Every web design startup has one major challenge initially- How to acquire new customers?
And while it’s easy enough to determine that new customers are vital, attracting, converting and retaining them is not less than winning a war. It’s because very few people are familiar with your products, services, and brand. As a result, business owners have to employ the best of the best customer acquisition strategies for startups to even experience a sliver of success. In order to promote the acquisition of customers for your startup, here are top 16 proven strategies:
1- Media Publicity – Publicity is very much required to put your name out there. There could be many channels through which a web-design startup can do publicity. For example-via traditional media outlets like news outlets, TV and through print media like newspapers, magazines etc.
2- Unconventional Public Relations – There are two major ways one can apply an unconventional PR. The first one is a publicity stunt. A publicity stunt is anything that is engineered to get media coverage, for example, one can introduce some offbeat features/offers and gain media attention. The second type of unconventional PR is customer appreciation. That could be small, more scalable actions (like holding contests or sending handwritten notes to customers) that both increase reputation as well as generates press coverage.
3- SEM (Search Engine Marketing) – Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to placing advertisements on search engines like Google, where online marketers spend a bomb every day.
4- Online advertisements – Display ads are the banner ads that you see on Web sites all over the Internet. Social ads are the ads on social media websites like Facebook, twitter etc. and are one the most popular way to promote your product lately.
5- Offline Advertisements – Even after so much of digitalization, advertisers a lot on offline ads apart from the online ones. There are many kinds of offline ads — TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, yellow pages, billboards, and direct mail.
6- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – In this ear, almost all the internet users turn to search engines for answers. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your ranking in search engines in order to get more traffic towards your website.
7- Content Marketing – Having good content on your website is great but unless you market it well, it’s futile. Popular websites have copywriters who write magnetic headlines, persuasive landing pages, and conversion-driven emails. Posts that receive hundreds of comments, lead to major publicity and result in thousands of shares. This massive engagement leads to massive growth.
8- Email Marketing – Email marketing is one of the best ways to convert prospects while retaining and monetizing existing customers. Email marketing is a personal channel. Email marketing works best when the messages are customized as per the user’s needs.
9- Viral Marketing – Viral marketing consists of growing your customer base by taking referrals from existing customers. In the context of startups, literally “going viral” means that every user you acquire brings in at least one other user. That new user then invites at least one other user, and so on. This creates true exponential growth. Though difficult to sustain, it’s been the driving force behind the explosive growth of consumer startups like Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp.
10- Affiliate Programs – An affiliate program is an arrangement where you pay people or companies for performing certain actions like making a sale or getting a qualified lead. Companies like Amazon, Zappos, eBay, Orbitz, and Netflix use affiliate programs to drive significant portions of their revenue. In fact, affiliate programs are the core traction channel for many e-commerce stores, information products, and membership programs.
11- Trade Shows – Trade shows offer you the opportunity to showcase your products in person. These events are often exclusive to industry insiders and are designed to foster interactions between vendors and their prospects.
12- Conferences and Events – Sponsoring or running offline events like meet-ups or public conferences can primarily lead to traction. Offline events give you the opportunity to engage directly with potential customers about their problems. Such events are especially important when your target customers do not respond well to online advertising and do not have a natural place to congregate online. Attracting these customers to one location or going to a place where they meet in person can be the most effective way to reach them.
13- Community Building – Community building involves investing in creating, growing and maintaining real selfless connections among your customers, fostering those relationships and encouraging them to bring more people into your startup’s circle. For example Companies like Wikipedia and Stack Exchange have grown by forming passionate communities around their products.
14- Analytics– Building an online business without utilizing analytics is like driving with your eyes closed. There are lots of online tools available for the designers to keep a track of the visitors they have on their website like Google Analytics, Mixpanel etc.
15- Start a blog: A blog could be the best way to talk about your work, process, and portfolio. One can also put in client’s testimonials to build more credibility among the first time visitors.
16- Go the extra mile: The biggest advantage a business can have is the personal touch. So whenever possible, take the extra step to set yourself apart.
Below are some examples:
- Demo Website: Instead of directly jumping into telling people that you can build them a website, give them a mini mock work of the site they are looking for. Most of the prospects will respond positively.
- Human touch: Once your email address (or contact form) is out there on your website, you become immune to seeing bad cold emails for SEO, web development services, graphics and everything else. It’s always better to send top 20 target businesses a customized letter and t will be more effective than emailing 1,000 with a generic template.
- Thorough Research: The more you can make it about them, the better. Check out their current website, see how long they’ve been in business, find out if they are active on social media, etc.
- Follow Up: There are so many distractions in today’s world which can make people forget things. If they showed an interest in working with you but you don’t hear from them again, it never hurts to touch base after a day or two. One can send a brief email to understand what is holding them back from making a decision.
While considering these 16 traction channels, try your best not to dismiss them as irrelevant for your company. Each traction channel has worked for startups of all kinds and phases and don’t let the right channel become an underutilized one.
Winning customers is more of a creative as well as analytical task. You have to put together all the data points, analyze your customers’ behavior and mindset, and devise a campaign that is creative and informative and exudes innovation.
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