Finding new customers is difficult, right? Trying to grow your business when things are tight puts a very definite squeeze on your finances.
You're already under pressure with all of the other commitments you have to deal with as a business owner. Compliance, financing, marketing, customer service... and that's on top of getting the job done.
Running your business isn't meant to grind you down. Most of us set up our own businesses to escape the ratrace and the 9-5. Maybe, like me, you've done the daily slog for a long time.
However, when you're faced with the daunting prospects of looking for customers as a new business, or finding new ones as an existing one, it's a frightening proposition.
In this post, I'm going to provide some free ways (or at least very low cost) which you can win new business.
If you like this post, please share it with your friends. Got some other suggestions, then leave a comment below and we'll add them to the post. We look forward to hearing from you!
Cold calling. Yuck! I know, I know. I hate it too. Picking the phone up and making a cold call is something that we hate doing. It's scary - especially if you've never done it before.For most people, there's multiple reasons why we don't cold call. First of all, the thought of speaking to someone you have never met and never spoken to before is something we can't get our head around. What if they tell me to go away, what if they object to the call, what if they are nasty or even abusive? Secondly, I'm not confident on the phone, and you may sound nervous. Finally, what if they listen to me and simply just tell me they're not interested?
Take a look at this great video below which gives some great tips on cold calling for beginners. Don't be afraid! Building a relationship with a customer has to start somewhere. Why not on the phone?
Leverage your friends and family. Quite often, the start of a business is driven by either a friend or a family member asking you to do something you're really good at. Tell the people who know you about your skill or the product your selling and ask them if you can help them in some way.
It can be quite difficult raising this with people you're close to. But don't be afraid to ask!
Whilst you may have to do the job or offer the product at a reduced price, getting some work helps boost your portfolio and you can then promote the work or product to other potential clients based on your experience.
Business Cards. Business cards are a great way to win customers. They have so many different uses - you can go to a business with your card and ask to speak to the owner, using your card as the introduction.
Another useful tip is to give them to existing clients who are happy with your company and ask them to share them with people they know. It's great to get positive feedback and getting people to "tell a friend" is a excellent sales technique.
You can also hand them out at events. Having a business card handy is always useful, you never know when you'll meet someone that could use your service or product!
Why not also check out:
All of these sites offer free listings. They will call to offer more "premium advertising", but having a listing on their directory will be a great start to getting found.
YouTube. The last few years has seen massive growth in video marketing. YouTube is a great way to promote your business or product - simply create a video and upload.
The video doesn't have to have Hollywood quality editing and acting. In fact, many businesses just edit together some images or small snippets of video together with a text overlay. In fact, you can check out our very first video we posted below. We're not going to pretend we're going to be the next Steven Spielberg or the next Tom Cruise! But a video promotes your business, outlining what you do and why customers should choose you.
Guest Blogging. Blogs are big business. A lot of people make a living by simply blogging on a daily basis. Why not find blogs that match your product or service and offer to guest blog on your skill or the best ways to use the product you sell? Check out this link to find a link of blogs that you may find useful.
Use your existing customer base. This is one of the most forgotten methods of marketing, but is often one of the most beneficial. You're approaching a customer that knows you, and therefore there is a level of trust already in place. It's much easier to resell to someone that has experience of a product or business before.
You can do this in a few ways:
- You could approach them via email. Using email marketing from sites such as MailChimp allow you to make great looking emails and are also free up to a certain amount of email addresses / email sends.
- If they approached you via social media or a phone call, get back in touch with them. You can always promote a new service or product to them, especially if the one they already have is linked.
- You can even return to customers for reviews. Ask them how they found the service / product and whether they would be willing to leave a review or recommendation on a site such as TripAdvisor or Google My Business. Once you've opened the conversation, don't forget to ask whether they need anything else you can help with!
Update your website more regularly. Search engines will regularly crawl your site to look for new content. If your website is static and doesn't get updated, they see this as a sign to crawl you less and therefore may miss important updates you have made.
Creating a blog and updating it regularly is a perfect way to keep a website fresh. That way, you don't need to worry about the static pages, but you can add relevant content to your site and get users to comment on it and share. Some will even add to it!
Your website is for most companies their gateway to their potential customers. Seeing new, fresh content makes them feel that you care about your website and therefore want to offer more information and knowledge, or just share work portfolio with them.
Google My Business. This is fast becoming the number one tool to be found locally. With Google My Business, you will show up on Googles local search when people type in your business name, the service you offer or the product you sell. They'll be able to review customer feedback and find out more about your business from the posts and offers you promote.
Social Media. I thought I would leave the most obvious one till last. Social Media offers so much potential - whether you're using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pintrest, Instagram or similar.
You can set up your own business on there, add friends to the list, promote your site and products, advertise, post funny cat videos - whatever.
As long as it's engaging, social media will drive traffic which you can then convert to your website.
So that's our top ten. Think we've missed something that would be a useful addition? Leave a comment down below or contact us to offer some more advice! Thanks for reading, and ensure you check in regularly for more updates!