Well, the way i did it was to encourage some friends to print something. For some friends, I designed the parts with them and let them order on my hub. They wrote some reviews and from then on, more and more people started to order. That probably means most of the customers do look at the reviews and pictures of what you’ve made. Almost all of those people came from a university close to my home. I’ve noticed during the exams/projects periods, that i had a lot more orders than say now, during the holidays.
The student discount program also helped me a lot to gain new customers! I’d say around 10 to 15 people used this awesome program. So be sure to go with that once you get access to it!
Some other general tips might be to accept a challenge once in a while. I’ve had some customers that uploaded a really weird looking complex piece that i thought would never print. I think most of the time, they probably have the same order open on a few other hubs, they’ll try to get the hub that’s most enthusiastic about the project. So communicate with the customer, maybe suggest splitting the part, etc. I’ve had a few of those prints, that turned out better than i was expecting and the customer was happy too! So don’t decline an order right away
Another key element of a successful hub is communication, let the customer know what’s happening whatever you do. Tell them why it needs support, how much extra it could cost, what the shipping time is, share the tracking codes etc. The more you build up a social relationship with your customer, the more likely they’ll talk about your hub to others.
Conclusion; the university right at my door helped me a lot. Once a student ordered a print, he talked to his other classmates about the print and pretty soon i had up to 7 orders a day, all projects for students. So gather some students in your local area!
Good luck everyone!