One of the hardest parts of getting your new business off the ground is attracting those crucial first customers. You might have the best business idea since sliced bread, but that doesn’t mean that the people will come. Once you do manage to get the first customers, the rest is a whole lot easier.
Getting there isn’t easy – it takes a combination of marketing finesse, business savvy, and the willingness to take a hit in order to attract people who are willing to pay for what you’re offering. Here are the top four ways to land your startup’s first customers.
Utilize Your Network
If you’re starting a business from scratch, you might be feeling alone. Chances are if you’ve gotten this far, you’ll have a network of people who can help put the word out to those first potential customers. Start with your business networks of course, such as former colleagues, mentors, and collaborators – but don’t stop there. Let your family and friends know about your business, as they’ll almost definitely know people who are interested in what you have to offer.
This might be one of the oldest rules of business out there, but it’s one of the most effective. Getting people to come to you when you’re unknown is difficult, so you’ll need to make sacrifices in order to get your brand out there. Perhaps you could do what new restaurants do and start by giving away free samples or heavily-discounted products to get people interested. Rather than straight up giving stuff away, you will want to consider incentivizing membership of your company with an offer, for example a free cash signup bonus like many online casinos do in their attempt to win customers over. This lets your target audience know they can get something for nothing and sample your products for free. Then they can decide whether your service is good enough to stick around for.
Be the Expert
No matter how unique you might think your business is, chances are most of what you’re doing has been done before. You need to have a niche that competitors aren’t offering, which means you’ll need to become an expert in what you’re selling. Find a corner of your market which has less competition and dedicate your resources to dominating that corner. Once the word is out that you’re on authority on the matter, the customers will come.
Know Your Market
It’s one thing knowing what kind of customer you want to attract and another thing entirely to know your market inside and out. You’ll need to build a detailed profile of what your ideal customer looks like, so you can target them effectively. This will take a lot of research, so consider investing in a customer development tool that will help you collate all the data you need to find the people who actually want to buy what you’re selling. Once you know what your customer looks like, you won’t have to work hard to attract them, and with audience targetting tools quite cheap to use on social media, you’ll be able to get the word out easily.
Starting a business is a brutal and emotional process, but one that can pay off if you get started on the right track. Follow these steps to make sure you’re making money from the very first day.