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How to get the first 100 customers for your Small Business

How do you transform your marketing and sales capabilities, especially if you’re a startup or small to medium-sized business? Here are 2 tips to generate leads without the big bucks and huge marketing dollars.

How to get the first 100 customers for your Small Business

Tuesday June 18, 2019,

5 min Read

2 Practical tips to getting the first 100 customers for your Small Business/ Startup

How do you transform your marketing and sales capabilities, especially if you’re a startup or small to medium-sized business?

When it comes to leveraging new digital marketing trends, startups and small companies often hesitate, intimidated by the large players. There’s a classic dialogue in the movie, `Field of Dreams’  which resonates well:

`If you build it, they will come.’

Unfortunately, with the overload of information available online and an increasing amount of content shock today, this statement is far from true.

Thankfully, there are still ways and means for startups to generate leads without the big bucks and huge marketing dollars. Here are two practical tips to getting the first 100 customers for your business.

1. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing, as the name suggests, is a form of marketing where identified leaders or spokespersons drive the brand’s message to a larger marketplace. Instead of trying to reach out to customers directly, one hires/inspires/builds relationships with influencers to talk on behalf of the brand.

Influencers make use of one or other forms of social media to disseminate their messages. In this regard, Instagram has proven to invite one of the highest levels of interaction. A typical Instagram account has an engagement rate of 3% in comparison to Facebook or Twitter’s 0.5 - 1.0%.

Apart from driving good engagement rates, influencer marketing also has the following advantages.

  1. It shortens the sales cycle by building`trust’ early on.
  2. It helps to fuel conversations.

Nano and Micro Influencers

Bigger isn’t always better, and this is quite evident in influencer marketing. People often confuse the word `influencer’ with `celebrity’. But the fact is, while celebrity influencers are sought after for their power to attract followers, the buzz around celebrity influencers is slowing dying and consumers are looking for more authentic and genuine reviews.

Enter micro (i.e. those who have between 5K and 25K followers) and nano (having a follower base upto 1K) influencers.

Nielsen reports that 92 percent of people trust recommendations from individuals—even if they don’t know them—over brands.

Millennials who will by year 2020 account for over $1.5 trillion in spending power, are looking for meaningful interactions. They review every single product and service they procure and this is opening doors for startups to use innovative strategies to promote themselves. This is why micro influencers and even nano influencers are high in demand (they have highly dedicated and an engaged fan base).

Now for `Influencer Marketing’ to work, one must start with the three ‘R’s’.

  1. Relevance - Pick an influencer whose target base aligns with your market.
  2. Reach - Instead of going after influencers with a large fan base, look for those who share a similar niche as your brand.
  3. Resonance - The influencer, message, and campaign must be established in a way to build maximum, meaningful conversations.

2. Email Lists via LinkedIn

Acquiring your first 100 customers is equal parts art and science.

And while entrepreneurs are quick to turn to paid marketing to try and get their first set of customers, there are other, rather simple and cost-effective ways to bear similar results and get traction early on. One such method that’s proven to work for entrepreneurs is LinkedIn and Email Lists.

There are number of ways to generate email lists.

  • manually, by reaching out to people on social media networks like LinkedIn and adding them to your mailing list
  • procuring lists from agencies
  • making use of new-age marketing automation tools

In the digital era, subscribing to automation tools like AeroLeads helps shorten the time to procuring business emails and phone numbers of decision makers to less than 30 minutes. But apart from the obvious time-save benefits, these tools also boast of:

1.Bulk search features where you can upload a complete list of your target brands

Bulk search

2.Filtering by designation, company, location

search by title

3.Exporting lists to .csv so you can flag off drip email campaigns

export lists

Follow this 3-step Procedure to Generate Your First 100 Email List with Aeroleads.

  1. Log on to and create an account.
  2. Install the Chrome Plug-in.
  3. Go to LinkedIn, search for people, brands or designations (example: founder) and start prospecting.

Yes, it’s that simple.

Once you have your list, you can manually reach out to your prospects via email, or automate this process with tools like Mailchimp.

For your email campaign to work with your first set of 100 cold leads, make sure to launch a sequence that will convince and convert. Here’s an example of a successful cold lead nurturing email series.

  1. Introduce the problem
  2. Build intrigue around the solution
  3. Introduce your product/ service
  4. Reinforce confidence in your product with case studies or testimonials
  5. Go for the final kill (for example, limited time period offer or limit users offer)

To summarise, startups and small businesses require smart marketing efforts to propel their business forward. To win 100 deals is not difficult and thankfully in the digital marketing and automation era, it need not cost the earth.