Don’t Acquire Customers, Manufacture Them

customer funnel

What’s the easiest way to grow your company? Acquire customers, right?

I used to live by that philosophy when I first became an entrepreneur, but acquiring customers can be very expensive when you are first starting out. Plus, how do you know what customers you should be acquiring?

Starting up a Google AdWords campaign or running some Facebook ads may sound simple, but if you don’t know exactly what kind of customers you should be acquiring, you’ll end up losing a lot of money. And even if you do know what kind of customers to go after, you can still lose money.

So, if you are just starting out, focus your energy on manufacturing customers… not acquiring them. How do you manufacture them?

Manufacturing customers involves 3 steps:

  1. Choose your market carefully
  2. Fulfill your promises
  3. Add your secret sauce

Here’s how you can manufacture customers:

Chose your market carefully

Who is your target market?

Is it 18-35 year old males, who make between $100,000 and $150,000 a year, who live in Los Angeles, California? That’s a classic example of targeting… but even if you get your targeting niche, it won’t work.


Not every 18 to 35 year old male who makes $100,000 to $150,000 a year in Los Angeles faces the same problems.

The reason this is important is because if you target the wrong demographic and get feedback for product or service you are trying to create, you’ll get information that could derail your business. The last thing you want to do is to create something that your ideal customer won’t want to buy.

A good example of choosing your marketing carefully is the story of how APPfog came about. The founder Lucas, who hangs out on Hack News, noticed there were people like him who had similar issues when it came to developing and deploying applications. But instead of assuming those people were in his target market, he decided to test things out.

He popped up a landing page where people could sign up to his APPfog service. The trick was that the product hadn’t been actually created. He just made it seem like it was in existence so he could get an understanding of how many people wanted a service that helped them with application development and deployment.

Within 24 hours, 800 people signed up for his service. Four weeks later, 4,000 people signed up for it.

Now that Lucas knew there was a potential demand for his solution, he decided to require them to fill out a survey if they wanted to be let into a beta offering. The survey went against conventional marketing wisdom as it mainly contained open-ended questions and required 30 minutes of your time to be completed.

Naturally, you would think that most people wouldn’t fill it out, but the demand for his solution was so high that he was able to get 2,000 people to complete it. This also allowed him to weed out all of the people who weren’t in his target market because only those with that deep pain would have filled out such a survey.

Amazingly, out of four thousand, two thousand people filled out the survey! He had found a group of people who shared the same problem and who felt deeply about it.

And it doesn’t have to stop just with web-based products or services. Betabrand is a company that is very careful about finding the right market as they know it is the first step in manufacturing customers.

Every time they consider releasing new clothing products, they first find the customer group and then test clothing ideas for them.

bike pants

They tested out the concept of “bike to work pants”. The pants have a reflective flag that you are able to flip out of the back pocket. The also have cuffs that you are able to roll up to expose reflective tape to improve visibility on the road. Tuck them away, and you have slacks suitable for work.

Each new article of clothing is a minimal viable product. They only make a hundred or so, reach out to their target market, and test the waters. And although bike to work pants blew up, the important thing to realize is that not all of their ideas succeed. To minimize losses, they create low volume runs of clothing items for new ideas, and if the idea does well, they continually improve the product. If it doesn’t, they dump the idea.

If you want to create a similar type of success, you need to describe who you think your passionate early adopters might be. In other words, you are looking for those who don’t care if your product is perfect. They just want it now.

Then go find them, hang out with them and understand them deeply. Invite 10 to be on your “customer advisory board”. When doing so, realize that it’s not good enough that you are one of them. Confirm that there are more of you out there and that you actually understand your potential customers’ problems.

Fulfill your promises

The next step in manufacturing customers is to help solve their pain. In other words, you are going to have to deliver on what you promised. By this point, you’ve already identified a group of people who have a pain or passion, and you are going to address that somehow.

The key to solving that pain and delivering what you promised is having your whole brand and company be a part of it. Every interaction you have with the customer affects the promise and therefore your ability to keep it. This includes the product… but also, marketing, sales, distribution, return process, support, and so on.

A good example of this is Zappos. They don’t just sell shoes. They provide you with the best shoe shopping experience out there. They will randomly upgrade your shipping to next day air for free. Or if you aren’t happy with your shoes, even if you have worn them for six months, they’ll let you return them without any questions asked.

So, how do you keep your promise like Zappos? You need to address the pain or passion of your customers without focusing on the features of the product. Concentrate on how you need to make your customers feel and plan to build only what provides that.

Appfog did this by only building what was absolutely required to keep those 2,000 survey applicants happy. Lucas built 3 or 4 features on the front- and back-end to support it. This didn’t manufacture passionate customers, but it did manufacture customers to continue to learn from.

When building your product, keep in mind that the simpler the better. Being all things to all people is a recipe for failure. Big companies become big companies by growing into multiple product lines and multiple models that deliver simple value propositions, not by crating complex products that solve problems for the entire world.

What promise will you make that will positively impact the lives of your customers? What is the minimum functionality you need to provide to fulfill your promise? Figure those questions out and then run them by your customer advisory board to make sure you are on track.

What’s your secret sauce?

If you want to manufacture satisfied customers, they must realize that the promise has been made to them. But if you want passionate customers, they must feel something extraordinary has been made. It might be joy, relief, or even flattery. You have to change their lives in some meaningful way. Customers are passionate when they feel special, and that’s when they share their experiences.

To achieve high growth, you have to evoke this passion. You can fake passion for awhile by inducing a desired behavior, but it’s not sustainable. A social media program offering a steep discount or an award for sharing might get people to “like” your Facebook page or tell all of their friends about you, but the moment the program goes away, so does the buzz.

Think about the products you use and love. What’s different about your behavior with products you love? What is it about the product or company that puts you over the top?

Here are some ways businesses go about creating passionate behavior:

  • Donating money to charity or adopting a social causeToms does this by donating a pair of shoes for every one that is bought.
  • Providing extraordinary customer service – Zappos and Nordstrom are two companies known for providing excellent customer service. For example, Nordstrom has a lifetime return policy.
  • Create usable products – people love Basecamp not because it has the most features, but because it’s really easy to use.
  • Appeal to beliefsAmerican Apparel only sells made in America clothing as some people feel that wearing clothing made in other countries is hurting the American economy.
  • Going above and beyond the call of duty; in other words, create the experience beyond all expectations.

Creating passion doesn’t have to be in direct relation to your product or service. At KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg, we evoke passion through our blog. That’s our secret sauce. People love our content so much because we educate our ideal customer even if that means telling them about our competitor’s product.

Brian Clark of Copyblogger calls this creating your minimum viable audience.

You have a minimal viable audience when:

  • You’re receiving enough feedback from comments, emails, social networks, and social media news sites in order to adapt and evolve your content to better serve the audience.
  • You’re growing your audience organically thanks to social media sharing by existing audience members and earned media.
  • You’re gaining enough insight into what the audience needs to solve its problems or satisfy its desires beyond the free education you’re providing.

Building an audience first is like creating your very own market segment.

You’re creating a group of similar people drawn together by your compelling and value-driven content. Over time, you develop a deep understanding of these people and, from that knowledge, will very likely gain insights into products they desire.

You should also use your secret sauce with your customer advisory board. If they are passionate about it, it’s likely that others will be as well.


There is nothing wrong with trying to acquire customers, but when you are starting out, you should focus on manufacturing them. It’s too expensive and risky for a new company to focus on buying customers when you could be manufacturing them for pennies on the dollar.

Plus, I’ve found it to be the best way to compete with the big guys. You’ll never have more money than Google or Microsoft, but if you take lean entrepreneur principles and apply them to your business, they will give you a leg up on the competition.

So, what do you think about manufacturing customers versus acquiring them?


  1. Darnell Jackson :

    Excellent Neil,

    I can personally vouch for the difference I’ve have seen since I made the commitment to #PayItForward with my online earnings.

    I give 10% to help children in need and I tell people on my site when they support me they help me do more of the same.

    I think it’s making a difference for my readers.

    I know its making a difference for the children.

  2. Hi Neil ! Thank you for your eXcellent article. Google Adward and Facebook like campaign can helps to boost the power of promotionality of product or services but without making a strong brand loyalty, short term ads campaign fruitful. So that first of all, compyes power should goes to build a brand loyalty to the customers and improve the quality part of product and services.

  3. Amir @ Blue Mile Media :

    I never thought about leads/customers that way. Seems like those customers or leads would be of the highest quality, specifically talking about that example you gave of the 4000 signups.


  4. Hey Neil,

    Great post. It’s always a good idea to get some orders before you have the product. That way, you’re always making products that you know will sell! It’s expensive to test with adwords though. In the community college market, I need clicks around $0.10. I can’t get any quality ones for less than $1.25!

    Just my 2 cents,

  5. Hey Neil,
    Really love reading your articles. One thing gets me always though, is that every mail of yours states “I just wanted to share with you …”
    Wanted to, denotes you would like to do something, but can’t. I “wanted” to go to the moon, but I never could. I wanted to be an actor, but I didn’t become one….you get the point.

    I’m not trying to be a “Grammar Nazi”…I’m merely bringing this to your attention as a friend, and as a major admirer of your achievements 🙂
    Great work, and I hope to use your services really soon in one of my upcoming ventures.

  6. HI Neil

    Great information!

    In present context Acquiring customer is really the toughest challenge if the budget is limited, we never know which platform will work best for us and so mixing and matching is going to empty our pockets.

    Again It boils down to objective of our blog or business, if the Products or the services can be differentiated then it surely becomes a USP and that can be effectively marketed, here again if the promotion is not to the correct audience, we are going to fall flat on our nose.So your quoted example really proves this point.

    I really don’t know how many of us here will stand for Corporate social responsibility which is an extension of donation but I would rather go for value addition in my product and services through which I can target the mass segment as donations are always limited.

    Thanks for this great share.Have a great week.


  7. Neil,

    You should write an in-depth article about how he (or anyone) can validate an idea before going out and developing the product.

    Thanks again for a great article!

  8. Hi Neil,

    Another home run of an article!

    My prospects have been giving me all the clues I need to know how to position my company. They call with such disappointment and pain (not to mention anger, frustration and even financial loss) that it’s like I have been handed a gift.

    All I have to do is work with integrity and deliver on my promises to be miles ahead of many companies in my industry. It’s sad, but true.

    Thank you for such insightful, clear writing. You have a gift.


  9. Hi Neil,

    Great post! I am hoping that more socially conscious entrepreneurs begin creating B-Corps ( and build the give-back into their DNA. I’m personally interested in applying lean startup methodologies to social enterprise, creating “scalable + sustainable ventures that give back to their communities”.

    I would love to see you dive more into the growing social enterprise movement as it pertains to lean startups and building businesses. 🙂


  10. I think most people understand the importance of knowing your target market, yet for most of us, it’s easier said than done.

    Throwing a bigger net and catching whatever we can, then sorting the fish we end up catching is still the way most online marketers do it (and won’t take myself out of that category). 🙂

    I like your example of AppFog, Neil. I am facing the fact that if I want to make any money online, I need to stop throwing everything I’ve got into affiliate marketing and start creating my own products. What does my market want though? I’ll have to do some testing.

    Thanks for food for thought!

    • Ana,
      You are correct. You really have to test out the market and do some product market research before starting any endeavor.

  11. Hey Neil,

    Great stuff as always.

    “Manufacturing” customers is great but I think it will work to great effectiveness in certain niches only.

    The example of Dropbox is a good one. They released a Video which explained what they did and it went viral. The cost of advertising was pretty much $0 and they had a huge ready fan base to sell to once their product was ready. However, the early adopters would form a part of the so-called “Linkerati” and so getting traction among these super-connected people would be easier if you have a great idea/product

    On the other hand, if you came up with a product like Bingo Card Creator for example, it would be difficult to get the same kind of effect with non-tech savvy teachers. Most teachers don’t have blogs, forums or communities like Hacker News where they visit regularly. That’s why Patrick McKenzie released an open source A/B rails testing software — to get some link juice from the tech crowd.
    When you are dealing with non-tech communities, I think it would be better to start out with Adwords, FB etc. & pre-sell them to test the demand. You can use long tail keywords to get cheap clicks and discover whether you are indeed solving a “pain”

    My two cents.

    • Rui,
      Great insights, you are spot on. I agree I think with the smaller items and moving up the ladder to others is essential.

  12. Hi Neil, won’t re-iterate the obvious about the quality of post and the information you have shared 🙂

    It completely makes sense, but I find it hard to establish the brand, with the local businesses. I would send you and email and want to know your thoughts about it.


  13. In only the few short weeks I have been reading what you write, Neil, I have been amazed and delighted at your original thinking and can-do attitude. I have stopped following many so-called Internet marketing gurus because they stopped providing original content and focused mainly on getting my money. By sharing your insights, you are building positive affection for your brand and an eagerness to follow your next post or concept. Today’s post is one of the best.

    Keep up the great work! You are the real guru!

    • Buck,
      Thanks for the kind words. I just love to share things that people, including my readers, have taught me over the years.

  14. I really liked this post Neil,

    first I think it’s always good to remember the general principles of starting with the market/need instead of the product and then trying to push it to customers, and second, I’m about to release a new product and I just loved some of the tips about creating a customer advisory board.


  15. What’s your take on the USPS financial recovery idea of creating a line of clothing? Is it too late to save a sinking ship?

    • That’s an interesting subject. I can’t say I know much about it though. I would have to read up on it before offering my two cents 🙂

  16. This is a great game plan for a prospective client. Their wish is to provide training and services to their own company and then branch out to the whole niche. Your articles are like marketing plans that only need fleshing out with a real client. Thanks Neil!

  17. Great article!

    This works almost the same in the intrapreneur + enterprise space. Intrapreneurs can quickly manufacture customers which will effectively buy them more time & space with senior leaders so the intrapreneur can continue to focus on the new idea.

    The Lean Entrepreneur Value Stream exercise in the book is a great way to help your team get their head around the possible ways to design your product so that it creates those passionate customers which hopefully promote your products to their friends / co-workers (NPS).

    Keep them coming!

  18. Your article really resonates with me Neil. The problem of validating ideas early and building customers is so real to me that I’m building a product to help solve it — TurnMVP. It’s solves a pain point I have. I’m eating my own dogfood right now. And I’m hearing hearing from others that this is a problem they want solved too.

    P.S. I’m a KISSmetrics customer (at my day job). You and Hiten rock!

  19. Thanks Neil for a great post!
    I’ve been testing out ways to really chose the market carefully such as creating a video of how I will help the customer then a sign up forum. I did research on the issue and know it exist but when I tried further validation with facebook and adwords no sign ups occurred. Did the appfog guy already have a following? or does my idea just suck?

  20. Edward Beckett :

    One of the few blogs where I find things I did not know … all the time.

  21. produse cosmetice :

    That is a great approach! The idea to shaping your customers is simple but efficient. But as usual, simple things are not obvious… But how can it be applied on a small scale, by people that have only few resources, financially speaking?

  22. Hello Neil, I have heard nothing but good thing about your strategies. I actually watched a video interview the other day, I forgot who with, but in it you discussed link building for 2013. Very good stuff. Thanks

  23. Started a new review site after getting tired of yelp hiding positive reviews, showing negative one only, and asking for advertising to change this. Please check it out, and I could use some guidance as to how to spread the word. Thanks

  24. Matthew Barnes :

    Hey Neil you make 100% sense. I think that this is like thinking outside of the box because so many companies have very similar strategies on getting customers that we often loose sight of the simple things like fullfilling promises and solving the customers needs. People really come to a website because they want something not because they are your friend, so you have to show how you can help them.

  25. Great post Neil. I think Passion plays an important role in all of this. Sometimes you can help make people target Marketing by being passionate about what you do. For example I love to build websites, never went to school for it but still love to mess around with HTML and CSS. I knew this couple and I heard they wanted their website redone so I took the opportunity to talk to them about their website and what they wanted change on it and the conversation grew and it turned into a conversation about how I new a bit about website development, and they ask me if I could help them out with their website. The point is I went there not necessarily trying to get a costumer but to talk about a passion with them and it grew into a customer.

  26. Ok this is all well and good – but how does one discover what their customer wants if there is no interest in the product or service?

    • You have to create the interest, or else you will be treading in water with no customers. I think testing is essential, and finding the right product market fit.

  27. Great advice Neil! I think the main point of the post was under-promise and over deliver. No better marketing than happy customers!

  28. Amit@Daily Blogging Tips :

    Find real customers is great hunt, many startup companies failed to do proper market research and even after launching they didnt knew their targeted audience.

    Your guide will surely help many of us to promote products in right way

    Thanks neil 🙂

  29. Sheetal Sharma :

    Its all about targeting the right customer to achieve the desired goals and objectives for the company, the team at Synechron is committed to customer satisfaction in every project we undertake which drives business through existing customers by retaining them and adding new customer via referrals.

  30. David-Africa's Opportunities :

    At a time when I am thinking of acquiring customers, this has come appropriately to really challenge my reasons and this post is indeed very useful.

  31. Great work Neil, this approach could literally transform dust to gold, but still, I find it to be just the tip of the iceberg. There is a great amount of traffic that consists of basically confused visitors. They managed to get there but they are not sure what they want or if they want anything at all. Selling something to someone looking for exactly that particular item can be great, but the question is how do you sell it so someone that is not sure about what to do?

    • You have to offer them a value proposition and really find out what their core needs are. This is the hardest, but most valuable process of the sale.

  32. I love this! you articulated the customer experience very well and proved it’s an evergreen process.

  33. The trouble I’m having is actually getting leads/visitors to convert – I’ve started doing some A/B testing on our seminars website to see what results I can get back.

    Now its the task of bringing in the visitors to check out our blog, another issue I’ve had is that it seems our company results are heavily influenced by the marketing that we do. Safe to say I’m still trying to piece bits together!

    Great article Neil!

  34. Great one Neil. But do you also mean that your first 100 customers shall be manufactured, may be through family & friends. And then how do you move forward from there? Manufacturing the first 10,000 customers, wouldn’t we need some acquisitions gimmick there?

  35. Hello, Neil,

    “I just wanted to say” 😉 that, as a new appreneur ( my web site is under construction), I cannot say how greatly I appreciate your advice. I’m at an early stage yet, -my site should be ready by next April, and two apps are almost ready for publishing- but I followed many of your tips on the preparation of both the apps and the site; I am confident to reach success, thanks to you, Neil. Best regards and thank you for a great content and your great communication skill!

  36. As always great post! Zappos is one of my favorite companies and find them to be awesome.

  37. It took me literally 10 years to figure out my “secret sauce” but I’m feeling generous, so I guess I’ll share. This is mostly geared towards B2B creative services firms. I could never for the life of me figure out how to get an audience with a major brand. Then, out of no where, I was talking with 10 different Fortune 500 brands at once. I had to step back and try to figure out what I was doing. Our company was still the same… same website, same AdWords campaigns, same value proposition… I couldn’t understand why all of a sudden we were being seen as the “IT player” in our market, which is super saturated.

    And then I figured out our “secret sauce!” It was all about going above and beyond… at the very, very beginning. I’m talking about walking into a first meeting with an entire campaign concepted out. Right on brand, no direction, with the potential client having no clue that we were even preparing something.

    If you want the big players to notice you, knock them over from the get-go. Literally take their breath away with how well you understand their brand, and PROVE how hard you are about to work for them if they decide to play in your sandbox.

    It doesn’t even matter if your concept is exactly right for them. The point is that you need to absolutely bowl them over. Shock and awe. Advertising Blitzkrieg.

  38. Making secret sauce takes time but is well worth the effort.

  39. Great points that I have think about many times during my career and many times I have work in 3rd world countries where there is no market and I have to develop it and educate potential customers.

  40. Maybe its just me, but it seems like acquiring customers and manufacturing customers is just saying the same this with different words. When you acquire customers the source of the customer does not matter, but the conversion of the customer at a profitable margin does.

    When you describe manufacturing customers, it seems like you are just describing the same process but using different terminology.

    Could someone please explain the difference between the two?


    • Manufacturing customers relates to creating a need for your product, thus you created a new set of customers. Acquisition, is capturing a segment of people who fit a product market fit. Essentially, these are similar processes.

      • Josh,

        You acquire customers who are already present in the market for your product or service. You Create (perhaps a better alternative to Manufacture) Customers where none existed before.

  41. Very interesting analogy Neil!
    Thanks for sharing once again, tons of gold nuggets in every single one of your posts.


  42. Neil,

    Why is it that we create a product or a service first and then ask / look around for customers?


  43. Neil after selling enterprise software for 5 years I’ve realised that I have got 2 types of customers: one who get our value proposition (for us thats been saving 1-4 hours per day through service) and don’t mind paying for it. I did not want to compete on price because I believe someone is always willing to price cheaper but there is a big chunk of the market that just want the cheapest solution. As a result I have had to adopt to price competition because inflexibility in that area meant we let prospects go to our competitors.

    All else being equal (i.e. if the product provides the same/similar solution) it seems like people have a preference for those who have better relationships with them. How important do you think is relationship with prospects when it comes to increasing sales?

    • I think in business, as well as life, it is important to create a deep relationship with those who share similar interests and who have needs you may be able to fulfill.

  44. Hi Neil, i am john. I am one of the SEO Analyst. We are tried to start one SEO company in India. We promote our site carefully. But we are unable to take customers. So please give some suggesion.

  45. Robert Willson :

    @ NEIL ,
    this is really awesome article i have ever read. there are many good things to learn from this article . I am really impressed with the kind of writing skillsand thinking you have.thank you for this lovely article

  46. Easier said than done, Neil. What if your target market doesn’t talk about the problem on social media or other earned media platforms?

    What if only the key influencers for that target market engage in social media and they don’t want to engage with you? What then?

    • James, you may really have to reconsider if your product is a right fit for your target audience. It’s always best to periodically test your product market fit. Thanks for the read!

  47. Kingsley Agu :

    Fantastic post! nice analogy about manufacturing customers instead of acquiring them.
    I will definitely put this into practice.

  48. Guy Greenbaum :

    Good stuff.

    This article does a good job of pointing out that an agile approach requires focused effort to maintain as the product grows.

    And from my perspective as an elearning+marketing strategist, I’m glad Neil pointed out his own experience with educating customers as an effective way to nurture loyalty.

  49. No kidding, out of every email I get from a wide variety of sources NONE of them are nearly as helpful and packed FULL of actionable advice as the ones from Neil. I can honestly say it is the ONLY subscription I take the time to open right when I get it.

    Thanks for the great advice!

  50. You just reminded me of a time I had to exchange some shoes to Zappos. I called them up and customer service was awesome. It didn’t end there though. About a week later a got a card in the mail from the customer service rep jus saying high and saying it was great helping me out! That’s fulfilling their promise and some super secret sauce!

  51. Aarkstore Market Research :

    Title seems good and make me to stay here and read the content and comment on it.

    Actually this is very important in online business.Because if you make yourself as brand then customers are automatically come to your site.


  52. I’ll have you know Neil that I absolutely love this site.

    The fact you’re describing all of this information is such great detail allows me to use it to fine tune my affiliate marketing. Especially all the information about SEO. (Either I’m terrible at it, or only using free website services really suck!)

    Anyways, congratulations on your success so far, and good luck to your success in the future! (If you leave enough for the rest of us that is!)

  53. “He popped up a landing page where people could signup to his APPfog service…Within 24 hours 800 people signed up for his service. And four weeks later 4000 people signed up for it.”

    This is the place where I am stuck and just can’t relate. He just “popped up” a landing page and 4000 people signed up? How the hell does that happen? I’m not skeptical that it happens, I believe this is true. The tone in my typing here is frustration. How is it so easy to get 4000 people to respond to anything? I’ve been stuck struggling to get 1 or 2 people a day to sign up for lists. Granted my businesses are offline and I clearly need a lot of help. But really? People just “pop up” a page and get 4,000 responses?!

    Veteran Newb

    • Nick, I understand your frustration as I had a lot of it early on. What I did was test a number of different strategies, and stuck with the one that converted best. It’s a tough road but once you get their you’ll see it was worth it..

      • Thanks for your response Neil. My question is, what do you mean by popped up? Was it a landing page on his own website where there was already 100k visits a month? Was it a totally new site that was promoted via FB?

        The confusion I have is that there are so often stories in this online marketing world where someone just throws something up and they get an avalanche of responses, hits, purchases, or whatever. The story always sounds like it was so easy to do and I’m never able to wrap my head around the mechanisms that took the person from step 1: Idea – to step 3: profit, success, etc. What was step 2?

        I probably sound like I honed in on that one example but it is actually a litany of these kinds of stories that has me feeling like I am just missing something. I’ve been at this for 5 years and can barely get people to even FIND what I have out there much less respond to and engage with it. And these success examples are not just on your site but I see them everywhere so the problem is clearly me and my lack of understanding.

        Does my question make sense? Thanks again.

        • “I’ve been stuck struggling to get 1 or 2 people a day to sign up for lists. Granted my businesses are offline and I clearly need a lot of help. But really? People just “pop up” a page and get 4,000 responses?! ”

          @Nick – the guy clearly did a lot of research into his market, and targeted and his offer/pop towards that. If he is active in those forums already then he probably talks the talk and walks the walk. Might even have a few people who read his posts because they are interesting and informative. Now, if that guy proposes a concept or product you are much more likely to take a look.

          Where did he put it? On a site, a knock up site whatever, if he left a few good bait comments on the right forums and he was talking about a topic of interest than of course people are going to take a look. The rest is all conversions and getting the message across.

  54. Daniel Vareta :

    Great article, I must assume I do not like the picture…I think it does not reflect the great article I just read.

    I think acquiring and manufacturing are two different concept which can sure work together. I would see acquiring the costumer as stage one and manufacturing them after acquired. Acquiring is more a marketing thing and manufacturing more a CRM/PR thing. After acquired we develop relationships and want them to say with us and recommend us to their friends.

  55. Hi Neil,

    Great post! I’m impressed by all the blog posts I’ve read by you so far.

    I’ve got a question – how would you go about manufacturing dental clients? Our target audience is dentists in Arizona – focusing on one or two per town and dominating them. Would you do content marketing? So write great content related to topics dentists are interested in? Or would you do paid methods like retargeting and PPC?
    Cold calling and cold emailing is hard.

  56. Jennifer Richard :

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  57. Hello Neil!
    First of all I really like the topic of this article. It is very important to manufacture your customer. The most important point I liked in this post is that we must fulfill our promise as this increase our credibility.

    • Perry, That point is very important. I think that’s the biggest takeaway I wanted people to get from the post!

  58. Just found this nice article. Great read. Can you or someone comment on how to drive enough traffic to the landing page example you discussed to create 800 and then 4000 signups? These are awesome numbers but not sure how to do it cost effectively. Thanks.

    • The easiest way is through paid advertising. Or through business development deals. Or you can divert traffic from your site to a landing page/squeeze page. There are tons of ways to do it.

  59. Hey Neil !
    Interesting post. Actually title is too mush attractive “Don”t acquire customers, manufacture them “. These are great tips for this purpose. Selecting your niche is most important one as there would be prospect customers of your products.

    • Morton, glad you enjoyed the title. It’s all about capturing your audience the right way. Thanks for reading 🙂

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    Apple was just another computer company but they revolutionized not only how people work with their computer’s but how they FEEL about them..

    I think all 3 pieces are important factors of manufacturing customers rather than acquiring them but the secret sauce can make or break you.

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