May 2, 2019

How to get your first 927 customers

Josh Ledgard knew he would have to abandon his lead generation service if he didn’t get more clients, so he closed his first 927 clients, grew that number to 5,000, and helped them generate 250,000 leads for their own businesses. It was all done by finding the first 927 customers and growing from there, so we invited him to teach you how to do it.

Josh is the co-founder of KickoffLabs, which helps businesses get customers through landing pages.

1. Bounce ideas off target customers to make sure they want your product

Josh thought he could build landing pages for people who advertised services on Craigslist, but when most of them said they weren’t interested or wanted full-scale websites instead, he realized he was going after the wrong market. Take Action: Call or email people you’d like to sell to, describe your idea for a product, and ask if they would use it.

2. Participate in Q&A sites to prove your authority to potential customers

Josh answered questions about landing pages on Quora, and when Quora users saw he was an authority, they signed up as his clients. Take Action: Open an account on Q&A sites like Quora or other online forums, answer questions about your niche, and include a link to your website in the signature that appears below your answers.

3. Ask customers for quotes so you can show social proof

Josh asked his first few customers for quotes about what they liked about his product, and when he added the quotes to his homepage, his conversion rate jumped from 2% to 7%. Take Action: Ask customers for quotes about their experience with your product, display the quotes on your website, and incorporate them into your pitches to new customers.

4. Comment where your customers read so you can reach more prospects

Josh learned that his customers read TechCrunch, so he commented on stories there, and he got five new customers as a result of a comment he wrote. Take Action: Ask your customers which blogs they read, and spend three or four hours a week commenting on those blogs.

5. Have experts tweet about you so you can reach interested Twitter users

Josh followed Twitter users who wrote about landing pages and startups and who had 10,000 or more followers, and he asked them to try his product and review it for their followers. Take Action: Identify Twitter users in your field who have large followings, and ask them to tweet their opinions about your product.

6. Offer incentives so people will agree to sign up

Josh says that a website offered visitors a chance to win a scooter if they gave their email addresses, plus more chances to win if they got friends to sign up, and this incentive scheme attracted thousands of new users. Take Action: Offer a reward like an e-book or a raffle entry to website visitors who enter their email addresses, and give additional rewards to people who refer their friends through email or social media.

7. Show gratitude to your customers so they’ll promote you to others

Josh called a customer and thanked him for his business, and the customer consequently promoted KickoffLabs to other startups and got 30 of them to sign up. Take Action: When you still have just a couple hundred customers, call them to thank them personally and ask how you can make your product more useful for them.

8. Make it easy to contact support so customers will trust you

Josh displays a phone number and a feedback button on his support page and doesn’t send any emails from do-not-reply addresses, and this strategy works so well that he convinced the company UserVoice to do the same thing. Take Action: Put support phone numbers and email addresses in a prominent place on your website, and allow customers to reply to all emails you send, even ones that are just routine notifications.

9. Exploit competitors’ weaknesses so you can win over their customers

Josh learned people were dissatisfied that a competitor didn’t offer an unbranded version of its product and had trouble supporting its volume of customers, so he highlighted those things when explaining how KickoffLabs differed from the competition. Take Action: Set up Google Alerts on your competitors, run Twitter searches to see what people are saying about them, and tailor your pitches to emphasize how you succeed where your competitors fall short.

10. Build crazy things to win free publicity and get new customers

Josh made a mock landing page as a joke and shared it with some journalists on Twitter, and the stunt led to one of them writing a story about KickoffLabs that drove website traffic and brought in new customers. Take Action: Design wacky spin-offs of your products and show them to reporters on social media sites.

11. Act like a movement so people will want to help you grow

Josh likes how Andrew opens Mixergy interviews by saying, “Hey, freedom fighters” because that way subscribers identify themselves as the “freedom fighters” and feel like they’re part of a movement of entrepreneurs who are all fighting for the same goals. Take Action: In your marketing efforts, frame your business as a movement that is improving your field or as a community of people who share a purpose.

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