You must find suitable customers for your product or service to survive and thrive in a tough economy and an increasingly competitive marketplace. Whether a global conglomerate or a small neighborhood store, you’re budgeting more resources than ever to obtain clients.
Identify and reach potential clients by consistently using proven market research and communication strategies alongside new online resources.
Things You'll Need
- Scheduled time for research and contacting potential clients
- A realistic marketing budget
- A blog or interactive business website
- Professional business cards and letterhead stationary
Use Established Methods To Target New Business
Ask your existing client base. They know your company; communicate with them regularly to learn about their social networks for future referral possibilities.
Get feedback with questionnaires or at meetups to refine your current offerings and sharpen your new client targeting.
Research your market’s customer demographics, lifestyle, values and mindset.
Use local resources; regional newspapers, census data, trade publications, Chamber of Commerce reports and industry white papers to gain market knowledge. Even general interest magazines will help you spot consumer trends.
Use media to learn about what your clients watch and listen to, such as news broadcasts, documentaries or feature programming relevant to your business. Local cable channels are a resource, giving you key regional market information.
Put your “boots on the ground.” Join community service, professional, and trade organizations to gain visibility among potential clients in your community, city, and state. Give presentations at their meetings, demonstrating your specialized experience and expertise and giving your business card to an audience of potential customers.
Publish for visibility and value. Write a column or advertorial in your local newspaper with entertaining, useful information about your business. Get interviewed on local radio shows or cable TV channels. Print and distribute a fact-filled free newsletter to local businesses, such as supermarkets, gas stations, doctor’s offices and any other places people will read it.
Go Online To Find and Reach Clients
Research relevant resources online.
Do carefully targeted secondary online research. Mine these rich online sources as a starting point for targeted, low-cost client data:
• Government and private demographic, statistical and marketing information websites, such as The U.S. Department of Commerce or Forrester Research.
• Blogs directly relevant to your product or service, including those of competing businesses.
• Trade and professional organizations in your field.
• Specific educational/tutorial and membership websites used by potential clients.
• Lifestyle and news websites and blogs of particular interest to your desired client audience.
• Locate prosocial and cause-driven websites your potential customers may support
Become socially networked. Popular sites are:
• LinkedIn-create a professional, impressive profile for business networking.
• FaceBook-although more casual, many businesses have a page here representing their company and giving customers interactive access.
• Blog-this is the new face of online business, giving immediate client contact and feedback using platforms such as Wordpress or Blogger.
• Bookmarking/Sharing-sites such as Digg and Tumblr offer interactive opportunities to find and engage a potential client audience.
Create social media. Valued content drives Internet interest and offers customer-building opportunities:
• Video-Upload videos showing your product or service advantages to YouTube or any of the many video sharing sites.
• Podcasting-create tutorial or case-study audio “shows” downloadable from your website to give potential clients an enjoyable perspective on your business.
• Photo/Presentation-pictures and Powerpoint slideshows posted on Flickr or Slideshare are another presentation opportunity to attract business.
Email, with discretion, to communicate with potential clients. Some Email strategies are:
• Offer an e-book or newsletter to your opt-in email list.
• Send a survey to determine future client wants and needs.
• Stage a contest or “best of” competition with a prize to the winner.
Try other methods to reach out, such as:
• Webinars/Tutorials/Coaching-offer advice or training on using your product or service.
• Local event participation-athletic competitions, walk-a-thons, youth mentoring activities are all opportunities to get publicity and connect with possible customers.
• Socializing-hold mixers, meetups, even parties to create a comfortable networking environment.
Tips & Warnings
- Remember, reputation is everything, both on and offline. Keep yours pristine as much as possible.
- You can never go wrong helping others to succeed. It pays off in good will and reputation.
- Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
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