Startup Marketing Tips to Acquire Early Customers
By Sean Standberry, CEO at LYFE Marketing
So you have a great idea for a startup. And you have taken all the necessary steps to bring your ideas to the market. Now it is time to land your first paying customers. One of the hardest steps in a new business is getting the first group of people to part with their money over your barely proven product/service.
For many founders who rely on bootstrapping to stay in business, the first year is critical. How your business performs in the first year can determine who you are as an entrepreneur, how fast your business will grow and if you will find investors. Today, I want to share with you how I grew my start-up, LYFE Marketing – A Social Media Marketing Company, from zero to six figures in sales within its first two years.
#1 Leverage Your Relationships
The first thing we did as a social media start-up was use our personal network. Everyone knows someone. My co-founders and I, got together and began to map out who we knew. We then took that information and sent emails, text messages and calls letting them know about our start-up. First to catch-up. Second to ask, “Do you know anyone who could benefit from our services?” Surprisingly, that generated some great leads and early word-of-mouth for us.
#2 Build Your Search Presence
Google has over 3.5 billion searches per day. Which means there is a great chance that someone/somewhere is searching for keywords related to your startup’s new product/service. The best way to start building a search presence is through SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and/or SEO (Search Engine Optimization). For example, LYFE Marketing ranks on the first page of Google for the search “Atlanta Social Media Company” which brings in a ton of leads/new customers every year.
#3 Get Active On Social Media
Much like Google, we know that billions of people use social media every day all over the globe. Find out where your potential customers are spending the most time and get active there. Because our start-up is B2B focused, Twitter and LinkedIn came to be a great platform for us to build online relationships. We followed our potential clients, shared their posts and created great content for them. Next we utilized the massive advertising data available for businesses and targeted our exact audience through ads for less than .50 cents a click. Shortly after, we had leads knocking at our door.
#4 Network / Host Events
Eventually you will exhaust your personal network, but by then you would have realized the importance of networking. So it is a no brainer to continue to build your contacts. During our early days, LYFE Marketing went everywhere our target audience would be. To networking events, workshops, conferences, lunches, and more. Surprisingly, there were a lot of free networking events in Atlanta, so we did not have to spend much money to attend events. What was our strategy? Walk up to someone you don’t know and say Hi. You will begin building relationships and spreading word of mouth about your brand.
#5 Digital Marketing Works Fast
Today, there are an ample amount of marketing strategies you can employ. And most can be done for free or at a very low-cost. Google ads, social media marketing, search engine optimization, display ads, video marketing, retargeting and more. Through my work at LYFE Marketing, I am able to clearly see return on investment through digital marketing. Weigh your options carefully based on your target audience. Social media marketing is our favorite for many reasons, but mainly to build relationships. Ultimately, you will find the more relationships you build, the more potential customers you will have coming your way.
Good luck in your journey to acquire your first few clients. If you have any extended advice or questions comment below! Thanks for reading.
This article is a part of the Learn It From Experience series, where Atlanta entrepreneurs provide business advice learned from their journey in business.