Starting a business is nerve-wracking for several reasons, but mostly because the market is uncertain. To successfully draw customers’ attention is one thing, but to keep them coming back is another. Once your first customer makes a purchase or closes a deal, it’s only natural for entrepreneurs to want an immediate follow-up to increase profit.
But more than the normal desire to expand our reach, it’s essential to take the time to listen to our first few customers, not only to turn them into patrons but to understand how to deliver our services better. In other words, learning to take a step back to validate our idea allows us to assess what our early customers want and enjoy from our products.
Establishing the purchase loop
It’s easy not to care so much about our customers’ post-purchase experience with us when we start a business, but leaders should note that this is just as crucial as our sales funnel. Developing a well-curated purchase loop allows us to accommodate customers with a meaningful post-purchase flow. In turn, our customers feel taken care of, listened to, and valued.
It’s tempting to believe that validation can come in the form of acquiring your first few customers. However, as business leaders, it’s critical to validate that we’re providing precisely what our customers want and that our customers are optimizing what we have to offer for the reasons we believe.
With your business’ first few customers, here’s how you can rapidly validate your idea:
Write your assumptions
When you found a startup, you often have assumptions about who your customers are and what they’d use your products and services for. Write them all down, and answer the three Ws: who is your customer? Among all the available products in the market today, why pick you? What are your product’s leading features?
Test these assumptions
Never underestimate the power of a good conversation with the people who buy your products early. Speaking with these people is a great way to validate your assumptions. Present your interviewees coupons or special discounts, if not freebies; they’d be glad to jump on a call with you if you did. Moreover, know exactly what you want to ask and keep your questions direct to the point. Ask follow-up questions only if their answers warrant it.
Learn the ropes now and scale later
Once you’ve already gotten your first few customers, validated your assumptions, and successfully established a post-purchase loop experience, it’s expected that you now know more about who they are, what their collective story is, and what they find meaningful in your products. This makes it easier for you to improve your offerings to turn repeat customers into loyal patrons.
Constant customer research is integral to every business. No matter how long your company has been around, no brand can claim that its customers have remained the same. The evolving nature of consumerism is aggressive, so leaders should always take the time to understand trends, buying behaviors, and current events.
Apart from tracking how they use your services, following up on your customers and asking how their experience with your brand is so far helps you paint the overall picture from your consumers’ perspective. Surveys, quick phone calls, digital fill-out forms are all good ways to obtain their thoughts. Be creative.
Providing extra value to your customers also helps improve their perspective of you. Sending personal thank-you emails or sending them birthday freebies or unique discounts help make them feel like a crucial part of your business success.
Making brand advocates from faithful patrons
Entrepreneurs can spot faithful customers when they see them. Once you’ve identified who your loyal customers are, it’s time to turn them into brand advocates. You can employ the best marketing team all you want, but unless you have regular customers who speak well of your product, you can only last so long.
Here’s what you can do to convert regular customers into brand advocates organically:
Create referral promos
Referral promos are a proven method to generate brand advocates, yet no too many businesses develop attractive benefits worthy of sharing. The most effective referral promos are those that gravitate toward an urgent discount that benefits both the loyal customer and their friend.
Always remember that businesses aren’t marriages. Your customers aren’t obliged to stand by you and purchase your goods at all times. That said, when patrons continue to extend their support, provide them exclusive discounts or other forms of freebies. Studies say that tagging loyal customers on your social media posts also help improve their relationship with your brand. This is because these are posts they can share and retweet. This strategy is especially useful for cosmetics businesses and clothing lines.
Reply to them on social media
It takes less than 20 seconds to reply to those who comment on your social media posts and comment photos of their purchased products from you. Thank them in public and always remind them that they are the reason your business is doing well. Authenticity goes a long way, and given today’s global pandemic; sincerity is a language you can’t afford not to speak.
Have business and startup ideas you’d like to discuss? Give us a call, and we’ll make it happen.