A guest post by the awesome team @ Notifier.
Generate Leads and Market Your Product Using Social Listening with Notifier.

Believe it or not, acquiring your first 100 customers is far more challenging than creating your startup. No matter how creative or innovative your products/services are, reaching out to your target audience and convincing them to try a ‘newbie’ is not that easy.

Just like any other industry, yours too is overpopulated. Your experienced and well-established competitors have already built a brand name and gained enough trust to keep themselves growing for years. They have money and they have an already established stable customer base.

Do you think it will be easy for you to ‘poach’ their customers? Do you think the ‘big fish’ of your industry will let you do that? Do you think buyers will trust a newbie instead of someone who owns a posh office at the most premium location of the city?

When we were creating Notifier, the above questions were bombarded on us by our investors. Thankfully, we were prepared with our answers.

The first and only plan that most startups have when it comes to getting the first users is paid advertisements. And that works. But, do you have enough money to keep advertising for weeks and months? Is it financially viable for you?

If not, don’t worry. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Just like everyone, we too had struggled to get the first 100 users for our startup. Thankfully, our tool Notifier made it much easier but, as expected, it was not enough. We had to take up an extensive approach to make ourselves worthy enough for being considered by our target audience.

And, it worked for us! It took us just a few weeks to get our first 1000 users, something that startups can’t even imagine.

In this article, we are going to share our strategy with you, hoping that it will help you get your first 100 users without going overboard and spending all your cash reserve on paid advertisements.

Let’s get started!

Create a website/landing page that engages the users

Let’s assume you want to go for paid advertisement.

What do you want your audience to do once they have seen your ad?

The answer is pretty obvious. You want them to go to your website. And, you want them to stay there for some time. You want them to take more and more interest in your products/services. You probably want them to fill out the contact form or opt for a quote.

Ultimately, you want them to become your customer.

Your website should be designed to help you achieve this.

Optimize the videos and images

Optimize the videos and images

Image source: Lander App

See the image above. What will be your first impression about this website or any website that takes forever to load?

Honestly, no one will bother to wait for your website to load. Visitors will bounce off. Your paid advertising efforts will fail.

If you don’t want a slow and clunky website, you need to optimize your images and videos. Optimization is simply a process of reducing the size of the image or video without affecting its quality. This helps the website to load faster and better.

Here are some more points to keep in mind:

  • Keep your videos short and sweet.
  • Instead of talking about what you do, talk about how it will help the buyers. It should be about them; not you.
  • Do not use too many videos and images. Let text do some work too.
  • Make sure the audio quality of your videos is fine.
  • Place call to action buttons wherever necessary, especially after the videos.

Choose a simple, clutter-free layout

Design for the Future

See the above image. Don’t you think it is too messy? Can you actually figure out what it wants to convey without reading it thoroughly?

The answer is no, as expected. Now see this image below:

Notifier Home Page

Notifier’s landing page is extremely simple, attractive, and clutter-free. Visitors will take only a couple of seconds to find out what we do and how they can benefit. They don’t have to make any guesses. They don’t have to read a lot of content or watch a 15 minute video. They can guess everything within seconds. And they know how to reach us! That’s exactly what you need to create.

Your website should attract the visitors and encourage them to know more. It shouldn’t be something that confuses them or overwhelms them.

Divert traffic to your website

Get to the top of Google

Once your website is ready, it’s time for you to direct people there and you can do it by either advertising yourself or by creating organic traffic.

Advertising has a short shelf life. It can help you get your first 100 or 1000 users but as soon as you stop advertising, there will be a drastic dip in traffic. If you have money, you can continue advertising but, at some point, you will have to create a channel of organic traffic as well.

For startups that do not have an advertising budget, we recommend organic traffic right from the beginning. Here is how you can do that:

Create great content

2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every day.

Yet, we often fail to find the right information.

55% of readers spend less than 15 seconds on a page. They typically read only 20% of the text on an average page and less than 20% of them actually reach till the bottom of the article/page. 60% of them just skim the content.

You too are probably skimming the content. We all do and that’s how it is going to be. We have to adapt our content to these changes.

So, here is what you need to do:

  • Do not write self-promotional content. No one likes self-proclaimed experts.
  • Choose topics that help your target audience i.e write what they love to read. You can use social listening tools like Notifier to identify these ideas. Read below for more details.
  • Write short blog posts. Plus, make it scannable or skimmable i.e. readers should understand what you want to say without actually reading it thoroughly.
  • Do not focus on text only. Share infographics, stats, videos, GIFs, and anything that keeps the readers hooked to the page.
    Optimize your content to make it rank better.
  • Finally, be creative and come up with humorous content occasionally. Because who wouldn’t enjoy some moments of laughter!

Share great content

Good Content

Sounds obvious, isn’t it?

Once you have created content that addresses the concerns or your target audience or provides them something meaningful, spread the message and let them know!

Create your social media pages and share your content there. Initially, focus on videos because they have an extremely high engagement rate as compared to text. Well-crafted, informative content can give a significant boost to your organic traffic. Plus, this kind of organic traffic will never see a major dip.

Start guest blogging

For startups, guest blogging delivers better results than blogging for your own website. You are a newbie. People still don’t know enough about you. They don’t trust you yet. So, it is obvious that they may not want to visit your blog and read your content.

That’s why guest blogging can help. By blogging for websites that are relevant to your industry, you will be able to build your reputation among the readers of that website. Plus, you will also be able to tap their audience and divert that traffic to your website, which will ultimately help you find the first users for your startup project.

Participate in Q & A forums, webinars, etc

By participating in discussions related to your industry, you will be able to leave a positive impression among your audience, who will obviously be observing you. You will be able to build a reputation and credibility. You will emerge as a strong and sincere brand. You will gain more visibility and, ultimately, you will be able to genuinely divert more traffic to your website.

Reddit and Quora are our favorites and they are the top-rated ones too. You can answer queries of the users and genuinely insert the links of your blogs or anything relevant. But, you have to be very genuine here. You can’t and mustn’t self-promote here.

Don’t know how to identify such discussions?

Notifier can help. You can set alerts for topics or searchers relevant to your business and then participate in the most relevant ones. This article on ‘How to use Reddit to market your business’ will help you. We have also compiled a list of Best Places to Share Your Startup on Reddit in 2021.

Use good-old lead generation techniques

Customers

Getting ample organic traffic takes time and a lot of effort. You certainly don’t want to wait for months to get the first users for your startup project, which is why taking up a proactive approach is also necessary.

You must not wait for your target audience to find you, rather you must find your target audience and approach them with your offer. And, that’s where lead generation techniques help.

Social media listening can help you identify leads and discussions relevant to your business

Social listening tools such as Notifier can help you identify discussions happening around the keywords relevant to your business. You can follow those discussions and, wherever necessary, you can pitch yourself in.

Lets say you are a VPN provider and someone on Twitter bashed their already existing VPN provider for bad services. Or maybe someone is asking for VPN provider recommendations on Quora or Reddit. Notifier can alert you regarding such discussions and then, you can introduce yourself as a newbie but promising company. You can offer a free trial.

These techniques work. That’s how we got our first 100 users.

You don’t necessarily have to promote your startup. You can simply help users by providing them with genuine information, self-help details, etc. Anything that helps you get some positive attention is fine.

Create lead magnets to boost signups

Lead magnets are exactly what they sound like. They are so tempting that they attract your prospects like a magnet.

Have you come across free access to an exclusive program? Have you been given a free downloadable guide for signing up or filling a form?

These are lead magnets. People wouldn’t bother sharing their email ids with you or referring you to others unless you ‘bribe’ them to.

So, if you are looking for first users for your startup project, it’s time for you to come with some lead magnets that can help you get more attention, references, reviews, signups, and sales.

Some popular lead magnets ideas are:

  • Ebooks, guides, pdfs, etc.
  • Video tutorials
  • Free trials
  • Access to podcasts, seminars
  • Free evaluation/assessment/consultation
  • Exclusive discount or coupons
  • A checklist or planner
  • Quizzes that help you evaluate what you actually need

You don’t have to stick to these ideas. Be creative and come up with a lead magnet that you believe is unique and relevant to your industry.

After creating lead magnets, use social media and your website to promote them. That’s how your potential users will come to know about them.

You can also indirectly promote these on forums and Q&A websites. Notifier can help identify the right forums and the right discussions where you can generate maximum conversion from it.

Wrap up

Getting the first 100 users for your startup project is not that easy. It is rather the biggest challenge you could face in your business. But, once you have got them and have earned their trust, they will help you get more and more business.

Therefore, while you are struggling to get more and more new signups, make sure you do not ignore the already existing ones. Because they are the ones that have trusted you when no one else did. They are the ones that could become your most loyal customers. They can become your brand advocates and can help you grow exponentially.

Our last words: Be patient. It won’t happen overnight.

Rather, you may not see a single signup during the first few days or weeks of your business. But, once the traffic increases and your lead magnets start to work, you will start getting the desired results.