Your Tackle Box Should Have the Right Lures to Catch What You’re Looking For.
Finding customers can feel a lot like fishing: Sometimes the fish are biting and sales are coming in as fast as you can take them, and other times it seems like nothing you do is getting a nibble, much less landing your next big customer.
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to find customers online.
Decide what you’re fishing for
You need to know who your ideal customer is if you’re going to land their business. Start by outlining who your favorite and most profitable customers are and then answer the key questions they ask before buying from you.
Grab the perfect rod and reel
Your website is the starting point of every great online strategy. If you don’t have a great website to reel in customers, lures won’t matter much. And although you can buy a $3 rig from Wal-Mart and start cast- ing away, a cheap template site won’t be nearly as effective at bringing in big fish, and will probably break down when you need it most.
We suggest WordPress powered sites for their ease of use and ideal formatting for search engines and social media. You can even set up your site to automatically publish to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and more with a single click.
Fill up your tackle box
Once you know where to look, you need to have the right set of lures and bait to land the customers of your dreams.
- Search Engine Optimization – Your website needs to tell search engines what you specialize in, including key search terms, if you want customers to find you. What would your customers type in the “search” box if they were trying to find you online? Make sure you include those phrases in your metadata, page content and links.
- Your company Blog – Your site should include a consistently updated stream of news. Blogs let your customers subscribe to your updates, and are a great way to tell your story and gain your customer’s trust.
- Facebook Company Page – You can easily engage Facebook’s 750 million users with a page that let’s your customers and prospects “Like” you to receive updates. A professional page actively encourages visitors to subscribe.
- Twitter – Twitter allows businesses to share small bits of interesting information with prospects and customers, and can be set up to auto-publish news from your site. Follow your best customers and it’s likely that they’ll follow you back.
- LinkedIn – The professional social network is great for job-hunting/hiring, brand- ing and connecting with strategic partners or B2B clients. Search LinkedIn groups and start helping your prospects find the information they need.
- Google Places/Yelp/Yahoo Local/etc. – online directories and review sites are a great way to level the playing field with your competitors. When someone searches for what you do and they’re physically located close to you, you’ll show up higher on the list than others who aren’t nearby.
- Email marketing – It’s possible to send messages right to the inboxes of your best prospects. Trickle campaigns can contact customers and prospects without any additional effort on their part, and you can send messages to your ideal clients with targeted lists.
- Paid advertising – Ads on Google or Facebook let you target specific customers and get your messages to them right when they’re searching for your product or service.
Set the hook
No matter how many hits your beautiful new site gets, Facebook Likes you have, or followers you have on Twitter, it won’t help if you don’t show your customer how to buy from you or find out more. Move them to the next step by asking them to sign up for an email newsletter for special offers, tips and advice. Let them join your online club on Facebook, and be sure to reward them for doing so.
Hire a guide
Finally, sometimes it seems like there are just too many choices and options, and it can be tough to figure out how to make the Web work for you. Hire a guide to set you on the right path, show you what works and maybe even drive the boat. It’s the quickest way to success.
Dave Meyer is the president of BizzyWeb, a company that creates websites designed to integrate with social media and Generate Buzz Without Getting Stung. BizzyWeb offers social media training and integration, SEO services and seminars on new media strategies. Contact: (612) 293-WEB3 (9323), bizzyweb.com, facebook.com/bizzyweb, or twitter.com/bizzyweb.