We asked eight entrepreneurs: “What is your most effective means of getting new customers?” They shared their creative ideas for hustling up new clients -- from social media to word of mouth to networking -- and we’re passing their most successful ideas along to you!
Chris Turner, CEO of Tenrocket, a tech company that creates apps in ten days for $10,000 a pop says, “Most of our business is through referrals because we provide amazing customer service. We’re friendly and work super hard to take care of our clients. To network and make connections, we sponsor a local Meetup group called Make It Real, where we share what we’ve learned along the way.”
“For example, we tell our audiences that instead of worrying about branding and creating a quirky culture, entrepreneurs should start selling — even if they only have a working prototype. It’s possible to build a service-based business by using Google Docs, spreadsheets and a single-page landing site. Get a company off the ground by making sales as quickly as possible.”
Read Chris’ full story: Rocketing to the Top: How Self-Employed Coder Chris Turner Helps Companies Prepare for Liftoff
Amy Richardson, creator of June and January Children's Apparel says she uses her personal connections and relatable role as a mom to bring in customers. “ A lot of people struggle to separate their personal life from their business when they gain a large social media following and think about pulling back. But for me, it’s worked well because people have a connection with me and my kids. They’ve watched my son grow up and have shared my excitement about welcoming a new baby.”
“I’m homing in on this connection by taking that bond offline, too. I’m organizing pop-ups and non-commercial events like cookie-making parties and craft afternoons. I’m not actively selling anything there, but I’m building relationships with moms and rewarding loyal customers with a community.”
Read Amy’s full story: Taking Big Business Risks and Reaping the Rewards. Meet Amy Richardson!
Felicity Price, owner of Buttercream Babies Bakery says that besides word of mouth she created a Facebook page. “At first it served as an online portfolio where I could post pictures of all my latest creations. Because cupcakes are as pretty as they are tasty, it made for a good-looking page. Once people started leaving comments, word began to spread and the page became a way for people to contact me about my products.”
“Also, I live near a research park with hundreds of companies on it, and every office has a party or two during the year. I put a business card through every door and offered free samples to the larger companies.”
Read Felicity’s full story: "If You Don't Love What You're Doing, It'll Never Work." Meet Professional Baker Felicity Price
Marie Jensen, owner of Relax Event Studio, an event planning and party goods business says word of mouth is her biggest customer driver for event planning, while social media ads increase her product exposure: “I buy Facebook and Instagram ads for the online shop, but they aren’t as effective as Etsy advertising, which brings in more immediate sales. I only buy ads for my most popular products because it drives a bigger number of people to them. I've learned that social media is also a good way to develop a following and for people to see what you’re making.”
Read Marie’s full story: Self-Employed Marie Jensen Knows What It's Like to Juggle More Than One Business
Kerrin Piche Serna, creator of The Eternal Flame, a pop-culture prayer candle business says it’s all about the ‘gram: “I’ve only started trying to actively market my store in the last two months or so, but Instagram has been very helpful. Before, I was just getting customers through Etsy from the search tags I used on my listings. I have a Facebook page too, but so far it seems like Instagram is a bigger driver of new customers to my store.”
Brian and Shannon Barker, married co-owners of Country Corner Goods, offering handmade wedding and home decor products, each have ideas about why they attract new business. Brian says, “I think it’s our product quality. In our reviews, people always tell us how happy they are with our quality.”
Shannon adds, “Even though our products are amazing because Brian does such an awesome job, we are nothing if our shops aren’t seen. I taught myself SEO (search engine optimization) and so far I've learned that the most effective tricks are to have good keywords and good tags on your site. I also schedule sales and auto-renew Etsy ads through EtsyOnSale.com every two days for 30 days. I recently cut our daily advertising budget from $4 to $2 to test it out.”
Read Shannon and Brian’s full story: Shannon and Brian Barker Custom-Designed Their Daughter's Wedding and Now It's a Full-Time Biz
Paul Heffner, founder and CEO of Finance Pals, a financial forecasting and bookkeeping company for small businesses, says partnerships and networking is the way to go in his field. “I have a few friends who are Certified Public Accountants, and they have lots of clients asking for financial modeling and bookkeeping help. I’m positive that this is a big way to get new customers, because CPAs can’t provide certain services to companies they audit, as it would be a conflict of interest.”
“I know my target customer, so I’ve put some thought into what types of events they go to and how to meet more people. Now I’m trying to find businesses that are leaving startup incubators because they’re past the first hurdle, which is when they need my services.”
Read Paul’s full story: From Idea to Finding His Target Customer, Meet Paul Heffner
Skip Blankley, founder of NoBox Creatives, a digital marketing company, says the relationships he builds with clients pay off in the form of more business. “There’s a really good book called The Referral Engine which says that if your product is awesome and you make your customers scream about it from the mountaintops, then they become your advocates.”
“I keep my pipeline pretty full just based on word of mouth. If you develop a relationship with your clients and treat them as individuals, they become friends. Every single person that you please with your efforts becomes your referral engine. The best prospect you could have walk through your door is someone who’s already been told why you’re awesome from someone they trust.”
Read Skip’s full story: How Are You Measuring Your Time? Skip Blankley Shares His Secrets for Getting Organized
Want even more tips? Check out:
What are your best strategies for getting new customers? On the flip side, care to share about strategies that haven’t worked for you?
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