This is a guest post from our friends at Surge.
Brand new concepts means you probably won’t see traction in two of the most important channels for acquiring new customers: Organic and Paid search. Let's take a "mobile barber service" for example. If we check out the monthly search volume in the U.S., we can see there's 4000+ searches monthly for the top 18 keywords.
So the lesson here is, make sure it really is super niche first by doing research, you can use Google’s free keyword planner tool to work out if anyone is searching for your solution.
Regardless, you've got a small handful of options when starting off...
Different types of channels
If there is a reasonable volume already (more than 1000 monthly), look at the cost per click, is this low enough to leave you with margin? Using the barber example above, let’s say per haircut you make $30 and the average cost per click is $1. What you’ll have to work out is, how many clicks does it take for you to gain a new customer?
Now don’t stop here, make sure a new customer can generate additional customers by creating a referral loop. This is the secret sauce to a lot of great growth strategy, you can use loyalty campaigns or incentivised referral campaigns.
What if the search volume is truly low
Then look at the problem you’re solving, a problem statement for mobile barber would be something along the lines of “Too busy for haircuts.” or “Don’t like going to the barbers". The problem has to be universal, if no one is searching for the problem you’re trying to solve, then you’ve got to go back to the drawing board and figure out if you should be pursuing this business.
Bid for symptoms rather than solutions, I did a quick research on cybersecurity and it looks like the search volume is really low. Below is a snapshot of monthly search volume for cybersecurity.
Symptom means bidding for things such as “prevent ransomware”. You can also bid on competitor related terms where you think your product has a competitive advantage over.
Events and meetups
This might be surprising, but events can be hosted at almost no cost. Given enough digging and asking, you can get a free sponsored venue and catering.
Not only will events bring awareness that your product exists. It also helps associate your brand with thought leadership when you invite topic experts as speakers. Meetups will often attract people from large enterprises, which can become potential leads.
Now that you have the exposure channel sorted. Let’s talk about education, education is all about value proposition, this is basically what the customer gets out of your product and how it solves their problems.
Most of the time, the customer just needs to know the pain and gain, you need to make sure you cover these two points, minimal pain, maximum gain, they don’t need to know exactly how it works (if it’s technical and boring).
If you don’t know how to articulate the value proposition or gain, you can talk to potential customers. Run a short 20 minute interview. Explain to them what your product is and ask them to:
- Explain your product back in their words – this will help you craft education pieces or copywriting in language your customers understand
- Explain the exact benefit they think they’ll gain from your product – validate this against your own assumptions, does it align with what you originally thought?