Customer acquisition is the lifeblood of thriving affiliate networks, but most struggle when strategizing ways to acquire new customers.
The First 100 podcast uncovers how bootstrapped companies acquired their first 100 paying customers.
Let’s delve into the insights provided by Davtyan during her captivating interview.
Understanding the Ideal Customer Profile
The podcast started with Davtyan detailing Phonexa’s growth, from the company’s inception to blossoming into a successful venture, before explaining how Phonexa’s ideal customer profile changed as the company grew.
“The ideal customer profile started out very differently than what it is today. Initially, it was the affiliate marketing space,” said Davtyan. “So, because we knew the space — we knew there’s very limited technology that can handle that level of interaction from the consumer side to the brand side — we already had the ability to identify a use case.”
Davtyan reiterated that the ideal customer profile does evolve over time, a factor businesses must consider to keep pace with the competition.
Phonexa’s ideal customer profile transformed over time, encompassing not only affiliate marketers but also brands that required effective tracking of consumer interactions and targeted advertising.
Customer Acquisition in the Early Stages
Davtyan emphasized the importance of transparency with customers, particularly during a company’s initial stages when it works to acquire its first customers.
“A lot of the things you do in the beginning to try to get customers are not scalable. One of the good things you should keep forever is transparency,” said Davtyan. “You want customers to know that you need their help to identify any bugs, for example, or to give you some use cases so you can build your features better or enhance them.”
“You are testing it, retesting it, you’re giving discounts. Sometimes you’re giving features for free. None of that is scalable, but it is absolutely important to do because that is what creates your relationship with your customer,” said Davtyan. “That is what your customers use to help you identify other use cases. That’s also where customers start referring you to other clients where you can actually end up charging.”
Davtyan believes regularly having business conversations with customers is key to building brand trust.
“We’re in this together, let’s work on improving the system. I think it creates loyalty across the board,” said Davtyan.
The Power of Building a Community
Davtyan emphasized the significance of building a community around a brand, highlighting the role of conferences in bringing together like-minded individuals.
“I would say being physically present where [customer were] at was a big driver,” said Davtyan. “We were at every conference you can imagine related to our ideal customer profiles. Sometimes we saw the same customer in five different conferences before they agreed to be a customer.”
Davtyan also offered advice to those who want to attend conferences but have limited budgets.
“We own a conference as well, called MailCon, so I understand when somebody comes in and says, ‘I am a new founder. This is what I’m offering. Is there any way I could get a free ticket or a discounted ticket? Is there anything I can do for you to be able to come to this conference because my budget is limited, but I could scale,’” said Davtyan.
Davtyan recommends having these conversations with potential conference attendees, especially if you’re offering something their audience will be interested in.
“Have those conversations. If it doesn’t work out, stay local, and try to join them virtually. Those are always options as well,” said Davtyan. “And then moving forward, just increase your visibility.”
Adapting Leadership Style as the Company Scales
As the CEO of a rapidly expanding company, Davtyan acknowledged the need to adjust her leadership style.
“I started off hitting the ground running, rolling up my sleeves and working with every single person,” said Davtyan. “But when you grow to 200 plus employees, it’s really hard to spend time with them.”
Initially involved in various aspects of the business, she now dedicates more time to department heads, ensuring that processes align with the company’s growth and vision.
“Now, instead of spending time with every single person, I spend a lot of time with those department heads to make sure that I’m at least in tune with what’s going on with the process,” said Davtyan.
Looking ahead to the future, Davtyan expressed optimism for Phonexa both in the short and long term.
“If you ever saw our roadmap, it’s never going to stop being built because, at the end of the day, we started with one product,” said Davtyan. “We have eight in one suite now, and we’re enhancing every single one of those eight, and we’re looking at other products to build.”
Davtyan concluded the discussion by sharing Phonexa’s ambition to continue expanding its product offerings and becoming the go-to platform for all performance marketing needs.
“Essentially, we want to be the hub for all performance marketing needs.”
To continue the conversation with Davtyan, connect with her on LinkedIn.
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