There is no better feeling than making your first sale of the product and seeing the money go to your bank. The feeling is probably even more powerful than making your hundredth sale since it is that first purchase notification which gives you the sense of validation and makes you want to focus on building a viable revenue stream. However, getting a real customer who is willing to pay is more than just money hitting the bank. Customers play a crucial role in the business wherein they validate the products or services and give their feedback, which is all quite necessary in the early stages of business.
Just because you have a great product or a service does not guarantee customers will be queuing up to buy it. There is always a lot of hard work that is involved to motivate the customers and to keep the sales coming in especially when you are a newbie in the market. Plus, customers often don’t tend to switch their providers easily as they are usually wary of new things.
But then how and where do you get your first customers? How do you lure them to try your product or service as against the prevailing ones? What strategies and techniques can you use to persuade a potential customer to give your new business a chance?
It is tough to get your foot in the door especially when you are unknown in the market. So the best way to start would be to tap into your immediate network.
Take some time to meet with people with whom you have some or any kind of connection and determine who would be the right fit for your product or service. Sit down and make a list of everyone you know who might be interested in your product or has ties to the business community. These will be the set of people with whom you have an established trust that you can leverage. Go for the lower hanging fruit in the beginning, as that will not only give you confidence but they are the ones who are most likely to recommend your company to others.
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You will need to get the word out about your company and product and for that, you will need to do some kind of marketing. It will take some investment and effort on your part for finding the people who will try your product. Once the marketing takes off, set targets and goals for the forthcoming weeks and months so that you know your success rate and can thus make changes to the strategy if things are not working out as expected.
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Someone rightly said; nothing beats the power of “free”. Most of us will give it a try, at least for once when you are getting something for free. Free trials, hence are a great way to attract new customers and to get feedback and reviews from them. Another way to offer is by giving out samples, and trust me it works for more than just food. Kindle offers you sample chapters of many books, there are many cosmetic companies that offer makeup samples and there are many software companies like Norton and MacAfee antivirus that gives you trial versions of their software.
By offering free trials and giving out samples, you can show your target market the value of what you have got to offer, and thus convert them into your first paying customers.
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You have got your product out there but how will people come to know about it? Blogs are hence a great way by which you can give a detailed description of your offering and the value that it would add into the lives of the customers. In addition to blogs, you can also write for different publications, get yourself featured in interviews or hire a content writer who can provide some quality content to your website that will not only draw in your customers’ focus but will also demonstrate your expertise in the field.
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If writing is not something you are good at but you can speak well, then many organizations, conferences, and universities like to bring in speakers who can add value and share something new. Many times these institutions are desperate to bringing in someone for the talk, and so all you need to do is make the contact and share your knowledge, thus eventually promoting your product amongst the audience.
Of course, you cannot leave this aside in today’s world. So, put yourself up on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and every other medium that supports your marketing strategy and gives you excellent opportunities to connect with those who may be interested in your product or services. Social media is especially helpful in the early days as you don’t want to spend much on marketing, but want to get a word out to everyone you know. However, don’t let it take up most of your time and so it is important you have a clear plan of action for your social media campaigns.
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You can also use email marketing to send out informational and promotional emails. All you need to do is keep it simple by having clear and concise subject lines and short and sweet email body that will convey the needed information and not feel like spam to your audience.
A good way to get introduced to a large group of audience is to get on the daily deals sites such as Groupon, Living Social or Amazon. You might not make a great profit through them but will surely open up doors to some potential customers.
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While crowdfunding sites work the best for raising money, they are also very effective in introducing and selling new products. Websites like Kickstarter will give you the platform where you can come across several individuals who will be interested in your offering and will want to pay for it to be the early customer. If your product is innovative and exciting, then you can consider crowdfunding as your pre-launch campaign.
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