How did you get your first customer?

I made a small tool. I tried twitter, Instagram and Quora ads. I am not getting the desired results that I am expecting. Zero signups and I don't even know if people want to use it.

But, could you each of you who have got customer successfully, can share your experience please?

#marketing #ask-ih

  1. 7

    Disclaimer, these are not my ideas (https://twitter.com/IndieHackers/status/1106295186437607434) :)

    • I grew an audience, listened to what they wanted, then build the thing they were waiting to buy.
    • Launched http://Karmabot.chat on ProductHunt and got $6/mo subscriber. That was 2 years ago. Signed up $10k/year enterprise a week ago. Things are getting better.
    • share with friends and families
    • Facebook ADS.
    • I sold my first item at a meetup/ pop up shop
    • Got recommended by a friend.
    • show hn post on hackernews in august 2012! We had thousands of haters from it. But the hn post got us our first solid 5 or 6 customers - most of which are still with us today.
    • featured hackernews
    • Contacted everyone I knew who might be interested. Got a couple of sign ups, who then recommended me to their contacts and so on and so on
    • Cold texting and calling.
    • Google Ads.
    • Ad in a local neighborhood paper.
    • Good ole fashioned cold/direct emails
    • Blog post
    1. 2

      wow. This is super helpful. I am going through the tweets.

  2. 5

    I’ve recently changed my thoughts on getting customers to a new perspective. Answer this question: WHEN are my customers needing my product?

    Answering that tells you where you should be.

    For instance, with CardHacking.com, my customers are not usually people who have done credit card churning for points for years (like me). They are also not people who don’t know how to do it. They are beginners, who just switched from knowing about getting credit cards for their bonus points and using them for free travel, to being all in... 100%. They just had the light bulb go on in their heads and are committed and excited. RIGHT THERE is when I want to be in front of them. That’s when they need a tool to organize and help with notifications.

    So with that knowledge, I’m targeting the tutorial 101 type email courses all around and either partnering with them or talking about acquiring them. They have my people. I need to be in that stream right at the moment they are learning how to do it.

    So, WHEN is your demographic going to become the best customer for you?

  3. 3

    I literally just emailed friends and family and asked them to try it and then used their feedback to improve the product.

    In some cases, family members suggested to work colleagues that they try it and then we go a few more people.

    And as our app (extension) is open on peoples browsers a lot of people ask what it is and then they try it.

    One of main main Google Analytics metrics is time based goals as it means people are using the app open on a desktop and so people would see them using the app.

  4. 2

    My guess is that you are probably not communicating the value of your service, but it doesn't mean you can't. So, don't give up!

    I think you need to be very explicit on "how to use X to solve Y problem". For instance, you might want to change the sample image on your landing page to something more explicit like this image https://allured.ltd/img/thumbnails/laptop_ copy.png + sample cover = https://allured.ltd/img/book-mockup-01.png being shared on instagram, facebook, a web site, etc.

    Also, I'm not a writer, but I would say a monthly fee might be too much, since I (the writer) will probably not be writing a book per month, so I would try a per use charge: upload your cover, select a template and get a bunch of ready to use images in different formats (a zip with an instagram folder, facebook folder, web folder, etc.) for just USD X.

    Finally, I would have a set of premium templates with the selling point of being exclusive. Premium templates, besides of being prettier, are sold just once. A free tier might have sense too... That way people get to know your product and once they are convinced of its value, they will be more motivated to get a premium template.

    Your case reminds me of this service https://www.indiehackers.com/product/place-card-me I recommend you to read all about it

    Good luck!

    1. 1

      Thank you so much for the long and useful answer. I have been think about some of the things that have been said here. Yes, I am considering a free plan. I have already started promoting it on instagram and Facebook.

  5. 2

    Our potential customers is restaurants owners, so basically we just cold call and visit in person from door to door

    1. 1

      thanks. I don't have that option though. I can only reach them through online medium.

  6. 2

    Perhaps you could share the tool for feedback?

    When you say you tried Twitter, Instagram, Quora...what exactly have you tried?

    1. 1


      It's a suit of tools I want to develop for self-publishing authors. But I want to start with book mockups.

      I tried ads on those platform. There were zero clicks on Quora ads, even though I have heard Quora is very effective.

      But I am seeing some interest on Instagram, though not from my ideal customers yet.

  7. 1

    "I don't even know if people want to use it"

    Your problem isn't acquisition, it's product validation.

    Talk with potential customers (self plubishing authors) and check these :

    1. Is book mockuping an issue for them ? (a big pain point)
    2. Do they already pay real money to fix this problem ? (how much ?)
    3. Are they happy with the solution they're using to fix this problem ?

    If your target got a real issue about this + actually pay to fix it + unsatisfied with actual solution, then you got something ;).

    But... if you can't check all these, maybe the problem isn't big enough for your potential customers to pay for your solution. In this situation, try to find new struggle to fix and check if they're already paying to fix it and what they don't like with actual solution.

    1. 1

      You are right. My problem is that I know very little about my customers. I think I have finally a clue. Thanks for the comment.

  8. 1

    The tool that you're designed might be interesting for niche or wide audience. Depending on the customer needs, your target audience may be small and out of the specified resources (Quora, Instagram, etc). Try to pay attention to the custdev methodology (Customer Development). It might be useful in the early stages in order to understand who is your customer and what they actually want..

    1. 1

      thank you so much. Actually, the product is a very niche product, which is probably the reason why mass platform aren't working?

  9. 1

    Who is your ideal customer?

    1. 1

      My ideas customers are selfpublishing authors.

      1. 2

        What problem are you solving for them?

        1. 1

          My app https://allured.ltd let them create book mockups to market their books.

          1. 1

            Your website is a solution you created to solve a problem(s).

            But what's the problem that self publishing authors are facing that you are trying to solve?

            1. 3

              I think this is a great point.

              Feels like you could do with talking to some authors and see if you can identify what their pain points are?

              Maybe drop into GoodReads self published group and offer some vouchers to speak to them about their experience and problems self publishing?

              1. 1

                This is helpful. I think I can talk to some authors I know.

                1. 1

                  I’d consider blogging about your experience with this too.

                  Finding out about your customer, what you learned, how you changed things, what worked and didn’t after that etc

                  Not only is it a good way of reflecting on your progress and journey it’s a good way of creating content which could be a useful marketing funnel for you down the line.

                  1. 1

                    thanks for the suggestion. I will try to write once I get some more experience.

  10. 1

    Try content marketing by targeting your potential customers, it will take time but you will definitely get results, if you can execute properly :)

    1. 2

      right, I am getting some attention on Instagram, though exactly not from my ideal customers.

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