How to Find Your First 100 Customers

With a great idea in one hand and a snazzy new website in the other, you’d be forgiven for thinking that your products would simply sell themselves. Getting customers to buy your product is arguably one of the hardest things about being a startup. Not only is it crucial for revenue, but it also gives you proof of concept and helps to establish advocates for your brand who can go on and tell all their friends about it. 

In this blog, we’ll give you a few handy tips to help you find your first 100 customers and reach this important business milestone. 

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How to find the right customers

If you’re looking to bring more customers to your business, it’s important that you find the right customers. But what does that mean exactly? Well, when you first thought of your business idea, chances are you found a solution to a problem for a specific group of people. Therefore, the ‘right’ customer is the one you wanted to target from the beginning, the person whose problem you solved and the person who would benefit most from your product or service.

You can find the right customers by going back to the beginning and thinking about who your ideal customer was. Create a persona and establish who they are, what they like and dislike, what problems they experience and how your business can solve them. From there, you can start to think about ways to market to that specific group of people in a way that will resonate with them. 

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How to find your first 100 customers

Finding your first 100 customers is a significant milestone, but you’ve got to get there before you start celebrating. If your business is set up and ready to go, and you’re now wondering ‘How can I attract customers to my business?’, here are our top tips:

Define your target audience

We’ve already mentioned the importance of finding the ‘right’ customer, but it’s an essential step in getting you closer to your first 100 customers. With a defined target audience, you can focus your efforts directly on the people who are most likely to buy from you. It would be impossible to target absolutely everyone and gain a good return on investment, so we always recommend defining a select group of people who you know will benefit from your product. 

You can define your target audience with a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Location
  • Interests

Reach out to your network

When you first start a business, talking to the people you already know is a great way to spread the word. Speak to your friends and family, and encourage them to speak to other friends about your new business. You never know who might be in need of your product or service. 

But reaching out to your network isn’t just about selling your product. Speaking to people you know is a great way to gather feedback on your business, enabling you to use real market research to direct your organisation moving forward. It can also help you develop natural pitching skills by speaking to people you feel comfortable around, instead of going all in with a sales pitch to a stranger. It’s surprisingly hard to sum up the unique selling propositions in a sentence or two – practice it, refine it and get it as short as possible, always remembering to put the customer first. How does it improve their life?

Be visible

A key thing to remember when establishing a customer base is to always be visible. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store in a local community, a virtual office or you’re an online business, it’s important that people can easily engage with your business. Consumers want everything instantly, so making it easier for them to find you and buy your product over your competitors’ is essential. 

Ensuring customers can find you to start with is one thing, but you also need to make sure you maintain this presence as your business grows. You can do this in several ways, from regularly attending local events and visiting places frequented by your target audience to routinely posting on social media and ensuring your business can be found on search engines. 

Provide an excellent service

You might think this one goes without saying, but so many businesses don’t pay attention to the level of customer service they provide. Offering a top-class service to your first few customers provides more chance that those customers will become advocates for your brand and have an influence on its future. 

But how do customers influence a business? Customers buy from you and the experience they have means as much as, if not more than, the product they are purchasing. A study by CFI Group found that 36% of consumers would share their customer service experience, whether good or bad. So what type of experience would you rather they shared?

SEO

Your online presence is just as much of a ‘shop window’ as your physical store, if you have one. It’s therefore important to ensure you’re making the most of the tools available to you, like ensuring your website is optimised for search engines.

SEO is particularly important for small businesses looking to attract customers in a particular location. 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information, so if your online presence isn’t up to scratch, you’re missing a huge opportunity here. 

RELATED: 10 reasons why location is important in business

When thinking about SEO, you’ll need to establish the keywords and phrases your customers are likely to search for, and the terms you want to rank for. You can then use this list to inform your website copy and content marketing strategy to help you increase your position in search results pages. 

Email marketing

While some people think email marketing is a thing of the past, it’s actually still one of the most successful marketing tactics for all types of businesses. In fact, 29% of marketers rate email marketing as the most effective marketing channel. It’s also highly cost-effective, with the average ROI for email marketing being 4100%.

Emails are a great way to tell people about new products, send exclusive offers or just keep people in the loop on what’s going on with your business. We’d recommend putting a strategy together for email marketing, ensuring it’s an integrated part of the rest of your marketing activity. And don’t forget to ensure you are GDPR compliant when building your email marketing lists.

Paid advertising

Whether you opt for Google advertising or paid social ads, paid advertising is a good place to start when establishing a customer base. In the initial stages, it’s all about awareness, so placing a few brand adverts out there will always help. Be sure to test your ads though, and change different elements to see what works best for your target audience. 

Engage with influencers

Influencer marketing has really blown up over the last few years, with 49% of consumers depending on influencer recommendations before purchase. But it’s not all about celebrity influencers and people with tens of thousands of followers. Micro influencers and people with an influence in a specific marketplace are a good place to start when it comes to driving awareness of your product. 

Spend a good chunk of time researching profiles on Instagram and Twitter to find out how they could help your business, and when you’ve found some people you’d like to work with, reach out to them and discuss it further. With influencer marketing, always remember to only pay for marketing where your customers are going to see it. It’s pointless paying an Instagram influencer to advertise your products if your target audience doesn’t use the platform. 

Referral programme

Once you’ve got a few customers through the door, it often becomes easier to sell to others, but referral programmes can help you even more. Referral marketing generates 3–5 times higher conversion rates than any other channel, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth, which makes it a great tactic to try out when building a customer base. 

You could start with friends and family, offering an incentive for any referrals and then connect with other local businesses to see if you could both refer one another to potential customers. Referral programmes are also a good incentive to offer your first customers, giving them more of a reason to recommend you to their friends.

Finding the first 100

No matter what business you’re in, finding your first 100 customers is a huge milestone, and it can be tough to get there. However, with our tips, you should be able to go some way in reaching that goal and getting your business off to a flying start. Once you’ve decided on the tactics you want to try out, read our guide to creating a marketing strategy and make sure you’re fully equipped with everything you need to get going. 

Looking to give your business a head start? Have a look at our virtual office plans.

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Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.

Your complete business toolkit

Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.