In the past few years, pre-seed startups have been increasingly looking for ways to get their first 1,000 customers.
The main reason behind this is that pre-seed startups are creating their first product and they need to get early adopters to test out their product and give feedback.
No matter how good your technology is, without a product no one will buy it from you.
The pre-seed startups are in the same boat as the ones who just started out in a new job.
The new employee needs to demonstrate his potential and prove his worth before getting promoted.
Your potential customers will not buy your product unless you demonstrate your worth through a proof of concept or a demo.
Also, they may not believe in you unless they see that other people do too. So, it is important for the pre-seed startups to get their first 1,000 customers to demonstrate their worth and show that other people do believe in them too!
So how can pre-seed startups get their first 1,000 customers?
Here are 10 proven methods from Successful Startup Founders:
The best way is still being helpful for free! Pre-seed startups should provide information that can help other people solve problems they are facing.
For example, if you are building a productivity app for a specific industry, then you can provide information and resources that will help people be more productive in that specific industry.
After proving your worth and helping people solve their problems, they may become your first customers too!
Give a demo
If pre-seed startups have a demo of an early product, then they can use this demo to get their first 1,000 customers.
Demos have been proven to be very effective in the past and many companies have used demos as their proof of concept to get their customers on board.
Also, if the product is not ready yet but there is some proof of concept that the product will be ready soon, then pre-seed startups can create a demo as an MVP (minimum viable product) to show what the final product will look like.
For example, Buffer had created a video showing how their final product will look like before they had actually created it. This helped them gain more attention from the market!
If pre-seed startups are offering something unique or premium quality then they can aggressively sell it to get their first customers.
The best way is to offer something for free and then offer premium services for a cost.
For example, if you are building a productivity app for the industry and you have something that can help people in that industry be more productive, then sell that for free and offer premium services for a cost.
Promote on social media
Many pre-seed startups are using social media to promote their products.
The best way to use social media is by posting something interesting or funny or showing your product demo to get people interested.
Then, you can ask people to share the post if they like it and ask them to subscribe to your newsletter if they want to know more about the product.
If pre-seed startups have built their product but do not have any customers yet, then they can send emails to their contacts asking them if they know anyone who might be interested in their product.
This will help them get some initial customers too!
Collaborate with another company
If pre-seed startups are building a new tech product and have no traction yet, then it is worth collaborating with another company that has already built up some traction in the market.
This will help the pre-seed startups gain some initial traction or even get their first 1,000 customers.
Host a free event
If pre-seed startups want to get their first 1,000 customers, then they can host a free event to attract more people.
The best way is to make the event interesting for the target audience.
For example, if you are building an app and want to get more users who will use your app in the food industry, then you should host a food tasting event with some local restaurants where you can show off your product and talk about it to the audience at the same time!
You can also ask people who visit you on stage if they would like to subscribe to your newsletter or follow you on social media.
If pre-seed startups have built their product but do not have any customers yet, then they can use offline marketing methods such as personal connections and word of mouth marketing.
For example, if someone in your family or friend circle wants something that you have built, then they may become one of your first customers!
Make it viral
If pre-seed startups want their product to go viral and spread like wildfire among people in their network, then they have two options.
The first option is by giving something away for free which will then become viral.
For example, if you are building a productivity app and you want to make it viral, then you can give a free trial for the app to people and ask them to share it with their friends.
The second option is by offering something unique or premium quality which people will naturally want to talk about and share with other people.
For example, if you are building an app that can help people find food nearby, then people may want to talk about such an app!
Get listed on Product Hunt
Another way that pre-seed startups can get their first 1,000 customers is by getting listed on Product Hunt.
However, getting listed on Product Hunt is not easy because it has a very high standard of quality for products which they list on the website.
So be ready to present your product in the best possible way before you decide to submit it for listing on Product Hunt!
About the Author
I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.
You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.