Three tips for converting your first customer

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Growing your audience and converting those first few customers is one of the hardest parts of starting a new business. Getting that first sell is nerve-racking, exhausting, and slow. It is also incredibly rewarding. Getting the second, third, and further sales, though, is where the real work comes in.

Unless you get lucky and happen to launch at the exact right time with the perfect product for just the right audience (spoiler, almost no one does) then it is likely going to take longer than you think to convert your first customers. It will take even longer to turn those first two customers into 20, and then 100, and then 1,000.

In the beginning you probably won't have the reputation that years of focus bring or a list of happy customers to vouch for you and your product. 

Are you just starting out? Read our tips for growing your audience here.

Mavenseed is our third business and, in many ways, it's the culmination of everything we've learned over the years. Along the way we've collected a whole series of practices that help us keep our focus and to track our progress. The three tips in this articles just three of the many facets it takes to create and operate a successful business.


Tip #1 - Keep your message consistent

Building any brand is hard but if you constantly change the message, style, or even the approach to how you talk about your business then you're more likely to confuse people than convert them. 

All strategies have a tendency to evolve over time, as they should, but the key is to do it gradually. Sometimes a hard pivot is necessary, but that's the exception rather than the rule. It's one thing to try a new marketing line or a new target audience, but it's a whole different scenario to dramatically change the entire perception of you and your brand. 

By keeping your message consistent you're slowly building awareness and a familiarity in your customers mind. It is a relationship like any other, it takes time to get to know each other. 

Tip #2 - Help one person at a time

Businesses come in all shapes and sizes, with products of all price ranges and audience sizes, but all businesses require one thing: providing value to the customer. Somehow or another you must convince people to exchange their hard-earned money for your offering.

It may come as a surprise to you that the value you think you are offering may not actually be the value your customers want.

In my experience, and in the experience of people far more skilled than I, one of the best ways to find your true value focus is by helping one person at a time. In the words of Paul Graham, do things that don't scale.

More often than not your product will evolve a lot in the first few months. By keeping a singular focus on one person at a time you will become more equipped to understand your customers needs and be able to adapt what you think your product is into what you now know your customers need.

Tip #3 - Be persistent

Building a business is exhausting. It is so easy to become overwhelmed and give up. Your first customers won't join as soon as you hoped, your marketing will fall flat, and your software won't be as compelling you envisioned it to be.

It just takes time, a lot of it, and if you're not doggedly persistent then you're likely to lose track of how far you've actually come and may quit too early.

In the words of Dory...just keep swimming, just keep swimming 🐟

- Jonathan