This is an email I posted on the newsletter for The CEO Library, as part of a Startup Founder Reading plan. Here’s the entire 16 books list
So you kinda know what to expect from your entrepreneurial adventure. You also have a product, a team and you know how to pitch. You maybe got a small angel investment, as well.
Still, how do you get users? How do you tell people where to find you and why to use your product?
Well, this is what Ca$hvertising is for. Or its complete name, CA$HVERTISING: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone by Drew Eric Whitman. Please, ignore the clickbaity title, which is actually not bad, once you think about it, and read the book anyway.
Reasons to read the book:
- It gives you guiding principles around creating and improving your ads
- It pushes you to see ads as a tool to be used, not as a creativity contest
- Gives you suggestions on influencing the potential users.
Look, I’m not telling you to lie about your product or anything like that. But you can say one thing in different ways, one way being the one that gets you the users.
Story time: when we started MavenHut, the best way to get users to your app, fast and effective, was to use Facebook Ads. Of course, that meant spending money, money we didn’t have. Well, we had about $5/day, but it certainly wasn’t enough to make an impact on our business. Or so I thought. I mean, it cost me around $1-$2/user, it really wasn’t enough.
Then someone recommended “Ca$hvertising” to me. And once I understood what I can do, I got to the point where I would bring 3 users in the app for every 2 cents I spent (yes, 2 users/$0.03). Yes, they were users from “cheaper” countries when it came to ads, like Argentina, Mexico or Colombia, but they were real users, that could give us feedback on our apps. This is how we got the first 15,000 users in Solitaire Arena. Then Facebook’s “virality” brought more. Eventually, we got users from the more “expensive” countries, as well, by reusing the ads that worked in the ones we targeted initially. By the time we sold Solitaire Arena we had more than 30 million installs across platforms. And it all began with Ca$hvertising and $5/day.
Of course, not everybody wants to buy ads. But the same principles that make good ads also make good copywriting and good content. So read the book anyway :)
If you want to see some of the processes we used to bring the first users (when we only bought ads for US users), here’s an article I wrote on my blog several years ago: MavenHut’s First Step, A Click and A Form: A Case Study on Starting Your Startup with Less than $200
P.S.: Ah, you’re right, I almost forgot the book recommendation in case you already got through Ca$hvertising. Or if you read fast. How about Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins. While it’s a bit too early to apply most of the principles in the book, I think it’s a good read to give you a blueprint for how you should run your company and how the company should be built.
P.P.S: One more thing: if you read any of the books, let me know through the contact page on the site or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or reply to this email. I want to hear from you, to better understand what you want to read and if the books are interesting for you.