For Starters: Tips For Reaching Customers That Are Short On Dollars, Long On Sense

For this week’s episode of “For Starters,” Robbie Allen hosts RevBoss CEO and Founder (and Bronto alum) Eric Boggs; and Jeff Cooper, President and Founder of Saltbox Solutions.

Episode 8 tackles the importance and logistics of building a customer base online through two main mediums: email marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). Thanks as always to our show sponsor, the Robinson Bradshaw law firm!

Here are some key points from each conversation. First, from Eric Boggs, on email marketing:

  • For Boggs, growing RevBoss from an individual consulting firm to a company with 40+ employees has been a learning experience in survival and pivots. RevBoss now has over 175 early- to mid-stage SaaS clients that are looking to figure out their customer base. (3:00)
  • Here are some “easy hacks” Boggs said companies looking to start customer discovery can fall back on: 
    • If you have any customers, break down their professional demographics and look for patterns.
    • Work through a list of industries and job titles that are being served by your company.
  • When you are creating an early-stage startup, you just need a customer! Your first target market should be your friends, then friends of friends, and then you can start having conversations about expanding your customer base. (7:30)
  • With email, you know your customer exactly: “there are no bad hits.” However, the email marketing experience will be different for everyone, so awareness and personalization (built around titles and industry) is key. (12:00ish)
  • Whatever the process of getting customers is, Boggs said, “you just have to talk to people.” (22:00)

From Jeff Cooper, on SEO and other digital discovery tools: 

  • Before you look into SEO and other online discovery methods, start at the beginning: the internet is a great place to do preliminary research as you look toward building a customer base. Cooper recommends looking at how competitors are spending money through internet research before you spend your own.  (29:00)
  • On a word of caution, Cooper advises being judicious about what you do without professional advertising help; but one thing new business owners should do on their own is research, he said. One such tool—which can be used in both paid and unpaid capacities—is Google Ads. Once you start looking into paying for ads, Cooper said, you should consider paying a freelancer or firm to make sure your investments are solid. (32:00)
  • Even with no landing page or product, a paid search campaign can be an excellent investment. Once you have a landing page, try “heat-mapping” (tracking what users are doing on your website), explore Google analytics (tracking user behavior beyond call to action) and use email marketing responses. (39:00)
  • Invest in SEO as early as you can—but don’t start it until you are sure that the queries you are tracking match your product and market. A good rule of thumb is to buy at least a 1,000-click plan. (45:00)
  • As a bonus: Allen and Cooper give their takes on recent Facebook and Google privacy concerns. (54:00)

Listen to the full show below—and be sure to subscribe!