Develop a customer base before you start selling

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While your website is under development, there are a number of things you can do to start marketing it and getting potential customers. This is especially important if you are selling a product or service.

Even if you are not ready to sell yet, people may be interested in what you are selling, so why not offer a way for them to know when you are ready to sell? Why not develop a customer base that is just waiting to be able to purchase from you?

We recently set up a front page for which simply tells users that the site isn’t live yet, but it offers them a form to enter their email address to be notified when the site does go live. It’s pretty basic, and you can do a lot more with it. To ensure people are comfortable with entering their email address, it also states that it will not be used for any purpose except to notify the user of the website going live.

Skate-Parts Landing Page

By having a temporary front page setup that allows users a glimpse of your service or products, or even just product types, you can encourage people to sign up for an email notification when you go live by using an email subscription form. If you have a Twitter account, you could also encourage users to keep up to date with exactly what is going on by following you there.

Similarly, if you provide a service, perhaps one that is in limited beta, email collection through a similar front page could allow you to gradually allow more beta users as a way to encourage people to subscribe with their email address. Once you are ready to go live, you could have a huge number of people that have registered their interest in your service but may have forgotten about you. Just send them out an email to remind them that they had registered their interest and you are now up and running. Chances are, the vast majority of them will come back and many may end in sales for you.

Having a temporary front page like this means that you can start marketing your website as well without the risk of people finding a blank page or a page not found error. So you can start working on basic offsite search engine optimisation and add your website to your other advertising too, such as print advertising.

You could use a competition as encouragement for people to sign up to be notified when you go live.

A couple of examples could be:

  • A free shirt for the first 100 people to sign up!
  • A free consultation for 5 people chosen at random from those that have registered to be notified.

You could extend this, say a free shirt for the 100th person, something else, a bigger prize for the 250th, and something even bigger for the 500th.

There are lots of ways that you could encourage people to register, many of which will be specific to your industry. So be creative, customers love the possibilities of freebies, especially when all they have to do is enter their email address!

Of course, your website doesn’t have to be under development to run an email subscription-based competition like this, you could add this to your website at any time. This is just one way you can develop a customer base before your website is even live and you could develop another customer base on Twitter just by being an active Twitterer and especially by offering similar competitions to those above! Except instead of the 100th person to sign up, the 100th person to follow you. You could ask questions and give prizes to those with the best answer or the quickest response.

Perhaps you could start a blog while the website is under development?

There are lots of possibilities, why not give them a try? If you are interested in a service like one of those I’ve mentioned on your website, get in touch with us today!


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