Starting a business is hard. According to a study published by CB Insights, 35% of startups fail because of a lack of product-market fit. That means your customers aren’t getting real value from your product or service, word of mouth isn’t spreading, and usage isn’t growing as quickly. However, there’s one key element to turning your idea into a real business: you need to learn from the experience of your first customers or early adopters. But when you’re just getting started, finding early adopters isn’t an easy task. Especially if you don’t have free options in your pricing and your prices aren’t cheap.
So, how do you reach those first customers who are willing to pay for your product, and also provide honest feedback to scale your MVP? That’s what we are going to address in today’s article.
But first, a brief review of the basics:
What Are Early Adopters?
Early adopters are customers who’re aware of their pain points and are actively looking for a solution. Therefore, you can approach them and ask them to try your product or service and give you detailed and sincere feedback.
Also, early adopters are usually people who’re willing to take risks on new things, especially technology-related products or services (SaaS). They should also be willing to help you with feedback and advice on your startup.
You’ll find most of these kinds of users navigating on sites like Product Hunt, hungry to find new products which can make their life a little bit simpler. It’s worth mentioning that most of the customers who are willing to be early adopters are already familiarized with the process. This means they already know what is like to launch a new product online, and how feedback can help you grow.
What Do All Early Adopters Have In Common?
Early adopters can be an important part of your startup if you’re launching a new product or service.
There are two main types of early adopters. The first is the innovator, a person who’s a vision of how a product could be used and wants to take the risk of trying it out.
The second type is called a networker. This person likes to share information about new products with other people. Also, some of them even believe that if they can get others excited about something before the general public, they can make money.
However, there are several common characteristics of early adopters 👇
They’re open-minded & willing to try new things
They’re usually open to trying new products and aren’t afraid to take risks that may not work. That means they’re more willing to buy something they’ve never heard of. Or at least something that doesn’t have a lot of marketing behind it yet.
They’re opinion leaders in their own right
They may also be opinion leaders or known for being the first to tell their acquaintances about a new product they absolutely must try. In this way, they can influence other people’s decisions about what to buy or not buy.
In addition, some early adopters tend to have large social networks or small but perfectly targeted niches to recommend the products they’re testing. So when they tell their friends about something new and exciting, it can spread quickly through word-of-mouth.
Early adopters are often in the technology industry
They want to be at the forefront of what’s new and exciting. Early adopters are willing to spend money on new products. Even if that means spending several hundred dollars on an unproven device that won’t hit the market for several months! 😂
Identifying Your Ideal First Customers
One of the first steps in learning how to get early adopters for a startup is to create your buyer persona. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of a typical customer for your product or service. Therefore, you can use this information to create content that appeals to these customers.
Also, defining your buyer persona will help you understand your early adopters (and potential clients) needs and expectations Last but not least, finding your buyer persona consists of understanding who your model customer is!
Some questions that will help you define and understand your buyer persona are 👇
- What are your customers’ needs and pains?
- Which are their interests?
- What emotions drive them toward solutions – or away from them?
- How much do they know about your product or service?
How To Reach Out To Early Adopters To Test Your Products
Once you launched your product, now it’s time to put in hands-on work to find willing to pay for it and give feedback to help you grow. This step is key because your first customers are the only ones who can help you scale and grow in the right direction.
To help you get started, we listed five approaches you can follow to build your first connections with customers:
#1: Discover Where Your Ideal Users Are
There are many ways to attract early adopters. Sign up for communities, events, and conferences where you can meet potential customers.
To attract early adopters to your startup, you can also join a community whose members are interested in your startup’s niche. Or where you can find people who have the problem your product is designed to solve. This way, you don’t just get customers. You also become part of a group of people who could slowly but surely become a loyal audience for your startup.
#2: Paid Ads
If you have a small budget, paid ads are a good option to reach early adopters. You can use Facebook Ads or Google AdWords to target people who’re interested in your industry or who’ve expressed interest in buying products like yours. Then, you can send them an email with links to download your product for free or at a discount.
#3: Offer A Free Trial
You can build a community around your startup or MVP and offer your early adopters a free trial. This gives them the opportunity to try out your product for free but also gives them an incentive to give you their honest feedback on which features they liked and which they didn’t.
If you offer a free trial and they like your product, they’ll likely come back and pay for it next time!
By bringing your product’s early adopters together in a community, you can leverage the collective insight of the product community and get:
✨ Ideas for innovative features.
☝️ Identify what changes need to be made to the product.
💸 Save money and time on surveys.
Early adopters’ ideas are key to innovation and product improvement.
#4: Reward Your First Customers
Another good option to get early adopters for a startup is offering valuable deals to them as a reward for being your first customers! This includes vouchers, discounts, and exclusive offers. But also, you can work on membership benefits to build a sense of community from the beginning.
Rewarding early adopters will not only serve as an incentive for them to promote your product or subscribe next month. They will also love to feel appreciated by you!
#5: Facilitate Feedback Channels
Search, connect, and engage! Communities also give users the opportunity to voice their thoughts and even participate in behind-the-scenes product development. Customers aren’t just part of the audience. They’re also collaborating to improve the features of the product they love the most.
So make sure you provide them with channels to voice their thoughts. For example, in the tech communities on Slack and Discord, there are many channels where developers are invited to participate in product development. They’re part of the audience. But they also collaborate to improve the features they love the most!