- Your approach to customer acquisition is going to vary dramatically based on the type of product that you have. If you have a business-to-business software product, there's going to be a set of techniques that you would use for customer acquisition which you're going to likely going to be very different than if you have a retail food product, or a consumer internet-related product. Understanding the types of techniques for customer acquisition for your particular product category are really important.
Recognize that the very beginning of your journey a lot of those tools are going to be ones that require a lot of effort on your part as a founder, and the co-founders of your company, you're going to have to really sort of just wrestle customers to the ground versus hope that you've figured out some technique that all of a sudden generates lots of customers. So, the idea that when I was young, there was a great phrase that I love that's been lost in the sands of time called guerilla marketing. And this idea that you have to behave like not a gorilla, the animal, but a guerrilla like in the forest, that's defending their turf against other people who are trying to attack your company.
So this very scrappy organic approach. Use that in this context of customer acquisition to start to learn some techniques that are going to scale. So, at first when you have no customers the idea of getting any customers to something that you could get one-by-one, but as you scale up your business you're going to need mechanisms for that. And those mechanisms are ones that are going to have to be able to be used over and over again in cost-effective ways, that over time the cost of acquiring an incremental customer goes down.
Understanding how that works within your market is something I think a lot of entrepreneurs don't do very early on in the product development cycle, in the early product launch cycle. There's a lot of value to doing that research even when you're tra-ning your customers one at a time, so that when you start to see some patterns that work, let's say all of a sudden you wake up one day, and you have five customers that came from a particular channel that you hadn't thought of before, you can all of the sudden put a lot more energy into that type of customer acquisition.
There is no formulaic approach that works generically across any business. And one of the interesting things about, especially technology companies, is that the customer acquisition approach is even though the frameworks may be the same, tend to change and evolve with new technologies. So in the same way that you're potentially disrupting potential existing companies, and existing products in the market you're going after, you could also find that you're changing the way that customer acquisition works based on some of the characteristics of your products. So don't be afraid to experiment with that, and continue to look for those opportunities.
- Define “shiny object syndrome.”
- Identify your customer’s pain.
- Determine the scalability of a product.
- Recall the best time to initiate customer acquisition.
- Review the differences between a passionate employee and an obsessed employee.
- Recognize the benefits of domain experience when building a founding team.