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10 Ways to Cheaply Get Users for an App

At work, we're constantly discussing the three levers of SaaS pricing optimization: acquisition, monetization, and retention. For this challenge, which focuses on acquisition, I'll share a collection of ideas that are 1) targeted to B2C companies and 2) inexpensive, if not free.

I think I'd be remiss if I didn't include a plug for my workplace here. We produce a *ton* of content on pricing, strategy, and monetization, and it's all totally free for anyone to access.

    1. Give away something (e.g. the app) for free

    By making something free, you reduce the biggest barrier to entry for B2C users: cost

    2. ...Or, if that doesn't work, start charging $2.99 for the app and see what happens

    Price signals value, and the psychology of pricing is very interesting. A free product may be perceived as being of lesser quality simply because it costs nothing.

    3. Create a referral program for users

    And incentivize users to refer their friends by giving them "credits" or access to "premium" content

    4. Partner with other companies, universities, or organizations

    And benefit from access to their audience and brand power

    5. Create content and thought leadership pieces and make it available for free

    You can use SEO to drive people to your content online, which will work in tandem with other advertising campaigns you might be running. Basically, you want to be doing all you can to create buzz about your app.

    6. Market the app as an upsell or a cross-sell

    Do you have another product you can piggyback off of? Reaching out to an established pool of users is much easier than creating one from scratch.

    7. If you decide to charge for the app, distribute discount codes widely, or consider other incentives to purchase

    First, choose whether you'll be charging a one-time fee or a subscription fee. I recommend the latter for many reasons (one of which is because it's my day job).

    In particular, it's great to focus on incentivizing people to make upfront payments (annual instead of monthly). This can increase product stickiness, give you more funds to work with, and raise the Lifetime Value (LTV) of each account. Discounts, sign-up offers, and perks can help do this and are very popular in the B2C space.

    8. Select targeted advertising and marketing channels

    You want to make the most of any budget you spend on advertising and marketed, so make sure you're choosing optimal channels.

    9. 3 Words: Social Media Marketing

    SMM is a godsend for burgeoning brands. It can be low-cost or entirely free, as needed, and it encompasses so much variety. Plus, it's a great way to access huge portions of your market.

    10. Take the time to refine your brand

    Really focus on creating a product that drives value for your users. What is your USP, and how can you craft an image in line with that? If you can communicate your value, people will come.

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