Customer acquisition tips for early stage startups on a tight budget - Demium

Customer acquisition tips for early stage startups on a tight budget

Marta Frenna, CEO of Greyhounders, a Madrid-based Demium startup, gives us the lowdown on their launch customer acquisition strategy, on a shoestring.  

But first, a word about the startup that is disrupting the optical prescription glasses industry in Spain….

Set up in 2018 by Marta, Marco Resino and Juanjo Ruano and incubated in the Demium Madrid office, Greyhounders provides an easily accessible online-only optics service.

The founding team identified that the fashion prescription glasses was ripe for disruption in Spain.  Historically, the monopoly of the optical industry has managed to create the perception that good quality lenses and glasses should be expensive.  This project democratizes access to fashionable prescription glasses and thus breaks with the molds of traditional optics and offers a higher quality product in both quality and design at an affordable price for all audiences.

The numbers made a whole lot of sense. Around 25 million Spaniards currently wear prescription glasses, and this is projected to increase to more than 35 million over the next 10 years. The hours in front of the computer or mobile phone are usually the main cause of the most common problems at the eye level and more and more cases of visual problems are detected among the smallest.

This has caused the optical sector to keep growing in recent years, at a rate of 3% -4% per year, with projections of over 2.6 billion euros in turnover in 2019.

So what is Greyhounders?

The GreyHounders business model is pure-play e-commerce shop. Customers can browse an extensive online catalogue of frames designed in Spain and Italy. They can then see if the glasses would suit their face shape via augmented reality technology on the website, and they can also share the images with their networks on social media. They can then order up to five pairs to try on at home for free, which they’ll receive within one week. Postage and returns are free, with a 15-day window in which to make a final decision.

Greyhounders started with initial marketing budget of less than €1k and within the first four months of launching their MVP, they’d sold 300 glasses. The key, she believes, was personally engaging with customers with both early marketing proposition development and initial sales.

So, Marta’s tips on how to acquire new customers….

  1. Understanding your customer pain points in the consideration and purchase process is as important for marketing as it is for product development. The Greyhounders team spent a lot of time analysing the customer journey, which is valuable not just with respect to developing a solution, but in developing customer communications. All early marketing content talked to how their innovative new offering helped overcome these challenges at a more attractive price point.
  2. Don’t underestimate the importance of brand. The team understood how much value is derived from a brand that really resonates with a B2C target customer in a competitive, and well established industry.  So getting this right was a priority. The Greyhounders team tested their early brand and campaign development on their immediate network, which proved a very low cost feedback loop.
  3. Content is king.  And while content depth can take time to achieve, think carefully about how you create the most effective, shareable content to give you more bang for your buck. Greyhounders focussed on developing high quality blog content, that was shareable. An example of this was tagging their customers in images of their glasses throughout the production process, which was frequently reposted by the customer in their own social media channels. This both helped educate potential customers in their proposition, and helped to generate further interest in their brand as more people understood the true benefits of their brand proposition.
  4. Personalisation will drive higher engagement. Personalisation of marketing activity – specifically emails – doesn’t need to be sophisticated. Once Greyhounders had established their first leads, they sent out personalised newsletters manually, with bespoke and compelling titles and information, to give them the greatest chance of getting continued engagement and sales.
  5. Launch offers and discounts can be super effective, but don’t get caught in a vicious discounting cycle. On launching their first product, Geryhounders did offer discounts on price.This is a common market entry strategy, improving a startups chances of attracting customers and converting sales. But the team had to think very carefully about how they’d increase prices and phase out discounting as a general acquisition strategy. So it was made very clear that these were for a limited time and for limited stock only.
  6. Develop a unique proposition to drive demand. Which played nicely alongside their discount strategy. It’s a known fact that limited edition stock in fashion can help drive demand. Greyhounders applied this tactic in their launch strategy – specifically, the initial frames, which were all named after districts in Madrid, were created as a special edition and only a few of each were available.
  7. CRM pays off in the early stages. The team implemented acustomer relationship management strategy from the very beginning, with the tracking of both sales and referrals so that specific pricing could be deployed for loyal customers based on purchase history and referrals to family and friends. This also helped improve the lifetime value of loyal customers, which gives room for alternative, non-discounted price promotion for the general public.

And, while it might be an obvious point, it’s important that all marketing activity continually promotes the high quality of their product.

The strategy adopted by the Greyhounders team in the early days has paid off, and the team has recently hired a Head of Brand to join the team, tasked with boosting online sales and increasing brand awareness.

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