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How to Acquire Your First Customer

Chris Porteous
Chris Porteous

Finding that first customer is a critical task for any startup

Businesses require a bit of legwork for them to start getting customers. No matter how saleable a product a company offers, if consumers don't know they exist, they won't get any sales. One of the most challenging tasks for a new business is finding its first customers. Usually, once the first one walks in the door, getting the others is just a matter of waiting for them to show up. In this article, we'll look at the most effective ways to guarantee that your business is prepared to deal with its initial customer.

Create an ideal customer avatar

The fact is that your business doesn't want to just sell to any consumer. They want someone who already wants to buy their product. The ideal customer avatar allows a company to streamline their products and their customer service. To determine who makes up this demographic, the business must first look at their products and which potential customers are most inclined to buy them. From there, your company can extrapolate who these people are, where they hang out online, and what their peers look like.

From a marketing perspective, the ideal customer avatar helps the business to refine its marketing strategy and limit where it shows off its ads. Doing so also cuts back on the amount of ad spend that the company has to commit to. Your first customer will fall into the broad group of the ideal customer since they will be the ones most likely to see your advertising and take the plunge.

Take networking opportunities

The ideal customer is just the first step in attracting the first client. Social media and content marketing have made it even more critical for businesses to interact with consumers. The ideal customer tells us where these buyers are and what they enjoy doing. It's only a short jump to get in touch with them and interact with them one-on-one. Social media is one of the most effective ways to reach out to a consumer and start networking with a particular demographic.

Content marketing is the other side of the coin. By combining effective content marketing with social media posting, you can engage your potential buyers in new and unique ways. Don't focus on selling or promoting your product initially, but rely on informing your customers and building trust. The first customer you sell to will most likely be among those following you on social media or reading your content posts to keep up to date with what the company's offering.

Figure out what makes your buyer tick

The term "pain point" might sound uncomfortable, but it's accepted marketing jargon. Pain points are essential because they tell you exactly how you should approach selling or advertising to that demographic or person. However, using a pain point to sell a product or a service requires an entrepreneur to rethink how they see their business.

Most new business owners see their enterprise as a provider of goods or services. While this is technically correct, it doesn't help the company when it comes to selling to their core demographic. Instead of selling goods and services, the enterprise should be selling solutions to problems. When you approach the issue from this direction, it becomes a lot easier to craft compelling content and advertising to get consumers interested in your product. Knowing what makes your first buyer tick will help you to close the first sale so much more effectively.

Reach out to other entrepreneurs

We're not talking about your direct competitors, but with other brands and enterprises that might belong to your local area. If you can find a brand that markets to a similar demographic of people as your company does, you might be well poised to form a partnership. Developing close links with other entrepreneurs allows your business to reach out to their core audience alongside your own. Combined giveaways might lead to more business for both of your companies. Making connections also allows you to refer customers to that business and receive referrals in return. Establishing this cooperation might result in your first customer coming from a referral rather than from your content marketing or advertising.

Strategically use free giveaways

Consumers love free stuff. If you've got a product you genuinely believe in, giving away your items in exchange for a complimentary testimonial might be a great marketing tactic. A lot of consumers are wary of giveaways. While they're glad to accept something without paying for it, they're unsure about if they're actually handing off something to you that they don't want to. "Free" giveaways aren't always free. Even online, most places that offer "free" ebooks usually require you to hand over your email before you get access to the content.

If you're intending to take this approach of asking for a testimonial after your giveaway, you should make sure the buyer knows immediately. Asking for an honest opinion is best. If you have a high-quality good or service and you're confident in its ability to impact consumers positively, then an honest review is the least you could ask for. Most customers are more than willing to give their opinion, but some may not be so keen to appear in your advertising material. In any case, you may have to do a few giveaways before you get enough interested consumers to get a viable number of testimonials.

Start with a familiar buyer

Your first customer for your new business doesn't have to be a stranger. If you're building a product that others who know you will already be interested in, it might be best to focus on them for your marketing at the start. Your earliest customers could be people you know or are related to. If you're well-acquainted with someone and they're willing to pay you for a good or a service, you'll learn a valuable lesson - trust counts in marketing.

One of the upsides of having a first customer that you're familiar with is that their feedback is likely to be more honest. You'll get a more in-depth insight into what you should change and how you should approach marketing to others. In the early days of your business, having someone who will advise you on what things you should change honestly is worth more than its weight in gold.

Aiming to improve for the next customer

A business is all about doing something efficiently that you can repeat and get paid for. Once you acquire your first customer, the second and the third will follow. You should try to improve your business so that you're ready to deal with each successive customer. Using feedback and building on your successes is the only way your business will improve its customer interactions. Don't overlook how vital your social interaction and content marketing are to draw in new customers and inform them of the business's offerings. An uninformed consumer is one that never has the chance to buy from your company.

Image Credit: Mongkolchon Akesin/Getty Images
Chris Porteous
Chris Porteous
business.com Member
I'm a serial entrepreneur and owner of three internet ventures, including My SEO Sucks. A contributor to ZeroHedge, Entrepreneur.com, Forbes, Inc.com, and dozens of other media outlets, I believe in SEO as a product. I developed a proprietary technology fueling the #1 rankings of My SEO Sucks clients. In guest speaking ventures across North American, I advocate for organic search traffic as the backbone of any comprehensive digital marketing strategy.