How I reached 10,000 users in 4 days

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Why?
  3. The Launch
  4. Journalists
  5. Reddit
  6. Timing

Disclaimer

This is in no way a definitive guide to 10,000 users. This post will detail exactly how I managed it, and hopefully you learn something new too.

Introduction

On February 16th, 2019, I launched my new app MiniWiki, an app to let you browse Wikipedia™ on your Apple Watch.

With two other app releases under my (Nano for Reddit and Chirp for Twitter), I was able to use the knowledge I learned from both of those launches to ensure MiniWiki launched successfully.

Why?

Now let me be the first to say that Wikipedia on the Apple Watch seems like a silly idea, and I believed that prior to release too, but since then there’s been numerous occasions where it has come in handy.

Aside from that, MiniWiki was a challenge. I wanted to build a really nice iOS onboarding app. While it didn’t have to have any real functionality, I wanted it to be user-friendly and immediately inviting.

Some of the views from the iOS app
Some of the views from the iOS app

I’m really happy with the above design and how it all turned out.

The Launch

Launching an iOS app is never easy, and it’s get a lot harder the more attention you pay to it. For some context, I live in Australia 🇦🇺 which means the majority of my potential market is asleep when I’m awake, and awake when I’m asleep. This certainly presents some unique challenges.

When launching an app it’s important to cater the launch to your target demographic.

For both of my other apps, the United States is by far the largest market with 75% of my downloads originating from the USA, followed by Canada and the United Kingdom each with 4% of downloads.

The above clearly shows that I need to cater to the USA when I launch my products.

Let’s go into detail on exactly how I did that…

Journalists

Getting media coverage of your apps is essential in ensuring its success. In my own experience, I’ve found 9to5Mac to have the largest impact on downloads as well as being the most likely to cover my projects.

Two weeks prior to launching your app, message the journalist of your choice on Twitter or email them. I find messaging them on Twitter is more likely to get a response. Provide them with a couple of things:

  1. A TestFlight link for them to familiarise themselves with it prior to launch.
  2. Promo codes (or promise promo codes) if your app contains any in-app purchases. Always give media promo codes
  3. A short description of your app, KISS (Keep it simple stupid)
  4. Give them an angle, some kind of story to tell. Their job is to tell a story, and if you can give them the why or the what, you’ll make their job a lot easier. In the case of MiniWiki, the ‘why’ was the iOS challenge, and the what was the Apple Watch experience.
  5. Provide them a date you’d like the story to be posted, this should be on your launch day.

Reddit

On launch day, MiniWiki was in the #1 spot on r/AppleWatch and #2 on /r/Apple

Post on r/Apple
Post on r/Apple
Top post on r/AppleWatch
Top post on r/AppleWatch

I’ve learnt some interesting things about launching on Reddit, and that’s that every subreddit is unique. r/AppleWatch responds best to pictures, with all image I’ve ever posted usually doing better than any text-post I could make.

Find a subreddit that fits your app, for me it was r/AppleWatch and /r/Apple, for you it could be anything. If there is no community that’s a perfect fit for you, you can always try r/iOSProgramming or something similar. Be sure to read the rules of every subreddit before posting.

Timing

MiniWiki was launched while I was asleep, it was posted on Reddit and Twitter while I was asleep, and 9to5Mac released their article on it while I was asleep.

I picked 06:30 PT (09:30 ET) time as I figured it was early enough in the morning (on a Saturday no less) that people would be on Twitter or Reddit, without being too late that they may be at work. It just so happened that in Adelaide, Australia, this was 12:00 AM.

To pick a time, picture your target demographic and imagine what their day looks like. Are they business men or women that don’t get home until late in the afternoon? Are they fitness freaks up at 4 AM? Once you figure this out you’ll be able to put yourself in their shoes and think to yourself “When would I go on Twitter/Reddit/ProductHunt/etc”.

To schedule tweets I used TweetDeck, though I’ve also used Twuffer in the past with no complaints!

To schedule Reddit posts I used RedditLater, which has some strict rate-limiting which I did run into. None of the other solutions I found (Delay for Reddit, Cronnit) work

ProductHunt

ProductHunt was quite a weird one, I researched the optimal time to post on ProductHunt and scheduled my post for that exact time. However, shortly after launch I noticed by post was now re-scheduled, even though I didn’t do anything. Shortly after I got this message from Amrith at ProductHunt

Now I’ll admit, this is not typical behaviour and I’m very fortunate to have been noticed and chosen by Amrith/ProductHunt. I can’t offer ways for you to be this lucky, but I can say research what the best time to launch on ProductHunt is (it changes often) and hopefully you’ll be featured!

Day One

With MiniWiki at #1 and #2 on r/AppleWatch and r/Apple respectively, being on the front-page of 9to5Mac, and being liked and shared like crazy on Twitter, MiniWiki soared to the Top 50 ‘Reference’ charts – amassing nearly 4,000 users on its first day.

The second day was almost no different, amassing a further 3,500 users

The third day saw the biggest drop since the launch two days prior, amassing ‘only’  2,480 users.

The fourth day, however, was the big 10,000.

Without all of the above efforts (Twitter, Reddit, Journalists, ProductHunt), I don’t think MiniWiki would’ve seen nearly the same levels of success as it has.

The End

Hopefully, you learned something from this post, If you have any questions please message me on Twitter (@WillRBishop) or email me ([email protected]).

4 Comments

Stephen Grealy April 1, 2019

Well, that was just awesome to read your story Will.
Congratulations.
I’ve already launched my app (‘Speedo Minder Pro Speed Alerts’ – last November) but I’m yet to do any real marketing.

I’ll try to follow your lead and steps.

I have dozens of questions but I’ll ask just one: how/where did you learn to code?
I’m asking because I’m self-taught/learning from youtube tutorials – which is almost certainly the hard way!

cheers
Steve
Christies Beach, SA

Will Bishop April 1, 2019

Hey Steve! Please do ask your dozens of questions, it could make for a great post 🙂

As far as how I learnt, I’m learning much the same as you! Mostly YouTube tutorials and StackOverflow. The one piece of advice I give to anyone though is to work on your computational thinking. That means to break down problems into smaller, more easy steps. For instance an app to show you the weather would break things down into the steps of:
1. How do I put some text on the screen?
2. How do I update that text to say whatever I want?
3. How do I make a network request?
4. How do I connect that to my label, and so on.

So I’m entirely self taught, never learnt it in school and I’ve never paid for a lesson either. There certainly are some great paid lessons out there, but I don’t see them as totally necessary. Other websites like RayWenderlich or Swift by Sundell are fantastic also.

Hope that answers your question, look forward to hearing some more!

Ps. As far as how I got into programming, I’ve got some other posts on this blog about that too!

Stephen Grealy April 1, 2019

Hey Will,
Thanks for the reply. And great to make contact.
I’ll download your Wiki app tomorrow when I’m on wifi.

I’m a firefighter on nightshift right now, so just a quick response here.
I’m turning 61 this year; I got into IT and coding after doing a TAFE course back in ’03.
Since then it’s all be self-taught.
I like your advice about computational thinking and breaking the problem down.
I have subscribed to Ray W and also about 20 other youtubers including CodewithChris and a crazy rooster called David Tran.
I must have about 60 xcode projects now, all in various states of progress.
What I do know is that as soon as I stop practicing, even for a few days, I loose most of my knowledge! Hate that! It’s like having to do homework now to keep up with it.

Anyway, it’d be great to chat sometime?

cheers again
Steve

Harry April 1, 2019

Congrats! This is useful stuff.

Comments closed