App Marketing · Apps

How to make your product successful without investors?

beat loew Founder @atm hero, @swappmemories. Freelancer Project Management.

Last updated on October 31st, 2017

I’m project manager in software development and have built already several apps and websites.
In building products , develop and finish them i’m really good because i love to do so. But after that i’m always lost. As i’m not a marketing person, my ideas always get stuck after i have finished them. I tried already to get some friends on boat, but usually after some weeks they are not interested anymore.

My learning is, i can’t ever be successful if i don’t find someone who has the same passion for new ideas.

My Ideas are Projects with a small budget, no investors. Because of this i can’t spend a lot of money.

My Question is: How can i make my Products successful without a huge budget? Do i have to find a co-founder? Or just a freelancer who does marketing for it? How can i find a person who loves doing ideas without having a budget of investors?

One of my products is for example: It’s a nice app available in app store, but no one cares about because i don’t do any marketing.

Thanks for your help


Anton T Product Manager

November 1st, 2017

You need to get out of your comfort zone. There are 3 options:

1) You stop telling "I'm not a marketing person" and learn how to do it (not a rocket science, especially in case of zero budget)

2) You learn how to inspire and drive people so your friends will continue working with you instead of leaving

3) You start saving money and cut costs of your living so you'll be able to afford some good freelancer (starting at 20$/hour)

Sorry, no magic pill.

Kranthi calm and creative

November 1st, 2017

Hello Beli,

I'm sure you're very good ideator and very good in building products... But before working on any of your Idea, you should've validated your Idea. If your product / app sitting idly in app store or play store that means people not facing such problems. As an Ideator, You should ask yourself these questions before spending your valuable time on building products.

1. What kind of problem I'm solving

2. How many users are facing the issue and love the solution for their problem.

3. If so, How much they'll pay for the solution

4. What's the targeted geo and Can I go for the expansion

5. Now comes the funding, as you don't want to go with the external funding, How do you arrange your marketing budget

6. and Finally, ROI and Scalability.

If you have answers for all the above queries or open to discuss, I'm sure you'll find the right co-founder for your products. There are so many platforms which lets you connect with the right persons.

Also, for organic app downloads / registrations on App store / Play store, you should optimize your app as per the guidelines (ASO). As a digital marketing strategist, I can help you if you want.

Drop me a message and I will be happy to assist you.

Good Luck,


Joel Williams Entrepreneur at EZBadge

October 31st, 2017

You are falling for the oldest trap in hi-tech - a product in search of a market. Rarely works. Seems like you are doing it backwards. Particularly in the web/app world, it is best to be market driven. Do the market research up front to identify a viable (e.g. profitable) product, and fine tune as you develop.

Either get out of your development comfort zone and become a marketer or find a marketing partner who shares your dreams and is equally inspired.

Marketing is not a task you can outsource, particularly on a small budget. (Maybe some sub-tasks within marketing can be outsourced.)

To underscore, marketing really is important. If you look at the budgets of most successful companies, a lot less is spent on R&D than marketing and sales. It is hard for developers to understand, but there really is value in marketing, so you know what product to develop. Sitting in your house hacking out code you like just won't cut it.

While big budgets certainly help, in todays world, you can do an awful lot of good market research for free. As you know ideas are a "dime a dozen", working them into a profitable business takes creativity, persistence , experience, and most of all: hard work. Product development is just one smaller part of it.

Chaitanya Srinevas Marketing and Corporate Relations manager Kuruksastra, SASTRA University, India

November 4th, 2017

If you are an app developer you can always reach out to beta testers at google play. Just forward the link to any of the developers at google. You can easily get their contacts on google.

If they like your app they'll rate it and promote it themselves.

John F Building beer-ish business that is not a microbrew

November 6th, 2017

I think you answered it yourself - you're "not a marketing person" so you need to partner up with a marketing person. This is someone who would get excited about testing out your ideas in wireframe form with potential users WAY upfront before you put a lot of effort into the project. Otherwise you make the mistake of making yourself a "focus group of one" who always thinks you have great ideas! Go test several of your ideas with real, potential end users and you'll start to get a feel where your efforts will be best spent. Good luck!

Kaila Luttrell INTJ Doer

November 6th, 2017

Marketing is very very simple when you break it down, and there is no rule that it has to be expensive. It's really just letting people know you have a solution to their problem at a time and place that it matters to them.

Some questions to help define your marketing efforts:

  • Whose problem are you solving?
  • Where are they encountering this problem?
  • When are they encountering it?
  • What is your solution?
  • How can you make your solution available when and where the problem is being encountered or considered?

The more specific you can be in your answers for different scenarios, the better you can define your marketing efforts.

You will likely have several different answers to each of questions, and the answers will help you think of ideas for getting your solution in front of the problem at the right time and place.

Testing in marketing is important as well. Even if you think something is doing pretty well, you can always collect feedback and test to see if an improved version would do even better.

I find challenging myself to do "10 ideas for..." lists very helpful for these kinds of things. Even if 9 of the answers are crap, 1 is often decent.

In fact, if you want to do your own marketing without spending a ton of money and want ideas, feel free to private message me your target people, place, and time, and I will send you 10 ideas. I enjoy the creative challenge.

All the best to you!

Steve Owens

October 31st, 2017

It takes a lot more than investors to be successful. The key is to bring together a team. I would not worry at all about building the product - worry about finding a team. I know it sounds so simple - but it is really hard to do. However, there are people out there looking for you, so stay positive.

Steven Chu Digital Product Designer

Last updated on November 1st, 2017

Hey Beli, Don't get discouraged! I'd say the key for you where you are with a product that you've been able to bring to market is: pair up with a marketing mastermind. Bypass pairing up with a typical freelance marketer or a traditional corporate marketer... you don't need general services that'll take forever and a day.

Who you need to meet is a marketing-hacker rogue personality who gets their rush from gaming the system and knows how to bump an app to the top of the marketplace.

A traditional marketer may take you down the path of launching "campaigns", but the super good ones don't even call themselves marketers.. they're more similar to those who'd be good at gambling card games.

Note: I think some of the other answers here are too research oriented and textbook sounding, and ignore your core question of how do you get visibility and how do you get traction? Find a sharp, rogue mind who will do something smart and you'll get a pool of users to work with who will last 2-3 weeks. Be ready to get as much feedback as possible, and rapidly iterate to fulfill a market need from there.

All the steps of Surfing are a really great metaphor for launching a successful product: you can't ride a wave if you haven't paddled close enough to ride its momentum. An experienced surfer can read the waves, spot one they can take advantage of - they save their energy for the right one, then in a burst align themselves and see if their momentum aligns with the wave's.

Aka. don't get caught up in too many heady calculations or you'll never take off for the wave. Peoples, culture shifts (pop culture, youth culture, political or ethnographic culture), and news events occur in waves – and those are free.

I mean.. ATMhero sounds like a pretty great solution for the recent college grad who'd be on and similar FB groups. ;)

Sapir Sosnovsky Innovator and Entrepreneur

October 31st, 2017

Hey loew,

The concept you are looking for is called bootstrapping, which pretty much means that your company grows based on money that is coming in. The challenge with bootstrapping is that you have to be resourceful.

Back in my younger days I have built an online store with no money in my pocket, they I did it was sell a few things that I already owned and then ordered some things that I believe I could sell and make a small profit off. From there I kept going to a point of which I was bringing $4000/ month as a 16 year old.

Each business will need to bootstrap in different ways but you have to find solutions to small problems at a time. So for example if you want to build an app or a service don't go out there spending lots of money but instead find easy ways to test your idea (you may loss some sales because of poor quality at first but at least you can prove that a market exists).

Also the best way to find someone who will have the same passion as you is to surround yourself in event that bring like minded people together; an example is they create an place where you can find people who are hungry to learn and grow themselves as a person.

Once you find some people who seem to match your interests take them out for dinner (a drink worked best for me :P) and interview them see what makes them tick and when you are comfortable enough and see they might have the same passion as you. Then try to bring up ideas, what you'll often find is that like minded people with passion for business will usually have a different twist on the same solution.

I have had horrible partners, and then ones that seemed passionate at first but then could not keep up with my work ethic. But now I am getting more confident when spotting hard workers. I think the key is to treat your future partner as an employee and have a very transparent relationship. If you see that they constantly go out of their way to get stuff done and are always excited when they talk about the idea then you found yourself a co-founder


November 5th, 2017

Find something crispy bcz in this world no one wants to get something straight and of course u are a good app developer start giving credit to yourself and then after publishing your go for the publicity, like if u had develop for children then visit school tell them about your app bcz if you will not advertise your app then in this big big world how anyone will come to know about your app so once try and also remember one thing failure is only the key to success

All the best👍