New prospects are the key to your future success. Whatever your advertising budget, no business likes to waste time and energy on finding new potential clients and still come up empty. When it feels as though you are a very small fish in a big ocean, there are some tips and tricks for finding new prospects, focusing your time, energy and investment with a strategic plan.
- What does your current client base look like?
Start by looking at your top existing clients and try to find a link between them. Are they all in the same core demographic, are they geographically concentrated, are they part of a network which you would like to be introduced to? Are your key contacts typically in a certain department or forum?
- Leverage your good work
Your best advertisement should be your portfolio of work. It’s a showcase of the services you offer and gives a potential client a picture of what you can do for them. If your business is art, take every opportunity to show bold and bright images. If you are selling food, make up samples and take trays to nearby office buildings or parks to create a buzz and attract your local consumers. If your tents are hired for receptions, or your limousines are hired for a corporate function, make sure your business name or contact details are visible and accessible.
- Highlight Testimonials
When you have clients who give you good testimonials, highlight them. This means more than having a ‘testimonials’ page on your website – a prospect would have to be very interested already to go and find that data. Put the reviews front and center, scatter them across all your branding as you’re sure to say great things about your own business, it carries more meaning when coming from one of your customers. What would that look like? It could be
- Posting the review to social media
- Adding a quote to separate sections on your website
- Adding text to images on your site so the testimonial can be seen on sliders or featured images
- Including a review on printed material, flyers, business cards
The reviews should be as concise as possible. Credibility comes from adding a name and maybe the City, State (eg The best burger in town! – John, Denver, CO). Unless you’re going to update the content frequently, don’t add a date as it will soon look old. If you are going to update with new reviews frequently (monthly perhaps), then adding the date becomes an added selling point as it proves the current quality of your work. The viability depends on how many reviews you receive and the workload in keeping your branding current.
- Ask for a referral
Your customers almost certainly have their own network of professionals (or friends) who at some point will be looking for the services you offer. They may automatically think to refer your business, but would be more inclined to if you have already suggested the idea. A great way to put yourself in the front of their thoughts is by offering an incentive, for instance, refer a new client and receive one month free, or receive a gift card.
- Think ‘out of the box’
- If your clients are local, go ‘old school’ and consider postcards, flyers on doors or ads on local bulletin boards
- Sponsor a local sports team or school event to get your logo and name in front of the community
- Partner with a business that dovetails with yours to run a joint campaign and half the costs or double the reach
- Ask existing clients how they found you and see what has worked in the past
- Leverage your existing network by asking if they will display your business cards or brochures
Lastly, position your business so that you can be easily found by those prospects you have not actively reached out to. Optimize your website, post to social media, consider online advertising, look for trade shows, connect across social media platforms like LinkedIn and Google+. Make it so easy to contact you that your prospects pick up the phone or email you immediately.
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