You see them roving around Silicon Valley. Twenty something entrepreneurs with big ideas, hoodies, and lots of funding. Whether it's a tech bubble, boom, or bonanza, it's obvious there is an alternative universe where entrepreneurs are God's gift to humanity in the Valley. But many of these recession shruggers forget that they have to solve one of the biggest problems in building an online company: "Build it and they will not come."
Your product may be amazing and you think you've invented the next Twitter, but no one will use it unless you forcefully push it in his or her face. You are competing with hundreds of other websites and products online, not to mention your user's offline life. When we founded the CampusSplash -- a network that gives students access to complete education information, enabling them to make smart decisions about where to go to college -- we knew that getting a user's attention would be the biggest obstacle.
Here's what we did to address the problem -- and how you can too.
- Be a Presence in your Community, Online and Off
We work in the education space, so we make sure that we are constantly out there meeting other people in our industry. We meet with educational foundations, admission officers, high school organizations and more. We make sure people know who we are and what we do. Online we are writing lots of columns and making sure we have a voice in the discussion around education.
- Be Consistent and Constant
If you are going to be in the community, make sure your presence is constant and consistent. If you are going to tweet, do it with regularity and often. You want people to be used to your online communication as it allows them to look forward to the next one.
- Be Controversial
We believe that the current education system is flawed. We are willing to make clear public statements to that effect. We want to spark conversations, not just repeat what is already out there.
- Have a Clear Foil
What separates you from the competition? Are you the anti-Google? We are the foil to private college counselors. We view them as the antithesis to our education knowledge platform and are happy to make that distinction clear.
Getting user's attention is difficult, and won't be done overnight. It can take months to build traction, but assuming that users will come because your product is "great" is a guaranteed way to not get their attention.