December 17th, 2018 | Updated on October 4th, 2019
Startups often underestimate the task at hand while attracting their first 100 customers. The general belief is once the hard work of setting up the business is done and your products are ready to be sold, customers will automatically come calling.
Many have the notion that once the startup is up and running, all will fall into place but that is not the case in the modern competitive world. Today, startups need to focus and lay out a blueprint for attracting customers as well. The digital space has given startups new ways of connecting with future customers. Read this guide to learn how to secure your first 100 customers.
1. Reach out to your network
Networking is a great way of targeting customers. Use platforms like LinkedIn to connect with those in your contact list and make them aware of your new venture. People on professional networking sites are generally helpful and those close to you may put in a word or two about the product to their network. You can also spread the word about your venture through networking groups on platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook.
2. Start by offering freebies
An old trick that’s often used is offering freebies. If you are a software company, offer a free trial of the software during its beta stage. If your product is good, users will surely purchase the product after the trial period. Some of them might even leave reviews on an app store or recommend it to people they know. If you are into FMCG or lifestyle products, offering free samples can help attract new customers.
3. Launch an attractive scheme to spread the word
Point 1 talks about networking and while it is important to do so, you need to realise that it does not only work one way. Networking is a give and take relationship. So, appreciate those who help you network happy by offering them a reward. For example, you can offer them a discount on your service or product based on how many future customers they refer. If you can’t offer such a scheme, you can promise to help network the products they sell among your circle in return.
4. Make the most of your social network
Constantly asking your family and friends to promote and review your products can be annoying, but it is a tried and tested method to get the ball rolling when it comes to publicity for your brand and product. If the people you are close not meeting your buyer persona, you can ask them to spread the word about your products and services or recommend them to people they know.
5. Use social media
Twitter and Facebook are two ways to target prospective customers. A customer is always looking for answers and advice to their purchase questions online. Search these platforms with relevant keywords to connect with customers looking for solutions. Apart from Facebook and Twitter searches, you can also use platforms like Quora to search for and connect with prospective buyers.
6. Work with influencers
Influencers are a key set of people whose decisions and choices affect the buying patterns of their followers. These influencers can be bloggers, celebrities, industry experts and other persons of repute. Getting an influencer to talk about your product goes a long way in attracting future clients and customers.
7. Educate your customers about your products
Whether you create a software or manufacture products, your customers are only likely to buy from you if they find what you sell useful. Customers want to know how using your product is beneficial to them. This is where blogs and educative videos come into the picture. Focus on creating content that educates and informs customers about the benefits of investing in your products. You would also want to add in tutorials such as ‘how to’ videos or blogs.
8. Invest in Ads on the Internet
The internet is an ocean of information, but one of the ways to get noticed among so many players is with a little bit of self-promotion via advertisements. Place ads on Google, Facebook or Twitter that target customers who fit your bio persona. While creating ads, make sure you use the right and relevant keywords. You would also want to see how the ad is performing and then make changes to best enhance its performance.
9. Give back to society
While starting a business, create a good impression and make an instant connection with local communities. The best way to do this is to start a school fundraising event or something like a marathon or a cultural event. You could also aid in programs and schemes that work for the benefit of the less fortunate. Helping local communities goes a long way in attracting customers. People will get to know your brand and come to trust you as a business.
10. Make use of your resources
By this, we mean using a call to action buttons on your social sites as well as websites. Sometimes customers might come to your site looking for a solution or a specific product, with a call to action button, they can easily contact you to find out more details about the product they want or get in touch with you for a solution for a buying question they face.
While the above-mentioned points go a long way in helping you achieve your target of the first hundred customers, it still might not be a stroll. You will have to work hard and experiment with what works best for you. Fix a budget and plan beforehand so that you don’t end up overspending along the way.
Sameer Mehta is a business leader with over 14 years of Marketing and Strategy experience. He enjoys writing, especially exploring the subjects of entrepreneurship and business, has done so for a range of publications. He is also the founder of Jewellerista, a website that showcases the latest jewellery trends and other articles related to fashion.