By definition, every company needs customers. It would be great if they just showed up on your doorstep, but in today's competitive business world you usually need to fight, tooth and nail, for every client you receive.
Finding new leads and locking down new business can be a difficult task, but following these tips can help you attract a wider customer base.
Define Who You Are Targeting
Whether you are in design or any industry, the key is to define. Who exactly are you looking for? What profile traits do your current and previous clients have in common? Are you attracting a certain type of customer, or have you just been getting by through word of mouth and chance project acquisitions?
Many businesses -- especially small businesses -- make the mistake of trying to attract everyone. That's a great strategy if you are McDonald's, but for your business, it may be better to figure out who you appeal to most and why those types of people keep coming back. Only then can you branch out and attempt to capture even more of that segment.
Research, Research, Research
If you don't know your industry inside and out, you don't have much business being there. There was once a time when a small conclave of experts could run a whole sector for decades without concern that outsiders could enter the space and steal their position.
Not anymore. Now, anyone who knows how to use Google can teach themselves most of what there is to know in a few months. That will never replace real-world experience, of course, but it also means that you need to be that much smarter and work that much harder. Read everything you can find. It can be hard to make the time to continue learning when you want to stay busy churning out projects. But if you don't do it, someone else will. And if you can't convince potential customers that you're the best expert in the room, it will be hard to attract the clients you covet.
You cannot simply bury your nose in books, however. You also have to get out in the real world. Pound some pavement and meet with potential customers to find out their wants and needs. Go to industry conferences, events, lectures and casual meetings. Discover where your people are — and go there.
Whether you are actually swapping business cards and gathering leads or just soaking in the concerns and needs of those that may someday desire your services, these face-to-face meetings have so much value. Even just listening in on a conversation can provide more value than combing through the most thorough, overarching industry report.
Leverage Social Media
It is 2015, so you also must be aware of social media options. Networks like Twitter are now legitimate acquisition channels, and companies like LifeLock are showing how you can leverage the platform. Not only is a great place to monitor the services that potential clients are looking for and find new customers, but the identity-protection firm also uses social media to engage with the community, provide customer service, and keep clients informed about industry news. These things matter.
It isn't just Twitter. There are certainly Facebook groups in your industry as well. Search around in different locations to find collectives of people who are already engaging with one another to find new solutions to problems. If you can offer advice or a service that will help them overcome their challenges, then you can make a lot of headway in a short time. Groups like Design Modo and Smashing Magazine have hundreds of thousands of likes. These ready made lists of people are ripe for any design firm to mine.
When you’re talking about how you conduct yourself online and how to get people excited about your products or services, there are a lot of ways to go about it, and you likely already have many of the necessary tools. You can spend a boatload of money and hit every media outlet out there — everything from national Super Bowl TV spots to online advertising to social media promotion — or you can look for other ways to organically connect with customers. Especially if you have creative people on your team, take advantage of some unique tools and methods to get noticed online and save money in the process.
Even though it seems counter-intuitive to give stuff away for free, in our modern world, a good freebie is sometimes almost as good as gold. While you might not be able to afford to buy big ads right now, you can likely afford to issue coupons, free samples or even discounts. Try offering a two-for-one deal on your site for customers who spend a certain amount of money, or hand out samples at community events. Time magazine wrote about the power of freebies, saying that offering something for nothing can encourage people to buy more. And, people are more likely to tell others about a great deal, which helps you spread the word.
Get Your Audience Involved
A great way to get noticed is by engaging your target market on social media. With all of the different platforms, you have endless possibilities for getting your customers talking about your business.
To start engaging with your customers, host a contest with a free product or service as a prize. For example, you can have them post their best selfie involving your logo or product. Or, have them create unique videos while using your product. Not only does this help you start a real conversation with your customers, but it also can help you collect sales leads for the future.
Another effective option are online reviews and testimonials. Ask some of your most loyal customers to write you a review on a site like Yelp or ask them if they would be willing to make a testimonial. If you aren't quite sure how to implement this option, watch how other companies are doing it. For example, on the reviews page for LifeLock, customers share why they like the product and how it helped them prevent or resolve identity theft.
Show Your Personality
One of the advantages of modern social media is that it’s free. Although you can spend money to increase your exposure or to advertise on these platforms, there’s no charge for creating and maintaining a page. Use these platforms to explain who you are and what your company does, and include regular updates, sharing what’s new with your company.
You also should make your social media pages have a personal feel. A Motley Fool article about companies doing well on social media explains that simple posts such as pictures or friendly greetings can make a significant positive impact. Just showing that someone is really there with responses to customer questions or complaints can go further to building your brand organically than a big ad campaign.
Any questions? Feel free to email KrissArt Marketing Design, we're here to help!
Joanne Tombrakos, Storyteller. Marketing and Sales Consultant. Adjunct Professor at NYU. Huffington Post
Many people always ask me, What's the difference between my profile page and my business page? Here is a quick explanation:
Pages are for businesses and are entirely open to the public and search engines. Pages can also have applications and custom tabs to help engage with your audiences. You can have as many Pages as you want and there are no limits on the numbers of fans (likes) you can have.
Profiles are for your personal use and represent you as a person. On your profile you have “friends”. You can have up to 5000 friends and you’re allowed to “like” up to 500 pages. You’re only allowed to have one personal profile. You can control your visibility with the privacy settings.
Groups are for people who share a common interest. Group members can participate in chats, upload photos to shared albums, collaborate on group docs and invite members who are friends to group events. In Groups, there are 3 Privacy Options: Open, Closed or Secret.
There are a several different ways of using images and photos on Facebook, each of which has different dimensions and quirks. Some are for design and identity on the user interface, like your profile picture or cover photo. And it’s a great way to share photos.
Facebook has made some changes to its image sizes and layout recently, so here’s an updated 2013 version of the guide for Facebook image and photo sizes and types.
Click here for the guide.
Owner, Krissy Carstens, providing the latest news regarding KrissArt's completed projects,