Your first 500 impressions

PROCEED WITH CAUTION: MAKE SURE YOU FULLY UNDERSTAND YOUR PROBLEM & CUSTOMER BEFORE SELLING YOUR SOLUTION. 

Impressions on your website are just a vanity metric, true, but without impressions... conversions, (the real goal) are impossible.

Here is a tactical guide for getting your first 500 RELEVANT IMPRESSIONS.

The easiest ways to get immediate traffic are of course

  1. to tell your friends and people you know DON'T do that (yet), 
  2. to buy it. DON'T do that either (yet)
Nothing worthwhile is easy right? So we are going to cover the other ways in this post. Paid traffic CAN be very helpful these days due to the ultra specific targeting mechanisms but it can also be very costly. It is step two. Friends and family can be a good way to amplify your audience once you have figured out your target customer segment and the exact UVP of your solution.

REMEMBER: If you cannot find 500 NEW PEOPLE who are not hired and who are not in your existing network to even VISIT your site or take a look at your value proposition, you are NEVER going to get enough customers to create a scale-able and repeatable business. EVER. 

Here goes. Keep in mind, just like anything in life, everything is relative and based on context. Here is a outline of a general consumer facing, b2c "idea". Before getting traffic to a proposed solution, make sure you are solving the right problem for the right customer.
  1. TWITTER Step one in our @LEAN workshops (and what I tell everyone once they are ready to test a UVP),  and in my opinion the easiest, best and most worthwhile action is posting a tweet. If you do not have a twitter account, I hate to say it, go sign up for one now. There is no tool like it in the history of the world for targeting specific people who may be early adoptors for your new product or service. Start passively just by posting your shortened value proposition along with your call to action (the link) along with hash tag keywords. Be bold, avoid asking for favors or to "check this out". Be direct. Be specific. Think about what would make you click (or not click). Once you are comfortable with that step, be more proactive... start targeting specific people. DO NOT SPAM THEM or your account will be shut down... BUT find people who are actively talking about your industry and contribute value to the dialog. Even better if you can find people who are complaining about the very problem you are solving. 
  2. GOOGLE  Next go on Google and use your own keywords or value proposition to find other people writing blogs and articles about your idea. Again, without spamming... drop your link in to the comments on these blogs. While you are on Google, set up a Google news alert. This tactic will take time to pay dividends but it is worth it. 
  3. QUORA Next go on Quora and start answering questions WITHOUT SPAMMING based on your topic/solution. 
  4. MAILCHIMP Then set up a mailchimp account. Be VERY CAREFUL here with importing your own personal contacts. 
  5. FORUMS Next join an actual forum. When I got revenue the same day I set up a page for my wedding photo app, the first place I went was weddingbee.com and got involved with conversations about how they were collecting photos at their wedding. It was not spam a) because it was hyper relevant but also b) because I was willing to do something of value in exchange for their attention... even if the app was not ready yet I was willing to retouch their photos for them or combine them manually on the back end into a gallery for them. 
  6. OUTSIDE Make +steve blank proud and get out of the building. Mock something up that doesn't work and show it to people on an iPad as if it does. Tell them you are the founders and you launched today. If you cannot get people to sign up with real data directly from the founders, on opening day, in context (food app at the farmers market, new app at the Apple store, networking product at a meetup) you are NEVER EVER going to get customers from a cold landing page (not at scale). 
  7. OTHER put the link in your email signature and status if you email a bunch, if you know how to code make sure you are active on github and keep the link in your profile, post on https://news.ycombinator.com/ but do not try and game the system unless you are smarter than PG. 
  8. FRIENDS, FAMILY, MENTORS, ADVISERS you do not want their impressions to count in your first 500, but if you are struggling - use them to help you get to 500 IF THEY CAN HELP YOU PUT IT IN FRONT OF RELEVANT PEOPLE. 
  9. LINKEDIN is great for B2B
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