My last article titled “3 Simple Steps for solving your Start-up’s Customer Acquisition Headache focused on the intricacies involved in customer acquisition and some tips for helping with challenges likely to occur in the process.  Now, this month, I’ll be writing on important tips that can
literally move your business from hundreds to thousands or millions
of customers (or users for technology start-ups).

Quick recap: My previous article discussed research
carried out on five successful start-ups viz-a-viz Konga, Jumia, Uber, Airbnb,
and Jobberman and highlighted three main points for attracting and
retaining first customers, which are: “Think like your customer and
market”, “Create a compelling experience”, and “leverage on
circumstances”. In this article, I will be drawing from research carried out on these start-ups to drive home some basic points on how to keep customers coming.

Adopt strategies suitable for the stage of your Business: After your business has gotten its first set of customers (early adopters), you can start strategic execution towards expanding its customer base
through more traditional marketing approaches. In each case the
strategies should be different. While word-of-mouth might work for
the first hundreds, it may not get you beyond
that. You will have to be proactive and take control of the acquisition
process if you are going to reach customers that word-of-mouth may not reach.

a quick reference, at this stage of business when you have gone past
your first customers (or users), you can explore digital marketing on platforms such as
or Google Ads to reach your targeted customers. Digital marketing is
more cost effective compared to traditional marketing in this
information age, because it allows
business to target specific customers through search ads or social
media at a low cost. Digital marketing also makes it easy businesses
to rapidly iterate its advertising message, tweaking it to figure out
what works best. Please note that, only after passing a certain
threshold of customers should you go into advertising on traditional
media –- that’s when you need massive scale, so you go to mass
marketing through traditional media such as Billboards, radio,
television, and newspapers.

a business grows, it must consider the purpose of advertising in
order to achieve the best effects in gaining new customers. Some
tools are better for the beginning, some are better when you are
bigger. It’s not about, should I use digital marketing or
word-of-mouth or TV ads. The question only makes sense when you say,
‘At this stage, what approach should I take?’ Only when you answer
that question will you know what tool is most appropriate. You need
the right size of eggs for each stage of your nest.