Long before we think about Super Bowl commercials and dominating Facebook feeds with the glory of our new product, we're going to stay laser focused on one thing: our First 100 customers.
100 customers may seem like a small number right now, and later on 100 customers will seem like nothing. But when we're just getting started, our First 100 customers should be treated like the most important people on the planet. They are our first born. Each and every one of them provides a massive amount of value because they know something we don't - whether they will ever give a damn about our product!
When we're just getting started, we need conversations more than customers. Customers are useful when you have a refined marketing message that lots of people have validated with their hard-earned money. We just aren't there yet.
Right now we have what we think is the right message, but we need to start a conversation with our First 100 customers to find out if they agree. Once we've had some time with our First 100 we can then expand to our First 1,000 with a bit more confidence.
Therefore, all of our efforts will focus on starting a conversation with our customers. We're going to ask a ton of questions and listen very intently so that we can shape our message. Some of those questions might include:
As it happens, connecting to your customers’ problems by asking questions is one of the most effective marketing strategies there is, so while we're deliberately gathering intel in the short term, we're actually laying the groundwork for how we're going to find the most effective messaging for our customer acquisition efforts later. It's a 2 for 1 deal!
The first stage of customer acquisition isn't about selling, and therefore the focus isn't about "how many people converted to paid customers?" Don’t worry, we'll definitely focus on that later, but it's not appropriate right now because we don't want to confuse "please buy something" with the questions that we're asking.
This will also help us craft a more authentic dialogue with our customers (yay trust!) because when we take the option of "selling them" out of the equation, we end up with marketing that feels more personable and authentic — which is what great messaging is all about.
Not only are we figuring out exactly how customers respond to our product, we're figuring out how to best utilize our marketing channels. We're going to make a ton of mistakes - everyone does.
We're going to pull the dumb-ass move of sending a newsletter to all of our customers with “
If we're going to make these rookie mistakes, let's do them on a small scale while we're still getting our feet under us.
In order to get a running start, we’re going to work on the stuff that we can knock out in a single day. We’re looking for short, high value tactics that can get us important answers as quickly as possible:
Before we get into the details we’re going to run through a quick primer on how early audiences are actually built, regardless of what tools we use.
We'll start with 3 of the most cost-effective and useful channels - email newsletters, social media, and pay-per-click marketing. We can use any one of those or a combination based on what you're most comfortable with.
We'll compose a series of messages that will engage our audience and ask questions that evoke a response. The questions and responses are the key elements here, so we have to learn how to craft them well.
Every effort should drive a response of some sort, and those responses will shape what our next messages will be. The back and forth with our customers will form the basis for our initial marketing.
The combination of our efforts here will be what establishes our initial marketing foundation. We’ll actually use the same basic tactics not only for our First 100 customers, but well beyond that to our first million!
For now, however, we’re more focused on just establishing our marketing channels and starting to build a relationship with our audience. The first few months are about learning and testing so we know where to focus our time going forward.
By the time we finish, we’ll walk away with a much better understand of:
So we’ve got plenty of work in front of us! Let’s dig in!