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It's not easy to get your first customers.

Sure, you have a great product or service to offer but that isn't good enough. Nobody knows who you are and people don’t know whether they should trust your.

But no matter how difficult it seems, getting your first set of customers is possible. Here are 17 foolproof ways to get your startup its first 100 customers:

1. Start blogging

Back then, blogging was used as a platform to share one's feelings, experiences, and thoughts. Today, it has evolved to be more than just an online journal. It is now used by business to build a lasting relationship with their customers. In fact, 53% of marketers say blogging is their top content marketing priority and marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts.

Blogging gives you the perfect opportunity to give value to your audience and you can use this as a marketing strategy to drive traffic to your website. Every time you publish an article on your blog, the chance for you to show up in search engines gets higher. Start blogging early on so you can build up your content library as your startup grows.

2. Guest post

At the early stages of your blog, you won't reach a lot of people realistically speaking unless you already built a considerable amount of followers beforehand. This is where guest blogging comes in.

Guest blogging, also known as guest posting, is the practice of contributing a post to another person's blog in order to build relationships, exposure, authority, and links. By posting your content onto another blog, you are reaching more people and establishing a relationship with another blogger at the same time.

3. Optimize your content

Millions of people turn to search engines daily to look for answers and find solutions to their problems making SEO more important as ever. In short, SEO (Search engine optimization) is a set of rules that can be followed by website or blog owners to optimize their websites for search engines and thus improve their search engine rankings.

Your business needs to optimize all of your content because people are more likely to click on one of the top 5 suggestions in the results pages. To take advantage of this, your website needs to rank high in order for it to gain visitors.

Practicing SEO also puts you ahead of your competition. If two sites are selling the same things, the one which has optimized content is more likely to have more customers.

4. Engage

When you engage with your audience, you are not just a faceless brand. You become a person who they can emotionally connect with. The more engaged your audience is, the more they buy and demonstrate loyalty.

Loyal customers are those who choose to continue engaging with a particular brand, regardless of the competition. This is what you should be aiming in getting.

“Build it, and they will come” only works in the movies. Social Media is a “build it, nurture it, engage them, and they may come and stay.” – Seth Godin

5. Reach out to your existing network

Your existing network is the only people you have when you are just starting out. Talk to everyone you know and the people they know. Don't start selling right away – ask for feedback first. In most cases, people are happy to help since they already know you. Learn what they like and don't like about the product before you focus on increasing sales.

6. Expand your existing network

People in your network are likely to have networks themselves. Ask for introductions and referrals. The best thing about networking is that you never know what you can get out of it. But keep in mind that networking is a reciprocal relationship. When meeting new people, don’t make the conversation all about you; ask about the other person as well and let them know that you are there for them if ever they need help with something.

Expanding your network is a continuous process so always be prepared for it.

7. Participate in online communities

Online communities and forums provide people with a platform to share their thoughts, have healthy discussions, get feedback, clarify their questions, and learn new, industry-relevant information. These are the perfect platforms to promote your product or service, get feedback and engage with your potential customers. In fact, 55% of US marketing executives find engaging in online communities to be “very important” according to eMarketer.

8. Focus on your niche

Niche means a distinct segment within the market, generally a targetable part of a market. Finding your niche and focusing on building connections there is another best tactic to guarantee business success. Focus on a specific group of people, address their specific needs and know what their wants are.

9. Get affiliates

Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts. Basically, you let other people promote your product and they earn a commission every time they make a sale.

Over the last couple of years, the popularity of affiliate marketing has grown considerably because more and more digital marketers are beginning to realize that it is the most cost-efficient way to do online advertising.

10. Build your social media presence

Most of us already know the importance of social media and the benefits it has for businesses. In 2018, it is estimated that there are 2.62 billion people using social media around the globe and that number is expected to rise to 2.77 billion in 2019, 2.9 billion in 2020 and 3.02 billion in 2021. That’s a lot of people and if your business is not on social media, then you are missing out in reaching so many potential clients.

If your brand isn't present on a social media platform yet, it’s best that you set it up as soon as possible.

“Conversations are happening whether you are there or not.”- Kim Garst

11. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social networking site designed specifically for the business community. The goal of the site is to allow members to establish and networks of people they know and trust professionally. LinkedIn is for anybody who is looking for new opportunities to grow their careers and to connect with other professionals.

Posting status updates daily, engaging with your connections' updates, participating in groups and personalizing your connection requests are just some of the many ways you can expand your network via LinkedIn.

12. Cold E-mail

Cold email is an email sent to a potential customer that has had no prior relationship with you. A lot of business owners are not really sure whether they should send out cold emails due to the fact that they get ignored most of the time. But when done right, a cold email is a powerful tool to generate leads for your brand.

13. Offer a free trial

You can't go wrong with offering a free trial if you are selling a service. During a free trial, the consumer gets a chance to try out your service and decide whether they want to keep paying for it or look elsewhere. You are giving your customers a chance to experience your product and how it makes their lives easier.

14. Advertise

A lot of businesses are hesitant whether to pay for advertising. After all, a lot of promotion nowadays is free. Social media is free, cold emails are free, cold-calling is free, referrals are free. So, is there really a need to spend money on advertising? The answer is an obvious yes.

For one, advertising is the only medium you can control because you get to choose when, where and how it's going to happen. It also adds to your brand's credibility. Since you are paying for advertising, it gives an impression that your business must be doing well. And lastly, it amplifies all of your other marketing efforts.

15. Tell a story

A good story sells. Storytelling is a good way to humanize your brand. If you are wondering why there is a need to humanize your business, remember this; people would rather invest in a human than a company.

There are millions of content that are being created daily and it's really hard to stand out of the noise. Telling a good story is how a business can differentiate itself in an oversaturated market.

16. Add a call to action in everything you publish

A call to action is your invitation to your audience to take the next step towards becoming a customer. Whether it’s in your blog post or an update on your social media page, adding a call to action is should never be overlooked.

17. Monitor

In order for you to measure the effectiveness of your efforts, you have to monitor your analytics religiously. It is also a great way to know what’s not working well so you can adjust those campaigns to improve their performance.