Your First Customer is Your First Success: Here's How to Go About It
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When Sachin Bansal resigned from Flipkart (after its acquisition by Walmart), Binny Bansal wrote an emotional piece bidding goodbye to his dear friend. He started the note by talking about how they got their first customer. When a man from Telangana (then Andhra Pradesh) mentioned on the internet that he was unable to find a certain book, another man with the username Sachin replied with a link that led the seeker of the book to Flipkart. And that’s how Flipkart got its customer.
For every entrepreneur, there are certain milestones that they remember forever. Acquiring your first customer is definitely one of those, as is obvious by Binny’s note for he mentions this as one of their joyous moments even after 11 years.
But how do you go about acquiring customers? In today’s world, where most industries are crowded with too many solutions for one problem, how do you ensure that the customer chooses your solution?
Entrepreneur India spoke to experts as they shared how to reach out to your first customer.
Know Your Product First
Before you reach out to your first set of customers, it is important for you to know not just your product but also your target audience well. Bhavik Vasa, Chief Growth Officer, EbixCash, believes that an entrepreneur should be actually solving a problem instead of creating one that never existed. "At the very onset, ensure that your product offering is solving a real sustainable problem or a customer need that is unfulfilled. Beyond any quick-fix hooks or incentives or cash backs that you provide, your product/service has to be ensuring that you are really solving a genuine problem,” he said.
Agreeing with him Sandeep Komaravelly, Chief Marketing Officer, Digit Insurance said that it is very important to create awareness of your product and brand among users. “It is not just building standard products for all but building products with real benefits that people can value. For example, our product flight delay insurance is a winner, as it comes in when people are at the frustrated best and are delighted by our benefit. That originates from our belief in providing a hassle-free, fast service and with no unnecessary documentation,” he said.
Identify the Early Set Adopters
Your first set of customers can make or break your product. They are the ones who can advertise your product, only because they are satisfied with it. Vasa believes that while charting early strategies for the consumer reach-out plan, it’s important to identify the early set of adopters for every offering. Early adopters or influencers are key to building a strong Network-Effect for the brand. “Basis the product, the channel or medium is being used to reach out to a very early set of adopters who act as champions for the product in the initial days. In other words, the network effect is the most organic and sustainable way of building a strong solid foundation of genuine early loyal customer base,” he said.
We can’t buy our way through consumers, as they are not going to stay with us for long. So, any short-term hooks or incentives that you plan could be great to create a momentum or inertia but you should actually be solving a genuine problem.
Keep it Simple
The strategy to any business is keeping your process and messaging as simple as possible, believes Komaravelly. “At every step, disintegrate your communication, customize it and target people with it. These are called micro moments i.e. times when the customer is most receptive to a particular message as they are looking for something very specific. Keep your conversations with them simple, always customized and staying away from templatized conversations,” he said.
The key is to understand and address consumer requirements, while analyzing consumer behavior in the process. “If one understands this, the rest is just acing the media tools,” he added.
Advertise Your Brand
Komaravelly has a simple trick for advertising your brand – keep your customers happy. For achieving a positive word of mouth advertisement, it is very important to focus on delighting people with each interaction or exchange you have.
From a paid advertising point of view, Komaravelly added that customized communications with media plans directed at micro moments works. “Although the road to simplicity is long and tedious, we are clear that it is valuable to the customer. That, we feel should be the ground for a good advertising plan,” he said.