Getting first customers will be one of the many hurdles an early-stage company faces in its business journey, and it can be a hurdle that can take a while to get over. In this article, I will be discussing how to find your first customer and cover areas that will make the hurdle easier to get over!
Inbound marketing is a strategy for attracting your ideal customers to you, rather than the other way around. It involves creating content that attracts them to your website, which can then lead to sales.
If you're just starting out and don't have any customers yet, inbound marketing can help you find your first customer by getting your name out there and starting to build trust with potential clients. It takes time to establish yourself as an expert in your field—but inbound marketing can help make that journey faster and easier.
There are many marketing channels you can explore from newsletters, emails, a podcast, case studies, social media and many more. Below are some inbound marketing techniques you could try in order to target those early customers.
Write a blog
Write content for your target audience as this will help to acquire customers who are Googling keywords relating to your services. A blog is also informative and once its produced and published the reach is unlimited. Featuring on someone else's blog will also boost your domain rating and increase traffic to your website.
Search engine optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a way of making your website rank higher in search results so that paying customers will see it when they search for certain keywords. This means that if someone wants to buy a product like yours, they'll be more likely to find it on your website than on a competitor's—and if someone wants to hire you as an expert in your field, they'll be more likely to click through to your page than someone else's.
Concentrating your marketing efforts on optimising your landing page can improve the rating of your website, and increase conversion and click-through rate, resulting in sales.
Having a social media presence is important for customer acquisition. A good social media presence creates brand awareness and gives your brand credibility. Ambassador reported that 33% of customer prefer to contact a business through social media rather than telephone and 71% of people who have a positive experience with a business via social media would recommend it to others.
If done right, paid ads can help you find customers on social media or Google. You can target people who are interested in similar products and services, or who have bought from similar companies in the past. You can also target people based on their interests or demographic information.
The first step is to connect with your exisitng network. Let them know what you're up to, and ask if they know anyone who might need what you're offering. Depending on what you are providing, there will always be someone you know or your network knows that would be remotely interested in what you do.
Tapping into online communities that consist of your target audience can get your business recognised amongst industry pundits. To do this you can join Facebook and Reddit groups, interact on social media accounts like LinkedIn and use hashtags relevant to your business.
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Attend industry events
This not only links to the above point, but people who go to these events are also looking to connect. Building relationships will be the key to success not only for achieving the first few customers but for many more customers to come.
Attending niche events can help you find those early adopters who are interested in your industry and field. Furthermore, it allows you to meet other companies and professionals in your industry compounding your reach. Speak to industry experts and consumers can help you conduct market research, identify pain points and zoom in on your target market.
Having a list of potential customers, that would be a great fit for your company. You can have different lists i.e. 3 months, 6 months, 1-year ect for companies you want to turn into customers. These will give you your own goals that you can aim for and not rely on someone inquiring about your product. Market research is important to determine your target customers.
Cold calling is something that many people avoid, but it's also something that can help you gain your first customer. If you're just starting out, cold calling can be an effective way to get in touch with potential clients and make them aware of your product or service—and once they've heard about it, they'll be more likely to try it out.
If you can build a great partnership with other business owners that can provide referrals, this will hold more weight through the sales process as customers will be more likely to buy your product from a trusted referral. In my own experience, this has brought the biggest opportunities as people feel more comfortable buying something when the product or service is recommended by someone they trust.
Give free trials
By offering a free trial of your product/service, you will increase the chance of finding your first customer as someone will be more willing to try your new product/service if it’s free. When they realise how amazing it is and with some slight “nudging” from your end and potentially even a discount price, prospective customers can become paying customers.
There is no sweeter feeling than acquiring new customers and by following all these points you will build traction to finding your first paying customers. Remember, that sales is all about averages. The more in your pipeline, the more likely something will go through, so you have to make sure that you are covering all areas and have your finger in all pies!
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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.