Social Networks and indie movies teach us a valuable lesson: popularity begets popularity. Facebook and hit movies works better to more people talk about it. But what if you don’t have the budget to launch everywhere at once, or the product is the first of its category and will need time to permeate your niche?
Set limits as to who can use it.
Facebook launched first only within Harvard University where half the student population used it within a month. This simulated the “everyone uses it” attraction within that smaller market. Once it had it dominated, they expanded to Stanford, Columbia and Yale. Word spread and they went from there.
Two of the greatest sleeper hits of the decade “Slumdog Millionaire” and “King’s Speech” both had limited release, meaning that they only launched on a couple of hundred cinemas (as opposed to the typical thousands) in a specified geographic area. Once the word had spread about these movies, national release followed, then eventually the films were unleashed upon the world.
Even Google+ had a small launch, with access to the website only allowed at first through private invitations.
Having a loosely scattered customer base makes it hard to hit the Tipping Point. Start small, then dominate.