Most founders don't know how to get their first few customers that aren't family or friends. They might even expect shoppers to line up in drones once they turn on their Shopify store. Usually, that's NOT how it rolls out. Likely, your first few customers will probably be the HARDEST ones you will have to get. The great news is that these customers are gold once you find them.
Customers need to be nurtured.
Customers need to trust your brand.
Customers need to feel safe purchasing your product.
Customers need to feel like their money is well spent.
Customers need to feel like your product solves the problem they have.
So how do you start lining these customers up and get them ready to click buy?
Landing pages are a great way to get the word out and gather email contact info from your audience. Usually, a landing page offers some benefits for the person signing up, like a discount on your product or the first opportunity to buy, exclusive content, contests, etc. However, people are cautious about sharing their email. So you need to make it enticing enough for them to want it bad enough to drop their details.
I get stoked about email because it's easily the best marketing channel you can use for your business regarding direct cost and return on investment. For example, a 2,000-person email list will likely cost you around $10-$30 per month. However, if used strategically, it could net you as much as 30 to 50% of your sales with very little extra investment other than your own time (or someone else's.)
Social media is another excellent tool to help get the word out and share what you're doing. Capitalize on stories and tell your first customers what you're up to before you're even ready to sell anything. Don't forget to ask them for their opinions as you make decisions. People love to feel included in the process.
You can start building your social media audience as early as 3 or 4 months out from launching the product. Depending on how you engage with them, even a more extended time can work. Social media is great for making customers feel safer and more secure buying from you. It creates a chain of evidence that you are out there, doing what you say you're doing, interacting with your community, and legitimizes your brand.
Your network is another great way to get the word out about something going on. Never underestimate the strength of weak ties.
Many people would be happy to support you if ONLY they knew you were working on something. So inform your network, your friends, and your family. I dare you to go one step further and ask them to share with a friend or two they believe might be interested in your product. You will be surprised by your own reach.
Another way to get the word out before you launch? Get someone to write or talk about you and your brand. Getting an article feature is a little trickier than you think because it's about what is trending in the news cycle and what people want to read. It's not just a product placement; you have to think bigger. It's about the way you can finesse something that will captivate readers. Media is all about relevancy. Make sure whatever story you pitch is relevant to the audience and weaves a compelling story.
There's a website called HelpAReporterOut.com, otherwise known as HARO. On the HARO website, you can sign up to get leads on stories that writers are seeking contributors for so you can pitch your own angle. Remember to keep it super relevant and don't be super salesy, or you'll lose them every time.
Getting someone to talk about you may be an easier route. Podcasts are hot right now. There are sooo many out there. If you’re looking for someone to host you, II suggest searching for shows with a similar audience to your brand. For example, if your brand is all about sustainability, look for a podcast that covers this topic. Podcasts are a plus because having an interview where listeners can actually hear your voice will help them connect with you. In addition, it’s a more intimate way to share your story.
Another great trick is to partner with an existing brand with a similar target audience but in a different commercial space. Early-stage partnerships like this might be a challenge because you won't have much to offer the existing brand to start. Still, you can always think of creative ways to negotiate. ;)
Remember that the key to success here is to start communicating with your customer before you have a product to sell. Establishing this bond early on and nurturing it is critical. By leveraging the launch strategies above effectively, by the time you open your doors or Shopify, you’ll already have some soon-to-be raving fans. In that case, your customers are already going to love you, support you, and most importantly, want what you’re selling.
Which launch strategy are you most excited to test out? Let us know in the comments.
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