What To Do When You Can’t Find Customers

November 7, 2008

Is it a struggle to find customers for your new business venture? Lots of new business owners find it difficult to get their first customers. I know, because I’ve been there myself. And I get heaps of emails asking for advice every week.

Now, I could charge an hourly rate to help you get your first customers but chances are, you’re bootstrapping your new business. And you need every penny you have to invest in marketing it.

Also, you’re probably looking for a quick fix for your customer shortage problems, so you don’t have time to study on a course for several weeks, to find the answers to your problems.

So, I’ve put together these band aid solutions to help you find new customers fast. Some will apply to your business and some won’t. But I can promise you that they all work, if you do it right.

Problem: You Have Few Potential Customers Visiting Your Website.

Solution: Start a pay per click campaign.

Optimizing your site to get a decent amount of search engine traffic is a good long terms solution. But it isn’t going to bring you immediate results. So, if your budget allows, consider starting a pay per click campaign with Google Adwords, to drive customers to your website. If you don’t have a clue how to run a pay per click campaign, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of Definitive Adwords now.

I tried pay per click before reading Definitive Adwords and I lost a whole heap of money because I was doing it all wrong.

Problem: You Have An Online Service Business & You Can’t Find New Customers.

Solution: It Might Be Faster To Find Your First Customers Offline.

If you have an online service business, you may be able to find your first customers faster off-line. And if you’ve done your research, you should have a good idea where to find those customers. So now you just need to do as many things as possible to get yourself in front of them. Here’s a few suggestions:

You could write to potential customers to explain how your service can benefit them and follow up with a call to make an appointment to see them. Or you could cold call - by telephone, or knocking on their door.

Also, consider having some leaflets made and drop them by hand to prospective customers - if you choose this option, drop at least three leaflets to the same potential customers over a few days. You’ll find you get better results that way, unless your leaflet really sucks.

And don’t forget to speak to anyone you know who may have the same customer base as you and ask for referrals.

Problem: You Offer An Expensive Online Service & You Can’t Find New Customers.

Solution: Offer A Cheaper Product Or Service First.

If your business is new and you only offer an expensive service, you’ll struggle to find customers fast. Most folk have no problem buying a cheap item the first time they visit a new site but few are likely to purchase anything expensive, before they know and trust you.

Consider offering a cheaper product or service first. That will help to get some cash in and it’s a good way of adding new customers to your mailing list. If you don’t already have a product or service you can offer, consider writing an ebook that will appeal to potential customers. I know an ebook doesn’t sound like much of a quick fix but the 7 Day Ebook shows you how to write one within a week.

Problem: You’re Getting Plenty Of Visitors To Your Website But Nobody Is Buying

Solution: Plug The Holes in Your Sales Process

Is your site easy to navigate, or would a potential customer need to click several times just to find out what you are selling? Pretend you’re a customer yourself and try navigating your way round your website.

Or perhaps your sales copy sucks. Did you write it yourself? Do you know much about copywriting? If not, you’re probably losing customers through crappy copy. You could always hire a professional copywriter.

And if you’re not sure what is stopping customers buying from you, or your sales process has more holes than a string vest, you might want to check out these excellent traffic conversion DVD’s.

Have you struggled to find customers? Did any of these answers help, or do you have another problem that I didn’t mention?

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Are You Chasing Customers Away?

Is Technical Jargon Losing You Customers?

October 21, 2008

Do you use so much technical jargon that you scare customers away? Maybe you’re doing so without realising.

Technical jargon has been around forever. Doctors and lawyers in particular, have used their own language since the year dot, to make it difficult for outsiders to enter their professions.

And many types of business have created their own technical jargon and buzzwords, to prevent any old Joe from entering the game too. Trouble is, sometimes overuse of jargon can lose you customers.

If you’ve ever been a customer of a lawyer or a doctor, you’ve probably noticed, they don’t use technical jargon when they’re talking to you. They tend to explain things in terms you’ll understand.

So why don’t all businesses avoid using too much jargon when they’re speaking to their customers and explain things in a non-technical way?

Some Reasons For The Overuse Of Technical Jargon

They think it makes them sound more knowledgeable.

They learned the jargon when they were training and they think they should use it all the time.

They’ve got so used to all this technical speak - they don’t realise they’re overusing it.

They don’t really understand what they’re trying to say, so they can’t put it into simple language.

They hope that by confusing the customer, they’re more likely to make a sale.

Do you overuse technical jargon, when you’re speaking to customers, or writing to them; or on your website or blog? If you’re not sure, because the words have become so familiar, you might want to get someone outside of your industry to give you some honest feedback.

If potential customers don’t understand what you’re talking about, you haven’t got a hope in hell of selling them a thing.

Cartoon by Brad Shorr

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Internet Marketing: Are You Forgetting Something?

August 26, 2008

Do your Internet marketing efforts exhaust you? Like many other freelancers and small business owners, are you just too strapped for time and money to go out and look for more work? If so, maybe you’re forgetting to focus some of your Internet marketing efforts on your existing customers.

Make More Time

Lack of time is the enemy of most freelancers and small businesses. Often, when they’re busy, they won’t do any marketing at all. But when one or two major sources of work dry up, they panic.

Don’t let that happen to you. Make it a priority as early in your business as you can to free up your time as much as possible, so you can concentrate on marketing. Monika Mundell shares some great ideas on freeing up your time in this post: The Dark Side of Writing.

Make More Money From Your Existing Customer Base

Next, look at ways that you can make more money, or sales from the customers you already have. People who already know and trust you, are far more likely to buy more from you than complete strangers. And if you’re a freelancer, the trick is being able to sell the type of additional products, or services to your existing customers, that won’t cost you too many additional hours of your own time.

Believe me - this is possible and it’s worth it. In the past, I’ve been able to cut my customer base dramatically and make treble the amount of money from fewer customers. It really does make life far easier.

So, how do you come up with additional products or services that your existing customers may be interested in?

Listen To Customer Feedback

According to Akemi, feedback from the customers you have already is an important key. Akemi provides Akashic Record Readings. She is able to access your Akashic records and discover important information about your past lives, which may be affecting you now. She provides a wonderful service - I wrote about my soul reading experience here.

Trouble is, Akemi is the only person doing the technical work in the business - she doesn’t have others doing the soul readings for her. She has to go away and do the actual reading, then discuss her findings with her customer over the phone.

One day, after doing this, a customer asked Akemi if she would be able to provide a written report, as he would struggle to remember the results of his reading after the telephone consultation. So Akemi began providing this written report to all her customers.

It costs her little in additional time, as she has to write down her findings before speaking to the customer anyway. But she is able to charge an extra 21%. And an amazing 80% of her customers request this additional service, so she’s increased her overall profits by 16.8%.

Partner With Others Or Subcontract Work Out

Sometimes, partnering with others, or subcontracting work out, can enable you to offer additional services to your existing customers, without costing you too much additional time.

John Hoff runs EventureBiz, a webhosting and design business. And he knew many of his clients would benefit from incorporating their business. However, this can often be expensive. So a family member came on board to help him offer incorporation and living trust services to his existing clients.

Look at your business through the eyes of your customer. What other products or services might they need that you could offer them? Why not ask them?

Can you think of other ways you can increase your sales, without spending more time? Do you have any questions you’d like to ask? Or do you have a marketing challenge that you would like advice on?

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