3 questions start-up businesses need to answer before securing their first customer

Fay Daniels
Marketing Executive - Enterprise | Business West
19th April 2021

Making your first sale in your start-up business is an exciting time, but there’s several steps you need to take first to ensure this happens and that you continue to make sales so that your business grows. Let’s dive deep into the 3 questions you need to answer to make a successful sale: who is your customer, where is your customer and what message do you want to portray to your customer?

1. Who is your customer?

Talk to everyone and you’ll sell to no-one, that’s every marketer’s motto! There are very few mass-marketing campaigns in the world that work, so getting to know and understand your target audience well is the key to success of any start-up. In fact, even large multi-national corporations have targeted marketing campaigns; think of the Coca-Cola campaign where you could buy a bottle of Coke with your own name on it. This campaign was targeted at a specific group and type of people.

To really understand your ideal customers, firstly you must look at the demographics of who it actually is that needs the product or service you are offering. Demographics are usually facts such as gender, location, age range, marital status, ob title  type of company they work for; and these facts will also be relevant regardless of whether you sell to businesses or direct to consumers.

Next, you must determine the problems that your products or services solve for these people. Are they saving money, time or energy? Are they going to be rid of a burden when purchasing what you offer? 

A business may have more than one ideal customer, and each customer avatar needs to be defined. 


2. Where is your customer?

You must also determine where your customers like to spend their time. Which social media platforms do they use? Which magazines do they read? What technology do they use? Some of these factors will determine how you start marketing to these people.

Once you understand where your customers “hang out” you can put together a plan of what and where your marketing and PR is going to be.


3. What message do you want to portray to your customer?

Once you know who your customers are, and where they are, the message that you send to them is the next step in marketing your business successfully. If you don’t hit the mark, you won’t make sales. Make your marketing customer-centric so that they know what’s in it for them and why they should buy from you. 

Businesses who talk about themselves and what they do will often not be heard in the noise of digital marketing these days, but as soon as you talk about your customers and what you can do for them, they will start buying.

Also, ensure that you are communicating your offers in a really clear and concise way; don’t muddy the waters by using terminology from your industry that your customers don’t understand and try and not bombard customers with too much information.


Next steps for start-ups

Market research is a very important part of marketing success for a business; it’s also something that you can do on a yearly basis: review your customers, where they are (have new social media platforms come into play?) and your marketing message to avoid a downturn in revenue. 

To ensure you secure that first customer, put in the time to research and explore these 3 questions, so that you understand your customer, where they are and what message you want to put out to them.

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