It would seem that after overcoming the hurdle of securing funding for your business all would be set. However, securing customers becomes the next most crucial thing for any business. This is actually one of the biggest reasons why people can hesitate to venture into business. I would understand their concerns because landing customers takes a lot of time & effort. The hypothesis of ‘what if I don’t get customers’ shouldn’t be taken lightly because even with an excellent business plan landing your first customers can be an arduous task. Let’s look at some ways in which you can score your first customers.
Referrals are the single most effective means of landing your first (and even subsequent) customers. This is a mechanism that actually works in any one of the other strategies I’ll mention herein. When you are starting out a business, in principle, you already have customers that you just have to enlist – your sphere of influence. You have family, friends, relatives, workmates etc. It’s usually the case that these people vouch for your initiatives and would help you in any way. Thus, they by default become your first customers & they, in turn, tap into their networks to spread the word. This is definitely your first avenue before even spreading your arms wider. This has a multiplier effect that’ll get you your first customers effortlessly.
Social media is such a powerful tool. Get a professionally-done website up, create social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest and start posting content. Use either organic or paid promotions and you’ll be amazed at how you can land customers after just barely 24 hours of being online. It would be strategic to conduct a paid promotion where for just a few dollars you can reach out to thousands of people in a targeted manner. The beauty of this is how cost effective and effortless it is. People are very active on social media and are always looking for various things they need – leverage on that. Don’t forget that tapping into people with huge social media followings by means of paid influencer marketing can get you customers quickly.
These entail things like special offers, discounts and free give-aways. It’s up to you to do them physically or online; it just depends on how you choose to approach it. Remember you want to promote your brand so it’s about coming up with attractive ways to lure people who eventually become your first customers. Approaches can have varying levels of sophistication; suppose you just started a detergent business, right? With a simple gazebo & a table you can setup anywhere strategic, institute the 3 promotions I just highlighted above and land customers on your first day. You can also employ this approach online – people love promotions. You could also use the freemium approach where you offer certain limited aspects for free. This will draw people in and they become more inclined to pay for the juicier and more advanced aspects of your product or services.
Product Tests Or Trials
The crux of this method is to come up with a research initiative where you conduct surveys or polls – physically or online. You can devise the initiative in such a way that it helps gather data related to your product & also allowing you to acquire contact details of participants. You can have tokens of appreciation for participants in the form of your products. The contact details will help you establish a contact or emailing list so that you keep in touch with them. You could then encourage the participants to sign-up more customers by rewarding them in the event that they do. You end up not only landing your customers but you also get to learn about people’s reactions to using the product before your clientele grows.
The idea of social proofs is to build an image that seeks to validate & authenticate your brand. There are several ways in which you can do this namely, product reviews, endorsements or testimonials. The assumption here is that you have an online presence. Take some time to have your products used & evaluated by people. Then take time to put together positive comments about user experiences and then you put them up on your brand platforms. If you can afford to work with popular personalities that would even be more strategic. The moment people see such social proofs they won’t hesitate to sign-up as customers.
The types of events you can do or attend are quite broad. You can do an official product launch. You could attend networking events such business workshops, exhibitions and social gatherings. The idea is to attend an event where you can showcase your brand. Depending on the type of business you’re in, there are business events solely dedicated to the showcasing of new products or services. So once your brand is ready be on the look-out for events that you can take advantage of to score your first customers.
The customer service world calls upon one to be very out-going, interactive & very social. Getting customers’ needs a multi-pronged approach – if you closely look at the ways I’ve touched on you’ll see that they overlap into each other. In your pursuit to land your first customers it must be your resolve to leave no stone unturned.