When it comes to building momentum for your startup, a great idea and team will only get you so far. Sooner or later you’ll need to find those first few brave souls who are willing to give you a chance – your innovators and early adopters. 

But how do you find them and how do they find you? Here are four tips to help you find your innovators and early adopters and get their attention. 

1. Understand their motivations

Innovators like to stay up with the latest trends, almost to the point of being obsessive. They like being the first to try or buy a product, and they are often willing to pay a premium to get it. They’re the first in line and are often prepared to wait around for hours just to get a hold of the product they want. When it comes to purchase decisions, innovators are self-confident. They purchase a product because they want to, and are less likely to be influenced by the opinion of others. 

Early adopters are very similar but tend to be more motivated by what others think of them when making a purchase. While early adopters are opinion leaders, and will often introduce family and friends to new products and ideas, their purchase decisions will often be driven by a need to be respected and admired by those close to them. 

2. Become the expert

As we’ve established innovators and early adopters, want to be in-the-know. They read, research and consume information to identify trends, find new products and explore new solutions for existing problems. 

That is why the best way to get the attention of innovators and early adopters is to be the go-to expert. Identify what they will want and need to know and give it to them. 

Talk about new trends and industry developments. Talk about their problems and new ways to solve them. Give them the cutting edge, forward thinking, ‘inside information’ they are looking for that will help you to build their trust in your product or service. 

3. Go where your customers are

With a greater understanding of the motivations of your innovators and early adopters, you can then start to identify the market segments that might qualify as your first customers.  

From here you can determine their needs, wants, frustrations, challenges and most importantly start to uncover behavioural patterns regarding the media they would consume, the people they would listen to, the places they would visit and so on. 

Once you have this, go where your customers are. Follow their footsteps. Very soon you will be able to identify who your early adopters are and get a better idea of what they want from you and the messages they will best respond to. 

4. Leverage social media

Have a few theories on who your early adopters could be? Use social media to test and confirm which theory is right. 

Social media is a highly leveraged, low-cost way to identify early adopters. Giving you the ability to use targeted advertising to test different demographics, geographics and even psychographics you can quickly and easily see which segment will take action first. 

This not only gives you a clearer picture on your early adopters, but it also provides a platform to continue to educate customers, build buzz, capture contact details and ultimately sell your product, service or idea.  

Do you have any tricks for identifying innovators and adopters?