A constant supply of customers is essential to any business, not only to maintain cash flow today, but also to be able to survive in the long-term. You may have had some success with traditional offline sales and marketing techniques, getting some regular customers in the bag, but are now wondering how to find new customers online to keep the wheels of business turning. Well, the good news is that there are plenty of opportunities to connect with new customers online nowadays via social media, email marketing, blogging etc. However it can take some time to build these connections so it is important to start sooner, rather than later with a plan that works!
Fortunately, there are some well-oiled content marketing strategies out there to help you get started on the right track. These should ensure you don’t waste time doing the wrong things and can plan ahead. It all comes down to identifying your customers’ needs and making sure you are in front of them when they are looking for the answer to that need. Then once you have their attention you can gently persuade them to buy. Read on to find out more about how to find new customers online…
Think about what you want to achieve
Setting yourself some SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based) will give you something to aspire to with your marketing, and a way to ascertain if all your hard work has been successful or not. For example, don’t just say ‘I need more people to buy my product’, instead say ‘By the end of Q3, we will have achieved £xxx sales from our website / signed up xx new customers’.
Research your customers needs and create a buyer persona
How well do you know your potential customers? Creating a buyer persona will help you to recognise them, and encourages you to keep this person in mind at all times when promoting your business. For example, your business sells recipe kits online. Your buyer, let’s call her Sally, will have a problem that they want a solution to e.g. “I want to cook healthily for for my family but don’t have the time”. You can also place Sally into a typical age group, gender, income level etc, as well as think about where she is likely to spend her time online. All of this helps you to decide where to place your efforts to target them, plus the tone of voice and language to use. For example, it’s no use posting short videos on TikTok for this particular buyer, as this social media platform tends to be used by teenagers and young adults.
Attract customers with online content that answers their needs
Once you know what your customers needs are and where they are likely to be looking online, you can begin to create content that attracts them to your business. To take the example above, if you know Sally is female, aged between 35-45, busy juggling work and family, but regularly visits Facebook to wind down in the evening over a glass of wine, that is where you need to place your content. You will need to write posts, share videos, fun tips etc that answers their problem as well as showing you are an expert in your field. In this case you could provide easy to follow quick and healthy recipes via a blog and share them in Facebook cooking groups, or listen out for people who are asking for cooking tips in the groups and be there to answer their questions.
Keep them interested and start to (gently!) persuade
Once you have hooked your potential customer with the first piece of useful content they find, you will need to earn their trust, by consistently providing them with content that is useful and educates (Pro Tip: Aim to get them to sign up to a regular newsletter, or follow you on social media so you will appear to them regularly at several touch points online). With Sally above you could start to introduce to her via your content that, as well as a useful database of free recipes, you also have recipe kits for sale which save time as all the ingredients are in one box delivered straight to her door. You could also produce videos on how to make up the recipe, showing how delicious the food looks, again helping to persuade.
Turn leads into sales with a Call to Action
As you are creating and sharing your content, remember to keep an eye on people that regularly comment on or share your posts, or recommend you to friends. These will be the most engaged of your audience and are likely to be those that are ready to buy (if they haven’t already). To take things forward, it can be a fine line between being too pushy or losing the opportunity completely. A good way to do this is to make sure you have a clear Call to Action on all your persuasive content for next steps and / or how to purchase. E.g. at the end of your video make sure you include a link to your website showing exactly where and how to order your recipe kits online.
Measure your progress, rinse and repeat!
All of this is great, but you also need to monitor things to see how useful your efforts are to you or not. It’s no use spending time doing the same old thing if it isn’t working for you. So going back to your SMART goal above, after Q3, did you actually achieve £xxx sales? Did you sign up xx new customers? If not, you know you will need to change your tactics over the next quarter and so on. (Pro Tip: Google Analytics and Search Console are great monitoring tools for this very purpose. Sign up for them and keep monitoring the reports to see what worked and what didn’t).
To summarise, even though initially it may seem that it takes time to gain new customers online, if you use a proven framework to gain these customers, it will help you to find the right customers who actually have a need for your product or services. They are more likely then to stick around buying from you again in the future, and recommending you to their friends / family – which should be the ultimate aim of any business, as loyal, happy customers are much easier to sell to and become ambassadors for your brand. If you follow my tips above, eventually you will have a well-oiled content marketing machine, and a consistent supply of online leads for your business!
This post is written by Rachel Toy of Spirit Creative, a creative digital freelance based near Tring. If you would like to use effective web design and content marketing to help grow your business, or need more advice on Copywriting, call me on 01296 662172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.