Digital Marketing

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Written By

Don Sturgill

Don Sturgill is a freelance writer and copywriter from Bend, Oregon, USA. Don loves helping entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. Find out more at

How to Get Your First 100 Customers for your Video Business - Full Strategy

There’s an old saying that makes real sense for anyone wanting to monetize a VOD: Why buy milk if the cow is free?

You have the knowledge, the instruction, the videos, and (if you’re a customer) a video content management platform that makes it easy to get your work in front of viewers and sell your videos online.

But, how do you get them to pay for the content? Where do you start growing your audience?

That’s the million-dollar question that can make or break your business. There’s so much free content available online, why would anybody shell out the money to pay for yours?

Your job is to make that answer clear to your prospects. Once they believe your videos are uniquely valuable and well worth the price of a subscription, your customer list will begin to grow.

In this section, we’ll cover how to get your first 100 paying subscribers.

The problem: content is abundant and free

Aspiring authors often abandon hope upon entering a well-stocked bookstore. With so many books already printed, how can there possibly be demand for another?

The same thing can happen to would-be SVOD entrepreneurs. No matter which niche or topic you choose, chances are high it’s already covered extensively on YouTube, Udemy, or any number of online platforms.

Here’s the answer:

Have you seen the ads that are all black and white, but one person or object is in color? That’s the essence of “differentiation.” To be successful, your channel and your offer must stand out from the crowd in the eyes of your best prospects.

But how do you do that?

customer journey

The strategy: selling is a process

The most popular way of looking at and talking about the path a prospect takes on the way to becoming a customer is the “marketing funnel” paradigm. Let’s set that aside for a bit. We want to get a different, wider view of the journey your customers will take.

Rather than a funnel, let’s use a circle (see the graphic above) that illustrates a path created when someone visits these five stations, then passes off the baton to others who begin the journey for themselves:

  • HEAR about you
  • LISTEN to your messaging
  • BELIEVE in your abilities
  • BUY from you (moves from prospect to customer)
  • TELL others about you (becomes a brand evangelist)

Do you see how the journey moves your visitors deeper into a relationship with your business? Can you see how each revolution will provide more customers and how those customers will help you attract even more subscribers?


We’ve identified five stations on the customer journey, but only one of them includes BUY. When the other four points are attended to properly, sales will occur as a natural part of the process. Buying from you should be simple and easy. It should be a “no-brainer” decision. Moreover, your best customers won’t buy just one time. They will continue to be your customers and will buy from you over and over again.

The solution: make them an offer they can’t resist

At every part of the customer journey, you’re stacking on proof and giving the visitor plenty of reason to buy from you. You’re educating your visitors, identifying your best prospects, and adding value consistently.

The people who visit your VOD channel want to know one thing: how can you be of value to them?

You want to answer that question by presenting offers those who best fit your customer profile can’t resist. You do that by acknowledging where they are now and showing them where they could be after becoming your customer.

In the end, they don’t buy your products or services – they buy the results your products and services promise to provide for them. You help them become intensely aware of the “before,” then you show them how life will be “after.”


 Not everyone who visits your site is a genuine prospect. Your aim is as much about letting the non-prospects keep moving on as it is to capture the attention of your best prospects and keep them moving down the sales path you’ve prepared.

The examples: your sales process simplified

Let’s look at each station on the customer journey and consider how to get results from each. When all the segments are optimized and working together, you’ll hear the cash register start ringing.

HEAR about you

Your success will depend more on who finds out about your SVOD channel than on how many people find out about you. Revisit the work you’ve done on audience personas [link to that section], for a primer in prospect identification.

Whether you’re using organic search results, pay-per-click advertising, or any other means of getting your marketing messages seen and heard by prospects, you want to focus your efforts on getting in front of the right prospects – those most likely to have a need for what you offer.

The same goes for your mailing list. Filter, tag, and segment your list to identify your top prospects. Speak directly to them in every message you send. When those who aren’t your best prospects leave the list, don’t see that as a bad sign, see it as a good sign. You want to be heard by the people who will be attracted to and benefit from your offers.

LISTEN to your messaging

We all listen to the same station: WIFM (what’s in it for me). Once you’ve attracted their attention, they want to know what you can do for them. Let’s go back to something we said earlier:

Many VOD marketers make the messaging all about them – how great they are and how much they know. Your job is to make sure your prospects immediately understand that you know THEM and their problems. They want proof that your SVOD service will provide results to move them from an uncomfortable position to a comfortable position.

  • Can you help them get out of debt and save money for retirement?
  • Can you show them how to out-fish their buddies every time?
  • Can you provide a proven method for weight-loss and guide them step-by-step?

Your offer must be tailored to stir up desire. You do that by painting the before and after picture clearly. Do that, and they will listen.

BELIEVE in your abilities

You caught their attention, and they’re listening. You’ve shown them it’s possible to trade in their “before” and gain the “after.” This is where skepticism steps in, and if there’s anything internet marketing has shown us is that it’s wise to be skeptical.

Clues are generated by every part of your business. If you’re trying to use a cut-rate platform to present your videos, your clips may not load or play properly. If you’re trying to get by with low-quality graphics, or if your messaging is filled with grammatical errors, you’ll immediately signal a sense of amateurism to your prospects.

Use the obvious credibility builders – reviews and testimonials – but don’t neglect the subtler components of your presentation. Your job here is to look, feel, and sound like you’re capable of delivering on the before/after promises you’re making.

BUY from you

Yes, only one of the stations on the customer journey focuses on the sell, but all stations on the journey point here.

SVOD channel owners sometimes balk at selling. They believe in their products, know their products can change lives, but don’t want to ask for the order.

Let’s get this straight: “Selling” is not a dirty word.

“You can get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

That’s the philosophy master sales trainer, Zig Ziglar, preached consistently.

If you view sales as “talking people into doing something they don’t want to do,” your actions and your sales revenue will show it.

If you see sales as “helping people get what they want,” your actions and sales revenue will show that too.

We can’t write your sales copy for you, but we can stress the formula for high-converting marketing messages:

Know the problem your SVOD channel can solve for your best prospects. Help visitors become keenly aware of that particular problem. Then show them how the problem can be solved and how life will change after buying, watching, and learning from your VOD service. Help them become intensely aware of the “before,” then show them how life will be “after.”

In the screenshot below, note how Birds and Bees sets up there before and after messaging on their video website. Every parent gets exactly what Birds and Bees is saying: the talk about where babies come from (the birds and the bees) can’t be put off forever. Wouldn’t it be great to find a resource to help guide you through the stress and get the recipe right? Guess what: you just found it!

birds and bees banner

Make buying from you the easiest thing the visitor has done all week. Tweak your checkout sequence to provide minimum friction and maximum joy.

Here’s something else to remember:

Real success doesn’t end with the first sell, it begins there. Statistics repeatedly show it’s easier and less costly to get a repeat order from an existing customer than to get a new customer. Every SVOD marketer focuses on turning visitors into customers, but only the best marketers put serious effort into selling to current customers.

What? You don’t have anything else to sell?

Here’s a tip that can change your business forever:

Look closely at your best customers and the problem you solve for them, then ask yourself: What else can I do for them? Would they benefit from an advanced video series? Could one-on-one tutoring help them past stuck points? What if I created a community (subscription-based) to answer the ongoing stream of questions and to coach your customers through situations that arise? The possibilities are there, but are you? Are you anticipating your customers’ needs and preparing solutions in advance? Remember Zig’s advice: help them get what they want, and you’ll definitely get what you want.

TELL others about you

If real success begins after the customer orders, then this is a big part of that success. Happy customers want to tell others about you. Help them do that.

How can you encourage customers to become evangelists? First off … ASK THEM!

If a company you truly believed in made it easy for you to pass the word on to your friends and social media followers, would you do it? Would being rewarded in some way for sharing about them help you take the half a minute required to do it?

Marketing is largely wrapped up by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Do you appreciate customer loyalty programs? Do you like doing business with someone who obviously cares about you and provides excellent service? Are you impressed when you get emails that are giving you something of value instead of trying to sell you something?

Treat your customers right. They’ll not only buy more from you, they’ll tell others about you and help you build your business.

Getting Your First 100 Customers: Here’s the Secret

We’ve described the primary stations on the customer journey, and we’ve provided examples of what needs to happen at each.

Let’s finish up by unveiling the secret method for getting your first 100 customers: enroll one customer and do that 100 times.

No, we’re not trying to be funny or smart.

Every part of the journey you design to lead someone down the path leading from prospect to customer to evangelist should be geared towards speaking with one person at a time, and the sales copy should relate to individuals, not to groups.

Look at it this way: your newest customer is one person who used one payment card to secure one subscription (even if it’s a group subscription) or make a one-time payment to your SVOD channel. You make one sell at a time, and that’s the sell you should always be concerned with most.

We began with a proverb, let’s end with another: “If you watch your dimes, you’ll never have to worry about your dollars.”

Take care of one customer at a time, and you’ll pass the 100 mark so fast you probably won’t even notice.

Digital Marketing: Lesson 1:

Marketing Funnel

Go to Digital Marketing: Lesson 1