Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.
In our new Groove Friday Q & A segment, we’re answering any questions that you have about, well, anything.
Check out this week’s answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts in the comments!
How Can You Get Your First Customers Without Spending a Lot of Money?
Our approach has changed a lot since we started Groove, and our blogs are where the overwhelming majority of our new customers now find us.
If I went back to Day 1 and could do things differently, I would’ve started doing content marketing immediately (the right way, putting real time and energy in content creation and promotion).
Still, content marketing is an investment that pays off over time, and it’s not where I’d get my first customers (though, again, and I can’t stress this enough, start doing it).
I’d get my first customers the same way we actually did: by hustling, sending emails and picking up the phone. I’d talk to people in my target market and try to learn about their goals and pains, and then if my product aligned with them, the pitch becomes a lot easier. If I found that my product didn’t align, then I’d have some great feedback on which to make changes.
How Much Time Should You Spend Creating Content?
@groove How much time do you spend writing blogs? What advice do you have for those of us who are less gifted with words?
— jt williams (@jtwilly)
Our posts take anywhere from 6-20 hours, depending on the length, depth and topic. That’s including time spent researching, writing, editing, designing, coding and promoting.
The breakdown looks something like this:
- 25% Research/Outlining
- 15% Writing
- 25% Editing
- 15% Design/Coding
- 20% Promotion
The battle for content marketing success is won at the margins. Those extra few hours you spend to make your posts truly great, versus simply good. That’s what makes them interesting, unique and useful, and it’s what will appeal most to the people you’re trying to reach.
How Do You Deal With Bad Customers?
While we’d all love to think that all customers are amazing, it’s simply a fact of running a company: some customers – a very small percentage, if you’re lucky – take more than they give to your business.
I do think that that number is actually far, far lower than most people think. I think many of us are too quick to dismiss customers who ask a lot of questions or make a lot of (legitimate) complaints as “bad,” when in reality they’re doing us a huge favor by pointing out the ways in which we can genuinely get better. As long as the criticism is reasonable, I value these high-volume complainers tremendously.
With that said, there are rare cases when customers can be a drain. They’ll be pushy about unreasonable requests, rude to the team or simply unpleasant to do business with.
Len shared some great tactics and scripts to use when firing bad customers, and that’s pretty much how we approach the issue.
As for Marius’ question about dealing with the issue on a personal and emotional level…well, it’s tough, even now. Hearing criticism of the product and company you’ve poured your heart and soul into for years isn’t easy, though I do think that it’s important to grow a thick skin.
One of the ways I’ve done that is through customer development. By spending thousands of hours listening to customers, and trying to draw out the negative feedback just as much as the positive, I’ve gotten a lot better at handling criticism, which is something that you absolutely need to do if you hope to stay sane as an entrepreneur.