There are hundreds of tools out there that allow anyone to build an online business in an afternoon. Here are some examples:
- Shopify allows you to create an e-com store
- Carrd allows you to create a one-page website with a payment button
- Webflow or Tailwind allows you to create big websites quickly
- ConvertKit allows you to create landing pages and newsletters
- DataTables allows you to create database tables
- Airtable allows you to create databases
- Sharetribe allows you to create a marketplace
- Podia allows you to sell digital downloads and courses
- Circle allows you to create an online community
- Memberful or MemberSpace allows you to put content behind a paywall
- SparkLoop allows you to create a newsletter referral program
For us makers, building and launching an online business has never been faster, cheaper, or easier than ever before.
But sadly, this doesn’t mean finding customers is easier. In fact, it’s never been more difficult to reach new customers. There’s so much more competition, and the tools above mean there’s a lot more competition coming our way.
How are you going to reach customers?
This is my favorite question I like to ask new makers (and myself!) when starting a new venture. In today’s landscape, figuring out how you are going to reach new users is way more important than figuring out how you’re going to build the product.
To win today, you need to proactive with reaching new customers who can benefit from using your product – not for days, but for months and years. If you can’t this, your competitors will.
So the next time you think about launching a new project, ask yourself 2 simple questions:
- How am I going to reach new users?
- How can I sustain this for a long period of time?
Chris, how do I get good at sales/marketing?
Here are a few ideas I think every maker should be considering right now:
One of the reasons most B2B SaaS products grow so fast is they all have built-in vitality. What does this mean? Well, when you create a newsletter at ConvertKit, for example, ConvertKit makes sure your subscribers are introduced to their brand via the emails you send, the forms you add to your site, and the branded confirmed/unsubscribed pages your users will visit.
Built-in virality compounds the more users you have on your platform and is one of the most effective marketing strategies software companies leverage today.
Takeover existing assets
There’s a lot of side-products for sale that you can pick up from marketplaces such as MicroAquire. Side-note: most of these are for sale by makers who didn’t take marketing seriously enough.
Start a newsletter
Provide your market with a carefully hand-curated list of the best news items in your industry every week. Side-note: I currently have a few newsletters for sale. Send me a DM on Twitter if you’d like my list.
Produce great interviews
Well-thought-out interviews with interesting people, in either text, video, or audio format, are always a hit.
Leverage Twitter ads
If you’re in B2B, forget Facebook ads and instead focus on Twitter. The reporting sucks compared to FB but the results have been phenomenal for us.
It’s expensive and takes time to see an ROI, but producing awesome content for your industry is still the gold standard for good reason.
Make a top 100 list
Profile the key people (or companies) in your industry and hope they share it with their audience (check out our list of 100 AI experts for an example).
Make a research report
Depending on your industry, look at creating a free report digging into interesting data/patterns you can access.
Set up a referral program
Some of the biggest newsletters out there right now grew from setting up a simple referral program.
Host a virtual event
As everyone is at home right now, there’s never been a better time to launch an industry-wide virtual event with tools such as Hopin.
Get good at outreach
Reaching out to companies who could benefit from using your product can produce amazing results. The trick? Keep the first email short. 1 to 2 sentences, max. Side-note: GrowthList will save you heaps of time finding companies with big budgets.
Hire someone to do this full-time
I have a new personal rule for starting products: I can only build and launch a new product if I’m willing to hire someone to work on its marketing for a minimum of 6 months.