Here’s how we got 20 customers without spending any money (B2B)
selling to a friendly audience
this is probably my best advice. do not be afraid to plug your product to your network of friends. if you’re building a product that solves a need for that you personally have encountered, chances are – you know people in your network of friends with similar pain points.
Friendly audience tends to be less critical & much much easier to get your foot in the door with. At the earliest stages, you likely will have a product less polished than the alternatives – so how do you charge money for it? => sell to a friendly audience
we pulled all of the favors we could possible pull to get as many warm introductions as possible. this is the time to pull as many favors as possible. linkedin helps a lot, if you’re targeting within certain professions.
LAUNCHING ON BETALIST/BETAPAGE/HACKERNEWS ETC
these are EXCELLENT for getting initial users
PRISTINELY FILTERED AND HAND TAILORED COLD EMAIL
I’m talking about no more than 10-15 at a time. I’ve tried sending out mass 500 emails at a time, and weirdly, they seem to correlate heavily with quality and not at all with quantity. this is probably due to spam filters + people being a lot smarter than we give them credit for.
Here what you should do:
- get the exact definition of your early adopter. Early adopter is someone who feels the pain SO BAD that they will use your product any day any second, simply because they have no viable alternatives. Note that this is different from your target customer. Go as far as to understand what their linkedins should look like. in our case, we said “not strong software engineers amongst the co-founders since they always have a preference to build instead of buying. this is super important – DO NOT email anyone who’s not a perfect fit, because that will likely contribute to your spam-like behavior. Aim for no more than 15 emails at a time after a full days of work, and at least 2-3 demos coming out of that.
- read about them and make a really careful proposition that’s really tailored to their service. avoid irrelevant compliments “congrats on the baby!”. instead, opt for tailoring your service for their specific case. in our case, our referral program plugin can be molded to fit really convoluted referral logic, so we talk about what sort of a specific referral program they could use.
let me know if this was at least somehow helpful. i’ll be trying to make more posts in the near future to share what i learnt from Y Combinator and my personal experience.