5 Ways to Acquire Your First Customers

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Finding the first set of customers is every startup’s primary challenge, irrespective of how brilliant the idea. A customer is what makes the startup idea viable, and establishes the idea as a business. If you have just hit that golden idea for the perfect product, spent time studying the market and establishing the need for the product, and are now wondering how to reach out to your first customers, here are 6 tips from our experts:

1. Pre-launch sign up –

Even before you are ready to create your product, create a waiting list for your product. You can use a one-page sign-up form, or if you are short of time, even a Google form would do. Send a broadcast message to your friends and family, via social media or emails asking them to sign-up. Those who sign-up for your product most likely are interested in what you have to offer and will end up being your first customers. The best part about sign-ups are that they work great for online products as well as offline products.

2. Incentivization –

Yes, you heard that right. And no, it is not expensive. Incentives such as vouchers, loyalty programs, referral programs and discounts are a good way to bring in your first 100 customers. You could also create a contest that rewards users to generate more downloads. Lost cost referral automation programs like Ambassador and Refiral allow you to acquire your initial customers. If your product is a paid product, then early bird free downloads, discounts and privilege customers work well. Once you have your first customers, focus on a great customer service, since it is through these users that you will achieve Word-Of-Mouth (WOM) publicity. Loyalty programs are also a great way to create repeat customers.

3. Partnerships –

Create partnerships with existing, recognized brands to give your product credibility and the much needed eye-space. Partnering with a brand that has good customer favor will act as an endorsement of your own brand and a better chance of bringing in customers. Do note, however, that partnerships will come with its own share of responsibility, since the bigger brand image is linked to your own and hence customer satisfaction becomes crucial.

4. Use Content –

It is no secret that content currently rules the Internet. Providing quality content to readers not only establishes you as an expert in your domain, but also draws in your first customers, since your content becomes your first line of marketing. As per Demand Metric, 86% of B2C marketeers use content marketing to tap into the 68% of the users who spend their time reading about brands that interest them. The same survey shows 37% companies believe that content is one of the best ways to engage users on a site, which is indicative of the fact that investing on a good blog is a must. Content will not only give you your first users, it will also improve brand loyalty.

5. Email Marketing –

Email marketing remains the most powerful way for large corporates and startups alike, to reach out to customers. One of the best and cheapest way to reach out directly to a customer is through his mailbox. Email flyers now do what newspaper flyers did in the past. While it may require a bit of arm-twisting in order to make sure your email does not end up in the spam folder, or in case of Gmail, into the promotions tab, the cost of customer acquisition via email still remains the least. Email tools like MailChimp and Goodwill allow you to create effective campaigns and carry out an A/B testing for subject lines and email content.

Sara Mitch

Geek, social media enthusiast, mom.

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