9 Ways In Which Startups Can Win Their First Customers

10 Sep 2014

waysinwhichstartupscanwintheirfirstcustomers0 1410169886 980x457The most difficult part of running a startup is to win that first customer - to convince someone that you, a complete newbie, probably still in college, are offering them a product that can be useful to them, in exchange of money. How, then, can you win traction and get your first batch of customers? We present you nine superb tips:

1. Through Publicity Stunts

Publicity helps win eyeballs for your startup - eyeballs from every corner; right from the media, to the public, to potential customers, to investors.

Half.com, a retail website known for having sharply discounted items, paid Halfway, Oregon, to adopt the name Half.com for their town for a year. In exchange, Halfway received $100,000 in donation, 20 new computers for the local school and other financial subsidies. The media picked up on it, Half.com became very well known, and in 2000, five months after the IPO, eBay bought the company for $300 million.

2. Through Blogger Reviews

The celebrated English blogger, programmer, venture capitalist, and essayist, Paul Graham mentioned Reddit in one of his essays, way back when it was launched. Having a renowned journalist or thinker to evangelize your product can help it earn credibility, a very valuable trait especially for an infant company.

3. Through Portals

Airbnb massively replied to a large number of Craigslist property rental posts, asking the posters to enlist on their website instead. Portals such as Quora, through its various tags can also attract the attention of an elite, niche population. Such portals are a free of cost, highly targeted way of growth hacking.

4. By Partnering With The Biggies

America Online partnered with and took a minority investment in travel search player Kayak Software. The two built an AOL-owned travel search site, launched in early 2005, which was powered by Kayak's technology. AOL chose Kayak as a partner partly because of its team of online travel veterans behind its founding. CEO Steve Hafner formerly helped found Orbitz and chair Terry Jones founded Travelocity. The other factor was Kayak's vision of how consumers want to search for travel.

5. Buying Google Ad Words

Buy low value Google key words and convert them through their shopping comparison engine into high value leads.

6. Through A Large Mailing List

Noah Kagan built up a mailing list of 20,000 subscribers. This ex-Facebook employee, who later joined Mint as director of marketing, then blasted the news of Mint's launch to the subscribed mailing list. Mint.com is a free web-based personal financial management service for the US and Canada created by Aaron Patzer.

7. Organizing A Demo At A Tech Show

Foursquare launched at South by Southwest (SXSW) - a set of film, interactive, and music festivals and conferences that takes place every year in March in Texas that kicked off their growth. They added around 4000 users that month. After that they began aggressively adding new cities.

8. Creating A Popular Event

Startup Lessons Learned conference, organized by Eric Ries, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author best recognized for pioneering the lean startup movement, served as a springboard for his brand. Closer home, Jabong's launch of the first ever India Online Fashion Week in New Delhi really helped cement the brand's position as a serious player in the fashion industry.

9. By Focusing On The Product

You cannot win traction if you do not have a good product. Build something that people want, something that genuinely solves everyone's problem. A good product will gain traction, no matter whether you use these hacks or not. After you have a killer product at hand, you can accelerate growth, using these hacks, or pioneering some of your own.


Source: MENSXP

Last modified on Friday, 12 September 2014 10:43
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