Ways of getting new customers for your business
If you are running any type of business that isn’t completly based on viral growth you need to work on getting new customers in. As a consultant I rarely do things to actively get new customers but I sometimes do. As we are approaching a worsening economic climate there could be a need to work harder on that.
Customer service shouldn’t just be a department. It should be the entire company.Tony Hsieh
Here are some ways I’m thinking of when it comes to reaching new potential customers:
Reach out to your old clients
Hopefully most of your old clients are happy about your work. Reach out to them and ask them if they need help with something or if they just are up for a coffee or lunch. You could also ask them to recommend you or be on the look out for others that might need your help.
Approach your dream customers
You shouldn’t settle for anything that comes to you, even if it can be flattering. Make a list of your dream customers and try to approach them. See who could be the right person to contact and reach out through LinkedIn, email or even phone.
When listing your dream customers make sure their budget matches your needs to make it easier for you.
Use your extended network
After working for a while you probably have a lot of contacts in your extended network. Try posting something on Linkedin, sending a newsletter or even Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. What ever works for you and your type of business.
Network with potential customers
This can be hard and self disclosing. Especially if you are an introvert like I am. To do so you either have to get to a physical event or some kind of online arena where your potential customers hang.
Physical events can be almost anything, don’t think business fairs. It can be playing tennis, going to a bar or hanging around at the local boat club. Talking to people and see if you have anything in common. It’s a slow tactic but can work well over time.
Online networking needs you to identify what communities your customers frequent and then hang around and participate. It could be Reddit, a business magazine website or communities on Facebook.
Advertise online or offline
Not such a fun way of getting customers and depending on your line of business this can even be a turn off signaling desperation. But it can work well.
Think of where your audience is and when they are receptive to your message. It might not be watching people dancing on TikTok. Or it might just be. You know best.
Think carefully of your message. If you have a very niche target group you could deliver almost personal messages through ads that are very specific.
Send a thank you gift to your best customers
Treat your best long term customers like ambassadors and send them a nice thank you gift. Give them a reason to talk about you and what you do, with others.
Improve your website
I have improved my website with a new look and feel compared to a few years ago and also writing these thoughts where I share what’s on my mind when it comes to business, design, innovation and what I work with.
I think giving something away and being generous can be a good way of getting peoples attention. It is slow but builds trust and I have had some good feedback from customers who have read my “thoughts”.
Offers and discounts to new customers
This doesn’t suit everyone and might also signal desperation. I have never tried it but it could work for some. Make a clear introduction offer to new customers. Give a free intro presentation with your thoughts on their business or a discont on the first job to make them take the leap and minimize risk.
Partner up with a complementary business or person
You can’t do everything yourself (believe me I have tried). But partnering up with someone with complementary skills and their own extended network can be work wonders for both of you. Make sure though that you have the same view on things from the start.
Get reviewed online
This can be hard for some but see if you can get online reviews from customers. Use a service like Trustpilot, Google Business, Amazon, Linkedin or Facebook for reviews.
Work with PR
A pressrelease needs to be super compelling to work. Think of your offer and see if there is something unique you can do that would make people take notice. It needs to be so good that people tell other people about it. Then make a press kit and send out a release. Maybe tie it to an event or date when a certain thing happens.
Be a thought leader
Hold lectures and create learning moments. Your own TED talk. Share your knowledge about your field to make you central in the field. Takes time, skill and patience but if you succeed you will always be in business. And you could write the book on the subject.
Invent your own niche
If everyone is looking for the same thing, let’s say a design agency it can be hard to stand out. Change the playing field and invent your own niche. Specialize. Maybe you are a fast food packaging design agency? There won’t be as many jobs for you out there but if you are good it will be more likely someone contacts you when they want to design packaging for a fast food business rather than a generic design agency.
This is how I am creating my own way of working: A method to challenge or build on top of an existing business
Create a free business review package to offer customers
Get a reason to contact potential business customers. Create a free package where you look through their business when it comes to your speciality and see where things can be improved and maybe money saved or earned from the improvements. The intro package is free and they don’t have any obligation to continue working with you after that but can if they want to. Do a good job and they most likely will.
And remember when you get a new customer for your design agency, write a brief. How to write a design brief – and why you should have one