“What now syndrome” can quickly set in a few days after launching your startup. You have a website offering a product, now you just need customers.
Well this is going to sound bleak, but it’s true: nobody cares about your startup. And why should they?
There are a million things people can do from their phone or computer. And there are a million startups already fighting for their attention. So, nobody cares about yours yet!
You need to break that barrier and get people invested in your company to turn them into customers – and unless you’re already a huge name with a giant following, it’s not going to happen overnight.
Throwing money at paid advertising may get you customers, but it shouldn’t be the starting point. There are plenty of things you can do to get your name out there to secure 100 users. You don’t need to do all of these suggestions, but pick and commit to the ones you can do. None of these are guaranteed to bring 100 users overnight, maybe not even 10 or a lonesome 1.
But keep doing them. As long as you’re consistent and your heart is in them – the compound effect will happen.
1. Tell your friends about your business
We get that you may not want to be that guy or girl that’s lighting up everyone’s Facebook page with “I’ve just launched a business” posts. But this is something that you need to get over.
Letting your friends know about your business could open up valuable connections and leads with minimal effort. You don’t need to do this forever on your personal accounts but a get some posts out there to spread the word.
Don’t worry about being spammy. If your friends are really bothered by it, they’ll unfollow you or at worst – delete you as a Facebook friend. Can you live with that? (We hope so.)
You may also get some valuable feedback or someone pointing out a flaw in your business, which will be better to hear from a friend than an unimpressed visitor.
2. Start a blog and keep at it
Blogging humanizes your brand
We feel better about doing business/buying a product when we know – and like – the people behind it. Share your story – and not just the good stuff. Don’t feel like you can’t share some of the bad times as well. Again, this makes you more human. Everyone goes through bad times.
Blogging boosts your traffic
Make no mistake: blogging is a slow way to build up your traffic. There’s always the chance of getting thousands of hits from a blog post, but for a regular hit of organic traffic – blogging is an oil tanker… it’s slow. So start now.
If you still don’t think the blogging juice is worth the blogging squeeze, take a minute to stew over these stats from Quicksprout:
- Companies that blog typically have 97% more inbound links than those that don’t.
- 61% of consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post that they read.
- 60% of consumers feel positive about a company after reading its blog.
- 70% of consumers learn about a company through its blog versus ads.
Don’t get disheartened by the fact that the biggest names in digital marketing have drained the swamp of commonly used marketing keywords. Focus on long-tail keywords instead, but most importantly of all: produce great content for humans. Just keep on blogging. Make it a part of your business’s DNA.
You’ll establish yourself as an industry leader
Consistently blogging, sharing everything you’ve learned and teaching others to do the same will lead your audience to permanently associate you with your industry. Spa supplies, specialist software for the smallest of niches imaginable – whatever it is you do, own it.
“But what do I blog about?” Your business, what you’ve learned, and what’s on your mind. Give actionable tips and advice. A great blog post is entertaining, educational, empathetic or a mix of the three.
3. Start a Meetup
A Meetup can help you find your tribe quickly. Book a venue/open your office doors to the public, get some snacks and drinks and share some knowledge for an hour.
There are many reasons to organize a Meetup for your startup:
- They build brand awareness.
- You could make valuable connections with local businesses.
- You could make sales.
- You could find new staff.
- You’re likely to learn something from your attendees.
- Photos and videos can be used as social media content.
If you’re suffering from imposter syndrome, worried that you don’t have enough knowledge or experience to share at this point, don’t worry – share what you know. Not everyone goes to Meetups thirsty for knowledge, some will attend just to meet like-minded people and to learn about other businesses around them. (And some others may just come for the free drinks and snacks.)
4. Send cold emails
This shouldn’t be scoffed at. A well written cold email can open doors quickly. Don’t listen to people that tell you “cold email is a numbers game.” It’s really not. If you’re sending 500 emails a week and only getting 1 or 2 somewhat interested responses, your cold emails aren’t up to scratch or your targeting the wrong companies. (Or maybe both.) Target wisely. Have a brief template and customise it for each contact. Yes, customisation takes longer but the objective is too secure leads, not to blast out as many emails as possible. Use a CRM or a spreadsheet and keep organized to avoid the embarrassment of contacting a company twice (or more). Always be qualifying leads and sending cold emails. It really doesn’t take that long once you have a solid process in place.
5. Create an email list
This is one of the easiest things to do on this entire list; it is also one of the most powerful. When it comes time to launch or product or make a company announcement, you’ll wish you have 100s or 1000s of email addresses to get the word out there.
MailChimp can get you set up in less than an hour: make a popup or signup form and start collecting email addresses.
“How do I get people to sign up?” Lead magnets, provide great content on your blogs/guest blogs and always be giving value. Make it easy for people to see your email signup form. It should be prominently featured on your website.
6. Give away free stuff
Everyone loves freebies. You don’t forget being given something of value for free in a hurry and you can’t wait to tell your friends about it – and with social media, people will know about it fast.
Gleam makes it easy to set up a competition, while building brand awareness, with minimal hassle. The prize doesn’t have to be a physical item. You could offer free coaching or consultancy services.
7. Let people try before they buy
It feels odd to spend months or years of your life creating a product (aka your baby) only to give it away for free. But it needs to be done. People expect to try before they buy. Also, you want people to review your product and there’s a greater chance of them reviewing a free product. And every review equals 1 backlink for you. It’s a pretty good deal.
You want your users to use the product regularly, to the point where they need to start paying for the next package to get all of the features you have to offer. It’s so common now… Spotify, Wistia, Evernote, SurveyMonkey – everyone’s offering freemium. Join the party.
If a freemium package isn’t an option for your business model, a 30-day free trial is the way to go.
This is a super popular method for SaaS businesses. We all like to feel like we’re found a new, shiny diamond in the rough to play with. And these newly found beta sign-ups can help you in your quest for product-market fit. You’ll hold a special place in your heart for your beta users, so be sure to offer them a discount when your product launches.
8. Make that personal touch with your audience
Gary Vaynerchuk spent 8 hours a day – for a month – answering his customers’ wine questions after he launched a Facebook app for his wine business, “Ask Gary”, a simple Q&A service regarding which wine best compliments certain foods. He insisted nobody else answered the questions; he answered them all, 700 to 1000 a day. That may be an extreme example but those replies wouldn’t have gone unnoticed.
It means something to have a CEO reach out to you personally. Whether it’s answering a question on Twitter or getting out on your bike to go and meet someone to help them out – people won’t forget. These are the kind of stories that have the potential to go viral, introducing more people to your company.
9. Get involved in groups & forums
The startup community is all over Quora. Look for questions that are in your business’s ballpark and as long as you are providing value, the administrators don’t mind if you include a self-serving link in your answer. Give detailed responses to popular questions and link back to your articles.
Inbound.org is similar to Quora but it’s fully geared towards marketing. You can ask/answer questions, publish content, or get involved with discussions. Top questions and answers are upvoted, so quick and lazy answers won’t do anything for you.
It may have the most intimidating user interface of all time, but lurking in the madness you’ll find your tribe in its subreddits. Join as many as you want. “Redditors” aren’t so forgiving with self-serving links, which means you’ll have to give lots of value before you get back.
Facebook’s user stats are just… phenomenal, enjoy this one, worldwide, there are over 2.07 billion monthly active Facebook users for Q3 2017. Everyone seems to be on it, and they check it at least once a day. This is where it pays to start a Facebook group and post daily. All of your followers will be notified everytime you post something in the group. It’s an easy way to keep people engaged with your company.