Finding new customers are the lifeblood of any business. While keeping existing customers happy is important, bringing in new customers helps your business grow and ensures a healthy baseline of revenue even when customers do not return. The internet offers access to more potential customers than any marketing method before, but knowing the right strategies to reach your target audience is not always intuitive. Follow these seven tried and true methods to find new customers online.
Tapping into your network
Before you rush to find new customers in the wild, look to your existing network of friends, family, and acquaintances. Odds are that you know someone who would benefit from the product or service you offer, and if you truly believe you offer something high-quality, you should have no qualms offering it to people you already know. In fact, many successful businesses start by looking at friends and family first. Just don’t relentlessly post about your multilevel marketing product on Facebook again and again or you may find yourself with fewer friends than when you started.
I started my blog in 2008 as a way to teach people about money. I had no idea it would lead to a thriving, six-figure freelance business, but that is exactly what happened. In the nine years I’ve been writing about personal finance and entrepreneurship, dozens of businesses have approached to perform my service. Many times it does not work out, but sometimes it works great. I have had multiple five figure relationships come out of my blog.
Content marketing is a key path to success for any business looking to reach a wide audience on a budget. In fact, content marketing is exactly why this blog exists! Due uses this blog to bring in potential customers for its various invoicing and payments products.
Podcasting is for audio what Netflix is for video, but it’s free! Podcasts are a growing medium with millions of listeners tuning in every day to their favorite shows. If you are brand new to the world of podcasting, check out this guide to learn more about listening to podcasts. Starting your own podcast takes more work, but it is easier than you may realize.
All you need to podcast is a microphone, a computer, a website (you should already have this), and podcast hosting. The total cost to start is about $10 per month once you have your microphone. Check out this amazing step-by-step tutorial from epic podcaster Pat Flynn to get started. A podcast generates great relationships and engagement with your target audience, and converting from a listener to a customer isn’t a huge leap.
Become a known expert
The internet offers plentiful opportunities to show off your expertise. Putting yourself out there and showing others that you know a topic inside and out is a great way to attract business. When doing so, don’t be overly self-promotional. Instead, focus on the value you can provide to others. Good karma will come back to you with new clients and customers ready to hire.
One great platform to show off expertise is Quora. Quora users ask and answer questions on a wide variety of topics, and you can link your profile back to your business website. Reddit is another great place to engage in community, but don’t try to promote your own site there or risk getting banned.
Every day, billions of people log into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and other social networks. If you are not there, you may be missing out big time. Every social network is not right for every business, but there is at least one social network good for each business. For example, Santa Barbara based construction business Willhite Grading & Excavation runs a popular Instagram account to bring in potential business and partnerships. With over 20,000 followers, Instagram suggests this account to users who follow other construction accounts.
LinkedIn is a great space for professionals to show off their skills and knowledge. Creating articles on LinkedIn offers many of the benefits of content marketing, and sends users back to your profile so they can click through to learn more about you and your business. They might even hire you!
Targeted local advertising
Smartphones and apps give users new and improved ways of finding and connecting with businesses. Yelp advertising, Google Maps ads, and other hyper-targeted advertising methods may pay off well for your business. Of course, you should move into this space slowly and do lots of little experiments to find what works best to drive conversions for your business. It is easy to spend a lot quickly with little to show for it, so always experiment and test to find what works.
Imagine someone is out sitting in their car less than two miles from your business. They search for what you offer, and you show up first thanks to a good ad. They drive over, make a purchase, and your ad just paid for itself. This great article explains which industries get the best results from Yelp advertising.
When AOL installation CDs used to show up in the mail, common wisdom was to never use your real name online. Everyone had user names like businessman1 or sparkles7285. Those days are long gone. In the 2010s and beyond, you should be genuine and use your real name online. Doing so builds trust and shows you are not some sketchy scammer in Nigeria trying to make a quick buck with an online scam.
People don’t want to do business with faceless companies. They want to know who they are working with. And if that person is you, they should want to do business with you even more!