conversion rates. Targets are hands down one of the most important parts of your strategy

Step 6: Create a Timeline

The next step is to break down your targets into smaller, time-focused goals and create a timeline. Break the time down into smaller, more achievable chunks.

For example, if your timeframe is 3 months, set monthly targets. If it's 3 weeks, set weekly targets.

This makes your goals feel more achievable and makes it easier to experiment and learn what works.

Step 7: Track Your Progress

Tracking is the most important thing to ensure you're on track to hit your goal. It allows you to measure and iterate to achieve your goals. That's why it's key to measure your results in a spreadsheet so you can spot where you need to adjust your plan.


Conclusion

By using this 7-step framework, Noah was able to help Mint get 1 000 000 users within 6 months which was 10x of the company’s target. This framework can be easily replicated by anyone and adjusted to the required goals/targets.

After Mint, Noah went on to start his own company AppSumo which is a daily deals website for digitally distributed goods and online services.

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