My Free Marketing Newsletter

These 5 strategies made us $10M+ EACH

📚 Get the NYT bestseller – – Available Everywhere!

Being an entrepreneur is a lot like being a scientist – you start with a hypothesis, run tests, and iterate as you go.

At AppSumo, we’ve tested hundreds of strategies. Most failed. Some did okay. A handful propelled our business to new heights.

Today, I’ll be revealing the 5 strategies that made us over $10M EACH.

Let’s gooo!

1- Use Prefluencers

When we started AppSumo, I paid Tim Ferriss $5,000 a month to sponsor his website. We did that for 2+ years and made millions from it.

Fast forward to today – Tim charges a MINIMUM of $50,000 (!!) per podcast and is highly selective with his sponsors.

Our original ad on Tim’s site

Massive growth opportunities happen when you find things before the market. Find prefluencers BEFORE they get market-rate expensive.

Lesson 1: If everyone’s doing it, you’re late

In marketing, there’s a concept called The Law of Diminishing Returns.

When everyone is using the same marketing strategy, it’s hard to get a great return on your marketing budget.

Instead, seek ways to do things differently.


Lesson 2: Pay attention to what captures your attention

Ignore follower count. Ignore views. Ignore likes.

Who’s putting out stuff you enjoy?

Prefluencers most likely won’t be found on your For You page. They’ll be found when you’re down a deep rabbit hole – and stumble across something that catches your attention.

Once you’ve found someone who puts out stuff you like, TELL THEM!

Feel free to steal this simple template:

“Hey [Name] – absolutely loved [thing you love]. [Reason why you loved it]. Keep crushing! 👊”

Get in the habit of reaching out to people when you don’t need anything from them.

2- AppSumo Originals

After doing a bunch of giveaways, we created software to make it easier for ourselves. Then we turned that software into a product called KingSumo for other companies. in action

So we doubled down and repeated this for other areas of our business.

  • TidyCal (A Calendly alternative)
  • SendFox (a MailChimp alternative)
  • And our new DocuSign alternative (coming soon)

Now, our AppSumo Originals products are the #1 driver of NEW customers (Over 30% of ALL AppSumo customers have come from them).

It doesn’t just have to be software. It can be as simple as a template, checklist, or piece of email copy. The key is that you’re solving your own problems and then sharing the solution.

Lesson 1: Use frameworks to help prioritize what you build

Frameworks help you make better decisions without the mental strain.

At AppSumo, we use 3 filters to decide what to build:

  1. Do we want this solution?
  2. Does it have word of mouth built in?
  3. Is there a high-cost alternative that isn’t super established?

Lesson 2: Build for your CORE customers, not new ones

If you build a solution that attracts the wrong people, it won’t help your business.

Ask yourself, “Who is the target customer I’m trying to attract?”

Then build products that serve those customers the best.

Remember: New entrepreneurs focus on customer acquisition. Experienced entrepreneurs focus on customer retention and referrals.

Lesson 3: Build WITH public, not in public

Over the past 5 years, we’ve built 6 other software tools that no one uses because we didn’t involve our customers in the process.

Just because you build something, doesn’t mean your customers will love it.

Rather than hope your customers will like your solution – build WITH your customers.

A recent example: we created a group of  ~1,000 people to read early versions of Million Dollar Weekend and give feedback.

Help from early readers

3- Giveaways

A while back, I was browsing through a women’s website (don’t ask me why haha) and saw that they were giving away a free trip to Italy.

“Hmm, that’s neat.” I thought to myself. “I wonder how we could do something like that for AppSumo?”

So we ran the math. After assessing what our target customer would want, we decided to give away a lifetime subscription to Dropbox ($100/year x 70 years = ~$7000).

Only a few days later, we received 250,000 email signups! Since then, it’s generated over $15M in revenue (We’re still paying for this person’s Dropbox 😅).

Lesson 1: Look outside your own industry.

When we only look at our direct competitors for inspiration, we end up playing behind.

Instead, seek inspiration in wildly different verticals:

  • Read luxury wine blogs
  • Talk to strangers on the street
  • Sign up for a children’s toys newsletter

To think differently, consume differently.

(Share this on X/Twitter)

Lesson 2: Double down on what’s working

The term “Double down” gets thrown around a lot – so most ignore it.

But the simplest way to get better results is to do more of what’s already working.

After the Dropbox giveaway, we realized how powerful this marketing strategy truly was.

So we did lifetime giveaways every week for the next year. We did Netflix, Evernote, and Spotify. And we’re STILL doing giveaways 15 years later. Sign up for – we’re giving away a CYBERtruck for Sumo Day 🤗

4- Being public

Back in 2000 (when I had luscious locks), I started blogging on about things going on while I was in college.

24 years later? I’m STILL tweeting, blogging, and creating videos online.

Being public has generated me more money than everything else on this list COMBINED.

It’s how I’ve connected with amazing people like Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi, and my business partner Chad Boyda. It’s also how we reached the Trending page on Twitter for Million Dollar Weekend.

Content is a magnet for opportunity. 🧲

Lesson 1: Follow The Law of 100

If you don’t know what your unique angle or story is – follow The Law of 100:

  • Put out 100 videos
  • Write 100 newsletters
  • Create 100 blog posts

Bottom line: Just start putting stuff out there. (You can use to help)

Your unique voice is found through volume and repetition.

5- Email Marketing

For the first 12 months of AppSumo – every time we launched a deal, I had to beg for press. It was terrible.

Then my friend Hiten Shah suggested that we start collecting our customers’ emails.

It sounds simple in hindsight… but that piece of advice changed everything.

Fast forward 15 years later, we generate nearly $50M a YEAR in revenue just from our email list.

Lesson 1: Own your distribution

Relying on social or paid media is like building a castle in the sand. You don’t really control your connection.

Email allows you to own the connection between your customers. You don’t have to worry about begging for publicity or being randomly shadow-banned.

Lesson 2: Create repeatable systems

50% of AppSumo’s email revenue is from email flows.

Email flows are an automated set of emails that get sent to new subscribers.

Instead of writing a new email every time, they automatically receive emails we created beforehand.

Don’t just work hard. Work smart. 🤌

Lesson 3: Don’t just sell, educate & entertain

A good rule of thumb for email marketing:

Even if people don’t buy, will they learn something or enjoy reading?

Nobody likes feeling sold to. Everybody likes learning new things and feeling entertained.

Craft your emails accordingly.

The more shots you take, the ‘luckier’ you get

At AppSumo, we’ve failed hundreds of times before these 5 strategies took off.

Successful entrepreneurs view failure as feedback. They know that true failure is never starting.

(Share this on X/Twitter)

Try lots of things. Throw shit at the wall. Most won’t stick. Some will. The ones that win pay for the losses 10x over.

You only need to be right ONCE to win.

I help you do this and start your million-dollar business in under 48 hours in Million Dollar Weekend. It’s the culmination of all the lessons I’ve learned from building AppSumo and more.

Keep starting!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 responses to “These 5 strategies made us $10M+ EACH”

Marc Green
March 13, 2024 at 2:27 pm

Super helpful tips. Noah, you’re such an out-of-the-box thinker and most importantly, you execute without too much hesitation. That’s why I draw real inspiration from you.

Zachary Greer
March 10, 2024 at 3:04 pm

I enjoyed this read. Mostly the content piece to build an audience organically as well as 100x advice.

Fahad Ali
March 10, 2024 at 3:14 am

This news letter really helped to clarify my goals and do business smartly… Another thing I learned is that reach out as many people as you can which in turn will be beneficial for your business!!!

March 9, 2024 at 11:50 pm

Do people still comment? Loved these strategies. Tried and true ??

Kelvin Lei
March 9, 2024 at 9:49 pm

Love your sharing!
Thank you.

Dieter Bogaert
March 9, 2024 at 5:31 am

I appreciate you Noah,
But all I see is marketing, while these might be useful tips to a lot of people, this isn’t how I would like to run my company.
I’m an introvert myself, I want to run my company like an introvert.
Whereas you would be Liberace, I would be Keanu Reeves.
Usually the louder a company is, the poorer their products are.
You don’t see Hermes or Apple do free giveaways…
I feel the best marketing you can have is a high quality product.
You want to be in a position where customers beg you to sell, compared to your strategy of begging customers to buy.

Now I wish to build a Terraforming company, ideally I would only have one customer, planet Earth, now I I understand that this customer doesn’t pay very well… So I would focus on governments and large entities instead.
Few orders, high revenue.
I have some cool ideas, but I have trouble executing those ideas into reality.

Is there anyway I could convince you to write something about execution, please?
How to go from 0-1, from 1-100, from 100-billions…
What I need is a mentor more than anything.

Thank you.

Free Weekly
Marketing Newsletter

Join 100k+ subscribers to the Free Weekly Marketing Newsletter for insider tips, cutting-edge strategies, and personal tool recommendations.
Arrow right
Arrow down
All tactics. No fluff. Action Takers Only 🚀