What is something that every business wants? Is it money, fame or endless resources? The answer is quite simple – the customer. Having customers is the surest way to ensure that your business lasts for a long time. No matter how good your products or services are, without people buying what you sell, you won’t get anywhere. However, establishing a customer base is one of the most challenging things for a business, especially if you are just starting out.
If you too run a startup and want some ideas for building your customer base, then you have come to the right place. Here we are giving some tried and tested methods to get your first 100 customers.
1. Use your existing network and build on it
Making use of an existing network of friends and family is something that every business does without intentionally strategizing. You tell your friends and family about your business and hope someone makes a purchase. That’s how it starts.
However, with a little planning, you can significantly increase your reach even with your existing network. Here’s what you can do.
- Ask your friends and family to spread the word of your business to their circle by tagging you on their social media handles.
- If you already run a business, ask your existing customers to try your new startup’s products or services. It will be much easier to convince people already happy with your current business and have a certain amount of trust in you.
- You can also target an existing audience of a product like yours by doing market research.
- Reach out to your investors and spread the word about your business in their circles. They will happily do it because they have a high stake in your business and most investors have an impressive network.
2. Start a Blog
“The pen is mightier than the sword” is an age-old saying that still has merit. However, in the digital world, it translates into blogs. With the Internet and your blog, you have the power to reach out to the whole world. Now a question comes in the mind – why blog and nothing else? Here’s why:
- Blog enables you to connect with like-minded people and build lasting relationships.
- Blogs tell your readers what your business offers and how it can solve their problems.
- With your blog, you can show others that you are an expert in your business, and they can count on you for answers.
- Blogs are also a great way to drive online traffic and authority to your website.
- They also help you set the tone of your business in front of potential customers.
- You also get instant feedback from people on your products or services through a blog.
You can share your product stories and get loyal customers and influencers for your business through your blog.
3. Extend Your Reach With Cold Calls and Emails
If you can get your first 100 customers with your existing network, that’s incredible. However, eventually, you’ll need to reach out to strangers or potential customers, and that’s when cold calls and emails come into the picture.
Cold emails are emails you send to people who are interested in your services but don’t know you yet. Cold emails are most effective when you have a reciprocal relationship with the sender that you can use as a reference. A prime example of this is an email sent by the co-founder and CEO of Zapier Wade Foster to Andrew Warner.
No matter how good your email is, there is always the possibility that the person may delete it without reading it. Conversely, calls are harder to ignore. Try a cold call and talk to your potential buyers and understand why they may or may not want to make the purchase.
4. Give Free Gifts
One thing consumers find it hard to resist is freebies. Whether it’s your product sample or a trial demo of your software, you can easily convince potential consumers to buy if they liked your product during a free trial.
However, you need to ensure that the user experience when potential customers use your service is exceptional; Otherwise, you will lose a customer forever. This is the stage where you can win their trust or lose it completely because the first impression matters.
“What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: Know your product better than anyone. Know your customer, and have a strong desire to succeed.” — Dave Thomas
5. Harness the Power of Paid Advertising
Advertising has long been one of the most effective tools in the marketing arsenal. And with digital platforms like social media and search engines, the reach of paid advertising has grown exponentially.
Micro-targeting options and cost-effectiveness make online advertising one of the most efficient tools for startups to grow their customer base. You can opt for search ads on Google, Bing and other search engines. You can also choose to display ads and video ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
6. Take advantage of online forums and communities
There are many online forums and communities like Quora, Reddit and Inbound where like-minded people share thoughts, ideas and opinions on everything.
The power of online forums is that most people trust products or services that elicit positive feedback from users. It helps you to build trust among your potential customers. People who like your product will happily promote it on these forums through various means. If someone comes looking, they will see evidence from another’s opinion.
7. Don’t Forget About Social Media
In the present era, the power of social media is unbeatable. About 4.8 billion people use social media in 2021, which means your potential customer’s reach on social media could be massive.
There are many ways through which you can take advantage of social media to acquire customers for your business. some of them are:
- Influencer Marketing: Influencers are people on social media who have thousands of followers. They have the power to influence their followers through their content. You can collaborate with such influential people to promote your business.
- Social Media Buzz: Creating buzz with your posts, tweets and videos on social media platforms can help you get your first 100 customers instantly. Follow social media trends and use them to build your relationships with potential customers. You can talk about your special offers, contests etc. to create buzz.
8. Keep 1-O-1 With Your Customers
One good thing about the early stages of your business is that you have fewer responsibilities and more time in your hands. Use that time to connect with your existing customers and understand their problems. Solicit feedback about your product or services and implement those changes.
It helps you develop long lasting relationships with your initial customers and build your brand price in the market.
These are just a few ways to find your first 100 customers. There are always many more things you can try during the initial stages to increase your reach and income. It’s all about researching the market and understanding what works best with your target audience.