How Airbnb, Dropbox and Reddit Got Their First Customers |

Even when you think you have a brilliant idea, it can take some convincing to get others on board.

Just ask some of today’s most successful founders. Airbnb, Dropbox, and Reddit are just a few companies who used some far out-of-the-box strategies to get their very first customers before becoming household names. Learn from their examples. Will they work for you?

Creating a viral moment that targets a specific community

Sure, they aren’t easy to pull off, but viral moments can be crafted with some strategy and dedication. When Dropbox launched in 2007, the cloud-storage company had a hard time bringing in new users. It ran a Google AdSense campaign, but it barely made a difference. So, co-founder Drew Houston, 39, decided to show, not tell. He made a video to demonstrate exactly how its storage worked, and posted it on the news aggregator Digg. Users on Digg quickly up-voted the video, and by the next day, the site had 70,000 new sign-ups, according to Dropbox, which noted that the Digg community of avid internet-users was an ideal target.

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