How to Build Traction for Your Business?

Take that potential buyer through all stages till he/she becomes a loyal customer.

Starting a business in India is easy but building up clientele is a tedious well-planned task. Execution is key post planning how to draw traction. Startup traction is described as having as many numbers as possible of end users or potential customers who would use your product and are willing to pay a certain amount for the product or services. Getting traction for your small business or startup is important if you want to scale up to achieve product market fit.

So, now coming down to getting customers after you’ve launched your product, is getting to the pre-launch strategy, this phase is often the hardest in the life of a startup. Once the launch phase strategy is executed, it is time to build something that has a strong market demand. Getting traction could be easy and difficult both depending on the demand for the product.

One of the most challenging aspects is that no matter how innovative your product is, you won’t have any customers if they are not aware of your startup. Even more challenging is figuring out how to attract your first customers when your budget and resources are limited. But the best way to start gaining traction is by building an awesome product. Other elements like packaging, customer service support systems will also help determine the success or failure of your startup. But half your hard work put in developing the product is done when your product is so incredible that it sells by itself. Growing customer base may seem challenging and many questions may arise:

    • How to identify your target audience?
    • Where to find them?
    • How do you get them to sign up to learn more about your product or service?
    • How to get them to pay for it, on top of that, could be another challenge.

If you are a serial entrepreneur and want your business to be bought by a giant at a great value, then create awesome product that is worth more than the money you spend in marketing & advertising.

What is The Right Content for Traction?

Educating customers through written, visual or audio content could be one of the strategies to get traction quickly. Lots of businesses are generating content for their business but have failed to see results from implementing this strategy. The reason for this is not producing the right content through the right channel and what the audience is seeking. In order to generate and create content for startups that drives growth, startups need to create content that supports the business, content that educates the end users, content that establishes the business as a competition to watch out for in their respective industries.

A potential customer will need to find your website for all the relevant information about your product or service. The website is an interface of the company. Therefore, creating an attractive user-friendly website with all the relevant content upfront would be beneficial initially to gain traction for your business. This is the first stage.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the second step and an important traction method. It helps in improving the visibility of your website on Google, Yahoo, etc.

This has become the norm for startups as it creates a level playing field for the brands with their competitors. But creating an attractive website and gaining traction through SEO is only the beginning, there’s a long way to go. This is one reason why most startups lose their battle of traction; it is not because of a bad product but bad distribution.

Define the goals to build traction

What you need to win the battle of traction?

You will not experience success from the word go. you will have to use techniques that may vary depending on your product or services to gain initial traction. Following are some ways to gain traction and get to a sustainable point as fast as we can:

Create an incredible product

Build a product that is something to reckon with, wherein you can disrupt the competitors. Whatsapp became a disruptor for Facebook and Google chats. Instagram disrupted Facebook to the extent that the latter bought Instagram at much higher valuation, for $ 1 billion way back in 2012, at that time for a company with 13 employees. Instagram today has over one billion users and contributes over $20 billion to Facebook’s annual revenue.

If you are a serial entrepreneur and want your business to be bought by a giant at a great value, then create an awesome product that is worth more than the money you spend in marketing and advertising. Because the fact is that the better your product, the more you will be able to align all your business functions to drive growth- be it sales, marketing, product design and long-term goals.

But if your product is average then you end up overplaying marketing and advertising to cover up for your not-so-great product. It will augur well and gain traction for a short term but in the long run, you will end up losing customers. 

Define and quantify your goals 

Having a clearly defined goals by breaking things down to smaller goals will make things achievable for you. For example, quantify your goals as to:

– How many customers per week do you need?

– How many emails need to be sent per day.

– How many meetings need to be conducted.

– What features need to be added to generate more customers?

– How many potential clients can we draw if we partner with a certain person or company?

– How do we get more users to pay yearly/monthly?

– How do we retain existing customers

Don’t scale up yet

In the initial days, you should have a sharp focus on getting those first customers using your product, or those first customers paying you money. Things don’t take off easily or by themselves, so you need to do things that don’t scale to give your product the best chance of long-term success.

At this point, you can consider becoming a unicorn or a forever company. This is hard work where you are starting up with no presence. If you’ve put in effort into your pre-launch then this first step should be easy, but if you haven’t, then you will need to do things that don’t scale up instantly:

– Reaching out to the press

– Start cold emailing or calling potential customers

– Give people free access to your product in exchange for promotion to their list

– Have numerous meetings- Meet investors or potential partners

– Hire the best professionals

– Organize parties

– Do user testing with real people

– Get customer feedback

– Learn every detail that sets you apart from the competitor


When you make marketing a priority since the beginning, you are accelerating acquisition by proactively building awareness and interest in the product you’re creating.

Track your customers

There are various data tracking tools like Google Analytics or Kiss metrics to collect data around customer behavior with your product or service. By tracking the data, you will be able to make better informed decisions and understand where you need to focus to fix issues or where to put in extra effort.

Marketing efforts

Marketing channels and initiatives created to build an audience makes it easier for entrepreneurs to find ideas worth pursuing. Startups that launch with an established audience can generate revenue quickly and build better products by engaging their subscribers.


Organizing events is one form of marketing channel. Events have become imperative because all stakeholders gather in one place and this gives an opportunity to build relationships, and introduce and sell the products. Events help create a network by leveraging audience and followers of your attendees, experts and partners. An event can grow quickly just by seeking the promotion of influencers.

Paid Advertising

Building a community through paid advertisements. The challenge is turning visitors into followers, fans, and converting them into end users.

E-Newsletters and more

Building a community to continuously drive traffic and referrals- in the form of email newsletter, private groups on social media or social events.

A simple marketing effort shows how potential buyers go through several stages before making a purchase. Starting by becoming aware of the product followed by building interest in it, wanting to try it, and finally, converting into paying customers. When you make marketing a priority since the beginning, you are accelerating acquisition by proactively building awareness and interest in the product you’re creating. By the time the app is ready to go to market, people will be lined up to use it.

Win the Battle of Traction

Brand your product

Branding is an important aspect that can be leveraged for growth. Branding not only means logos, voice and tone, website design, and social media presence, it should go deeper than that- with all the Above and Below the line activities in tow. Getting a massive social media presence is the key, getting that top of the mind recall by the customer is difficult with so many competitive players making a beeline to get customer attention. Branding your product sets it apart from another player.


To gain initial traction by teaming up with other brands- a simple rule that gets your startup get existing customers of another brand. Integration: this is when your product plays with another product to highlight the features of both companies. Syndication is where companies team up with and combine their products together to showcase each other’s products to their audiences. Referral- this can be either an affiliate, reseller or organization that uses your product. Collaborate on marketing and minimize or eliminate your own marketing expenses. Cut a limited time exclusive deal if someone can connect you to a whole store of customers. Exchange content to benefit from that online traffic or consider licensing or affiliate arrangement where you only pay out for leads that are closed. Finally, finding powerful organic distribution channels is the best way to grow your company and give an unfair advantage to those competitors that are relying on advertising.

Test the waters

For startups, entrepreneurs need to pay close attention to content analytics that reveal who your visitors are, how long they stay on your site and what they’re doing on your site are essential. Advertising analytics that track your conversions from marketing channels like Google Ads. Email analytics that will measure opens and conversions. Qualitative analytics dive deeper into the wants and needs of customers.

Go offbeat

Take your products to the customers instead of waiting for them to come to you. Attending events to showcase your products, demo at any popular event was not only a good idea, it also attracted thousands of potential new customers without having to spend an exorbitant amount of money in marketing. But these are traditional methods of getting traction. But you need to be offbeat sometimes to gain publicity. Publicity stunts and unique marketing campaigns are one of the best ways to introduce your startup to potential customers and attract media attention.

Monica Behura
Monica Behura
An alumna of IIMC, Monica is a business journalist, she writes on Self Help, Personal Finance, Law, FMCG, Retail, Corporate News and HR. Her ten years of stint includes The Economic Times, The Financial Express and The Mail Daily.

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