How To Get Your First 1000 Customers


Growth Story is a weekly podcast that breaks down the strategy and tactics utilized by high growth companies, in a short case study format hosted by Scott D. Clary (@scottdclary).

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Welcome to the success story PODCASTS, the most useful podcast in the world. I'm your host, Scotti clary. In today I'm going to break down how to go from zero to a thousand users for a new product in under thirty days. So the reason why I wanted to put this video together was because I saw a video created by Noah Kagan and he broke down the steps that he had used to go from zero to a thousand users for one of his new products. And if you don't know no Okaygan, Noah is the founder of APPSUMO. He is he came from facebook, where he was employee number thirty. After he left facebook, he went on to keep building, keep doing new things. It was actually quite as stories actually quite funny. So he was employment, like I said, employ number thirty at facebook. He was twenty four at the time. He was very proud of his work at facebook and the reason why he got let go from facebook was because he was chronicling and basically blogging everything that he did. So he was on the online on the Internet, publishing at all the successes of facebook, the new products and new launches. The winds got to the point where Zuckerberg actually sat and down and said you can choose. You can either work at facebook or you can do what you're doing, and he chose to do what he's doing. You got fired from facebook and now he he's gone on and built his own thing, his own brand, his own name and definitely his own his own companies. So the video that I stumbled across and I hope to do it justice and break down the steps that he discussed and take that to everybody who's watching here, but also provide some commentary on why the steps that he took worked so well. So he was building hall dropcom. This is one of his many businesses. Like I said, he is the founder of Appsumo, assass market place where people can go and discover great products and find incredible deals...

...for those products. I use it a lot. I love APSUMO and it's very novel concept and no Kagan is just an incredible marketer. So of course half the battle is finding a great idea, but then also the other half of the battles actually take it to market, take the product and build it up and get people to come visit it, try it out, test it and use it. So this is how, after Noah has refined his marketing and take to market strategy for new products. He's built hall dropcom From Zero to thousand users in thirty days. And I know that you may be listening to this and you you thinking, well, this, this is a software strategy, this is a Sass take to market strategy. Not necessarily when you're building a business. A lot of the steps, a lot of the marketing learnings that he actioned when building hall drop from zero to a thousand users, you can also use for building out your business, for selling anything and marketing any thing to anyone. So before he even started marketing anything to do with HAL drop, he focused on the goals, the deadlines and the rewards for hitting those deadlines. And what goals am my speaking about, and talking about his marketing goals, is kpis. As a business owner, you always have to have your kpiser, your key performance indicators, your metrics that indicate whether or not what you're doing is successful and if you don't have those, but you can't improve what you don't measure. But also, to measure something you have to have a goal to define what success looks like, and what Noah did is she defined success as having a thousand users and it seems like having a goal is pretty common sense, but you'd be surprised at how many marketers, how many business people, entrepreneurs whatever, don't set proper goals. They just do stuff hope it works. When it doesn't work, they have no idea why it's not working. so by sending goals and deadlines, he knew exactly what he had to do. And then he also said that if himself and his team achieved this, they were going to buy a thousand dollar bottles...

Scotch. Is a reward because you know, work card play hard, right. So it's good set the goals, set the reward and then you go. So for his first fifty customers, how did Noah get these for hall dropcom, he asked. He didn't invest in marketing, paid ads, he didn't invest in a heavy content creation, calendar posting all over social media. He just started asking. He equates the step to something along the lines of like hand to hand combat. You're going to your customers, you're asking them to find up. You're not sending bulk email blasts. You're finding your customers, your ideal customers. You know who those customers are, and then you are literally asking them to sign up for your product or service, you're asking them to try it out, to buy it, whatever it may be, and you're just reaching into your own network. The one thing whenever I think about this stage of building a business and finding your first fifty customers, there's a quote by an individual by the name of Paul Graham. He's very, very wellknown in the startup community. He writes an entire blog, or you wrote an entire blog, discussing how, when you're starting something, build things that don't scale, build things that you cannot automate, you cannot easily replicate, do work that's hard, work that will find you your first customers, because when you do that, then you actually understand what it takes to find your customers and you'll learn a lot of lessons. When you're doing things that don't scale and when you do find those first fifty customers, are going out, you're personally asking them to test out your product, to order your product, to buy your product. You're getting feedback, you're getting data points, you're getting insights, you're asking them for their feedback because, if you've done this properly, built a great reputation with that person or the are these people these first fifty people. If you already have a product and let's say that you're selling a new product and you have to find your first fifty customers for a new product, you can go and ask existing customers if they want to look at something new that you're building, or you can go to your friends, your family, your peers, and go to your network on Linkedin, you go your network on to twitter. And another iteration of this strategy could... is if you are trying to grow your company's social media for the first time, you're literally going to the people that you know and you're asking them to follow you and to interact with your social accounts. And it's a little bit awkward to ask if you've never done this before, but if you don't ask, you won't get. And the number one skill that every entrepreneur or every person trying to build a business has to have is they have to be able to sell. They have to be able to sell the idea, the concept, the vision. And if you can't even ask somebody to follow your social account, if you can't ask that as a as a friend, you're never going to be able to sell your product. You're never going to be able to grow your business. You're never going to be able to sell your company to potential new employees. You're never going to be able to sell your company to potential new investors. So start getting used to asking if you want to build a business. And the key takeaway from this section is that don't expect things to happen naturally. You have to take action. If you're having trouble getting momentum, don't be passive. Be Active, especially at the get go. Okay, Fifty, two, a hundred customers start to share this section of the growth cycle and a company. Noah calls it buffet marketing. You're sharing everything, you're trying different social media channels to get people involved and engage with your company, trying out your product, going to your website, you're putting out as much content as you can across as many different social media apply platforms as you can. You're experimenting, but you're not paying money yet. You're using free channels to experiment, to put out content as much as possible and you're again you're paying attention, you're observing, you're seeing which channels work the best. You're seeing which audiences your content or your product resonates with. Two strategies that Noah used because he did have other businesses before he tried to grow hall dropcom is. He shared it with his own community, his own company's community. He shared it in his newsletter. He shared it with...

...existing social media accounts, the new you shared the information with a new company. He shared it with creators and influencers, just asking what they thought about it, if they shared it on their own channels. Because again, if you don't ask, then you're not going to get. When you're asking net new customers to share, if you are sharing yourself, if you're sharing within your community, if you're asking small micro creators to share with their own audiences, the worst they can say is no. So now you're not just asking for the person to sign up, you're actually asking for the person to share with their community. Now for the hundred to five hundred customers, this is a little bit more traditional product focused marketing and product focused growth. And when we say product focused marketing, let me explain a little bit about what that means. So there's sort of two ways that you can market a product, with product marketing or product led growth. So now that you have your first users, you have your community, you have people sharing your product. You're sharing your product. Now you want to focus on using your product to market itself. Now, like I said, there's two ways to do that. The traditional way is to just have a great product. If you have the best product in the market, you will attract people who will evangelize your product because it's just so damn good. So it doesn't matter to me if you're selling t shirts, you're selling workout supplements, you're selling software, doesn't matter. The best in class, you will have people who will try your product, will love it so much and who will evangelize it talk all about it. So that is product led growth when you just focus on building such a great product. But there's other ways to market your product as well. So, for example, if you want to actually build marketing into the product, so for a software solution, what that would look like is once somebody signs up, perhaps they get a free month if they share the product on social media, or you build in some sort of affiliate system with the product.

...or it could be if it's more of a direct consumer or DTC or DTC rather product, then you would say, if you share on social media, you get ten percent off when you're purchasing your shirt, for example. So you can build marketing into just creating a great product and that will market the product organically, or you can actually build mark keting into the use or the purchase of the product. But when remember, when you do any sort of product led growth or you focus on product led growth, gimmicks don't work. So if you're going to focus on creating the best product, don't make a gimmicky product. That's asking somebody to share and it doesn't give them any value, financial rewards. Financial value is real, but don't make a gimmicky I don't have it an exact example of what gimmicky looks like, but you kind of know it when you see it and people can smell the BS. So if you are going to ask people to share or to sign up for an affiliate program or if they share their purchase on social media they get a discount or something like that, make it tangible, make it meaningful for the customer. And the last step in a thousand, in your first one thousand customers, is refining. So now you have your first cohort of fifty people. You sold your product to fifty people. You've asked people for the sale you've started to share a little bit more. You've tested out the different social media channels. You've also asked people that you already know to share your product. Now you're focused on incorporating marketing into your product, with product led growth as well as in product marketing. And finally, you just want to start to refine. So now that you've really tested the waters, you have an idea of a few different channels that you've marketed on, a few different ways to market. You've seen what's effective, you've seen what isn't effect if now you were fine and you double down and double down on the things that are working,... can test out different things at this stage. You can test out paid but I would just focus on doubling down on free, organic social creating the best content with the right type of copy, with the right type of targeting or the right type of audience. And that's when you double down. And when you double down on one specific channel, it doesn't mean you're ignoring everything else, but you're definitely giving one channel more focus and everything else, that's when you're really going to start to accelerate because you're doubling down on the channel that's working. One point on this. So as you're trying all these different mediums, different channels, different ways of marketing, and you find some work, some don't, your products going to grow, your company's going to grow. Maybe in six months, even three to six months, try the try the gamut of channels again, try the gamut of marketing activities again, because if something didn't work well for your product when it was earlier on in its life cycle, when your company was a little bit earlier on, the product wasn't as refined or whatever, there's a chance that it could work a little bit later on. So, practical example, maybe your audience right now is on Linkedin, but later on, after you've built that your product that has a few more consumer friendly features or you've changed the you know you have a bigger brand name, you're more recognizable. Maybe you can now try and sell it on facebook or on twitter by building out a larger focus or a heavier content schedule, or you can even invest in some paid ads in different channels. So always be try, like, always be testing, always be seeing what works, seeing what doesn't, doubling down on what works, but then always keeping an open mind that later on in the life of the product or the company. Something that you previously have tested could actually work for you. It just wasn't the right timing. So those are a few great thoughts from no O Kagan on how to get your first thousand customers. A few closing thoughts on how to make sure that you get your first one thousand customers... quickly as possible. Ask. Ask, ask, ask as much as you can. Spam your friends, Spam your family and ask not spam in a negative way, but the get the message out there. Every single entrepreneur ask their friends or their family if they can try out their product or just at least give feedback. Another point is at marketing cannot fix a shitty product. So focus on building a great product and then market it. Great Marketing for a shitty product will only let more people discover the shitty product, but they still won't buy it. Ship as soon as you can to get real time feedback, even if your MVP is just not ready or just not as robust as you'd like. Still ship it, ship it, put it into the market, advertise it, ask your friends about it, ask your family about it, start getting some activity around that initially will MVP product, because if you keep waiting till it's perfect or until it has every single feature of the main competitor, you'll never ship it. So there is something to be said for just shipping a product so that you can get some feedback from the market. And lastly, I mentioned this just a few minutes ago, but different things work at different times. So just because something didn't work when you first launched a product or first built your business, it doesn't mean it won't work later on. So always just keep testing. Listen, Noah is the Master of growth. He's done it multiple times before. So learn some lessons. Although this is definitely focused on more software entrepreneurs and products, these are lessons that are still great marketing lessons for a wider range of business ideas. If you want to start a new product within an existing company, if you want to sell a product or build a business that's not in the software space or it's not as traditional Sass, for example, you have a consumer good or hardware product, these are still great takeaways and definitely go follow and check...

...out Noah Kagan. He puts out tons of great free content. You should definitely take a note from his playbook.

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