Most of our customers come to us with the same question: “How can I attract more customers for my business?” Most often, they are looking for a magic advertising solution that will turn their business around and get them hundreds or thousands of clients right away. Unfortunately, such solutions don’t really exist, so it’s important to have the right expectations. Every business owner must understand there is a process to find new customers and that it takes time, money and hard work to develop a sales & marketing funnel, build up your business, and grow your clientele.
This article will cover the essential elements required to set up the right foundation to get new clients for your business. Note the word foundation. Once again, you won’t get a magic formula for more clients, but you will develop a better understanding of the process, attain the right the mindset, and gain the proper tools you need to get and attract clients. We’ll also provide specific examples and ideas for different types of businesses to help you get started with generating new leads.
Before even getting started with new leads, we must ask: do you have a marketing plan? Not just a general or templated marketing plan (say no to cookie-cutter marketing!), but a custom marketing plan specific to your business. Every business is unique, and therefore every business owner should have a specific plan that enables them to invest wisely in their marketing efforts and get the expected results. If you want to attract more clients online, your absolute first step is a customized marketing plan that you can actually execute on. By defining how much time and how much money you can spend on your marketing every month (marketing budget), you can start narrowing down how fast you can attract clients and how fast you can grow your business. It’s important to stick to your marketing plan with consistency. It might not be immediate, but after some time and some work, you will generate the results you are looking for.
Related: 6 Sample Marketing Plans
How to attract more customers online
A strong online presence in terms of website, content, directories and review sites is at the core of a successful marketing strategy to attract new customers for your small business. Below are the fundamental pieces of a strong online presence.
First, you need to have a business website. Not just a placeholder or brochureware, but a functional website where customers can find the content they’re looking for. This means having relevant and useful information that makes visitors’ time on your site worth it.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
In order for clients to find your website through organic searches on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, you need to cater your site to meet the needs of what people are searching online. Search engines will only rank your page if they find relevant content for the people visiting it, so an SEO strategy around your content is a must. In order to get clients online, you must win them over through content that is relevant, informative, and valuable to them specifically. If you want to learn some simple ways to improve your SEO, you can download our free Local SEO Guide.
Calls To Action
Getting people to come to your site is not enough to get new clients. Use call-to-action (CTA) buttons, lead capture forms and tracked phone lines to convert visitors into customers. Responding to these requests (answering inquiries, following up on form submissions, and returning calls) is what will initiate the sales process. It is your opportunity to show them why your product or service is top notch and why they should work with you. However, people will only have you top of mind only for a few hours after they reach out, so be sure to respond quickly! Treating the needs of others with the same urgency you would treat your own will help you to attract new customers and grow your business.
To get new customers, you can’t just put information out there and wait for them to come to you. You need to build an audience (**link to article), then reach out to and engage with them so as to convert audience members to customers. This is where social networks come in, as they are a great way to interact and have conversations with your audience. Use Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Instagram to engage with your audience . Just remember to choose the right network depending on where your clients are and what type of business you have.
Many people underestimate the power of email to reach their potential and existing customers. However email can be extremely effective if you use it properly and utilize effective subject lines. If your business has been around for a while, you probably already have a contact list made up of prospects, clients, vendors, etc. Emailing your list with valuable content, news and offers to stay top of mind is a great way to grow your business. Follow these 10 golden rules for email campaigns to make sure you’re getting the most from your email marketing.
Once you have the basic marketing footprint in place, you can start thinking of more specific and creative ways to reach your prospective customers within these areas. Depending on your budget and time availability you can start thinking of using email marketing, social network campaigns or print advertisements that lead people to your website. You could even leverage your loyal customers to get more get more clients through referrals. Just remember, it’s not just about reaching more people; you need to bring them down the funnel to eventually convert that reach into leads and new customers
Examples and creative ideas to get new customers
Now that we’ve covered the essential elements of a strong marketing base, we’re going to dive deeper with some examples and creative ideas to attract clients within specific businesses. If you don’t already have loyal clients, keep reading and find the advice for your industry or profession below. Don’t see your industry? Leave a comment for us and we’ll get back to you with some great advice.
How do I attract more customers for my law firm?
Most prospective clients will search on Google when they’re looking for a law firm–not just for law firms specifically, but also for questions related to their case as well as advice on choosing a law firm. It would be ideal to have a blog where you constantly add content around news, updates, and changes relevant to your geographical location or your area of practice. If you have a physical location for your law firm, you should also set up your Google+ Page since many people might actually look for you based on your location. Google+ is necessary to get your business on Google Maps. Finally, get on Linkedin to find clients for your law firm.
Ideas: write a whitepaper that you can offer as a download after a visitor submits a contact-us lead capture form. This document can be something like: “20 items you need to check before… “ or “Requirements to apply for …”. Check out our webinar on How to Create a Free Download for how-to information.
How do I attract more customers for my cleaning business?
In order to find customers for your cleaning business, we recommend making sure you have your directory listings up to date (like Google, Yahoo, Whitepages, etc). You must use a real physical address to make sure people looking for you by location will find you. Google+Pages are critical for customers to find your cleaning business online because they improve your search rankings (you show up higher in the search results). Another driver of clients for your cleaning business can be Yelp. Make sure you claim your free listing so people can leave reviews and rate your service. In this post you can read how review sites can get you more customers.
Finally, printing some flyers or sending postcards to the areas you serve can be a great way to get new business. Remember to use a tracked phone line to know where your business is coming from. Leave them in the building lobby or slide them under doors to get new customers in that same location.
Ideas: offer your website visitors something to convert them into leads. Things like “50% off your first cleaning service”, “Sign-up for 10 cleaning sessions and get one free!” and “Refer a friend and get 50% off.”
How do I attract more customers for my home health care business?
Healthcare tends to be a very competitive space, so you should find a way to differentiate your business by being extremely specific in your service. If you can give it a local angle, this will also allow you to capture more traffic from local and regional search results. Just like other services, make sure to get your listing in directories (like Google+ to improve your rankings, Yahoo, Whitepages, etc) and review sites (like Yelp), since people will be looking for the experience that other customers have had with your company. If you can add case studies and testimonials to your website, it will help you convey the quality of your services. Photos and visuals can also show exactly what you are offering your prospective clients, and sharing these through social networks can help you expand your reach.
Ideas: write a checklist of “10 top things to keep in mind when caring for…” or a whitepaper on “How to select the best home health care service for your …”. Then put this download behind a web-form to convert some visitors into leads.
How do I attract more customers for personal training?
Just like most other small business that have a local angle, personal training businesses must rely on directory listings (like Google+ to improve your rankings, Yahoo, Whitepages, etc) and review sites (like Yelp) to drive visitors and clients. You can read on our blog how review sites can get your more customers. You can also take before and after pictures of your clients and post them on Facebook (remember to get your customers’ consent). If you tag the pictures with your customers names, they will be able to see them, like them and share them!
Ideas: use a call-to-action on your website, offering a “Free-class” or a “Free-evaluation”. Once you have these in place, it’s important to stay on top of your leads. If people don’t show up to the free-class they signed up for, email them with a friendly reminder and offer them a second chance to come try your training services. It’s important to keep your contacts and leads organized, and this is where a platform like ThriveHive can help you centralize and manage all your marketing in one place.
How to attract more customers for graphic design?
If you’re looking for new clients for your graphic design firm, you’re very likely to find most of your customers online. Having a strong online presence with the right SEO can attract visitors from Google. You must make sure to display your design portfolio in a very visual way so prospects can see the quality of your work. You’ll want to learn how to use Facebook for your small business, in which case you can use it to show some of your previous work to your new prospective customers. Set up your Facebook business page and invite your friends. Then post an album of your work and tag customers in their corresponding pictures. This will prompt people to look at your pictures, like them and share them. Something else that can work if you have a budget is to use Craigslist.org to post and advertise your services.
Ideas: offer a “Free consultation for your design project” or put together a package deal where a customer gets a few design items at a discount: “Contact us now to get x, y and z for $450 (a $850 value).”
How to attract more customers for interior design?
Just like graphic design, it is important for interior designers who want to find clients to have a strong online presence including a website and directory listings (like Google+ to improve your rankings, Yahoo, Whitepages, etc). Make sure your website is up to date and with very visual content to show off your work. We recommend starting a blog where you can talk about the lifestyle associated with your design and where you can showcase and discuss different things you like or dislike. If you already have a contact list for your business then you should use email newsletters to connect with your previous and prospective customers.
In terms of social networks for marketing, interior designers should focus on Instagram, Facebook, and Houzz (if you have time to manage all three networks, great! Otherwise, chose the one where you feel most comfortable). Sharing pictures of your work and of items that you find interesting can help you generate buzz within your network, sprouting some sharing and ultimately reaching more people. Finally, using partners to get your word out can be an effective way to grow your business – talk with real estate agents and others in your network to host events and offer your services.
Ideas: offering a “Free interior design consult” is the best way to get people to give you their contact information. Another offer idea is to host an event where you will present the basics of interior design and go through a case study of a transformation (before and after) you’ve done.
How to attract more customers for software development?
Once you find your niche, you should build a web presence, which focuses on SEO for the keywords that define your niche. Adding some testimonials to your website will help you gain credibility among the people searching for your services. In terms of social networks for marketing, Linkedin marketing is your best ally to find new clients for your software development business. Make sure to have a full profile and use Linkedin groups to comment and take part in the conversation, answering questions and helping others. This way people will see that you’re an expert, and will seek your help and your services.
Ideas: to convert visitors to leads on your site, you can write an article like: “Twenty things to check to make sure your software development project is on track for success” and offer it as a download behind a lead capture form. Another good idea is to offer a “Free assessment of your existing software codebase”. Offering your customers something in exchange for referrals can also help you reach new clients.
How to attract more customers in real estate?
Real estate businesses need to build a strong local presence. Your directory listings (like Google+ to improve your rankings, Yahoo, Whitepages, etc) are essential if you want to get found online. Just like other businesses, a blog where you talk about the lifestyles of the communities you serve in will help your prospective customers find you and learn about what these places–and you–have to offer. Remember, people are not just buying or renting a house;they are joining a community, and they want to know as much as they can about it. The more quality information you can supply–cultural events, restaurant suggestions, local services–more they will trust you as a resource, and the more likely they will be to use your services.
Facebook is another channel for displaying this type of information, not to mention great way to engage with both existing and new customers. Posting about what’s happening in their neighborhood and sharing news that they will find interesting and share with their friends can easily get you new fans and new clients. Finally,using email to stay in touch with your contact list is also very effective. A monthly or quarterly newsletter (depending on your time availability) can keep your real estate agency top of mind and drive people back to your site to convert into a warm lead.
Ideas: send out a postcard (remember to use tracked phone lines to know if your marketing is working) to your local communities offering them to participate in events like “Free wine tasting tour in this neighborhood” or partner with other local businesses to make open houses more interesting and special. Finally, the trustworthy “Free consultation” can help you convert visitors into leads and find clients for your real estate business.
How to attract more customers for my photography business?
Photographers need to showcase their work. The most obvious way to get more clients in this business is to have a portfolio. A visual website with an amazing and breathtaking gallery will have a huge impact on your conversion rates (the percentage of people you can convert from visitor to lead). Displaying your work on social media networks like Facebook or Instagram can also help you build a bigger audience and get your word out.
Flickr is is another favorite for photographers since it allows them to host their images and share them with friends and prospective customers in an easy and organized way.
Review sites can be big drivers of traffic and business for photographers, so claiming your listings and asking all of your customers to review you on sites like Yelp can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
Select who you want to target, this will help you tailor your website to attract the right people, not only in terms of keywords but also in terms of design. If you want to focus on weddings, then your message should be around brides and grooms, if you want to take portraits, then showcase your best portraits in your homepage. If you’re trying to find your niche in child photography, you need to attract moms (Instagram is a great place to find them). In any case, knowing who you’re targeting and focusing on a specific niche will help you attract visitors and clients faster.
Make sure to include a call-to-action and lead capture form on your site to convert visitors into leads and eventually into clients for your photography business.
Ideas: give your customers something for free in exchange for their contact information. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer you can attract customers by offering a ree one-hour photo-shoot session in an outdoor location with the purchase of a wedding package> Another idea is to package your services and offer the bundle at a discount: “Get the Gold package, 4 hour photo session with unlimited digital photography and a printed photo book with 300 high quality pictures for $2,900.”
Final thoughts on where to find clients for your business
As you can see from the examples above, it’s all about focusing on your target audience and putting together a marketing plan catered specifically to them. This will attract visitors to your website where you can convert them into leads, obtain their contact information, and then contact them and convert them into new clients for your business.
Rather than waiting for customers to come to you, get new clients by creating opportunities for people to interact with, learn about, and reach out to you.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elvissa/