Lean Canvas—How Will You Get to Your Customers?

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’re almost done with your Lean Canvas. So far, you have a great idea about your customers, their problems, your solution, your unique value proposition, and your price. Guess what! If you can’t get your solution in front of enough customers, none of the work you’ve done might matter.

That’d be a shame.

So how do you get in front of your customers, or help your customers get in front of you? The answer is Channels, paths that will help you find your customers and your customers find you.

There are two types of channels, outbound and inbound. Both are important, so you need to get this right. Here’s a helpful infographic from Mashable, but the essential differences are:

Inbound Marketing:

  • Communication is interactive and two-way.
  • Customers come to you via search engines, referrals and social media.
  • Marketers provide relatively more value.

Outbound Marketing:

  • Communication is one-way.
  • Customers are sought out via print, TV, radio, advertising and cold calls.
  • Marketers provide relatively less value.

At first, you will probably need to focus on outbound channels. Even though they are harder in some ways, you can learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t from your outbound marketing.

Here are some ways Maurya suggests you get in front of customers:

  • Make a list of people that you know. Ask them if they would be interested in your solution.
  • Ask those people to introduce you to others who may be interested in your solution.
  • Create a teaser page with an opt-in and, from that, create an email list. Then email them about your solution (more about how to do this in an upcoming blog post, but I like Aweber, LaunchRock and LeadPages).
  • Ask your blog readers if they are interested in your solution or know someone who might be.
  • Talk about your solution on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. (Be careful about being very salesy—remember that people don’t like to be “sold” but they love to buy.)
  • Buy Google Adwords and Facebook Ads.
  • Cold call people you think might benefit.
  • Sponsor groups or events where potential customers will see you and can get to know you.
  • Content marketing.
  • Hiring a sales force.

So which channels do you think might help our hypothetical employment assistance business find Bill Johnson or help Bill Johnson find us?

First question I would ask: where is Bill now? In real life, is he going to any networking meetings? Job seeker support groups? Is he part of the Kiwanis Club? Who do you know that Bill knows? Online, is he on Facebook? LinkedIn? Craigslist? Does he tweet? When he is looking for help with his job search, what words does he Google?

As you think about what’s going on in Bill’s life now, you’ll have a much better chance of picking the right channels, reaching him and being able to share your solution.