Hackernoon logo15 Actionable Ways to Get the First 100 Customers for Your Startup by@sarathcp92

15 Actionable Ways to Get the First 100 Customers for Your Startup

Digital Strategist and Consultant, Growth Hacking Specialist worked for both startups & big brands. Acquiring your first hundred customers is a task that could take as long as a few years to a few months. There are certain tactics that one should use to get those first 100 customers. Here are 15 actionable tactics which you can apply to get your first customers. Use Twitter for market research and Quora for customer development tools to learn about your audience better. Attend industry events or trade shows to benefit from a trade show or meet people with one on B2B.
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@sarathcp92Sarath C P

Digital Strategist and Consultant, Growth Hacking Specialist worked for both startups & big brands.

What is one thing most difficult for entrepreneurs? It is not setting up the business, nor finding the perfect space. It is actually finding customers. Customers are the backbone of any business. Acquiring your first hundred customers is actually a task that could take as long as a few years to a few months. This is the time when a businessman does not even know who will buy their services. With such uncertainty, one just analyses what sticks. There are certain tactics that one should use to get those first 100. If you are wondering what are those tips that you can use. Keep on reading. Here are 15 actionable tactics which you can apply to get your first 100 customers.

1. Network

An intelligent way to do some client development is to reach your existing network and ask them precise questions about your product and market. In case you are producing a product for a specific niche, then chances are you know people in that niche already. Social media platforms play a significant role when it comes to networking.

Running through your existing LinkedIn contacts will help too. Discover people who are in your industry, and send them an email. You might have an exciting email list already; share an email elucidating about your service. Even if the exact person might not be a good fit for your services, there are chances that the person might know someone who is and can share your details with them.

2. Blog it away 

There are various reasons why you should start a blog. A blog is something that you should have started way before, even before starting looking for ways to grow the startups. But if you haven't, you are never too late to start. People are annoyed with ads and you should avoid them in your blog. It is the best way to tell your product's story. It does take hard work and you won't get results immediately. With time you will be able to grab traffic and eventually conversions.

3. Find your tribe on the internet

It would be best if you know where your customers are. There are many community pages in almost every niche; you can join these pages according to your needs. Share your thoughts, and there must be a place where people are talking about your industry, niche, or problem. Pitch in and provide them solutions to their problem with their services. The Internet is the most happening place to generate leads.

4. Use Twitter for market research

You can use Twitter for finding your potential customers. You can monitor the digital conversations of your customers and learn about their thoughts on a product or service. There are a large number of online forums that can do wonders for this as well.

If you search "Salesforce is difficult to understand" in Google, you will find many forums and blog posts related to one topic. These are the areas wherein users address why it's hard to use. You will acquire a more immeasurable sense of your product's problems and the features you should offer to your customers. You can also initiate changes in your products based on your customers' knowledge and needs. This is one way to better understand your market's words to communicate their problems.

5. Use Quora

One of the most highly used customer development tools that are at everyone's disposal is Quora. It is one site where you can skim and post questions virtually on any topic. It is a fantastic way to gather answers as many as you would need from people in your target demographic about the product you are trying to sell.

Quora's demographics include primarily college-educated professionals. You can ask questions about the problems you want to work on in some areas and see what answers you get.

6. Use customer development tools

There are various customer development tools available. Tools like Qualaroo and SurveyMonkey are also being used by many marketers and can help you learn about your audience better. These tools can also assist you in generating more leads and hence gain valued customers. In case you are aware of your ideal customer profile, then all you need to generate more leads is to create a survey that qualifies your prospects.

7. Attend industry events

If your niche is B2B, you don't fundamentally have to pay for a booth to benefit from a trade show or industry conference. You can meet people one on one and be ready with necessary marketing materials like business cards or sales sheets.

Do not pitch people with a hard sell; instead, focus on building connections with people who could be healthy in your new business. Then contact them later on, when you are back in the office, and start building a relationship. Relationship building like this is often fruitful.

8. Utilize paid ads to get you started

Paid ads are abundant and excellent for the early stages. You can use this because you can test things almost immediately. Even if the unit economics aren't there, it's OK at the start, as you are trying to drive revenue and validate assumptions in the business model. You can start with Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn ads initially. 

9. Use piggyback platforms

It is best to use Airbnb's trick and get your first customers from another platform where users already live. They used Craigslist's user base to get started. The best way for this is to follow examples that follow the same strategy and think about where your clients already hang out online. Platforms that already have users can be a great place to find customers of your own.

10. Leverage other people's platforms

To build an audience of your own who have to find other brands with a similar audience to what you are trying to build and bring them to your platform. Trust is a significant factor when convincing people to buy, and in case you leverage someone else's platform to create your own audience, you will surely be able to "borrow" the trust they have built with that audience. It is a great way to boost your customers. 

11. Give away offer stuff for free 

People love great deals and receiving free stuff. As a business owner, you might think twice before giving free stuff. However, you want to get as many people behind you and your product as possible. Free it is! Once the customers use your product and find it good, they will come back to you to buy more. 

12. Guest Posting

At its core, guest posting is another way of leveraging other people's audiences to build your own. It is a tried and true approach that has worked for a large number of businesses. You have to keep a few key points in mind, such as measuring the right metrics and posting on the right site to attract convertible traffic.

13. SEO

Search engine traffic is definitely a good, reliable source of paying customers. It becomes harder to rank high for competitive search terms because there is growing competition. There is tough competition online in search terms related to your niche. So it is important to get your site search engine optimized and focus on long-tail keywords.

14. Interact with your clients 1-on-1

You might have a tight budget when you are first starting to get customers. Pandemic has led to many losses as well. But, you do have one significant advantage over more established companies: "you have more time". And that means you can give your clients more 1-on-1 attention than a big company can. This is the best way to build a relationship with the customer and develop deeper trust by interacting with them. 

15. Affiliate marketing

Last but not least, you can always pay influencers. To get a lot of customers as quickly as possible, affiliate marketing can be a powerful strategy. The risk is low and the reward high. Also, with this strategy, you only pay for actual conversions, not for traffic driven to your website—real users at a limited cost.

Now that you know all the major tips you need to get your first hundred customers. Get started and grab your first hundred now!

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by Sarath C P @sarathcp92. Digital Strategist and Consultant, Growth Hacking Specialist worked for both startups & big brands. Read my stories


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