Customer Discovery using Forums, Blogs, Social Media & Trade Shows


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How to find customers to speak with during customer discovery.

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  • - Focus is Customer Discovery
    - How to find customers to test ‘problem’ hypothesis
  • - People look to short cut the work, might not be possible
    - These may be valuable, but need to find people with a problem and are actively trying to solve it

  • - Can quickly read / gather information
    - Post / answer topics you have some expertise
    - Ask questions to learn (but do searches first to see if already been answered)
    - No link to your site in your signature
    - Don’t send out survey at first (or ever)
  • - Use WordPress
    - Most important way to find customers during Discovery
    - Everybody wants in-bound links to their blog or site
    - Can start prior to a landing page or product site, build credibility
    - Great for in-bound links to your site
    - Don’t no-follow your links, people will figure it out
    - Make sure your comments section is moderated - Russian spammers
  • LinkedIn
    - SEO, in-bound links
    - Looking for input to your blog, willing to give links; don’t give link to your blog
    - Provides reason to setup phone call

    - Try to friend Linkedin contacts
    - Use to establish personal dialogs, stay fresh in minds
    - Can be a type of CRM
    - Make sure your customers are in their own Friends list - separate from the rest of your Facebook world

  • - Use search.twitter to see what people are talking about before tweeting
    - Fine tune for relevant followers
    - Use
    - Don’t use auto follower programs
    - Make sure to interact with your followers
    - Spamming is dangerous
  • - Can be the best and quickest way to find real customers
    - Unique environment
  • - Seems like a lot of work prior to talking to customers
    - Remember, creating a product nobody wants is a real waste of time
    - Taking the time upfront will result in much more / better learning
    - Creating relationships will improve chance to continue conversations into Validation and Creation
  • Customer Discovery using Forums, Blogs, Social Media & Trade Shows

    1. 1. Customer Discovery using Blogs, Forums, Social Media & Trade Shows Mike Fisher Co-Founder / CEO
    2. 2. Background (how to run a startup un-lean) 2007 - Launched Part time, version 1.0 Spoke to Family & Friends prior to launch 2008 - Started Re-design Based on prior customers, internal insights 2009 - Begin Development of version 2.0 New products, new website, new ordering system 2009 (Aug) - Discover Customer Development / Lean Startup Begin the process anew
    3. 3. Customer Development / Lean Startup Steve Blank: the process startups use to quickly iterate and test each element of their business model. Customer Discovery: testing your hypotheses. Eric Reis: maximize validated learning for the least amount of effort.
    4. 4. Customer Discovery Approaches Landing Page Survey Bother Friends and Family Post to Lean Startup Circle Minimum Viable Product
    5. 5. Mindset for Discovery Whom - identify ideal customers Learning - what can I learn about their needs? Altruism - how can I help (even if my product doesn’t)? Listen - what are their problems? (people like to talk about themselves) Develop relationships - get outside the building No easy / short-cut method - each customer is only one data point and can only provide anecdotal evidence
    6. 6. Forums Top Level Method to Learn About Customers Establish Credibility First Send Private Messages to speak offline
    7. 7. Blog Must be of Real Value to Customers Active and Consistent Schedule of Posts - Blank vs. Reis Provide Links within Posts to Social Media Customer ‘Friends’ Develop an Active Comments / Feedback community
    8. 8. Social Media Find relevant groups where your customers are LinkedIn Join groups where your customers exist Be active, look to help others Facebook Friend potential customers Use groups to find those with common interest / problem
    9. 9. Social Media (cont’d) Twitter hashtags & search don’t wildly build follower list link to blog posts
    10. 10. Trade Shows (as spectator) Determine Hidden Barriers to Entry Clarify links between Vendor / Competitor / Customer Discover Unknown Loyalties See Competitors Pitch Products and Customer Reactions Great Opportunities to Speak with Customer’s Actively Searching for Solutions
    11. 11. What’s Next Plan Whom to Contact What do you want to Learn? Schedule Appointments Organize / Structure What You’ve Learned Iterate / Pivot Product(s) Follow-up to Test Product Hypotheses