What’s the one thing that every business wants? Is it money, fame, or endless resources? The answer is quite simple—customers. Having customers is the sure-shot way of ensuring that your business stays afloat in the long run. No matter how good your product or services are, without people buying what you sell, you won’t reach anywhere. However, establishing a customer base is one of the most challenging things a business has to do, especially if you are just starting.
If you also run a startup and want some ideas to build your customer base, you have come to the right place. Here we give some tried and tested ways to get your first 100 customers.
1. Use your existing network and build on it
Using an existing network of friends and family is something every business does without even consciously strategizing it. You tell your friends and family about your business and hope someone will make a purchase. That’s how it starts.
However, with a bit of planning, you can significantly enhance 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 among 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 far easier to convince those already happy with your current business and will have a certain amount of trust in you.
- You can also target the existing audience of a product similar to yours by conducting market research.
- Reach out to your investors to spread the word about your business in their circles. They will happily do it as they have high stakes 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, which still holds merit. However, in the digital world, it translates into blogs. With the internet and your blogs, you have the power to reach the entire world. Now a question comes to mind—Why blogs and not anything else? Here’s why:
- Blogs enable you to connect with like-minded people and build lasting relationships.
- Blogs tell your readers what your business offers and how it can resolve their problems.
- With your blogs, you can show others you are an expert in your business, and they can rely on you for answers.
- Blogs are also a great way to bring 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 blogs.
You can share your product stories and gain loyal customers and influencers for your business through your blogs.
3. Increase your reach with cold calls and emails
If you can get your first 100 customers with your existing network, it’s incredible. However, eventually, you will 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 may be interested in your services but don’t know you yet. Cold emails are most effective when you have a mutual connection with the sender that you can use as a reference. A prime example of that is an email sent by the co-founder and CEO of Zapier Wade Foster sent to Andrew Warner.
No matter how good your email is, there are always chances that the person may delete it without reading it. In contrast, calls are harder to ignore. Try cold calls and talk to your potential buyers and understand why they want to or do not want to make a purchase.
4. Give away freebies
One thing consumers find hard to resist is freebies. Whether it is your product sample or a trial demo of your softwares, you can easily convince potential consumers to purchase if they liked your product during free trials.
However, you need to ensure that the user experience when the potential customers use your service is exceptional; otherwise, you will lose a customer forever. It is the stage where you can win their trust or lose it entirely as first impressions matter.
“What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone. Know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” – Dave Thomas
5. Use the power of paid advertising
Advertisements have been one of the most effective tools in the marketing arsenal for a long time. And with digital platforms like social media and search engines, paid advertising reach has increased exponentially.
The micro-targeting options and cost-effectiveness make online advertising one of the most efficient tools for startups to increase their customer base. You can opt for search ads on Google, Bing, and other search engines. You can also choose display ads and video ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
6. Leverage online forums and communities
There are multiple online forums and communities like Quora, Reddit, and Inbound, where like-minded people share views, ideas, and opinions on everything.
The power of online forums is that most people trust products or services that gain positive feedback from users. It helps you 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 the proof through other’s opinions.
In the current age, the power of social media is unbeatable. Nearly 4.8 billion people use social media in 2021, which means your potential customer reach on social media can be massive.
There are multiple ways through which you can leverage social media for your business to gain customers. 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 influencers to promote your business.
- Social media buzz: Creating a buzz factor with your posts, tweets, and videos on social media platforms can quickly help you gain your first 100 customers. Follow the trends on social media and use them to build your rapport with potential customers. You can talk about your special offers, competitions, etc., to create the buzz.
8. Have 1-o-1 with your clients
One thing that is good about the initial stages of your business is that you have fewer responsibilities and more time on your hands. Use that time to connect with your existing clients and understand their problems. Ask for 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 value in the market.
These are just a few ways to find your first 100 customers. There are always more things you can try during the initial stages to increase your reach and revenue. It is all about researching the market and understanding what works best with your target audience.