One of the hardest parts of building a mobile-first startup is gettings users on the application itself. You’re not just launching an application. You’re starting a businesses, creating an experience for your users, and possibly pursuing a passion.

Once you launch your app, how do you gain traction, make the app go viral, and get users to love your application? This is something that you should be thinking about way before your app is nearly ready to be launched. Here are 5 guidelines to help:

Aid referrals and give your users an incentive to get other users to sign up.

Applications that make it easy for users to tell their friends about the app, will generally gain more traction. Applications like Uber, AirBnb, PayPal and Dropbox have run extensive and successful referral programs that have helped their business grow.

According to Referral SaaSquatch, Uber has scaled their brand in over 45 countries & 180 cities, with help from their referral program. Uber is now valued at over $18 billion. By simply sending a friend their code, they both will receive a discounted ride. The one referral can turn into 3+ more users introduced to Uber. Referral programs are one of the strongest way to acquire more users without doing much work yourself.

Have a stellar interface design.

Your design is part of how your application interacts with the user, which makes it remarkably important. With an outstanding design, you can boost user engagement and keep your users coming back to use your app.

You must be extremely careful and cautious when creating the design for your app in order to create an addictive design. This also means that you must hire a talented and strong UX Design team. It is critical that proper research, information architecture, wireframing, and user testing goes into your app prior to the visual component.

Offer valuable and shareable content to your users.

If you offer shareable and valuable content for users to share on their own networks, chances are that the word will spread on your application. Having trouble getting your users to share your content? Offer a reward or promotional code in exchange for sharing a piece of content.

Word of mouth is a powerful way to cause a viral effect; you will essentially be getting your users to market your app for you. You must always be thinking of your current users as a way of achieving more, and not just the finishing line.

Have a strong marketing presence.

Many entrepreneurs believe that they can launch an app and get a load of users on it without any marketing efforts. This is usually untrue.

From Codal’s experience, we recommend that the business owners spend at least double of what they spent on their application development for marketing costs. This could vary, depending on the industry. However, a startup usually cannot get by with zero marketing spend. Whether it is social media marketing, physical advertising or content marketing, it is a necessary component to acquiring users and allowing the public to get to know your brand. Keep in mind that marketing is what will get your app in the hands of your users; it is absolutely crucial.

Always pull users back on your app with notifications and promotions.

Once you achieve your first goal of getting downloads and getting users on your app, you must continue to motivate them to return to your app. Send meaningful push notifications to users, don’t sit and wait for them to return to your app.

The content in notifications can range from a tip of how to use the application or a promotion that is currently going on. Notifications should be a staple feature of the application, but you must give the user control over what alerts that they receive. Giving away promotions and rewards is a way to make your user feel special, and inspire them to continue to use your application.