When it comes to finding new customers, you’ve done it all: set up social media accounts, advertised it, handed out business cards, schmoozed at local events, started a blog …what could possibly be left?
Those are all a good start, but sometimes you have to dig below the surface of online strategies to bring more customers to your door.
1. Answer People’s Questions
The Internet is filled with experts answering questions, but that’s no reason to be a wallflower. Sign up on sites like Quora, where you can answer questions in categories you know intimately. Or participate in forums, leave comments on guest posts, or dive into conversations on Twitter.
Anywhere you can share your expertise, you can brand yourself.
Go one step further: connect with anyone you engage with on various social sites and nurture that relationship. Social media is a great way to deepen the engagement with a fledgling contact. Follow these connections on Twitter, Like their Facebook Page, and so on.
2. Follow LinkedIn’s Recommendations
You’ve probably noticed how LinkedIn makes recommendations about who you should connect with. There are reasons for the suggestions; likely you have similar keywords in your profile or are interested in related groups or subjects.
With a quick click, you can send a connection invitation. Make an effort to do this every week to grow your network.
Go one step further: send a note of introduction and find common points in each person’s profile. Even if you’re in the same industry, there might be ways you can work together.
3. Write Press Releases
Whenever your company has news (you launched a new product, welcomed a new VP, participated in a community event), write and publish a press release online. Every press release is another breadcrumb trail that leads back to your website. It gives your business more mentions online. You never know who might read it.
Go one step further: share your press release via social, email, and your website to expand its reach. Don’t assume that people will see it even if you use one of the press distribution services.
4. Create Shareable Slideshows
Got a PowerPoint from your last presentation or client/team meeting? It may contain valuable teaching information that you can use to demonstrate your thought leadership to the world. With just a little editing, you may be able to turn it into a slideshow using an application like Slideshare.net. Then it becomes shareable content.
Go one step further: share the link to it on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks. Also, create a blog post giving background information about it, and embed the Slideshare into your blog post. That way you can spread it as widely as possible. And be sure to include contact and social media information somewhere in the presentation, so that viewers can find you in case they happen to stumble upon your slideshow somewhere on the Web where it’s been shared.
5. Guest Blog – But Make it High Quality
By writing a valuable guest post for another blog, you can create rapport with a new audience. Get to know any blog before you approach the blog owner. Submit your best original work for the best impact. Do not treat this as link building — throwing out a bunch of generic posts on blogs with limited relevance to your audience is not how you are going to get real live clients. Instead, treat it as reaching a new audience and impressing them with your expertise and thought leadership around a subject relevant to what you do.
Go one step further: become a regular contributor on a blog that it is highly relevant to your business or niche. This way, you become known to that blog’s audience and part of its community. Repeated articles in front of the right audience will garner more attention than one-off contributions on 15 different blogs. Be sure to respond to all comments on your guest posts, too.
Always be on the lookout for opportunities to grow your client base. They can happen in the most unlikely places, so keep your business cards handy and see where it takes you.