This post originally appears on https://www.techinasia.com/talk/attract-customers-investors-2-minutes/
Disclaimer: You may take more than 2 minutes to accomplish some of the suggestions we are sharing below to promote your startups to potential customers, partners and investors. However, there is no doubt that you are reading this article right now because you are interested to make a quick impact on your startup. To help you achieve that goal, I have arranged the tips in order of increasing complexity so start with the easiest and be inspired to accomplish the rest.
1. Make it a priority to update your own or company’s Linkedin profile
If you are a startup, it is likely that you are looking for partners and investors almost all the time. According to LinkedIn, it already had 380 million members in the second quarter of 2015, making it a huge network of customers, partners and investors to tap on.
A good Linkedin profile improves credibility and allows you to quickly gain vast networks and recommendations to influential professionals in the same industry or those interested to meet nascent entrepreneurs like yourself.
The content to update include your professional background (this is not a case of more is better, include only relevant ones to your startup) as well as past successes. Be as detailed as you can to emphasize that you are better than your peers, for example, taking a shorter time to achieve a certain successful outcome, leading a group of individuals to accomplish the same goal or even doing something outside of your expertise well to demonstrate the ability to learn and adapt quickly.
Next, do ask for recommendations from people who have worked closely with you. Make sure those recommendations appear as sincere as you can, demonstrating specific examples of how you have shined either in your startup or past work experience to demonstrate the potential that you will succeed again now. Do not underestimate the power of recommendations as it is now the new ‘word of mouth’ online.
One common question asked is what if they don’t get back to you? A good strategy to get the recommendations for yourself more quickly is to write for them first or provide them with a template to drive your branding objectives.
At the same time, do connect with people whom Linkedin recommend to you or whom you would like to meet (prominent investors, partners, employees of relevant departments in corporates) as it is just a click away. The network effect will bring you more relevant recommendations and some people may more likely connect with you because you have connected with people from their Linkedin network.
Last but not least, do include email address on your profile so that it breaks down the barriers to connect with you since interested parties can email you instead of sending you InMail.
2. Make it easy for people to know you better and build trust through online platforms
Go to Angelist and set up a profile of your company. Then, repeat for platforms like Crunchbase, F6s and e27. These platforms have vast networks of investors and individuals interested to work in startups so promoting your company’s profile there will allow others to easily discover your startup as well as potentially boost the SEO ranking of your website. I have personally tried doing this when I’m still working for a business incubator and there was an overall 20% increase in the number of queries on incubation/funding in the months that followed.
Next, do update your website to include:
Google+ page website
Facebook page/group website
your new personal or company’s Linkedin profile
If you have received venture capital investment or government’s grant, have you included your startup website and description on the investor’s portfolio website? Take advantage of the higher SEO ranking of the investor’s or grant website as they are probably highly visited by the rest of the startups out there.The fact that you are listed also increases your startup’s credibility as it implies that you have a validated business model.It is also important to include the same information in your own website. Ethan from Lessonsgowhere.com.sg says, “Customers who have never heard of their company before feel safer buying recreational lessons from them when they’re aware that NUS Enterprise and SPRING ACE grant supports their company.”
Peck Ying Tan, cofounder of PSLove.co, a startup which utilises physical products combined with technology to help make a lady’s life easier during “that time of the month”, shares that “People will always be looking out for signs that says “I can trust you”, whether is it by being an opinion leader in the industry (elaborated in the next point) or by simply scanning your website or profiles. Make sure they find the signs.” She also advocates the following:
Reviews reviews reviews (of your product). It takes just one minute to email or call your current customers to take a minute to review your product. Incentivise them with movie tickets (this is tried and tested to work especially in Singapore) if you will. Nothing beats testimonials by customers themselves.
Media coverage. Small media brings in the larger media. It doesn’t matter where you are being covered at the start, but make sure your company has some coverage and other media will be coming to knock on your doors. Your customers / partners are also more likely to trust you when they know you have been featured on the news. It takes just one minute to ping a journalist on Linkedin and propose a suitable angle to write about you.
Attracting success with success. Have you partnered with any big name or have any as your customer? List their logos down on your website, leverage on their names to gain trust. This is especially useful for B2B startups.
3. Establish yourself as the opinion leader in the industry
Through participation in relevant online Forums and Quora. You don’t have to participate in all the discussions and the key is contributing sustainably. For the first two minutes, create an account on relevant forums and Quora. Then set aside an hour on the same day each week to look for relevant threads and air your views.
Reach out to conferences to speak: Volunteer first to gain recognition. As a conference organiser in the past, one of the biggest headaches we have is getting the right speakers and asking them to speak at our events. Having someone who steps forward willingly is certainly much appreciated. Most conferences feature their speakers on the website and new conferences often reach out to these speakers to speak. For the next two minutes, search for suitable conferences happening in the next two to three months and start pinging the organisers.
Be guest writers on blogs like Techinasia (like me!) or other blogs that are in your industry vertical (or where your customers “hang out”). The two-minute task would be to go through what you have written previously and revise it so that it is something that a particular blog would like to publish.Set up an account and blog on Medium. For a start or to increase the mileage of your blog, Linkedin is also a great platform to share your thoughts too.
So… when are you going to start doing any of this?
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