Even if you offer quality products or services, there is no guarantee that your business will always get the sale. Competition is heavy in most industries and business owners need to have innovative ways to get more clients.
If you’re someone who could use more inspiration in your lead generation strategies, you’re in luck. We reached out to experts in order to create a list of ideas for finding clients.
Here are the top 25 tips on how to get more clients from the pros:
1. Go the extra mile for your current clients.
Valentyna Kerzhentseva, Project Manager, DesignContest
I believe you always need to fight for a client and do your best to keep a client satisfied. Always do everything (sometimes even things that seem impossible) to please your client. If your current clients are satisfied, they will leave nice feedback on your company that will later influence the decision of potential clients about using (or not) the services you provide. Clients bring other clients (their friends, business partners, or even neighbors etc.) so you will never experience a lack of customers. What’s more, satisfied clients can always be used as a part of your business marketing strategy. That’s why keeping your current clients satisfied matters so much.
2. Host an educational event.
Jen Spencer, VP of Sales & Marketing, SmartBug Media
Host an educational event that focuses on a topic your ideal customer cares about. Think about a pain point that person might have that you can solve. Then, pull together a small panel of influencers who can speak to that point and complement what you have to offer. By involving those influencers in the event, they will have the opportunity to gain personal exposure, and in turn, you can ask for their support in promoting the event to drive traffic. Be sure your event is help-focused, not sales-focused. In doing so, you will position yourself as a resource to a very targeted group of potential customers.
3. Improve your inbound marketing efforts.
Amar Trivedi, President & Founder, AmDee
As a small business, inbound marketing is crucial. We recognized the importance of tracking users to our site, trying to find out what they are looking for and providing content that is helpful for them. We have made sure that all of our contacts are in a central database, logging all relevant information related to them, and then we use that information for our marketing efforts. We also maintain a consistent reply rate and time frame that we reply to conversations in.
4. Become a local celebrity.
Adam Witty, CEO, Advantage Media Group
Use the power of the media to become a big deal – in your community. Being featured in the media gives you authority, and clients want to work with people that command authority. Reach out to a local radio station to schedule an occasional program and take callers’ questions regarding your expertise. Write a column or an op-ed for your local newspaper or a blog that reaches your targeted audience. Work with your local paper or an appropriate blog on creating a co-sponsored giveaway contest. It’s not about becoming a huge celebrity – it’s about becoming well known to the local market which will give you business.
5. Start a Referral Program
Maggie Aland, Fit Small Business
Word of mouth can go a long way in bringing you new business. Often, the best way to get new clients is by leveraging your existing clients. An easy way to do this is with a customer referral program like ReferralCandy. This easy-to-use eCommerce store plugin lets you create rewards for customers who refer their friends using unique, sharable referral links. You can also promote your program with beautiful widgets and email templates—no designers or developers needed. Click here to try ReferralCandy free for 30 days.
6. Turn prospects into clients by podcasting.
Tom Schwab, Chief Evangelist Officer, Interview Valet
With over 400,000 podcasts listened by 30% of the US population, targeted podcast interviews can be an effective and efficient way to connect with thousands of ideal customers and get them to know, like, and trust you. You can turn passive listeners into active visitors and engaged leads. Case studies (Business Coach) have shown that podcast interviews convert 25 times better than blogs and customers close faster than other forms of cold traffic. Other case studies (CPA) showed a Return on Investment (ROI) of over 600%, above that of Facebook advertising and email marketing (State of Podcast Interviews).
7. Start writing guest posts.
Elise Dopson, Freelance Digital Marketing Writer, elisedopson.co.uk
My best tip for finding new clients is to start guest posting. Begin by making a list of sites/online magazines/blogs that your ideal customer reads. For example, as a freelance SEO writer, my target client may read sites like SearchEngineJournal.com or Moz.com. Once you have your list, think of a unique article that you could write for each site. Pitch that to the editor and once they sign off, make it the best piece you’ve ever written – hiring a freelancer, if necessary.
Pack it with actionable advice and value that can’t be found elsewhere, and include a link back to your site as credit. That way, you’re boosting SEO (the chance of being found naturally through search engines when people search for what your business offers), while also being positioned in front of the people who are most likely to be interested in your business.
8. Find companies using a service you integrate with.
Mikko Honkanen, Co-Founder, Vainu
Modern technology means you don’t have to wait until having a discovery call to find out what CRM or Marketing Automation provider a potential customer uses. This information is actually available in the source code of a company’s website. Even if you don’t understand it, or don’t want to spend the time trying to make sense of all the code, there are many smart apps out there that, like Vainu, that track what technologies a company uses. With this kind of technology filter, you can find all companies using Salesforce or Pipedrive CRM as an example. Why is this important in getting more clients? Knowing before a sales call that a company uses a platform that your service also integrates with increases your chance of getting the meeting because you 1.) Will only call companies that really benefit from your offer and 2). Come off as trustworthy when you know the company’s pain points and explain in a tailored pitch how you can solve them.
9. Join paid professional forums.
Larissa Pickens, Owner & Creative Director, Float Design
I’ve found paid professional forums to be a great way to connect with potential clients. Do a little research and find some that fit the specific niche that your business is targeting. I’ve found paid that the people who join paid groups are more committed and professional than those who join free networking groups — based on that, there tends to be a high level of trust which automatically helps. Being active in these groups not only brings in more clients but gives you a much richer network within your niche. For example, in addition to looking for clients, I try to reach out to other service providers in my vertical who are great for giving and getting referrals. If you work at it consistently, you should be able to raise brand awareness and get an ROI on joining a paid professional organization.
10. Publicize your successes.
Steve Pritchard, Digital Marketing Consultant, giffgaff
If you have had a particularly fruitful period, or have just won an enormous amount of business from a leading company, do everything you can to publicize it. Write a press release about how your small business has taken on the bigger competitors and come out on top–this will show other companies who may need your services that you aren’t too small or ineffective to handle their requirements. Nobody else is going to shout about your company’s achievements, so this really is something you need to do yourself.
With a little luck, this press release will get picked up by a few regional/industry publications, which will then be read by influencers and CEOs of other companies, some of whom may just pay your website a visit and make an inquiry about your services.
Need some inspiration to craft the perfect press release? Check out Fit Small Business’ list of 40 successful press release examples.
11. Organize Instagram contests.
Mary Clare Bland, Chief Strategist, Bespoke Digital Solutions
I have had clients that have had great success running Instagram contests! The demographic is important- they work best for Millennials and Generation Z, or businesses that target Gen X women. Traditional giveaways (eg: sign up for our newsletter and receive a chance to win a TV) seem like they would be easy to get followers, but they can be quite challenging. People tend not to trust something that is for free, thinking they will become entangled in a hard sell or that there will be a catch. Instagram contests work because people have to furnish something (a photo) to enter, so they tend to be more trusted. They encourage participation because they challenge people.
The best way to do it is to promote two hashtags: one for your business and another specifically for the contest. Then load it up with hashtags that are followed by your target market. Make sure to be very clear about how multiple entries are handled, and if they relinquish rights to their photos.
12. Research clients before a meeting.
Aayush Parikh, Lead Business Development, Hashtag Loyalty
In today’s digital world, running a brief background check before entering into a meeting room has become a cakewalk. Knowing your audience is the golden rule to winning their heart. Keep yourself updated with your client’s academic and professional history, latest business activities, initiatives, interests, etc. Apart from how well you present yourself, knowledge of your client is essential to create a fantastic first impression.
13. Get family & friend referrals from your team.
Fiona Adler, Founder, Actioned
If you have staff or people who work closely with your business, remember that their networks can stretch wide. Give them a special friends and family discount or coupon to encourage them to talk about your business. If your business is physical in nature, you might want to print up cards for your team to carry around in their wallets and give out to their friends. Or, for online businesses, you can create a special discount code that you encourage your team to share on social media or by email. For this to work, you need to make sure that the discount or offer is significant – something your team would feel proud to send it as an exclusive offer! The bonus of this tactic is that not only will you get new clients, but you’ll also help your employees feel good about their work.
14. Know & communicate your ideal client.
Rachel Sheerin, Owner, She Sells
The best way to get new clients is to identify your ideal client and then share that ideal client profile with everyone you know and across all of your social media and website platforms. For example, if your ideal clients are women in their 30s and 40s who are mothers, shop at Nordstrom, are fit, and have a salary range of $100k to $150k, then your images should reflect that.
Make sure your posts are full of industry specific wording, letting everyone who glances at you — on LinkedIn, your website, and your blog — know that you’re the expert they’ve been waiting for. Being very specific about your ideal client makes it easy for people to see themselves easily in your marketing and understand if they’re the right fit for you and vice versa. It also makes it easy for your friends and network to refer ideal clients to you.
To learn more, read Fit Small Business’ guide to creating a customer profile, with examples.
15. Have a live person available to take calls 24/7.
Jamie Lowary, Channel Relations Manager, PATLive
We find that many businesses place a large focus on marketing their business, but aren’t necessarily available 24/7 for the leads driven by their marketing. Research shows that 80% of callers sent to voicemail hang up without leaving a message, and 85% of those people will never try calling back again. Our advice for acquiring more clients is to take advantage of inbound leads by having a live person available at all times.
16. Write blog posts that will be shared across social media.
Amanda Austin, Founder & Owner, Little Shop of Miniatures
I am a new site, so I’m always looking for ways to inexpensively and effectively increase traffic to my website and generate backlinks to strengthen SEO. I had a recent victory with a blog post about the best Instagram accounts to follow if you love miniatures. I wrote up the post and asked the account owners if they were OK with it. They were all thrilled–and I was able to connect with The Daily Mini, who has nearly 130,000 Instagram followers. She shared my post on Facebook and shared a product from my store Instagram, which quintupled my traffic for days. She also wants to feature me on a Q&A on her blog and I am going to do a giveaway for her followers. This was an easy and no-cost way to get my store in front of tens of thousands of people who want what I sell.
17. Make use of Meetup.com
Luke Bastin, Owner Principal, PDA Buzz
Exclusive and targeted leads are the lifeblood for most small businesses. There are many tactics which can be used to source these, but one of the least-known effective ones is the free business knowledge sharing and networking site Meetup.com. Whatever the nature of the business, there will usually be a large number of vibrant active Meetup groups relevant to that business’ services or clientele. For example, if you own a restaurant, there will be lifestyle groups which will contain active members looking for recommendations on local cuisine. If you own an eCommerce store, there will be groups interested in your product areas located throughout the world. These groups can be joined and used either physically to network or remotely to knowledge share an open dialogue. Best of all, this method is free!
18. Create a contact marketing campaign
Anne Kleinman, Promotional Consultant, Ad Infinitum
A contact marketing campaign is one where you choose your ideal clients and then send something personalized to them and their interests to get their attention and get the meeting. I have used the following idea for clients as well as internally, and we have a 100% response rate to date. We take a coffee mug, sometimes imprinted with the company logo and sometimes not, then we add coffee, tea and more along with a note that says, “we would like to have a conversation over a cup of coffee.” This package gets sent to the prospect. It is then followed up with a phone call to set the meeting. That meeting can be on the phone or in person.
19. Supercharge your referral program.
David Blacker, Co-Founder, AirGigs
Here at AirGigs, we’ve found a way to supercharge our existing clients, promote referrals, and grow interest on social media! We’ve invited our artists (we work with professional musicians and recording engineers) to submit a video where they highlight their own creative work. To our delight we were bombarded with high-quality entries from enthusiastic artists! We review videos carefully and share them on our social media, website, and blog. Our clients (all highly connected to others in our core target market) share the videos with their professional peers — expanding our social media reach via a 21st century referral strategy. Using YouTube and careful keyword placement it also drives traffic to our site, all while we highlight our own artists!
20. Use personalized giveaway items.
Shelley Grieshop, Creative Writer, Totally Promotional
One of the most popular and economical ways to increase your client base is to use personalized giveaway items. They can be distributed at conventions and trade shows, as well as numerous community events since local marketing is also very important. Many of our clients achieve great results when branding themselves locally by giving away customized promotional products at county fairs, parades, sporting events, and other populated venues. People rarely forget who gave them free things. Recipients and the people they come into contact with are exposed to the company’s logo every time the giveaways are used. It’s a smart advertising tool for companies of all sizes, but especially those just starting out.
21. Track your average cost of client acquisition (COCA).
Joshua Feinberg, Vice President & Co-Founder, SP Home Run Inc.
In order to get more clients, you have to know what works vs. what doesn’t — and what it costs. Frequently, small businesses, that don’t have a digitally-savvy Chief Revenue Officer are often completely in the dark about this super-important metric. What usually ends up happening is companies are at one of two extremes — fully-loaded costs are either unsustainably high, or virtually nothing is being invested because the small business has very little confidence in their ability to scale. If you watch enough Shark Tank, you’ll see that Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary almost always grill participants on what it costs to acquire a customer. It’s a big deal for anyone that needs to get more clients.
22. Reach out to prospects that have the same challenges as previous clients.
Andy Goldstrom, Managing Partner, Midcourse Advisors
If you have a track record of success, you can focus on prospects who have a similar challenge and promote this to them. I recommend using LinkedIn to filter the profile of these prospects. From the short list, I suggest doing some quick research (Google, Website, LinkedIn, etc.) to determine if something they are experiencing matches your case study success. Then, reach out and connect with them to indicate interest in connecting and offering to share the solution you provided to another company in their industry that may benefit them as well. For example, if you are a technology provider with a unique application that helps companies save money on healthcare costs and have some proven success, you can target similar companies and offer to provide them a similar result.
23. Have your customers do your marketing for you through online reviews.
Mark Nicholson, Marketing Director, Absolute Results
One of the best ways to get more clients is to have your current customers market for you through online reviews. This creates word of mouth referrals and also helps with local SEO. Your business is not only found, but also provides social proof that helps with conversion and influences consumers to choose your business over the competition. Businesses that take control of reputation management find it is a sure fire way to increase business and sales. It’s challenging to manage reviews manually, so review management software using automation is essential to increasing your odds of developing a continuous flow of fresh reviews.
24. Book speaking engagements & improve credibility.
Paula Conway, President, Astonish Media Group
The best way to get new business is by shaking more hands and booking speaking engagements. Get out and socialize, join local entrepreneur groups, or other small business groups. Volunteer time for a larger organization that attracts a wide variety of people and companies, and book yourself as a speaker in your area of expertise to organizations that will be receptive to it. For example, if you are a small accounting firm or solo accountant, speaking to almost any fiscally-savvy group would be a fit. This could be realtors, investor groups, and entrepreneur groups. Organizations like WeWork and Regus often feature guest speakers in different areas of expertise to expand the portfolio of the customers they cater to.
25. Know how to appeal to different types of people.
Dan Hollister, Digital Marketing Specialist, CanIRank
The best way to get more clients starts with understanding different types of people and how to appeal to them. Typically, you’ll find people are most attracted to information, values, or praise. Speak with these people differently to address their distinct needs, or write content that emphasizes one of these points more than the others. You’ll likely find that content stuffed with details appeals to the analytical ones in your audience. Conversations that focus on aligning your company’s values with your lead’s will help turn an empathetic prospect into a dedicated client. These practices can be adapted to best fit your industry so you can attract a wide variety of customers.
Over To You
Even within your target market, not every customer is the same. It is because of this that coming up with ways to find clients interested in your products can be challenging. The list above contains some of the most effective ways to attract new customers, straight from the pros. There’s bound to be one that suits your business, so give it a try and see how it goes.
Got other creative ideas on how to get more clients? Share them with us in the comments below.