A lot of small business owners find themselves asking the question, how can I find new customers?
|There are several ways to find new leads and customers for your business; some of them can be quicker than others. In sharing the ways that you can find new customers, I'll also let you know if it's a fast route or a slow route. Keep in mind that just because it may be a slower route, it may also be the more sustainable option.|
Email Marketing and Email Lists:
Email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with current and potential clients and to let them know what’s going on with your business. Make sure the emails you send out aren’t just focused on hard selling your readers or you'll turn them off. You want to give them valuable information, maybe a promotion or coupon, and ways to click back to your website to get more information or to make a purchase. Getting people to open emails is a difficult task, so if you get them to open your email, give them a reason to keep doing so. If you're too spammy, the next time they get an email from you they'll just delete it.
So now that you know email marketing is a valuable tool, you probably want some help with building an email list. Here are a couple of options for generating an email marketing list.
Buy a list of contacts and either send direct mail or email. With the can-spam act you have to be careful of list buying and sending emails. All email providers: Constant Contact, HubSpot, Mailchimp, etc... have requirements that email lists you upload are opt-in only email addresses.
When you buy a list, there are different types of lists you can get.
One type of lists includes people that have actually made a purchase of a certain kind within a set time period. These people are more valuable because it means they are more likely to buy again, or to buy an associated or related product or service.
Other lists are just based on demographic type information and don't necessarily mean a person is ready to buy, or even interested in your product. The former is obviously a more expensive list, because it provides people that are more likely sales ready.
RESULTS - Short term and the results can be a mixed bag
Although your list will start smaller, you may be better off building a list on your own. Do you go to networking events and exchange business cards, do you have current or past clients, do you have an email sign up form on your website, do you have an email sign up form if you have brick and mortar location or go to craft fairs, etc...? These are all great options to grow a sustainable list of people who know you, know your product, and are interested in learning more about what you offer.
RESULTS - Longer term route but sustainable
Conferences and Networking:
This is a good practice for any business owner. Not only will it get you in the habit of talking about your product or service, it can also be a potential place to find new customers. Even if you don't directly find customers out of networking and conferences, you will certainly have new email addresses to add to your email list. The people you meet during these events might end up referring someone to you in the future, so it's never a bad idea to keep your network strong.
Remember: networking is a two way street and you need to make sure you're not the one doing all of the talking. In fact, you need to do more listening than talking or you'll drive people away.
RESULTS - Long term route but building relationships can lead to a sustainable flow of future customers
Pay Per Click Advertising:
Essentially the same idea as paying for advertising in a newspaper, only you can get more measured results and you pay based on specific keywords and people that click on your advertisement. Paid online advertising can be a good option for your business, but it has to be done right or you will find yourself spending a lot of money and not getting anyone to convert to a customer.
If you set up an ad through Google Adwords or any other PPC service, make sure you're leading potential customers to a place that they can easily buy or get more information about what exactly they are looking for. If I search Google for swimming pool lounge floats and I see your sponsored ad on the sidebar of Google, I want to see lounge floats when I click on that ad. If I click on it and I’m brought to your website homepage that showcases swimming pools, I'm going to think I was brought to the wrong place, or that I have to now go searching for those pool floats on your site. As a result I'm going to just click away and find a new website that brings me right to what I'm looking for. This is probably the biggest mistake with Pay Per Click advertising; driving traffic to your homepage instead of bringing them directly to the right product or service landing page on your website. So before you start paying for online advertising, make sure your website is setup to lead people in the right direction to make a purchase, and make sure your ad is set up to bring people where they want to be.
RESULTS - Short term results; as long as you pay, the leads keep coming, but stop paying and leads go away.
Content marketing, blogging, social media, social networking, providing valuable content and information to people that are looking for answers to their questions are all part of inbound marketing. The idea of inbound marketing is to build trusting and lasting relationships and making it easier for people to find you and find the information and help they need instead of blasting information out to the masses in hopes that it will stick on a few.
Inbound marketing pulls customers in because you're providing information they find useful to answer their questions and solve their needs.
For example, if you're reading this blog post maybe you found it because you were searching for ways to find more customers. You came across this blog because it provided the information you were looking for. While you were here you decided to look around the site a little more, read some articles, and maybe sign up for emails to keep getting more information. One day you realize there are a lot of great techniques to get more customers, but you're a small business owner and don't have the time to learn it all, or the time to develop a strategy and implement it.
So what do you do? You contact Purple Fish marketing and ask for some help in running your marketing campaigns.
Why did you ask Purple Fish marketing and not some other marketing company? Because you've been reading valuable content from Purple Fish Marketing, you downloaded a useful checklist from our website, and you’re starting to trust and build a relationship with us because we are providing you value.
Now all of that seems like a lot, and it is, but inbound marketing is a whole methodology of marketing, it's not just a one off project that you complete in a day and can forget about. It takes time and commitment, but it can definitely have big rewards in the end.
RESULTS - Long term commitment, but will eventually lead to big results and a sustainable flow of strong leads and customers.
So there you have it, four and a half ways to find new customers. There are certainly many more ways you can find customers, and there are a lot more details that go into each of the snapshot ideas above. Do you have other methods of finding customers that have worked for you? Do you want more specific details on any one of the methods I talk about above? Let me know; I would love to have a conversation and get the ideas flowing.