7 effective ways to acquire your first 1,000 customers
One of the most exciting times in your journey towards setting up a new tech B2C (Business-to-Consumer) product is when you are ready to roll out the product to your audience. For first time founders in particular, getting to the first 1,000 customers can be a bit of a task.
So how do you do that?
Whether you have set aside a big marketing budget or not, you want your first few users to not only sign up and interact with the product, but also to give you feedback to improve the product, pivot if you need to, and then set up a growth machine.
Here are a few actionable tips to get started
Create a mailing list using your contacts
You can develop a good quality mailing list by digging in to your contact database. Here is how:
- You already have all emails linked with your email address.
- Extract email addresses of all your Facebook friends using Yahoo! Just create a Yahoo email id if you don't have one and import contacts using Facebook.
- LinkedIn allows you to extract emails of all your connections too.
The above steps will ensure you have a decent list of email contacts you can touch. Once you get this email list, get onto MailChimp (it's free) and you can send your first email campaign. This will surely help you get some sign-ups. Later on, you can ask your friends to extract their contact to help you too.
Find the relevant Facebook groups
If you know who your target audience is, there is a Facebook group for it. Most of these groups are very active too. Not only can you post on these groups. I would recommend you personally touch the active individuals in the group, as sending them a direct message may not help, since it will land in the "other messages' folder. Tag them informing them about your product, or post something people may want to read about or simply help them.
You will be surprised to see how receptive a lot of people can be. Moreover, you will be able to get feedback to improve your product from a wider demographic of people.
Find the influencers on Twitter
Find people with interests relevant to your product and Twitter, then follow them and tweet them. Doing this manually on Twitter could be fairly cumbersome. I would recommend using Followerwonk to find people with the most number of followers with interests relevant to your product. Tweet them asking them to try your product. Not only may these influencers sign-up, they may tweet about you too!
Write a post on LinkedIn
For those who have not done so will not know the reach a good LinkedIn post can get you. Do not, ofcourse, promote your product directly. Posts on LinkedIn travel far and way faster than content you may share on Facebook or Twitter. When I wrote my first post on LinkedIn, I received a lot of queries from people asking me about what gave me the idea to start LingosMio.
Just cannot get enough of Whatsapp
Whatsapp is a great tool to market your product. The only downfall is that there is no way to measure the success. Broadcasting a message to your contacts will help you spread the word easily. Make sure you have a nice image to show for it. Something amusing will increase the chances of your contacts forwarding the message.
Find relevant forums
While forums may seem to be a thing of the past, they are definitely helpful provided you find the right ones. Try to help people out here and indirectly promote your product too. This may be a bit cumbersome, but it does yield results.
Talk to people in person
I can imagine a lot of founders not doing this regularly enough. This is a bit slow and requires too much effort. However, this is the most effective method. The more you can physically go out and get people to use your product the more feedback you will get about your product. Also, all of these people you speak to are bound to spread the word around.
For Instance, founder of Pinterest Ben Silbermann personally wrote to the first 5,000 users, gave them his personal telephone number and met with a lot of them for coffee. You just cannot get around without speaking to your users. I am personally very good friends with a lot of our first few users. Users' feedbacks are invaluable.
Getting to the first 1,000 or 5,000 users is not the most important thing. The most important thing is to speak to the users, understand what motivates them to use products such as yours, what is it they want out of the product, what they like or dislike about your product. The communication you have with these users will help you to shape up your product, get rid of the bugs and take your product to new heights.