This is a follow up to an article I wrote about why the advice "Build it and they will come" is bad for startups. If you haven't checked that out, I recommend giving it a readthrough either before or after you start this article for more relevant marketing strategies for early stage startups.
When you're launching a digital product, the challenge of getting your first 100 users is an intimidating one. However, once you have gotten over this first hurdle, you should have a good idea of what it will take to scale things further.
Before you put your digital product out there, ask yourself these questions:
- Who should I market to?
- Where should I advertise?
- Which platforms are most relevant to my product?
- What strategy would be most effective?
- When would be the best time to market my product or service?
After answering these questions, you will, more or less, have an idea of what you should do before you launch. Increasing brand awareness and setting brand authority may be tricky, but these are necessary steps that will greatly influence your outcome.
That said, this article will discuss a few strategies on how you can market your digital product and get your first 100 users. There are a bunch of different tips and suggestions out there, but I've narrowed it down to the most relevant ones for new SaaS Platforms.
Let’s dive in!
Know Your Product
Before anything else, you must know everything about your digital product. What is its purpose? Which sector of the community is it most relevant to? Can they afford it? What are the features that would help your target customers the most?
Having answers to these questions will help you create an effective digital marketing strategy. Simply put, you can't precisely employ a full-blown marketing campaign without first getting to know your product as well as your potential users.
Create A Prospect List Before Your Launch Date
One of the oldest tricks in the book is asking for your audience's information. Incentivize contributing to your prospect list by providing freebies such as coupons and giveaways. Once you have your database, send out regular but relevant newsletters. You can update them on your project, disseminate relevant information, and generate overall hype for your product. This way, you’re slowly but surely creating a customer base even before your actual launch date.
But how, exactly, do you find your audience? How can you ascertain product-market fit and ensure that there’s already a demand before you launch your minimum viable product? The answer lies in online platforms and communities like Product Hunt and Reddit.
If you're a new company launching your first digital product or service, then Product Hunt is a godsend. Founded by Ryan Hoover, Product Hunt is a website where users can share and discover new digital products.
Products gain traction on the website through votes and honest reviews by real users. The Product Hunt community comprises over 600,000 email subscribers, making it one of the best ways to jump-start your product launch or campaign.
Reddit is another excellent social media platform to launch your product. Similar to Product Hunt, products posted on Reddit gain traction through upvotes. Customer engagement is critical here. You want to keep the thread as active and relevant as possible. With over 330 million users, you can quickly get your first 100 users just on this platform alone.
When you are on Reddit, you want to create a reliable, trustworthy, and friendly persona. Your first goal is to solve people's problems. Marketing your product or service comes second. We are all bombarded with thousands of advertisements on a daily basis -- so much so that our brains have effectively blocked out most of them.
Generic ads and copy will be ineffective in swaying your target audience to convert into loyal customers. There's a high chance that your posts will be ignored. As such, lending a helping hand before advertising is crucial if you want to stay relevant on this platform.
Don’t Shy Away From Conventional Media
Even though we're already in the Digital Age, we still can't deny the merits of traditional advertising. We’re not telling you to print a ton of flyers and posters to give away -- we’re talking about digital products after all. However, marketing tools that may be seen as more conventional still work. A great example? Media mentions and press releases.
Set a launch date and generate hype on all media channels. If you have the resources, try to get press outlets to give you a shout out. The general rule of thumb is to come up with a 6-week media plan. Scale your media strategy. Each week must be bigger than the last.
Pay Attention To SEO
In the 21st century, having a website for your company is a must. Aside from having a functional website that offers a hassle-free user experience, it is also imperative that your website is search engine optimized. SEO increases online traffic and conversion rates in your sales funnel, so make sure to have this aspect of your marketing strategy handled.
Use Facebook and Other Social Media Websites To Create Hype
Facebook has over 2.7 billion users globally. With such a huge user base, it would be a waste for you not to use it to your advantage. You should build a consistent social media presence that you can use to establish personal relationships with your leads, prospects, and future customers. Additionally, Facebook ads are known to be successful in creating a loyal customer base that you can specifically target.
These days, narrated video ads are big on Facebook, so it would make sense for you to get on that train. It doesn’t have to be a big production (although you certainly could if you have the resources to pull it off). There are a bunch of platforms out there offering cartoon clips and whiteboard animations at an affordable price, so coming up with a short but captivating video ad should be more than achievable.
Provide Free Resources
Nothing piques people's attention more than a huge discount. Make your audience think that they're getting more when they buy your product now. Your chances of converting them into loyal customers exponentially increase when you give out free resources. Some examples include 10% off coupons, one-month off a yearly subscription, or even a free trial.
Consider your first 100 users as your control group. Ask them for honest reviews, and then optimize and upgrade your digital product accordingly. You can also try creating an affiliate program where existing customers can gain an incentive for every new customer that they bring. Despite the emergence of thousands of new marketing strategies, word of mouth remains to be one of the most powerful tools for a company to have.
Try Influencer Marketing
Influencers are authoritative figures in your industry. Tapping them to give your company a shoutout will provide you with quick and easy online traffic. The first step, of course, is to identify a suitable influencer in your industry. For instance, if your product is a new game, you can partner with someone who has a huge Twitch or YouTube following.
Launching your digital product can be daunting, especially in the face of tough competition.
To separate yourself from the rest, you’ve got to put in the work. The good news is you don’t have to go into this blindly. The strategies discussed above should provide you with a good starting point towards getting your first 100 customers. The key here is to wisely plan, optimize, and execute.
If you're anything like me, you have a lot of ideas but not enough time to work on them.
I created the 8/1 rule to help other full time employees find the time to work for themselves. Check out the article below to learn how to use the 8/1 rule effectively.