When you start a business, there are how-to’s for everything. How to set up, how to put financial obligations in place, how to register as a business, how to set your name… Everything but how to get your first customers.
Getting your first bit of business is an enthralling and momentous occasion for any new company, but sometimes it can feel impossible to do because it takes a lot of work.
Often, the key to solving this problem is marketing. To get the right help and advice, it can be advisable to use marketing companies for small businesses.
However, if the funds aren’t available for this initially, there are organic marketing tactics any business can put to work while they wait to get their first customers through the door.
1) Present the Problem You Solve
Sometimes the best way to present the value proposition of your product or service is to first draw attention to the problems it will solve for your customers.
An example of this is online coding school, Codeacademy. One of their very first marketing efforts was a video that directly addressed the complaints people had as to how difficult coding was for beginners.
To show how easy it was to code using their platform instead, Codeacademy challenged people to learn to code as part of their New Years resolution and offered a free trial period to do so. It worked, the video and challenge went viral as people began sharing their achievements with their friends and colleagues, prompting others to want to take up the challenge to get better results.
One of the first elements of building any business is to know there is a need for the product or service, and that need consists of the benefit it gives to consumers, or the problem it addresses. Address this directly in your early marketing to strike relevancy with your customers and combine this with free samples or trials to encourage signups.
2) Outreach to Forum Posters
Public forums like Quora and Reddit are great places to get a feel for the needs and wants of your potential consumers.
Not only do people use these forums to address issues with your competitors, they also often highlight exactly what it is they most seek from a product or service. An example of this can be seen below from a poster who has a clear issue with Amazon Web Services.
If a data migration startup knew they could move data faster than Amazon, they could reach out to this poster and highlight how their product or service benefited this particular user’s needs, potentially securing them as a customer.
As well as outreach, public forums can be great places for small businesses to better enhance their SEO packages.
Using organic search queries better builds your SEO by making your keyword usage and placement more natural. If you know how your audience are talking about your product or service, you’ll know how to include your targeted long tail keywords throughout your website or blog content.
3) Connect with your Ideal Customers Community
Just like knowing the demand exists for their product or service, startups should also have an ideal customer in mind.
This ideal customer should be determined by factors such as how your product or service appeals to the customer, how they will utilize it, the specifics they are seeking from your product or service, and additional lifestyle information like their location, interests and habits.
Once a conclusive picture has been created of this user, research can begin to be established into places on the internet where your customer exists. For example, a games console fan may frequent public forums like those of IGN’s. A fintech CEO meanwhile may frequent LinkedIn or other private social media groups.
Knowing where your customers reside and then learning the wants, needs, and any fears or complaints they have enables you to create content that engages these customers by addressing these issues. For example, a whitepaper or magazine for a fintech CEO, and a blog post or short video for the gaming fan.
Ensure your content offers value and initially is not a hard sell. Nurturing consumers to be interested in your content is one way to have them move to the next stage of the funnel and to engage them with your brand.
4) Convert Competitor Consumers
Whilst it’s perhaps not a very publicized marketing tactic, it is one that’s commonly used even by big name brands like KFC!
Recently KFC ran an advertising campaign across newspapers, billboards and even a 30 second video slot where it listed all its namesake competitors around the world in alphabetical format and cheekily claimed it was flattered by the imitation.
Campaigns like these bring attention to your brand, and in the case of KFC, incite curiosity as to what KFC offers that other brands feel they must imitate.
For startups, one way of converting competitor consumers could be to reach out to those who are publicly airing complaints or problems. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be great places to find these, as often users will directly tag, or tweet, big name brands with their grievances.
A simple tweet, or comment, from your page addressing how your product or service resolves the users issue could be enough to tempt them into giving you a go. To sweeten the deal, offer a free trial period – that way the user is under no obligation. Just make sure to give them a five star service in order to retain them at the end of the period!
5) Create content
The best thing about content creation is its versatility in type and cost. Sometimes your best content marketing efforts can be entirely free too, if the right content is executed on the right platform to the right audience.For example, home improvement companies know that potential customers love seeing the before and after transformation of jobs they complete. Whereas before these may have had to be entered into a case study magazine, or statically uploaded on Facebook and Instagram, a new type of marketing has recently emerged that is entirely free.
With the emergence of viral video sharing platform, TikTok, some home improvement businesses have taken to uploading short videos of themselves either undertaking aspects of the job, giving short thirty second tutorials in various aspects of their work, or simply doing time lapse videos of the transformations.
These videos often rack up hundreds of thousands of views and shares because people are amazed by the content and wanting to share with friends. Subsequently through gaining followers, subscribers and shares, home improvement companies gain customers too because their reputation speaks for them.
If your startup can identify the type of content that your audience are most likely to want to consume, and on which platform, videos, posts, and even blogs can produce a good amount of reach entirely for free. This reach gets your brand identity circulating to potential consumers, and drives traffic to your website if your audience are intrigued enough to want to find out more.Last modified: October 6, 2020