How to acquire your first 100 customers: 10 tactics to use after your launch – Justin Jackson – MicroConf Europe 2015 talk recap

The MicroConf Europe 2015 Talk Recaps┬ácan be found on the central “hub” page.

Twitter: @mijustin
Slides: here

Key Points From the Talk

  • Ask for money
  • “sprinkling some marketing on top of it” is NOT the magic formula to success
  • Content + Email Marketing works really well right now


Talk Recap

  • In 1980 Iron Maiden was a brand new heavy metal band, they were about to release their first album
  • We are all in search of the magic formula to (marketing) success – but there is none
    • Marketing has dependencies
      • product that people want
      • audience
      • channels that work
      • combines into “Message that resonates”
    • You have competition, etc.
    • Your way out: UNIQUENESS
  • 3 ways to be unique
    • bake uniqueness into your product (Balsamiq)
    • use your own personal uniqueness (DHH)
    • Create unique branding (Rovio – Angry Birds)

7 Tactics for getting more leads

  • #1 Rank highly on a list
    • most of the major properties are ranked lists
      • Google
      • iTunes App Store
      • Reddit
      • Product Hunt
      • Quora
    • list hack: Quora
      • edit “Answer Wiki”
      • Answer a question
      • summarize the answers into the “Answer wiki” – put your product up top
    • List hack: Product Hunt search
    • List hack: Google Image Search
      • Justin is #1 result for “nerd mullet”
      • Really easy to rank for
      • For StageCMS: “band websites”
        • add <img src=”band-websites.jpg” alt=”Band website example” title=”Example of a band website” /> to your website
  • #2 Create a free tool that naturally leads to your product
    • engineering as marketing
    • e.g. Bidsketch “freelance proposal templates”
    • for StageCMS: “Free spreadsheet for managing band finances”
  • #3 write a surprising blog post that gets people interested
  • #4 Give away an ebook
    • trade eBook for email address ==> build an audience
  • #5 ask for referrals
    • word of mouth is great – but you can encourage people
  • #6 share a journey
    • share your story from 0 to $20k/mo
    • For StageCMS: Nightwish (one customer) has a documentary on Youtube
  • #7 Email people you know
    • you are already building relationships
    • you can ask them to use your product, if you have the relational capital

2 Tactics for guiding leads through the funnel

  • #8 Drip email campaigns
    • for SaaS businesses this is the #1 driver of trials & paid customers
    • build trust over a time – automatically
    • In the last email “I told you all these things, why don’t you try my product now?”
    • StageCMS: “Turn your band into a business in 5 days”
  • #9 use retargeting ads
    • test retargeting against not doing retargeting – some people don’t see results!
    • For StageCMS: Retarget on Facebook to people who “like” Bandcamp and SoundCloud

2 Tactics for closing the deal

  • #10 Follow up with your leads
    • no CRM needed; use Google spreadsheets, track:
      • name
      • email
      • estimated LOW/HIGH value
      • ask date
  • #11 Ask for their money
    • we are getting worse at this!
    • “Shut up and take my money” –> Entrepreneurs: “OK, I’M ready to take your money”
    • use phone to close deals

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About Christoph

Christoph lives in Munich, Germany and is bootstrapping his own SaaS application as a part-time entrepreneur.

He likes to write on this blog about anything of relevance to single-founder bootstrapped software startups.


  1. Thanks so much for writing these notes! They’re awesome!


  1. […] Justin Jackson: „How to acquire your first 100 customers: 10 tactics to use after your launch„ […]

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