How to find your first customers
Finally, the moment to officially launch your startup has come. Everything is ready and only one thing is missing to start the engines and run for success: your first customers and/or clients.
What do you do, exactly?
Let’s put it clearly: if you have created a product or service, it is because you want to sell it. And in order to sell it, you need to find your customers. So, what to do? Obviously, there is no single answer to this. However, there are several factors that you should take into consideration, such as the kind of product that you are going to sell and, accordingly, the kind of customers or clients that you are looking for. In this, there is indeed a huge difference between being a B2B or a B2C company.
Once again, remember that a good preliminary market research is what can make all the difference, and since you already got to this stage, we can safely assume that you have done your homework. Nevertheless, if you still feel a little lost, or if you just like to have a clear overview to guide you, rest assured. We are here to help you!
Below, we are going to illustrate some basic methods that can help you find your first customers and improve your business image.
Start with what you have: use your network
According to the so-called “six degrees of separation” theory, we are all linked by a chain of acquaintances in which there are just five (if not less) intermediaries between you and any other person.
Given this fascinating premise, your best first step to promote your product is to start with the people you already know. Consequently, the power of that good old word of mouth can really surprise you, regardless of how unrealistic that might sound in today’s digital age. Also, remember that potential angels or investors will certainly be willing to help promote the startup they have helped finance; after all, it is in their best interests too!
In this, aim for your network to be like the universe – in continuous expansion. Look for conferences, workshops, and trade shows that relate to the market or industry that you’re operating in, and see if you or one of your partners can attend these. Also, remember that other business owners – if their interests don’t conflict with yours – might be willing to help you too. So, put your best foot forward and invest in establishing and maintaining good connections.
Break the internet
These days, it is impossible to do effective marketing without the infinite possibilities offered by the internet . And no, I am not speaking about aggressive pop-up advertisements that can be really annoying here (seriously, nobody likes those).
Rather, consider hiring an influencer who can function as an ambassador for your company. Although influencers can be expensive (so choose carefully), they are professionals at establishing a relationship of trust with their followers. For you this means that influencers will be able to introduce your product in a more personal and approachable way and that the potential customers targeted by the influencer will be more recipient to the message.
**Social Media and Online Platforms
Another golden rule is to have an active presence on the web. Take care of your LinkedIn account and open a Company Page for your startup so you can post interesting things (preferably related to your market), make comments, and, above all, establish and harness your connections.
Finally, track down online communities of people that could potentially be interested in your startup. Check out what’s happening on websites like Quora or Reddit (or find ones more relevant to your business) and do not be too shy - if the opportunity arise – about promoting your startup. However, always remember that balance is key in this, so don’t try to force it when it’s unfitting for the conversation or topic and refrain from acting like a spammer.
Keep in mind that the way in which you communicate something can be more important than the message itself. In this regard, a bossy style of communication, for example, is usually counterproductive. Rather than being bossy to look professional, aim at being professional without compromising on being approachable to the average Joe . Try to profile your business as authentic and human and remember, your startup must align itself with positive values that exude from your communication, for only by doing this consistently your potential customers will be willing to establish real communication with you and your company.