For startup founders, holding on to the limited capital you start with is often the difference between eventual success and failure. On the other hand, if the startup never acquires customers, the chances of making it big are literally zero. So how does a young company bring on paying customers without spending money themselves? Here are some simple customer acquisition hacks that can be the difference between a thriving following and a dying dream.
1. Partner Up:
Companies joining together and helping one another is a great path to growth. Do some market research and find products that hit the same target market as your business but offer a complimentary package to what you do. Partnerships are mutually beneficial and are a great way to build brand recognition and drive sales.
2. Be Helpful:
In this new age where customers are constantly barraged with advertisements and articles, a help-first approach can draw great attention. Find a topic that is debated in your niche and explain the issue to your potential customers. Share an article or infographic on your social channels and blog, then watch it get shared, re-tweeted and reblogged, all adding to your brand name.
3. Get Reviewed:
Invite influencers in your industry to try your product or service and review it for their following. This is a tactic almost always get glowing reports and puts your product head-and-shoulders above competitors because of the validity a positive review lends. Be sure to provide plenty of support and personal interaction with the reviewer to ensure a great write-up.
If you live in a large city, odds are there are startup showcases going on around you. Companies like Tech Cocktail and Plug-n-Play specialize in holding events where new companies show their wares to captive audiences. This is a great place to practice selling your product and also sell the attendees on your product.
Influencers in your space love to be part of startups. Build an ambassador program for these influencers to rep your product. Give them free swag, keep in touch with them, and excite them about your mission. In turn they will forward that excitement on to their following and drive masses to your website. With ambassadors, the key is quality over quantity; focus on the influencers who can make a big difference for your product.
6. Utilize Customers:
Often times, your customers are the greatest sales people for your product. Reward your customers for referring their friends to your product and watch the word-of-mouth marketing explode. Make sure the incentive for referring your product is strong enough to motivate customers to talk about you.
As a young business, spending money to acquire customers can drive you into the red extremely quickly. Buying a customer can cost upwards of $100, but using a suite of guerilla tactics you can bring on a following without exhausting the bank account. Building a brand is expensive, but you can cut your bottom line by using these simple tricks.
Josh is the co-founder of FitKit and a growth hacking specialist. After founding several small businesses and selling them off, he moved on to FitKit which is now a bootstrapped startup focused on making vitamins driven by tech.
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