You’ve just spent months or years developing your product right? Most likely all on assumptions too. You waited and waited and you finally got that “perfection” you were looking for or at least close. Now you need to get it out there because unlike your assumptions just building it, does not mean they will come. Here is a quick list for getting some sort of immediate traction. I’ve put it in order of lowest hanging fruit (which in my opinion should always include free) to hardest and most cash intensive.
- Set up a landing page to collect emails only. No about us page. Not social media icons. Nothing to distract. Just some simple copy and an email capture form. Avoid asking for name if you can. This can be free if you use services like unbounce.com and mailchimp. You’ll also want to set up a drip campaign if you have the item or service available for purchase. If not just hold onto the emails for now.
- Email your friends and family with the link to the landing page. Be straight and tell them the truth. “I just started a new business and I’m looking for traction”. Make sure to have a call to action for them to go to your landing page but also to share this with someone that is relevant and could benefit from what you’re offering.
- Email acquaintances something similar as your friends and family. It’s important to be quick and to the point. Directly ask for what you want. Don’t dance around.
- Post to your personal social media pages. Don’t worry about getting likes or followers on the business pages yet. All you want are those precious email sign ups because they typically represent a more targeted acquisition.
- Go to reddit and mark the 3 primary subreddits to tell your story. I like to start with r/startups always because it’s a group of entrepreneurs and early adopters. DO NOT ADVERTISE. You want to actually share the events to date. You can put a link at the very end but you should not be asking for anything other than feedback or advice.
- Start breaking down reddit further. Where does your specific target live on reddit? What subreddits do they use? Just like trade shows there’s a subreddit for everything.
- Facebook groups are usually overlooked but you have huge targeting abilities with facebook groups and it’s free to post. Sometimes you’ll need to be approved by you’d be surprised how much traction can come from FB groups.
- Email friend, family, and acquaintances again. This time ask if they can refer you to anyone? That’s all you’ll want to say. Don’t ask if they signed up, etc. Make sure to write out the referral email for them.
- Respond to tweets complaining about your competitor or asking for advice.
- Direct message relevant people on linkedin. This is such an underused option for most people. Don’t be scared to do the cold approach because it works.
- Bonus: Pick up the phone!!! With any venture or project the more proactive you are the better you’ll do. It takes time to become viral. In the beginning you need to kick it off.
If you’ve done this even remotely well you’ll start noticing intended actions trickling in. Maybe it’s in the form of email signups or sales. Either way both of these are extremely important to taking your business to the next step. To capitalize on the emails I would suggest setting up a drip campaign. You want to avoid the shameless self promotion as much as possible. People start to view it as spam after a while. You’ll get a good response at first (maybe) and then it will quickly move to trolls getting pissed off at you. Be very aware of your messaging and positioning even at this phase. It’s much more important to gain feedback than to gain short term sales. Avoid heavy discounts and coupons to start. It will end up hurting you in the long run and making you rely on it. It should be your goal to determine what is holding people back from buying what you have to offer and addressing that issue. The price is irrelevant if the person has convinced themselves to buy.
Avoid spending money until you really need to. There should never be a moment that you don’t know what to do. If you get stuck start making some quality freebie content. E-Books, videos, calendars, powerpoint presentation templates. These are new reasons to reach out to the same people you reached out to in the first place.