How to get customers? If you’re building a new business, getting your first customers can be the hardest part. After a while, your customers will refer each other, or maybe you’ll have enough work to go around. How do you get to that point? Here are some simple strategies you can use to get your first 100 clients.
1. Start Free, Start Paid
Do you work in an industry where people want to try before they buy? Start free and then move to paid. For example, you could offer first appointments for free, free consultations, or some other way of getting people in the door. Or, start paid, and then offer free services to loyal customers. Whatever point makes your potential clients hesitate is the point where you either want to make your service impossible to say no to, or so valuable they think of you as top choice.
2. Ask for Referrals
You might be surprised how helpful it is to actually ask for referrals. It can be as simple as asking if people are happy with your services, they recommend you to a friend. Be sure to make it as easy as them forwarding a link to your website or a discount promotion.
- We offer $25/review on Facebook, Google, and Twitter at Yottled
- Here’s a link to setup your business on Google to start getting those reviews!
Just showing up and being visible at industry events can keep you in the forefront of people’s minds when they are looking for services like yours. It’s surprisingly hard to be everywhere, though, and run a new company at the same time. Pick a few key events that are can’t-miss, and rotate on the others. During a pandemic, it might be easier to attend events online without the commute time, but don’t burn out on this one. Network in free time only, or to get your client list going, and be sure to show up and be generous. Give before you take.
4. Form Alliances
Are there other professionals in your space that are complementary to what you do and might offer networking or referrals? Could you co-host events together? Sometimes a Reiki master and a massage therapist partner to host a special event, or a fitness trainer can form a lasting partnership with a naturopath for mutual referrals that benefit everyone. Everyone at some point goes to Google and types “how to get customers”. Forming a lasting partnership will only make you stronger.
5. Start a Professional Group
If you find yourself in a professional space and it’s nothing but people who are head down focused on their own work, why not start your own professional group for social time and sharing tips for success? Real estate investors do this, as do techies. Why can’t landscape designers? If there are already groups in your space, think niche and create something fun or refreshing that’s new.
6. Content Marketing
Start a blog or a podcast. Interview experts in your space for articles or multi-media pieces in outside media. There are a host of ways you can use content marketing, or creation of content that offers valuable information your potential clients are already looking for. The key is to figure out which type of clients you’re targeting, and what information they’re looking for. Then, be where they are hanging out. Make sure you present yourself and your helpful information as a generous community member, not a direct sales pitch. Further, make sure your Search Engine Optimization is firing on all cylinders to help your quest on “how to get customers”.
Need help with content marketing? Some of the best platforms to get started are:
7. Targeted Advertising
Google or social ads allow for a lot of targeting these days, which means you can hone your budget down to aiming just at the clients you really think will be looking for your service online. This can help you get your name out there in situations where people might be looking for what you offer. The best part is, ad services now can suggest ways to target your ads so you don’t have to be an expert. You can often get free advertising for short periods of time as discount promotions, too.
- Here’s a fantastic video overview Facebook ads
- Google ads has incredible support. Login to your Google Ads account and then go here. You’ll be able to get in contact with someone.
8. Host Events
Can’t attend an event in your space? Host one yourself. This could be in person or online. You might start off with a Meetup group or Eventbrite get-together, and grow it from there. This ensures that you’re at the center of people’s minds when they think of your subject matter or industry, or you are easily found online as a past provider of relevant information. Be sure to invite other people in your industry to participate or speak, so you can maximize reach and credibility.
A few of the best event hosting platforms:
9. Start Freelance
There’s nothing wrong with starting as a freelancer working for bigger companies and then working up your own client list as you build your portfolio. This is how many great agencies and companies were started. You shouldn’t poach clients from existing companies, but if you’re super professional, you might make a lasting impression and garner referrals or later jobs in a different scope than your freelance work. One way to structure this is to do freelance graphic design for an agency or companies looking for freelancers, but if you’re asked to handle a company’s entire program start to finish or provide strategy, you should be hired in as a consultant, agency, or employee.
10. Offer Consulting
Consulting can also be a side gig to bring in clients for another business. What if you normally teach yoga, but you also are learning mindfulness meditation instruction? You could offer consulting services on the side to corporate wellness programs that might bring in individual clients to your main business.
11. Get On Provider Lists
Recommended provider lists are common at industry networking organizations, business support nonprofits, and local social networking groups. Ask around for ways you can volunteer or host events for these organizations, such as offering public speaking or free webinars, and then ask if you might be added to their recommended provider lists.