You just launched an amazing product, but one thing is still unclear to you.
How do you get your first 100 customers?
In other words, how do validate and prove the product and begin to build traction with users?
100 might look small in terms of number but when it comes to getting 100 people to buy into your idea and try out your product/service for the first time, it can be a very difficult task.
This is especially true if you’re coming into a market with existing or similar products that people are already used to.
Let’s face it: you’ve probably spent a large part of your budget on building your product, and now you are likely to be strapped for cash to spend on marketing.
And the downside is that you can’t acquire your customers without marketing your product.
There is good news.
You can still do it without funding or a robust marketing budget!
But let’s get one thing straight first: there are no magical recipes that would bring you a bunch of customers overnight.
If you’re looking for that, you will be disappointed.
But if you’re looking for an actionable step-by-step guide that will get you results and your first few customers,
Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you acquire your first 100 customers as a start-up founder/co-founder.
1. Start With Identifying your Market & Potential Customers
For every product/service, there is an audience out there who would require your product or services (assuming you did your market research and product idea validation properly)
One differentiating factor between a successful startup and an unsuccessful one is not identifying their ideal market and customers.
Identifying your ideal market and potential customer isn’t that difficult, however, you will be surprised to know how many startups are going after the wrong audience.
No matter how useful or life-changing your product is, it is not for everyone. Your job is to go after those who have the problem your solution has, and are looking to solve it.
And that’s certainly who you should be looking for when you’re acquiring your first 100 customers.
To help you identify your ideal customer, you can download our user personal template.
This template will help you to create a profile of your ideal customer in less than five minutes (depending on how much research you’ve done).
2. Start with Family and friends And their friends.
Start with your existing network – your family and friends.
Talk to the people you know and the people they know.
That might not seem like a huge amount of people, but there should be a few interesting connections among your friends and family.
3. Start A Blog
“Content is King”.
I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase a million times.
There are a lot of reasons why you should start a blog when you’re trying to get your first few customers.
In fact, you should have started way before you started building your product, or looking around for ways to grow your startup. But hey, better late than never, right?
Writing and distributing great content (blogging) that educates your potential users on the problems they are facing and how your product is the solution they’ve been waiting for will spark a feeling of trust and authenticity.
It’s the best way to tell your product’s story to your audience.
“Blogs generate need. Need generates demand”
4. Build a Waitlist/ an Email List
A waitlist is a good way to get your first set of users/customers for your startup. A waitlist will increase your chances of getting your first set of customers and build a relationship with your early adopters to make them feel like they are part of an exclusive community.
Building and having a loyal community means you’ll have repeat customers that turn into advocates who tell others about your new product!
5. Give Out Some free stuff or Discounts
Who doesn’t love free stuff?
As a new startup founder, you might want to consider giving free stuff a bit.
Your goal at this beginning stage should be one thing: to get as many active users behind you and your product as possible.
And sometimes, this may mean giving some free stuff or discounts.
If your product is SaaS, having users test it for free can be an incredible way to get them on board.
Another way of playing around with free stuff is to put up a part of your product for free (Freemium) while excluding other, powerful features.
A perfect example is Engage Messaging, a popular email marketing platform.
Mailchimp offers free plans for individuals/businesses who want to set up and run email marketing campaigns.
Freemium allows users to get to know the benefits of using the product, with enough main features to know that they want more.
Summing It All Up
Customer acquisition for a startup is not an easy task.
However, you can succeed if you follow these customer acquisition strategies correctly.
Plus, get one thing in your head – you are NOT supposed to sell your product. Instead, you have to help your users.
You need to start by engaging with your audience and connecting with them on almost every platform that you come across.
Knowing how to get started can be confusing, especially if you’re just starting out as a founder/co-founder.
Startup Lauchcode can help you figure out the ideal strategy you need to deploy to acquire your first set of users.
You can book a discovery session with our startup growth expert