Every start-up business should have a plan for revenue because, at the end of the day, it’s not a crime to make a profit from what you sell. But for you to get revenue from your business, you need people who are willing to pay for your products and services.
Getting the first customers is not an easy task for most start-ups as they are on a small budget, which is not enough to hire marketers to help create awareness. And even when they decide to do the marketing on their own, it’s often challenging since they have other essential aspects of the business to focus.
It is also crucial to note; however, that most start-ups do not have perfect products, although there is always room for improvement. But even at that, you’ll still need to market these less than ideal products to people who probably buy from more prominent companies.
How do you pass through all the hurdles and ensure you make the first ten customers to sustain your business? Here are some tips that can guide you:
Acquiring the first customers for your business
As a start-up, remember you are working on a tight budget, so forget about any big marketing campaign or launch parties and focus on the little marketing efforts you can make that will bring positive results. Take a look at some of the marketing strategies that could get your first paying customers:
Do it yourself
Many founders of companies have often stated how they made their first sales themselves. Some would even brag that their current marketers cannot close deals the way they did at the beginning of the business.
You can also do the same, especially if you have a tight budget and cannot afford to hire extra hands. If you are lucky enough to get a co-founder who is useful at sales, then you can learn some sales tips from them and work together to reach your prospects to make your first sales.
Avoid shiny gadgets
You don’t need anything fancy for your customers yet. You are still trying to get the first ten or twenty, so managing them will be pretty straightforward. Avoid trying to make your workplace look all classy and subsequently complicated by getting customer relationship management software or a marketing automation platform.
These things are essential for a business to run smoothly but not what you need now. They will only distract you and put unnecessary pressure since they might cause a fortune which would affect your budget. What you should focus on is how to get your first customer and to get them before trying to manage them.
Remember the product’s solution
You have successfully invented a product, or perhaps it’s a dropshipping business. What makes your product different from other existing ones? Is there a problem your product will solve? Who are the people in need of this solution?
Having a clear picture of the purpose of the product’s existence will help you know how to target your prospects. You are also more confident to sell the products to people that you feel will the product will help tremendously.
Request for referrals
Word of mouth has been the most potent means of marketing since time past and even in this present time. Get your product out in the market by asking your family members, friends, colleagues, and others around your neighborhood whom you have a good relationship with to help spread the word about your product. You can also ask them to buy so that they can talk about the product better. But, it’s wise to stick with asking them for referrals.
Attend trade fairs and expos
Places you are more likely to get your first customers and make some vital connections are where people gather to exhibit items for sale such as trade fairs and expo centers.
Search for and attend those related to your industry to showcase your product and get contacts of people interested in buying from you in the future. You can also decide to attend the conferences of potential competitors to get marketing ideas and even convince people to use your products.
Use paid Ads
You might not have the budget for robust marketing campaign such as using A-class models or celebrities to launch your product, but you can make use of economic ads on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and so on.
Your small budget can pay for these ads and reach thousands of people who will become your customers if you have the right marketing strategies.
When using the social media platform to reach your target audience, learn about the laws of social media marketing and also try to find out how to place Ads on the various platform as well as their targeting options.
Knowing all these will help you get a better return on investment rather than wasting the resources you have blank shooting.
Try cold calling
Cold calling your prospects is another way you can land your first customers. You can use LinkedIn to get contacts or engage in networking. However, you don’t have to close a prospect on your first call.
Concentrate on introducing your brand and product or what you have to offer before anything else. You can invite them to an event you are hosting or say something that could make the barriers go down. Then on subsequent communication, you can try closing sales.
Try online forums
You can always reach prospects on online forums where there is a large user base. Ensure it is somewhere your target audience can hang out, then look for a way to get their contacts. For example, you can offer a free service and share a link where they have to register with their email addresses to get it.
But first, you’ll need to find out forums where you think your target audience might be, establish yourself as someone knowledgeable in things related to your industry. You can do this by answering questions and offering insights on topics related to your industry.
Do whatever it takes
This point includes underselling, to get your prospective customer to have a feel of your product and the solution it helps them resolve.