If you pick up a free marketing guide, you will find some tried and tested methods. But most of the ideas are inspired by big brands with large marketing budgets. A start-up may love to adopt a proven method and get to their first customers quickly. But that may sink their marketing budget and the idea may not find synergy with the start up’s DNA. The effort may eventually tank. If you really want to see results shun the age-old marketing tactics and get innovative.
Here are 3 things you can definitely do to get to your first few customers:
1. Think local: Don’t start thinking about Google and getting to the world yet. Do the people in your vicinity know you? Narrow down your geography and then make maximum imprints there. Be everywhere and let everyone know you. Yes, don’t think about your target audience yet. Even if somebody is not your customer, he/she can be an influencer or an advocate. Paint the walls, give out newspaper inserts, get referrals and sponsor a local event. And even if it looks silly, wear your branded t-shirt often. Make several designs if you like. But don’t miss an opportunity to market even subtly.
2. Give a face to your business: You may have a great business name but let your personal brand overshadow it initially. Your business may be a few months old. You have been around for a year now and people know you as a good neighbour, a good employee, a good student, a good relative and a good human being. Capitalize on your credentials. Let the first 10 customers be from your close-knit community. If your product is great, they will spread the word for you. The more, the merrier. Don’t make a common mistake start-ups make. They keep their business under wraps because they fear failure and social embarrassment. Shout out loud. Give your business a fair chance to succeed with the backing of your personal brand.
3. Be a hero: After the initial kick-start, you must bring your brand to the forefront. Build its credentials. Let people associate it with human qualities like kind and respectful. How do you do that? Save the day. If there are floods in your locality and you are burger seller, give away for free. That is a lot better than sponsoring a mega event for 10 times the money.