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How to acquire your first 100 customers

Asia Matos

I help #SaaS companies & #startup founders with #marketing & #growth. CEO & Founder of DemandMaven. Previously at two 10x startups. GIF game strong 💪

Atlanta, GA
Asia Matos

You're likely feeling overwhelmed with all the potential directions you could be going in: blogging, adwords, facebook ads, tweets, and more! It can be overwhelming.

Let's talk about the foundational marketing strategy you can use to carry you through these decisions. The stuff you can measure, that builds an audience, and ultimately an acquisition engine that stands the test of time.

Asia Matos is the founder of DemandMaven - a marketing and growth consultancy that helps startups get to their first $100K MRR. She's helped startups 3x their traffic, grow from $0 to $3K MRR in three months, go from 14% to 40% free trial conversion rates, and meet MoM free trial sign-up goals.

The customer journey isn't linear

Fundamentally, there are two aspects of marketing to keep in mind:

  1. The customer journey isn't linear. People need time to decide, compare, and ultimately commit to your product.
  2. Focus on the bottom of the funnel activity first. What does someone do right before they start looking for a solution to their pain? Tackle that channel first.

Top of the funnel activity is all about awareness and attracting many people at once, whether they're qualified and have the pain or not. It's more broad, and doesn't necessarily directly coorelate to solving the immediate pain.

Bottom of the funnel activity is all about mindset. People who are here are more interested in solving their pain. It's hyper-specific, and correlates 100% with your product. That means website, pricing, feature pages, some landing pages, and case studies.

If you start optimizing things at the top of the funnel - writing blogs, buying ads, and attracting more people - you won't know who your customers are. You won't be able to know if your efforts are successful because you'll only know who your customer is after they convert.

Start with people who have the pain first. That means focusing on bottom of the funnel activity. Pain gets solved at the bottom of the funnel, so start there.

If you attracted people who want to actively solve their pain you're putting visitors at the stage of the funnel they want to be in anyway (it solves their pain!). Attracting people who want to solve their pain forces you to have a strong, performing conversion funnel, really understand the pain you're solving, and really understand the people you're attracting.

Case study: pain therapists

  • Top of the funnel (TOFU): "how to become a therapist", "how to build a private practice in therapy"
  • Middle of the funnel (MOFU): "how to choose an amazing clinical supervisor"
  • Bottom of the funnel (BOFU): "online clinical supervisors for LMFT in Georgia"

You'll still need TOFU activity, but it shouldn't be first.

There are three types of marketing channels: owned (website traffic), earned (referrals, reviews, shares), and paid (adwords, facebook and twitter ads)

Bottom of the funnel marketing strategies are things people do right before discovering and buying your product.

Bottom of the funnel marketing channels are very similar to top of the funnel channels.

Layer your channels over time. Start with the bottom, and mix it up at the top.

motivo case study

Motivo is a company that helps pre-licensed therapists (a big market) get licensed.

Great research is the difference between companies who build winning products and companies who don't and figure it out way too late. You can do market research, competitive research (website analysis, product analysis, customer analysis), prospect research (specifically people who haven't purchased yet), and user research (specifically people who have purchased or signed up).

Conduct interviews with prospects and customers at every stage with the Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) framework. That will help you determine preferred distribution channels, partnership opportunities, content ideas, knowledge gaps, objections and barriers to entry, and the jobs people hire your product and content for.

Your customers will tell you how to market to them.

Use baremetrics, heap, fullstory, hotjar, and google analytics data

This customer understanding is important to know because you need to understand what people are getting out of your product. This understanding will inform your content strategy, your marketing strategy, and your product marketing.

Step 3: The BOFU Test

Step 4: Defining Your Strategy

Step 5: Executing that Strategy

Step 6: Constant Iteration & Feedback

Sketch notes from @rulesforbabies


How far up the funnel should I go? Is content about customer's dreams too far up?

I don't think about middle or top of funnel stuff until the bottom is nailed. Focusing on top of the funnel before the lower layers are figured out is like throwing darts blindly trying to get lucky.

Like anything else, test it!

Contact Asia @AsiaMatos.

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