How to Get Your First 1000 Customers

11 Ways to Get Your First 1,000 Customers

Here’s concrete advice from a CMO who helped his company get to 130,000 customers in two years.

Attracting a strong and loyal customer base is a matter of life or death for your e-commerce company. Ideally, adoption will snowball, and your startup’s future will be bright and profitable. But how to make it happen?

Take some advice from Mitch Wainer, CMO of DigitalOcean, a cloud hosting site for developers. In two years, Wainer has expanded the company to 130,000 users through what he calls “growth hacks,” which any online business can use. Here’s how they work:

1. Acquire and understand 100 early adopters.

DigitalOcean attracted its first 50 customers by demoing in front of a New York tech meetup.

However you capture your first cadre of users, make sure to offer whatever you’re creating or building for free in beta and then learn from your mistakes as quickly as possible.

“‘Fail faster’ is the motto, and that’s going to allow you to adjust and find the success stories and work within those success stories,” Wainer says. “You want to learn as much as possible about your first hundred users in the beginning.”

When DigitalOcean was in its infancy, Wainer says, he would have phone conversations with early adopters and ask them a variety of questions, about their favorite foods and books, what kinds of blogs and websites they visited most often, as well as how they found DigitalOcean in the first place. The point? To come up with a blueprint of a typical customer to know how to target the rest of the 900 you want, or 199,900 you eventually want, using your products or services.

2. Allocate a small marketing budget, set goals, and diligently track your progress meeting them.

You may be bootstrapping, but getting the world to find and try your website or app isn’t going to happen without at least a bit of investment. Set goals such as doubling your user numbers within 30 days or by a certain percentage.

“Whatever it is, you want to set targets and goals month over month, and you want to be tracking day to day,” he says.

3. Offer promo codes to increase conversions.

They’re highly effective in increasing user growth and engagement and can be distributed via banner and text ads as well as social media.

“Display advertising worked really well for us when we were building the first hundred customers,” Wainer says. “We used BuySellAds.com and BuyAds.com to find relevant websites to place a banner ad on, and on those banner ads, we would offer a promo code.”

4. Measure your conversions.

In the beginning, as you’re accelerating, it’s important to closely monitor every marketing campaign you set in motion as well as every tweak you make to your website to understand what’s most effective in getting people to sign up or otherwise take an action you want them to take. To do that, Wainer suggests creating monthly key performance indicator (KPI) reports, an easy thing to do with a simple spreadsheet populated with data from Google Analytics as well your conversion data. For example, are people signing up with a credit card or only with an email and password?

“You want to build monthly reports to track your channels and your spend, and how many users came through that channel, and then the CPA (cost per action) for those specific channels,” Wainer says. “For instance, if it’s social media or if it’s banner ads [that are] producing a high CPA, and then you find that retargeting generates a lower CPA, you might want to allocate your funds to retargeting instead of investing more money into social media.”

Wainer says he uses Google Analytics URL Builder nearly every day to gauge campaign performance by creating a tracking link. To use it, you enter the URL for a page to which you want to redirect an ad, as well as the campaign medium, such as Google, Twitter, or Facebook, and whether it’s cost per click, a banner, or an email. After assigning a name based on the campaign title, the tool creates a long URL you can shrink on a URL shortener such as bit.ly.

“You can create different campaigns with that link and add it to your Google Analytics account to understand how many conversions a campaign drove, and then make a decision on whether or not to scale that campaign or to cut back,” he says.

5. Hire a writer and get serious about content marketing.

Providing quality content for free is a fantastic way not only to draw people to your website but to demonstrate your domain expertise. For example, DigitalOcean not only provides programming tutorials on its site, it also pays developers $50 per post to contribute content.

Wainer says startups should aim for about 20 posts per month that appeal to a typical customer. More of his advice:

  • Create listicle BuzzFeed-type headlines involving numbers, such as “5 Ways to Do XYZ.”
  • Post longer content. Google likes 500-plus words.
  • Use Google’s keyword tool within AdWords to understand which key words generate high-volume traffic, high-search volumes, and low competition. Google Trends also shows which words people are searching for most at the moment.
  • Include calls to action at the bottom of blog posts or articles, where they tend to get more engagement compared with other places on the page.
  • Optimize headlines and meta descriptions with H1, H2, H3 tags (check out that link if you don’t know what this means).
  • Post content on other websites and include links back to your site.
  • Consider including a user community on your site where people can ask and answer questions. “[At DigitalOcean] those questions become individual pages, so essentially we’re having user-generated content on our website that gets indexed by Google and drives more traffic to our website, which again gets retargeted throughout the Web,” Wainer says.

In short, you need to build a marketing engine that puts into motion a snowball effect.

6. Measure churn, cost of acquiring customers, lifetime value of customers, and more.

To get the next 900 users and beyond, it’s important to measure as much as possible, including your monthly churn–which is the percentage of users who unsubscribe or stop using your service–a number that shouldn’t rise above 10 percent, with 2 percent being an acceptable number, Wainer says.

Other things to measure: cost of customer acquisition (CAC), lifetime value of your customer (LTV), and the relationship between the two. Wainer says software as a service (SaaS) companies like DigitalOcean should aim for an LTV to be three times greater than a CAC.

“Also, you want to understand…how many months it will take to pay back the CAC,” he says. “The best SaaS businesses are able to recover their CAC between five to seven months.”

7. Play with your pricing and website design.

Wainer says DigitalOcean was able to expand the number of users fourfold by AB testing call-to-action buttons, pricing models, positioning, messaging, and design. The important thing is to track the funnel of how users interact with your website–when they sign up with an email address, enter payment information, convert, and activate.

“You want to create this funnel and attach numbers to each layer of the funnel going down,” says Wainer,  “and then basically you’re going to build out [the] percentages [of] your conversion rates from when they sign up to when they activate with a payment profile.”

8. Be aggressive with PR.

Wainer used his personal network to find a friend of a friend who could make an introduction to someone at TechCrunch, and then spent time selling the writer on an exclusive story that would announce a product launch.

“It catapulted our growth immediately,” he says, “so we were signing up about 10 customers a day, and then after the release came out, we started signing up over 100 a day, so PR can really help spark a new level of growth for your business if you pair it with the right product release of the right announcement that’s going to disrupt the market. So just work your network, and don’t be afraid to cold email the writers that write about your industry.”

9. Incentivize users with a referral program.

If you want your customers to become your salespeople, it’s important to empower them with ready-made banner ads and materials that are easy to share on the Web and create referral links that generate more traffic for your website.

DigitalOcean also offers to pay customers who successfully promote the platform with credits for reduced-price subscriptions instead of cash, a strategy Wainer says helps keep costs down. His favorite referral automation tool: Ambassador, which has plans that start at $99 a month.

“Another great referral tactic is to create a contest to incentivize your users to generate more signups within a given time frame, like a 30-day period,” he says. “At the end of the 30-day period, you can reward them with 2X or 3X commissions for the month. And maybe create a leaderboard for a little bit more of a competitive environment.”

10. Target and engage with key influencers and ideal customers on social media.

DigitalOcean has used HootSuite and Sprout Social as well as Facebook and Twitter ads to get help doing this.

“[It’s] understanding who your key influencers are in the industry, engaging with them, retweeting them, favoriting their tweets to get on their radar, reaching out to your user base with promo codes or incentives to sign up for your product online,” Wainer says. “Actively participate in tweets and mentions in a timely manner. Engage with them, create conversations, create relationships, because those relationships build more awareness and spread via word of mouth your product or service.”

He also suggests answering highly visible questions on Quora that are relevant to your industry or your business and position your company as a thought leader.

11. Use email marketing, but keep it simple.

DigitalOcean has used MailChimp and Campaign Monitor for help with email campaigns, but Wainer says the most important thing here is to keep emails and subject lines as simple and short as possible.

“An email with a subject line with just ‘Thank you’ works really well,” he says. “A/B test every email. Focus on subject lines, add large calls to action at the bottom of every email to increase engagement. Include incentives such as a promo code.”

The best time to send promotional emails? Midweek between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET, when overall Web activity is at its peak.

Goodwill works well, too. Wainer says DigitalOcean has had success automatically sending customers who drop the service an email from the CEO asking for their feedback along with a note telling them their account has been auto-credited. In fact, during one 30-day period in which the company sent out 4,700 emails, 15 percent reactivated.

“It generated an additional $100,000 in annual run rate,” says Wainer.

Clearly DigitalOcean is doing something right. The company–valued at $153 million–recently raised $37 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz.

 

Credits to: Inc.com
Published on: May 8, 2014

DIY Build a Pool Made from Pallets : Important Tips and Practical Ideas

Pallets remain the only successful material selection, if one wants to build itself. Whether used in interior or exterior design, the pallets are regarded as an absolute hit. A pool of pallets to build itself sounds but not so easily. But we have selected the most important details for the design, which make the procedure particularly easy and thus allow a simple DIY project for all DIY fans.
The approach to this type of project must usually be particularly well planned. This means that you have to have a clear vision for the building materials, tools and construction. First of all, it is recommended to create a sketch for the project. In addition, the positioning of the pool is of great importance because it is a solid construction that has only a certain place. This means that you have to worry about where it is sunny enough in the garden.
The end result has a natural look

The structure of the pool
For the structure of the pool there are two variants: round and rectangular shape. You need about 10 euro pallets for the pool, which are assembled using screws and nails. If you already have a form of the pool, then you need a wooden covering the inner side of the pool.
The pallets are perfect for any garden design, but the most important things for the project are small things that are often overlooked.
The quality of the pool foil is particularly important for the interior design of the pool. The film must be designed without creases. The self-laying of the film is very simple and in a few steps you get a high-quality pool lining. If you carefully drop the foil by the pool walls, the pool remains permanently tight and at the same time beautiful. Qualitative films have high UV resistance and color fastness, and this significantly increases the longevity of your DIY project.
Simple construction but lots of fun in building

Pool-care properly organize
Also important is the filter for the pool. Before you buy a filter, it is recommended to calculate the size of the pool because the system has to be adapted to the size of the pool so that the dirt can be filtered continuously.
For proper pool maintenance it is recommended to protect the water from microorganisms and swimming pool infections. This is done using chlorine, which is a must for every pool. The care of the pool is of paramount importance, because in the summer the chance of infections is very high. For this reason, the pH of the pool should be controlled and possible risks for the children avoided
The pool of pallets is a leisure paradise for any garden design.

Real Life Examples Of Successful Affiliate Website

Looking to create an Amazon affiliate website? Then you need to take a look at these examples of Amazon Affiliate websites. I’ve gathered a total of 12 websites for you to look at.

A lot of online marketers or people who want to start their own business online look to create an affiliate website. Amazon is usually their first choice.

Check out their themes and what they have in common. Any plugins you may need and what you should be looking for.

  1. TheSpruce.com

  2. Thewirecutter.com

  3. Thisiswhyimbroke.com

  4. Toptenreviews.com

  5. Gearpatrol.com

  6. MoneySavingExpert.com

  7. Outdoorgearlab.com

  8. BabyGearLab.com

  9. BestReviews.com

  10. 10Beasts.com

  11. RunnerClick.com

What Can You Learn From Amazon Affiliate Site Examples?

  • You need proper keyword research. A lot of the above sites have used structures like “Best [Product Name]” or “[Product Name] Review”. But also “Best [Product Category or Niche]”.
  • Make sure you do some in-depth research of your niche before venturing into it.
  • Many sites use a PBN to rank.
  • The “Google Sandbox” is usually around 6 months and you should be patient with your rankings. Remember to build quality links over quantity. 1-5 juice links are way more powerful than 100s of poor quality links. Remember that the Sandbox is not 100%, you can rank faster.
  • Make your affiliate links no-follow.
  • Use an SEO plugin for WordPress so you can do some proper on-page and on-site SEO. Website structure is highly important to rank a site and using a tool takes less effort.
  • Write high-quality content that is around at least 2,000+ words for the reviews. Point out benefits rather than features.
  • Use images and links to Amazon as often as possible, but don’t make it spammy. Remember site structure.
  • Use some sort of interactive Theme for best results.
  • A rank plugin (to give a 1-5 star ranking) can be very useful to create more interaction and build trust.
  • Remember; your reputation in the niche is on the line, don’t mess around with it.

Alternatives to Amazon Affiliates

If you don’t want to use Amazon Affiliates for whatever reason, there are some other reputable affiliate sites you can use on your sites. Here is a quick overview of some:

  1. ClickBank

  2. CJ Affiliate

  3. EBay Enterprise

  4. VigLink

  5. Itunes Affiliate

  6. ShareASale

  7. Rakuten Linkshare

  8. Affiliate Window

  9. Shopify

  10. Finair

Conclusion

We hope you’ve been inspired by these example Amazon affiliate websites. These websites were built carefully and gradually refined into the conversion machines they are today. Don’t be discouraged if your site doesn’t contain long-form articles like some of these sites.

You can find little improvements to make to your own Amazon affiliate website today – and then continue to improve your site until your traffic and conversion rates increase.

Please comment below if you’d like to see more articles like this one.

10 Most Expensive Abandoned Cars


Hi guys! Not only cheap cars can be found on the dump. Sometimes there´s even a chance to spot the fastest and most powerful supercars worth millions of dollars!

Today, we are going to present some forgotten treasures of family garages, impound lots, and even city dumps.

5 Exercises And One Affordable Drink That’ll Help You Blast Belly Fat Fast

They say summer bodies are made in winter.

But someone needs to tell that to the baked mac n cheese I just ate last night, because neither it nor I got the memo. As swimsuit season fast approaches, a lot of us start feeling a little less than confident in what all those Christmas cookies and rich, potato-filled stews did to our bods in the winter months.

I feel you. And while I personally am a proponent of eating stuff you love and working out with the first motivation being health over anything, I can’t blame anyone for wanting to beat the belly bulge a little before sun dress weather hits. Luckily, there are 5 moves and one affordable shake you can incorporate into your routine to get back in tip top shape!

Because all food is good food, let’s start with that drink, shall we?

Okay, here’s what you’ll need to round up:

– One small cucumber/half of a larger one
– One lemon
– 10 mint leaves
– Ice
– One teaspoon of ginger

Here’s why they work well together.

Cucumbers are 90% water, and half the battle in losing weight is staying hydrating and staying full. The water content in cucumbers will help you kill two birds with one stone. Lemon is great because it promotes bowel movements and flushes that system right on out. Ginger has a thermogenic effect, which helps burn calories when the body digests food. Mint has been shown to aid in digestion as well. Pop those babies in a blender, pour, and add ice if you so desire.

Now for the not-at-all-fun part: Working out. These five moves will help you    kiss belly fat goodbye.

Cardio: I know, I know. It’s not fun, but calorie burn is your best friend when you’re trying to rock some abs. You can do crunches ’til the cows come home but if you have a layer of fat over your abs (which most of us do) then all that work will be for naught. Something as simple as walking on an incline for 30 minutes to an hour a few times a week is a great way to burn fat.

Rowing: While this is known for its great effect on the back an arms, rowing is also amazing for the core. Start with 20 seconds of rowing followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeat for 8 minutes. Try to beat your previous distance rowed with each new set.

BOSU Ball Planking: Plank work is amazing for the abs, and adding the element of balance will work your core even harder. Place your elbows on the BOSU ball instead of on the ground and do a plank. You’ll feel this in your abs as you try to stay balanced. You can also do this with your elbows on the ground and your feet on the ball.

Burpees: These are so brutal but there’s a reason why every athlete under the sun does them: They work. To do a burpee, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then lower your body until your palms rest on the floor, shoulder-width apart. After that, kick your legs back so you’re in a pushup position. Do a pushup and then quickly jump to a standing position.

Kettle Bell Swing: Grab a kettle bell and start with your body slightly hinged at the hips. Hold the kettle bell at arms length out in front of you and then push it back between your legs, following that motion immediately with a swing up to shoulder height. Repeat for as long as you can.

What’s great is that aside from rowing, unless you have a machine at home, you can totally do all of these workouts from the comfort of home! I don’t know about you, but I see cucumber drinks and kettle bell swings in my future.