I'm in the middle of finalizing my startup. It's a virtual assistance service that's similar to Zirtual. I'm very excited about this kind of business and I'm passionate about it, so I know what I'm doing and why. The problem? This will be my first time selling something (a service). I don't know how to find customers. I have no idea how I should attract them. All I know is that my client base will be entrepreneurs who want to save time and effort and focus on what matters the most to them. My question is: What are my potential growth channels here?
Well, you'll certainly have a lot of options for where to focus your marketing efforts, since entrepreneurs are a huge market and pretty much everywhere on the web.
I'd recommend testing some different social media channels - grow a brand presence on the major networks, and if you have the budget, test some ads (I'd recommend Facebook and/or Twitter to start).
It's worth doing some keyword research to see where your opportunities lie. I'm guessing many of the ones directly relevant to your business will be very popular and therefore very expensive, so try looking for some more specific longtail keywords and phrases if you decide to focus on SEO.
I'd also recommend publishing case studies and testimonials early and often, to make it extremely clear how valuable your service is (ex: "This business owner saves himself 200 hours each year. Learn how he does it." ... or something to that effect.) Your success stories will be key in attracting the attention of your busy audience.
Happy to talk through some more strategies if you'd like to schedule a call!
Marketing and customer acquisition usually involves experimenting with various channels, tweaking & iterating, and doubling down on the ones that perform. You essentially want to be where your target customers "live."
On a high level, your potential channels would be:
- Content Marketing & Social Media (e.g. writing blog posts)
- Paid Ads (Google, Facebook, Twitter)
- PR (get written in startup publications, Product Hunt)
- Partnerships (partner with startups, investors, or accelerators)
- Referral program
- other places where entrepreneurs "live" (forums, communities)
Finally, not exactly an acquisition channel, but I believe branding and community go a long way.
Happy to chat and help in more detail with the specifics on your business.