Stage: Get Customers While Building | Progress: 0%

Stage: Get Customers While Building

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In this section:

1. We will suggest some customer acquisition methods while you build your product. In essence, what we want to do here, is to create content that our target customer would like to read about, and market them to the channels where they frequent. The goal is to establish you and your brand as an expert of your industry.

2. You will learn about a couple of great channels to start acquiring early adopters.

3. We will also give you some techniques to create content that both people and the search engines love.

4. Also, we'll introduce a great social marketing tool that will make your marketing so powerful and efficient.

Don't wait till you are done with your MVP before you start collecting your early adopters. If you have not created a demo page to collect emails, this is a perfect time to do so. A lot of startups struggle when they launch their MVP because they have not done anything before their launch to get their word out. All successful services nowdays do their customer development in parallel and make sure they get their word out even before they have even a line of code written for their product.

Again, Dropbox collected 75,000 emails before they had anything but a great video demo. See here to learn more about how they did it

So the trick here is to create a great demo page with all the information a customer would need to understand whether or not they would need your service. Make sure to include some screenshots and communicate with your prospect customers. In fact, the best demo page would be your eventual landing page. Therefore, once you've built your landing page, you should set it up with an email collecting field.

Make a demo page and start collecting customers! 80 Minutes
Important Action

Make a beautiful demo page to communicate with your customers. This is a repeat task, so please skip this if you already have a demo page.

If you had already completed this task in an early section (It's Demo Time! Lets collect some potential customers), you can feel free to skip this task. Follow the link to get the complete instructions on creating an awesome demo/landing page.


Where's your demo page? Please copy and paste the URL here.

Create a blog (Content Marketing) 60 Minutes

Create a blog with topics about the solving the problems of your target customers. Point this blog under your domain, like

It's so important to start building your blog content early. The reason is because this blogging effort will take some time (2-6 months) before it actually starts to work for you. Google also doesn't just start ranking your articles immediately. They usually observe for a bit to see if you are here to stay before they place your articles high in its results.

The point of this blog is to create thought leadership, mind share, and trust for your brand. Your blog is not trying to promote your own products, but to let customers know that you know what you are talking about. This is what we call Content Marketing (Awesome Content Marketing Example Here).

Content marketing promotes a company's know-how and greatly increases the trust of customers through displaying a high level of expertise in the subject. If you were to buy a product from an expert (a company with a lot of knowledge sharing in its blog) or from a company who only claims to be an expert but has nothing to prove it - who would you buy it from?

The blog can also be used to promote your new features, but not to sell them. That's not to say you should never try to sell your product. Actually, you should definitely try to subtlely integrate your solution into an entry, but make the flow natural.

Case Study: Cisco's success is largement based on their documentations and the whitepapers they publish on IT knowledge. They have these whitepapers that teach you how to build a full data center (which is super complicated). And in the process of telling you exactly how to build it, they suggest you the Cisco equipment you can use as the buliding blocks. So, for people who are building million dollar data centers, many rely on Cisco's documentation. So, naturally, not only do Cisco's customers trust and rely on them, it's also a lot easier to just use Cisco's solution, since their solutions are the perfect building blocks for the structure they suggest in their whitepapers.

So you can see that you don't want to sell your solutions directly, but sell them in the right context.

Content Marketing Tips

Also it's important for you to have the blog under your domain, like The reason is because a blog should be under your domain for it to help you with SEO.

Learn about SEO here: SEO explained in 2 minutes

Case Study: Mint, a personal finance organizer was sold for $170M, and had a successful content marketing strategy as one of the biggest reasons they got so big, so fast. After their acquisition, their methods got out and people found out that for every personal finance topic or problem, they had an entry or a landing page dedicated to it. They also used keyword research to find the topics that people cared about but nobody was writing about. Content marketing is also amazing for SEO as they embedded the keywords into their headlines and article URLs. For more information on Mint's amazing content marketing strategy, please read here:

Ways to find good topics to write about:

1. Use Google's Keyword Tool to find out which keywords are searched a lot, but has very little content dedicated to it (next step). There is a column that tells you the competition on a certain keyword. Obviously, keywords with high search traffic and with low competition will be easier to rank for.

2. Imagine yourself as a customer and google stuff like "How do I...". From the results, look for 2 things:

a. See if Google gives you a lot of results (meaning the topic is popular).

b. Look at the Alexa rankings for the top 5 results. If the top 5 results have low Alexa rankings (above 1,000,000 ranking - lower is better) and low PR (Page Rank), then that means that it'd be possible for you to write a topic on that keyword, and possibly beating them on it. Alexa rank under 1,000,000 will also tell you that the traffic you will get for ranking on the keyword will be worthwhile. Also check to see if their URL also has said keyword in it, because Google values URLs that have keywords in them. If it is too hard to beat them on it, then look for another similar keyword to write about.

If you use Chrome, I'd suggest you to install "SEO for Chrome" so you can easily check a competitor's Alexa Ranking. If you are using Firefox, try SEOQuake.

3. Find out about Keyword Competition to see which keywords are easier to rank for.

Another great way:

Test out the title of your blog post on Twitter first, before you write anything - an Andrew Chen method.

1. Tweet the title of your blog post.

2. Look at the amount of retweets on the post.

3. If there are a lot of retweets, write the blog post.

Andrew Chen GH Tweet

This is the tweet that Andrew Chen used that helped him find the topic for the legendary blog post.

Also read: A scientific guide to writing great headlines on Twitter, Facebook and your Blog

Blogging tools and platforms:

  1. WordPress (Online or host yourself)- The #1 blogging platform in the world. Also great for creating any kind of website you want. You can download their script and load it onto your server to host your own blog and install your own plugins to make it look customized.
  2. Tumblr (Online) – another extremely popular blogging platform.
  3. Posterous (Online) – yet another blogging platform.

Where is your blog? Please input the URL here.


Write an entry on a topic that addresses a problem of your target customers. The keywords that your customers search for would be great titles.

Example: "How to get 1000 users in 1 month"


Write an entry (possibly targeting different customer types) every 2 days.


For entrepreneurs: "How to get 1000 users in 1 month"

For investors: "StartitUp startup <name> just got into Techstars!"

Twitter 10 Minutes
Important Action

Create a Twitter account.

Twitter is one of the most popular and most effective social marketing tools out there, so we want to start building up your followers list as soon as possible. The reason why Twitter is so useful is because it's a social network where you can have people follow what you are saying and where you can follow others to see what they are saying. So if you have 1000 followers, whatever you say will be heard by 1000 users.

While you might not have a lot of things to say about your service yet, create an account first, and start following people that are in your field as it takes a long time to get enough followers to make a difference.

When you follow them, they might follow you back. Remember to write a personal thank you message to them if they do follow you back - it goes a long way.

The rules to being a Twitter Master:

1. Tweet about content and other great content.

2. Promote yourself as less as possible.

3. 2 Tweets per day.

4. Retweet great content or people. This is a way to promote them and possibly queueing them for a return of favor too.

5. Always reply and say thanks to tweets that mention you.

6. Have a beautiful avatar logo, and be consistent. The goal here is to create brand image.

7. Use awesome tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to push stories to multiple platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.) all at once, and also schedule your tweets for optimization (for most traffic).

8. Ask for the Retweet.  "Please RT!" or "Please Retweet" are both fine.

9. Follow your followers, and unfollow when they stop following you.

10. Favoriting other people's tweets can also increase the chance of them following you.

To learn about what you should do to be awesome on Twitter, read these: 

A scientific guide to writing great headlines on Twitter, Facebook and your Blog


What is your Twitter username? (example: startitupco)


Tweet your demo page's URL.


Tweet your blog entry or a link from somewhere else about something your target customers would be interested about.


2 Tweet per day. Either on updates on your services, or some content or link that your customers would like to read about. Retweets count too!

Facebook Fanpage 15 Minutes
Important Action

Create a Facebook Fanpage

Facebook page is one of the best places to reach your audience, and with it, you don't need to keep bothering your users through email (as users see emails as burdening to-do items). It's a much better way to make frequent conversation with your users.

The Trick Here this: very few people know about creating good Facebook Fanpages is that you should not create a page that promotes your own product. In fact, it's never good to create content that just promotes your products. The only thing you can do is to provide content that you think your ideal customers would like to read about. However, you could mention about your solution if it is relevant to the topic at hand.

With Facebook pages, the point is that you can should create a page for a topic that you think could attract your ideal customers.

For example, if you are operating a fantasy basketball website, you can consider creating a page on "I love NBA". If you are operating a dating website for New York, then you can consider creating a topic called "Best New York Hangout Spots". You can then also drive them to your company's fanpage (separate fanpage) or to your website directly.

So, the trick to creating a great fanpage is like creating a great blog. The titles and content should address your customers' pain points, and not to promote your company's products. Of course like the Cisco example, when applicable, you should find every chance to promote your solution.

Like building influence on Twitter. These pages take time to build up. So you must start to build it up as soon as possible. 

Facebook fanpage


Important Action

Post your demo page on your Facebook fanpage.

Important Action

Ask your friends to help promote it and pass it to their friends. You have to ask to get people to actually spread the word.


What is the URL of your Facebook page? (Example:

Youtube 30 Minutes

Create a 1 minute video about your service and post it onto Youtube. This can either be a screencast or a webcam video of yourself talking about your service. 

Most companies do not use Youtube as a primary acquisition channel. Youtube is actually one of the best channels for promotion, and it's very easy to get feedback and traffic. However, while videos are super effective, going viral is difficult. The trick here is just like creating blog content. You want to name these video with the right keywords.

If you want to go the extra distance, use Camtasia to create a good screencast video of your product. Screen Flow is also a great alternative too. 

Production quality is not that important in this case.

Video Script:

1. 10 seconds - short and powerful pitch - Tell them why they should use it. What's the problem? UVP would be great.

2. 10 seconds - Tell them what your solution is.

3. 30 seconds - Talk about 3 of the key features and how you plan to deliver the result.

4. 10 seconds - Talk about the grand vision or your startup's mission.


Post your video URL here. (Example:

Other Channels 10 Minutes

We have shared some of the most popular social marketing channels with you. However, there are a lot of other social marketing channels that you can consider too.

Different strategies: 

1. Write a response or comment to a topic with your solution and company link.

2. Create your own topic or page related to your product.

Note: The channels or tricks you see here might not all be applicable for your startup or situation. However, see them as great examples to help you deduce equivalents that are suitable to your specific market or location.


Our Favorites:

Hacker News, Reddit

100 Million+ Users

FacebookTwitterLinkedInYouTubeMySpace (though they're fading)

25 Million+ Users


10 Million+ Users

TumblrStumbleUponCare2SlideshareScribdDeviantArtDigg (fading), Delicious (fading)


PosterousStackExchangeNamesakeQuoraFourSquareHunchForrstDribbble, Skillshare

Taken from:

A good example of a company doing good content marketing on social marketing:

Push stories to all channels at once 20 Minutes
Important Action

Sign up to HootSuite, and install their Chrome Plugin.

Important Action

Set up your Twitter account, your Facebook account, and your Linkedin account to HootSuite.

Important Action

Auto-schedule a story using Hootsuite. This function allows Hootsuite to automatically push stories out at the best time possible.

Hootsuite is an awesome social marketing tool that makes social marketing so easy and efficient. It allowed you to push updates to multiple channels at once, so you don't need to update each of the platforms separately. It also allows you to schedule your updates so that you get the maximum exposure.

There's more - you can also monitor your stories and see how many of them gets retweeted, liked, mentioned, etc. So with the data they give you, you can see which strategies worked and which didn't, so that you can tweak, tweak, and tweak.


Stage: Mandatory MVP ... Stage: MVP Validation...