How To Get Your First 1000 Customers

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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 thousandusers for a new product in under thirty days. So the reason why Iwanted to put this video together was because I saw a video created by NoahKagan and he broke down the steps that he had used to go from zeroto a thousand users for one of his new products. And if you don'tknow no Okaygan, Noah is the founder of APPSUMO. He is he camefrom facebook, where he was employee number thirty. After he left facebook,he went on to keep building, keep doing new things. It was actuallyquite 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 gotlet go from facebook was because he was chronicling and basically blogging everything that hedid. So he was on the online on the Internet, publishing at allthe successes of facebook, the new products and new launches. The winds gotto 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, andhe chose to do what he's doing. You got fired from facebook and nowhe he's gone on and built his own thing, his own brand, hisown name and definitely his own his own companies. So the video that Istumbled across and I hope to do it justice and break down the steps thathe discussed and take that to everybody who's watching here, but also provide somecommentary on why the steps that he took worked so well. So he wasbuilding hall dropcom. This is one of his many businesses. Like I said, he is the founder of Appsumo, assass market place where people can goand discover great products and find incredible deals...

...for those products. I use ita lot. I love APSUMO and it's very novel concept and no Kagan isjust an incredible marketer. So of course half the battle is finding a greatidea, but then also the other half of the battles actually take it tomarket, take the product and build it up and get people to come visitit, try it out, test it and use it. So this ishow, after Noah has refined his marketing and take to market strategy for newproducts. 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 taketo market strategy. Not necessarily when you're building a business. A lot ofthe steps, a lot of the marketing learnings that he actioned when building halldrop from zero to a thousand users, you can also use for building outyour business, for selling anything and marketing any thing to anyone. So beforehe even started marketing anything to do with HAL drop, he focused on thegoals, the deadlines and the rewards for hitting those deadlines. And what goalsam my speaking about, and talking about his marketing goals, is kpis.As a business owner, you always have to have your kpiser, your keyperformance indicators, your metrics that indicate whether or not what you're doing is successfuland 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 definewhat success looks like, and what Noah did is she defined success as havinga 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. soby 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, theywere going to buy a thousand dollar bottles...

Scotch. Is a reward because youknow, 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'tinvest in marketing, paid ads, he didn't invest in a heavy content creation, calendar posting all over social media. He just started asking. He equatesthe step to something along the lines of like hand to hand combat. You'regoing to your customers, you're asking them to find up. You're not sendingbulk email blasts. You're finding your customers, your ideal customers. You know whothose customers are, and then you are literally asking them to sign upfor your product or service, you're asking them to try it out, tobuy it, whatever it may be, and you're just reaching into your ownnetwork. The one thing whenever I think about this stage of building a businessand finding your first fifty customers, there's a quote by an individual by thename 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 thatyou cannot automate, you cannot easily replicate, do work that's hard, work thatwill find you your first customers, because when you do that, thenyou actually understand what it takes to find your customers and you'll learn a lotof lessons. When you're doing things that don't scale and when you do findthose first fifty customers, are going out, you're personally asking them to test outyour product, to order your product, to buy your product. You're gettingfeedback, you're getting data points, you're getting insights, you're asking themfor their feedback because, if you've done this properly, built a great reputationwith that person or the are these people these first fifty people. If youalready have a product and let's say that you're selling a new product and youhave to find your first fifty customers for a new product, you can goand 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, andgo to your network on Linkedin, you go your network on to twitter. And another iteration of this strategy could...

...be is if you are trying togrow your company's social media for the first time, you're literally going to thepeople that you know and you're asking them to follow you and to interact withyour social accounts. And it's a little bit awkward to ask if you've neverdone this before, but if you don't ask, you won't get. Andthe number one skill that every entrepreneur or every person trying to build a businesshas to have is they have to be able to sell. They have tobe able to sell the idea, the concept, the vision. And ifyou can't even ask somebody to follow your social account, if you can't askthat as a as a friend, you're never going to be able to sellyour product. You're never going to be able to grow your business. You'renever going to be able to sell your company to potential new employees. You'renever going to be able to sell your company to potential new investors. Sostart getting used to asking if you want to build a business. And thekey takeaway from this section is that don't expect things to happen naturally. Youhave 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 acompany. Noah calls it buffet marketing. You're sharing everything, you're trying differentsocial media channels to get people involved and engage with your company, trying outyour product, going to your website, you're putting out as much content asyou can across as many different social media apply platforms as you can. You'reexperimenting, 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 whichaudiences your content or your product resonates with. Two strategies that Noah used because hedid have other businesses before he tried to grow hall dropcom is. Heshared it with his own community, his own company's community. He shared itin his newsletter. He shared it with...

...existing social media accounts, the newyou 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 ontheir own channels. Because again, if you don't ask, then you're notgoing to get. When you're asking net new customers to share, if youare sharing yourself, if you're sharing within your community, if you're asking smallmicro 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 thehundred to five hundred customers, this is a little bit more traditional product focusedmarketing and product focused growth. And when we say product focused marketing, letme explain a little bit about what that means. So there's sort of twoways 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 wantto 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 havea great product. If you have the best product in the market, youwill 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 workoutsupplements, you're selling software, doesn't matter. The best in class, you willhave people who will try your product, will love it so much and whowill evangelize it talk all about it. So that is product led growth whenyou just focus on building such a great product. But there's other waysto market your product as well. So, for example, if you want toactually build marketing into the product, so for a software solution, whatthat would look like is once somebody signs up, perhaps they get a freemonth if they share the product on social media, or you build in somesort of affiliate system with the product.

...or it could be if it's moreof 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'repurchasing your shirt, for example. So you can build marketing into just creatinga great product and that will market the product organically, or you can actuallybuild mark keting into the use or the purchase of the product. But whenremember, when you do any sort of product led growth or you focus onproduct led growth, gimmicks don't work. So if you're going to focus oncreating the best product, don't make a gimmicky product. That's asking somebody toshare 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 ofwhat gimmicky looks like, but you kind of know it when you see itand people can smell the BS. So if you are going to ask peopleto share or to sign up for an affiliate program or if they share theirpurchase on social media they get a discount or something like that, make ittangible, make it meaningful for the customer. And the last step in a thousand, in your first one thousand customers, is refining. So now you haveyour 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 thatyou already know to share your product. Now you're focused on incorporating marketing intoyour product, with product led growth as well as in product marketing. Andfinally, you just want to start to refine. So now that you've reallytested the waters, you have an idea of a few different channels that you'vemarketed 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 anddouble down on the things that are working,...

...you can test out different things atthis stage. You can test out paid but I would just focus ondoubling down on free, organic social creating the best content with the right typeof 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 onespecific channel, it doesn't mean you're ignoring everything else, but you're definitely givingone channel more focus and everything else, that's when you're really going to startto accelerate because you're doubling down on the channel that's working. One point onthis. So as you're trying all these different mediums, different channels, differentways of marketing, and you find some work, some don't, your productsgoing 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 foryour product when it was earlier on in its life cycle, when your companywas 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 featuresor you've changed the you know you have a bigger brand name, you're morerecognizable. Maybe you can now try and sell it on facebook or on twitterby building out a larger focus or a heavier content schedule, or you caneven 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 thatlater on in the life of the product or the company. Something that youpreviously 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 toget your first thousand customers. A few closing thoughts on how to make surethat you get your first one thousand customers...

...as 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 getthe message out there. Every single entrepreneur ask their friends or their family ifthey can try out their product or just at least give feedback. Another pointis at marketing cannot fix a shitty product. So focus on building a great productand then market it. Great Marketing for a shitty product will only letmore people discover the shitty product, but they still won't buy it. Shipas soon as you can to get real time feedback, even if your MVPis just not ready or just not as robust as you'd like. Still shipit, ship it, put it into the market, advertise it, askyour friends about it, ask your family about it, start getting some activityaround that initially will MVP product, because if you keep waiting till it's perfector until it has every single feature of the main competitor, you'll never shipit. So there is something to be said for just shipping a product sothat you can get some feedback from the market. And lastly, I mentionedthis 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 builtyour business, it doesn't mean it won't work later on. So always justkeep testing. Listen, Noah is the Master of growth. He's done itmultiple times before. So learn some lessons. Although this is definitely focused on moresoftware entrepreneurs and products, these are lessons that are still great marketing lessonsfor a wider range of business ideas. If you want to start a newproduct within an existing company, if you want to sell a product or builda 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 stillgreat takeaways and definitely go follow and check...

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

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