“I believe the companies that make an effort to develop an authentic, meaningful contract with their potential Customers, will turn out to be the ones that are the most successful in attracting new Customers. While Startup that refuse to make the effort wont attract many new Customers”. Wiz4.biz
Customers Topics: PR, Content, Guerilla & Social Media Mktg, SEO, Affiliate, Lead Generation, Mobile, API, Advertising, Referrals, Directories, A/B Testing & more.
One of the biggest challenges facing a new Startup is how to get more Customers. Once you launch, the countdown is on and you need to start making money – eventually faster than you are burning it. And to make money, you need more Customer. So how do you get more? All the ways below to get more Customers is based on a soft-sale strategy. You shouldn’t need hard sales or being overly aggressive – to meet your goals.
A. Spreading the Word.
#1. Public Relations is great because of its low cost & repeatable nature. PR can be highly targeted via verticals, industries, & audiences. It can also help bring forth exposure of your new Product or Service – that solves a unique problem.
#2. Content Marketing is the future of customer acquisition and a cost effective, scaleable, & brandable way to acquire customers. One method of content marketing might include educational and analytical Blog posts on topics related to your Target Market. Another method might include putting together info-graphics & white papers that also educate your prospective customers. Content marketing can be further enhanced with Organic Search Traffic & Social Media Marketing. Make sure you are capturing as many Email addresses as possible when educating your audience – for future Lead prospecting. Content should be: educational, actionable, & full of utility. A reader should learn something and be prompted to take action.
#3. use Guerrilla Marketing techniques that require only time, energy & imagination. Choose a new promotion, and spread the word about it on your social media sites. Depending on your business, you can offer online seminars, free samples, free consultations, & product video demos. Perhaps it makes sense to give away something “free” which can be branded for your business. You can promote the “free” coupons on Social Media. Use your website to introduce yourself to the customers and share your product expertise with them.
#3. Organic Search Traffic is the gift that keeps on giving. It may increase due to a demand for the product you’re offering, word-of-mouth, seasonality, etc. Optimizing for organic search is also a smart move as it can benefit future content that is created. Once you’re “trusted” by Google, it can help with the new content you produce. Organic search traffic has a “cost” in terms of time & proper optimization, but the cash outlay is much smaller than Paid Search Traffic.
B. Customer Attraction Programs
#4. Affiliate Programs can be major drivers of distribution for certain products. Information products tend to do the best here, but they can be effective for all types of commerce. There are hundreds of affiliate networks to sign-up with as well as running your own. The key to many of these networks for larger scale companies is not the software itself, but the affiliates & affiliate managers. In order to attract top tier affiliates, be prepared to be flexible on your terms. Smaller affiliates will be okay with net 30 payouts, but top tier affiliates may want direct wire transfers with weekly payments.
#5. Lead Generation Programs is the lifeblood of any company is getting new customers. Once you’ve experienced it, you will be a fiend for it. Lead Gen programs allow you to pay for each qualified lead brought your way. A lead will usually be in the form of Email names & addresses.
#6. Events & Conferences are great ways to not only generate some auxiliary revenue, but they are a great way to gather and educate your prospective customers. Simple Meetups – with refreshments that gather your customers – is one way to go about things.
C. Social Media
#7. Social Media Marketing include personal Request for Proposal and using Twitter for permission-based promotions. A personal RFP might look something like “I need good WordPress hosting”. From this message a representative from WP Engine might reach out. Companies such as DELL have done millions of dollars in sales via Twitter with deals like this. Other companies including local businesses & tech startups use SMM as another permission- based marketing channel.
#8. Third-Party Social Platforms are different than a basic Twitter or Facebook implementation. 3PSP usage examples include games from Zynga or Geni.com integrating as an App inside Facebook. Another example would be HubSpot with TwitterGrader. Integrating social platforms inside your destination is one thing, but making stand-alone Apps inside of sites such as Facebook is a whole other form of distribution.
#9. Mobile Platform Distribution. Pandora increased it’s usage exponentially after its App store appeared. It almost doubled their growth overnight. Don’t just think iPhone either, though that is probably the best place to start. The best companies such as Dropbox or Evernote have mobile applications across all different platforms. Android, Blackberry, iPad, & mobile web are all important. Every user counts and App stores are a chance to reach new users.
#10. Application Program Interfaces (API) are the new business development for the 21st century. Integrating with other companies used to require a lot of time, negotiations, & often $$$. Now? It just requires an API key and some imagination. Not all APIs allow for commercial access and some have a limit, but that’s a problem that can be dealt with. Dropbox just introduced their API and I’ve seen it popping up in almost every work related iPad App. I’m not sure what effect this has had on sales, but I’m almost certain it will be a big one.
D. More “traditional” Advertising
#11. Paid Online Advertising has 3 choices: CPM, CPC & CPA. 1) CPM is your traditional pay per 1,000 impressions on a website. I’m not a huge fan of this and usually think it’s quite a “Spray & Pray” approach. It can be very useful when applied to the right niches and audience. 2) CPC ads let you “Pay per Click”. This is primarily how Google makes money. You search with an intent, they show sponsored ads, then you end up clicking on one of those ads. 3) CPA ads are billed on a Cost Per Acquisition basis. You pay the advertiser everytime a customer acquisition mechanism takes place. That usually includes a purchase, but it could also be a registration of some sort. My advice on online advertising if you are going to do it is this:
* Heavily track the funnel coming from online advertising so you know what does & doesn’t convert.
* Try to put custom landing pages in place.
* Go as niche as possible when buying ads. Find your audience. BuySellAds, InfluAds, & theDeck are great places to find very niche ads.
* Make sure the economics make sense. You can reduce anything down to “Cost per Acquisition.
#12. a Direct Sales Channel can be very important in B2B, where the cost of having a direct salesperson exceeds the lifetime value of the aggregate customers they can acquire. To many in the startup world, it might seem absurd to have a direct sales team, but in Enterprise & B2Bsales, it’s a viable channel when done right.
#13. Business Development & Cross Sales Joint Ventures deals with similar companies that have the same customer base – yet are not competitors – are extremely lucrative for both companies. Find a BD Partner that has the same customer base as yourself, but larger in size. By working with you, they provide their customers new value and make more money as a super affiliate of sorts. Your benefit? Credibility & increased profits.
#14. Referral Programs are slightly different than Affiliate programs. Referral programs are less about traditional Affiliate channels and more about using your existing customers or your network to spread word about your product. The reward can be Cash, but it can also come in the form of In-App rewards.
#15. Traditional Media Many people still subscribe to cable, read newspapers, & listen to radio. If you’re trying to reach ordinary, not just “early adopters”, and establish some credibility, then traditional media is still a huge benefit. The honest truth – it’s bigger when it comes to PR and even Ad $$$. Hard to believe, but it’s true. The problem comes down to the large up front spending that traditional Media requires and the lack of true analytics that exist. If possible, I would do unique URL tracking and call tracking by building a simple app with Twilio.
#16. Business Listings/Directories: are comprehensive “free” platforms that enable potential customers to instantly identify, learn about, & contact businesses relevant to their needs: Yelp [#1 Retail], Manta [#1 Industrial], Google, LinkedIn, HotFrog, BBB, CrunchBase, Biznik & 40 more.
E. Other Wisdom
#17. Don’t totally hide your Secret Sauce. With the Internet, the days are gone when you could hide your key advantage, to keep competitors from catching up. Be the first to share the knowledge that demonstrates you are better. Secrets make people nervous. The more they trust you, the more they rely on you, buy from you, & refer for you.
#18. Keep yourself a little ahead of your Competition. It only takes a little extra to beat the world record. Equal isn’t good enough. But manage your focus & resources carefully to be a little bit better, more helpful & more creative for the long haul, as well as for the moment. Both you and your customers will be the winners.
#19. Under-promise & Over-deliver. This ability seems to be a lost art these days, which makes it so powerful in making your customers feel special. Masters of this process plan to have the work done before it’s due, so there is no panic & no freaking out. Remember, you will be measured by your actions, not your words.
#20. Alpha & Beta [A/B] testing to guide your product development. Instead of speculating what might work, ask Customers to do A/B tests – to decide what is right for them. There are many tools like Optimizely, Mix Panel and Google Analytics that can help you A/B test various features.
Comments: Do you know any other way you can get more Customers?
from Biz Insider, INC & Surfer Sam 1/20 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
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