Entrepreneurs selling online will soon find out if they don't have customers, they don't have a business. Getting the first customer is excellent, but your business will always remain a hobby until you can get past the 100 customer mark.
Here are four steps to getting your first 100 online customers.
Build your customer profile.
As an entrepreneur, you need to know who your customer is and build your customer profile. A customer profile consists of demographics (age, income, and gender) and psychographics (values, opinions, attitudes, and lifestyles). What are things your customer cares about? What other brands or services do they use or shop at? How do they shop? Understanding your customer profile helps you make better marketing and sales decisions.
Understand the marketing funnel.
There are many layers to the marketing funnel. But in its simplest form, the marketing funnel is an upside-down triangle that starts up top at awareness, then moves down to consideration, and finally, purchase. It is a funnel because it begins with awareness and funnels down to purchase.
The marketing funnel is important because there is a marketing rule of seven that states that people need to "hear" the advertiser's message at least seven times before they'll take action to buy that product or service.
Entrepreneurs often think that people will buy after the first email or the first Facebook ad they see. In fact, people need multiple rounds of hearing from a business before actually making a buying decision.
Create messaging and strategy for each part of the marketing funnel.
The messaging for someone who is not aware of your product will be different from the messaging of someone who has heard of your product and is considering buying it. When someone moves down the marketing funnel, they will have different needs. As a result, they will need other messaging to meet those needs.
Getting the same message repeatedly once someone has reached the consideration phase of the marketing funnel will become less and less effective.
Similarly, entrepreneurs need to think through the strategies to reach people in each part of the marketing funnel. How will you find new customers that have never heard about you? Some approaches to consider are Facebook and Google ads, influencer marketing, public relationships, or TikTok posts.
After they hear about you, how will you continue to market to them until they purchase? Many companies use SMS and email marketing to help people move down the marketing funnel to finally purchase.
The marketing funnel is a funnel: You start with many folks gaining awareness, which moves down to a smaller amount considering buying, and then an even smaller amount to buying.
But what is the conversion rate as people move down each part of the marketing funnel? For each stage of the marketing funnel, figure out the conversion rate and the cost involved. For example, if 2 percent of people in the consideration phase move down to purchase, you need 5,000 people in the consideration phase. From there, also figure out the cost involved in converting someone to be a purchaser. Do the same from awareness to consideration.
And here's where you need to start thinking about the marketing funnel strategically. How can I get my costs lower? How can I drive up the conversion rate? Is my marketing funnel profitable?
These are the four steps to getting your first 100 customers. It involves constant reiteration and testing. But once you understand these steps, it provides a helpful model for your business's scaling and growth.