After launching in April 2020, Clubhouse has already been downloaded 10 million times and has around two million active users per week. Overall, that might seem like a small amount – especially when you consider that Facebook has 2.7 billion active users on its platform, Instagram 1 billion, Twitter 330 million, and Snapchat 301 million.
But the hype that Clubhouse has generated over its relatively short lifespan is strangely out of proportion to the number of users it has gained. I have heard and seen references to the Clubhouse every day for the past few weeks, which would generally be expected for an app that just hit 100 million downloads… not 10 million! Which give?
While Clubhouse is a social network where all members can do is talk (and listen), a remarkable amount of conversation (and attention) actually takes place beyond the app itself.
While this may be due to the fact that he has several high profile members – I’m talking about Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Kanye West and Drake, for example – his influence is driven by the fact that he is so difficult to enter.
FOMO is real!
[Read: Oh no… ‘Senior Clubhouse Executive’ is now a thing]
Clubhouse may have opened about a year ago, but there has always been a beefy bouncer on the outside. A digital queue that never ends. And if your name is not registered – you do not enter. Even now, if you download the app, your best bet is to be put on the waitlist… unless you’re directly invited.
Clubhouse has everyone who wants to get inside without spending a fortune on marketing. This kind of hype usually costs millions of marketing dollars to achieve. 🤑
How did Clubhouse achieve this goal?
By modernizing the book’s oldest marketing channel – word of mouth – or referral marketing as we call it these days.
Word of mouth works, just ask Google
We can go back to 2004 for a great example of word of mouth marketing in action. Gmail is obviously now a unicorn with 1.8 billion users worldwide, but 17 years ago Google’s name was by no means what would have been associated with email.
When it first launched, Google only allowed a few people to access the service, giving each of those “beta” users the ability to invite a few more friends and family. The referral program was so successful that invitations to Gmail were at auction on eBay at the time.
FOMO is a powerful human emotion, and it can be designed
Exclusivity may not seem like the best way to start a business. Common sense probably dictates that you want to attract as many customers as possible. But that’s not necessarily true – it’s not good to tempt millions of people on your platform at the same time if they don’t stick around.
The Clubhouse’s dependence on referrals also means that it is able to attract referrals. law kind of members in the law kinds of circles – a key ingredient in creating FOMO.
It’s really simple: if a product or service is worth talking about, people want to tell their friends about it. By increasing its membership through a sponsorship-based model, Clubhouse taps into existing networks of friends, families and colleagues. People who already trust each other and know each other’s tastes, likes and dislikes.
This means that when your friend recommends a product, you even want it. before you clicked on this link.
Referrals Can Save You Millions
If a business has a good product or service, customers will want to recommend their friends. Just give them a reason to refer and make it easier for them. If you are successful, you could save millions on marketing. 🚀
For me, Clubhouse’s incredible success showcases the true power of referral marketing and also its simplicity. In contrast, countless companies have spent millions on ads trying to create that kind of trust (and noise), when all they have to do is ask their customers to refer their friends …
It’s now easier than ever to follow the likes of Clubhouse and Google – so go for it! Easy to use marketing tools have made starting a referral program easy and affordable, so there’s really no reason not to try it!
Published March 29, 2021 – 12:32 UTC