Go From “My Business Sucks… to … My Business is Awesome!”
Disclaimer: The goal of this article is to offer an un-modified view of growth potential for your business. And while we can’t tell you what will work for your business, we hope that you can learn a lot from what’s always worked, what’s working (and not working) for reputable and successful online companies.
The first 1,000 customers to your business will be challenging and will cause you to grow as a business owner more than you ever thought possible. Growing to earn your first 1,000 customers is always going to be a trial and error process, but also a process that will be the most revealing about your personal determination and the capacity for your businesses growth.
In this article we are going to be giving you the best research results available on how to reach 1,000 customers on less than $100 a month in business expenses.
We cannot ensure success for every business (after all, each business owner is different with different levels of dedication), but this approach will be the foundation of your business’s longevity.
After you’ve launched your new business or e-commerce store, it is reasonable to ride on the exciting feeling that customers are soon going to be buying products left and right, simply because you are now ‘open’ and posting on social media.
Celebrate for a moment, and then get back to work. Just because you have launched a website, and posted on social media does not ensure that customers will ever find your site or even care to look for you.
Preparing structure for your online business is only the beginning; now you must entice customers.
The adventure to 1,000 customers will reveal exactly what your specific business thrives on and what you need to trim away. As you identify what works and doesn’t work you will need to be able to act quickly and make decisions decisively.
So why did we choose to teach you everything we know about getting your first 1,000 customers?
At IMU we know that your first 1,000 customers are going to give you the foundation you need in the enormous online world to establish your brand, your niche customers, and to outlast a great majority of your competitors.
Another apparent reason? 1,000 customers not only fund your business, but gives the business longevity as well. 1,000 customers mean a great deal of repeat and word of mouth business (which you understand fuels the business!)
So let’s get started! Here’s Everything You Need to Get Your first 1,000 Customers on Less than $100 a Month Budget
Build Your Brand
COST: FREE to create content on Facebook Live and Periscope. Keep reading, as we discuss blog and website costs.
The first step to securing 1,000 customers is to definitively establish and build your personal brand. Have you ever heard the saying “people trust experts?”
It’s the truth right? We automatically trust people who show us they are the experts; therefore, you must prove to your audience that you are the expert; plain and simple.
First step of building your brand; do you plan on writing or speaking for your content creation? Either way you choose (we highly suggest that video be a strong point of your marketing plan), you must develop an air of confidence. Confidence, expert content based on solid research, and proof (customer testimonials or other statistics) shows the audience you are the expert and that is the only way to get them to buy.
Creating quality expert content takes time, practice, and a lot of research. The better your research and preparation, the more comfortable you will feel when it is time to talk to and convince your audience that you are, indeed, the expert.
A blog is a good place to enhance your expertise. Turning your live videos into expert blog content, will be an excellent way to attract customers from a Google search. The better your content, the more likely you are to be found by your ideal customer and grow up to thousands of customers. Blogs continue to be the most solid practice for business growth available. It is a long term strategy but one that is tested, tried and true.
Define Customer Avatar
Finding YOUR identity through determining your CUSTOMER
After you have launched your business, you must spend a good amount of time looking at your content and determining who will best benefit from what you know and what products you sell.
This exercise should make something very clear: does your content focus on a specific customer? Are you being unique for that one specific niche of customer? If you have been creating content to attract any and all customers, you are not unique and subsequently you are attracting nobody.
If you lack a customer avatar (a clear picture of who your customer is) then your business lacks identity.
Define a customer and tell your story based solely on who you are now selling to. Learn as much as you can from customer research, find out who your competition is and if they are successfully marketing to this customer avatar. Find customer approaches that helped your competitors attract customers, apply them to your personal brand and customer content that proves to your customer that you are unique and a perfect fit for them.
Building a Keyword Database
This is an obvious no-brainer to be found by your now clearly defined customer. The better your keywords, and search engine optimization, the quicker you will reach enough to people to build a 1,000 customer database. You might read some blog posts and think you need a big keyword database, like a 50,000 keyword deep database! Say what?!?!?!
While this number is enough to turn 99% of new and not so new business owners away, the main point here is that you want to leave no stone un-turned. While we do not advise that you go lock yourself in a room for 6 months and find 50,000 keywords specific to your audience and industry, you do want to keep it in the forefront of your mind to continually be on the hunt for more keywords.
Search queries change all the time, our customers are living people, so it only makes sense that they will constantly be looking for information using different questions.
If your goal is to reach 1,000 customers, and it must be since you are reading this article, now is the time to get creative with search query combinations.
To start your keyword research, you need to go through all your target customer search categories, and you might find a couple dozen good keywords and long tail keywords (LTK’s). LTK’s are long questions in sentence form that very serious searchers are looking for on search engines. The people who use LTK’s are people looking to buy now.
The next step is to identify the top 100 highest search volume terms within your couple dozen search terms above and notate the top 100 URL’s that are ranking high on the pages of any given search engine.
Last step is to evaluate the customer opportunities for each keyword and only focus on using the soid keywords in your content to grow traffic.
Basically you start with customers who are ready to buy right now, and build expert level content using only those keywords. Using this method will generate a minimum level of traffic in 3 months or less, with a zero-dollar investment.
Stay aware of industry specific phrases (LTK’s) and topics that you notice generating a lot of traffic, these will continually be changing and you want to stay on the cutting edge of content creation.
Set up Virtual Store Front
COST: $20-$30+ a year for a Domain Name (GoDaddy.com)
$9.99 a month hosting on HostGator
$10-$49+ for a Website theme on ThemeForest
What is the #1 must have for any business to get to their first 1,000 customers? A great business website and / or Blog.
All successful business that have reached and surpassed the 1,000 customer mark have 2 things in common on their website / blogs:
A ton of free value for their audience.
Remember us talking about #1 Building your Brand as the expert? This is how you do it, deliver a ton of value for free on your website / blog.
A great unique selling proposition.
Take a look back up at # 2, defining your customer avatar. You build a great unique selling proposition to them by knowing how you are unique and what they want.
If your website / blog doesn’t deliver massive value to your users, then no amount of growth strategies will help you secure those first 1,000 customers.
Your topics must be useful to your audience, they must be looking for what have (keyword database), and you must put useable expert advice on the front stage. You have to be living the life that you are selling in your products.
If you want those first 1,000 customers, you must build a great website / blog that offers great content based on your customer avatar and proves that you care about their happiness.
COST: (+/-) $35 a month for an email Autoresponder like Aweber
Your first 1,000 customers will not be made up entirely of google searchers. They will be harvested from your lead stockpile that you have been collecting and nurturing for a while.
To be successful at generating leads you must stay diligent at discovering, listening and engaging with social media audience members. This is where your customers are going to be speaking honestly and plainly about what they want and need.
In order to turn them into a lead, and ultimately a customer, you must understand what they want.
Be found in the exact place your customer is already hanging out. Post and follow hashtags on different social networks like Instagram or Facebook to learn the problems your audience needs to solve and what they are looking for in a product like yours.
Let’s talk one last time on the importance of being the expert. Most business owners who never make the 1,000 customer mark, underestimated what they could teach others. What seems obvious to you about your products and services will be unknown to your customers. Be the expert by sharing your life story, why you trust your products, and share customer testimonials, you will now position yourself as valuable in new customer’s lives.
Cost: $1 a day for social media advertising – to unlimited professional amounts (when good at advertising)
Any new business will struggle in the early days to drive the amount of traffic that results in 1,000 customers. At IMU we encourage you to document all the ways you have tried and succeeded, and tried and failed, to drive traffic.
Over 6 months you will see a pattern emerge that tells you how the topics and locations that suit your unique customer avatar. When you have documented locations, you will want to start plugging it into your Google AdWords account, Facebook Ads account, etc.
Before you every try and drive traffic to your website make sure that you have easy to find information, targeted valuable content, expert level solutions, and a focused appearance on your website or blog that clearly lets your customer know “what’s in it for them”.
Bottom line? To drive traffic, you must know what you customer is looking for and where your customer is looking at. When you know this, you will run ads to those locations.
In your goal to reach 1,000 customers, you must start on social media but drive leads back to your polished and put together home on the internet, your website.
When you stop and think about it, just saying that you are starting a business and going for it, is much crazier than it seems.
The good news is that you have a focused plan to generate the 1,000 customers that will solidify your business as a true player in your industry. Putting the steps into place that we have given you in this article is a great way to validate your approach before you feel like throwing in the towel.
Remember to document every scrap of information you gather about your business. This will improve your content in the process. The best part is that every step we listed about equals about $100 a month and are proven strategies that anyone can use (thousands of online companies already do) to generate your first 1,000 customers.