Although 100 customers may seem like a drop in the ocean of your brand’s potential, the path and challenges to this milestone are often underestimated by start-ups. Everything is in place, the work is done, the products are ready and processes are set. ‘Bring on the buyers!’ you’re probably thinking. And then… *crickets*. Not enough attention is paid to the part two of the start-up process – the post-start-up strategy, which ideally should be worked on while you’re are laying out the blueprint for your organization and throughout it being built.

Even so, it is never too late to follow a few solid pointers in order to gain ground, get people using your product and attain a loyal and lasting fan base.

So, whether you have left planning your post-launch strategy to the last moment or you have only just started working on a great idea that’s on its way to being a reality, read these useful tips to aid you on your way to securing your first 100 customers.

1. Make Your Customers Feel Special

Give your first few customers the star treatment – let them be pleasantly surprised by your thoughtfulness and care. Do this through personalized emails, discounts and free gifts. These guys are your unofficial spokespersons to the public. They’ve gone the extra mile to try out a brand on a limb. Show them you appreciate their kindness and they’ll come back for more – and tell their buddies about your brilliant attitude.

2. Go Free, At First

If you are in the business of software you may consider offering your product for free while it’s still in beta. A lot of newbie SaaS companies do this to gain interest in their service – consumers should be more likely to try out an unknown product when they get to test it out first at no cost. You also get access to valuable feedback from your user base before you launch officially and create buzz and visibility in the market.

3. Entice Consumers With The ‘Refer A Friend’ Benefit

It’s important to encourage your consumers to recommend your products or services to their friends and family. As with point number 1 above, these people give you access to a whole new set of potential customers – make their recommendations of your product worth their while. Referrals are a great way to expand your customer base – give your new-timers referral codes that benefit their next purchase and offer their friends discounts on their own, too.

4. Exhaust Your Family And Social Circle

You don’t want to be one of those annoying family members constantly pushing their products? Too bad. Your immediate circle are your very first customers. They’re going to try your products when you tell them about it. So tell them, and remind them, and make sure they give you their feedback. If they’re not your target audience, get them to help you out by recommending it to their immediate circle and getting the word out on their social media.

5. Forge Fruitful Partnership

Approach influencers who are trusted by your target audience to help promote your brand through strategic partnerships. The same can apply to other brands and companies. Strategic partnerships can help you establish a firm foot in the door when potential customers associate your products and services with those they already use and love. These partnerships can range from free uses of your services to sponsored deals.

6. Chase The Right Kind Of Publicity

It won’t be easy but getting featured in publications is one of the best ways to build your brand presence. If your product or service is unique or has some unique traits then this won’t be too hard. However, in other cases getting the press to cover you can be really tough. But you don’t need to start out with big publications to gain traction at the beginning. Seek out smaller blogs related to your industry and you are likely to get more conversions as you are reaching more people with an interest in your offering.

7. Give Back To The People

If you want your community to embrace you, you need to first embrace them. Contributing to community building in any way that is feasible. Whether it’s sponsoring part of an event such as a walkathon or using your brand as a platform for children to gain exposure to your industry, being actively involved will help cement your company as a contributing member of the clan.

8. Use Useful Blogs To Educate 

Content marketing is a great way to up the rankings of your websites on the pages of search engines such as Google and Bing. It’s also the perfect platform to educate your current and potential customers about your brand and provide them relevant, useful information that will leave them with positive associations and likelihoods of conversions. Make sure that the blogs you put up are thought through and answer questions that your audience may be asking. Use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to identify keywords that will enhance your content even further.

9. Invest In Ads

This is money out of your pocket but you will see results. When using Google Ads, try to choose keywords that have low bids but high search volume to lessen your spends. You may have to try different strategies and constantly tweak to arrive at a formula that works for you. Facebook Ads too are really effective in allowing your brand to gain traction. The plus point – not many companies are familiar with the workings so a bit of research can go a long way to get you targeting your specific audiences.

10. Be On Top With Customer Service

Keep a keen watch on your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for negative feedback. It’s alright to have a few hiccups here and there but you need to respond and rectify swiftly. When your customers know you are listening and care to react immediately, complaints usually don’t escalate too far. It also shows your potential customers that your brand takes its responsibility and accountability to its patrons seriously.

11. Capture Whatever You Can

Use your website to gain leads by placing relevant call to actions on every web page. This isn’t limited to purchasing your products or signing up for a subscription to your service. You can gain insight to your customer base and leads that could progress to conversions by asking your visitors to sign up to a newsletter, subscribe for alerts to deals or make a profile page for access to special offers.

12. Be Interesting In Your Message

Your product may not be novel or unique, but you can capture your target audience’s attention by stoking their imagination. Think about your brand’s inception, the challenges it overcame, the problems it hoped to solve and the progress it has made. Create a backstory filled with character, hardship and hope included, to resonate with human nature and you are more likely to have people wanting to hear about your history.

Once you get the basics in place, and with a good product, reaching a 100 customers is just a matter of smart strategy and insightful communication.

Author Bio:

I am Surbhi, in my twenties and based in Hyderabad, India, with interests across industries. Writing for me, I believe, relieves stress, helps me concentrate better, and let me reinvent myself. Over the past decade, I have written for big publications such as ElephantJournal, Jewellerista, SiteProNews etc. Since completing my higher education, I am exploring more in business-related topics of start-ups. Diversity across various categories helps broadens my vision and make me learn more about my writing.