I just searched Google for “How to find customers online” and the results were disappointing. There’s no shortage of “strategies” or ideas, and that’s the problem; too many ideas and not enough context on which of these is best for you and your business.
It’s not enough to say you want to find new customers and new business using digital marketing. But your marketing efforts will be much more successful if you run through this process first to find customers online.
1. Choose what marketing strategy is best for you.
Your very first step is to choose a marketing strategy. I’ve created a simple quiz and tutorial to help you choose a strategy and select the tactics that will be the easiest and cheapest for you to take on.
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2. Identify a Target Audience
It’s counter-intuitive, but the more specific you are about who your target customers are, the more successful you will be in finding customers online.
Start with your existing customers. I recommend that you take the time to reach out personally to your favorite customers and find out what attributes they share such as; what problem did they have that you solved, what triggered the problem, and what made your solution ideal for them.
Copy Your Competitors Target Market
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, just copy your competitors target market.
They’ve already spent time and money learning about their customers so now is your chance to simply reverse engineer their research! I’m not saying plagiarize, but to use the information they’ve discovered about their target customers to help you develop your own.
Buyer Persona Tools and Templates
Here’s a list of target market tools and templates that you can use to attract customers that best resemble your ideal customers.
A buyer persona tool is a template or tool that you can use to help you identify your target market. It includes demographic information about your target customers, such as age, gender, income, and occupation. It also includes information about their interests and behaviors, such as what type of music they like to listen to, what magazines they read, and what websites they visit.
The best place for small businesses to start to find new customers is to understand your existing customers.
Let’s start with data that you already have access to; Google, and your social media channels.
Google Analytics gives you a lot more information than you might think about people who are visiting your website — FOR FREE!
You’ll get everything from age, gender, and interests.
You can also look at what articles get the most traffic and that will tell you what your website visitors are most interested in and help you project what prospective customers might want to see more of.
Social Media Platforms Analytics
Each social media platform have decent analytics that you can reference and use to develop your target customer persona. I recommend that you stay focused on a single platform to keep it manageable.
Facebook insights has a ton of detailed information about your potential customer via Facebook Insights.
To access Audience Insights, log into your Facebook account and go to Ads Manager. On the left-hand side of the panel, you will find the Explore tab. Click on Audience Insights to see data about your target audience.
You can use the data to create a custom audience of people who are interested in what you have to offer. You can look at all kinds of detailed information about this group of people. You can even segment the data by different factors, like parents with children aged 13-18 years old. for example.
You can even see how your posts performed and that will tell you more about what your target audience is interested in.
Instagram Insights allow you to see important data about how people interact with your business profile. This includes not just the number of likes on a post, but also information about your audience.
Insights can help you understand what people want and how they think. This way, you can make better business decisions based on facts rather than guesses.
I also love SEMRush’s buyer persona tool because it gives you the opportunity to create a profile of your target audience online.
You start by choosing a business type template. They have a default template, a B2B template and a user persona template.
You can fill it out, save it and share it.
3. Identify and choose keyword phrases you want to “own”
It’s not just about finding customers online. It’s about being found. And you want very specific new customers to find you, and that’s why you need to know and understand the specific problems and search terms that your ideal customers will use to find YOU (and not your competitors.)
Make these specific keyword phrases an integral part of your small business brand. This way,
4. Follow-up with “who viewed your profile” on LinkedIn
This is an outstanding tip that you can do in just minutes a day. Here’s some feedback I received from a community member when he tried this strategy.
5. Use webinars to attract your ideal customers
Webinars are a great way to find new customers online. They allow you to reach out and connect with people who might not know about your business otherwise, or have access to the internet where they live. Webinars can also be used as an effective lead generation tool by hosting a webinar that promotes your company’s products and services.
If someone registers for the event then they’re more likely to convert into paying customers!
6. Create video content and repurpose it into blog posts and social posts
If you have a lot of helpful information for your target audience, you might consider shooting some short videos and converting those videos into blog posts and social posts.
7. Call out your audience by name on your social media channels
One sure-fire way to get more customers to try your product or service is to call them out in your content.
8. Place creative search ads that steal customers from your competitors
This is a creative paid advertising strategy that’s ideal if you are a new business and want to do online advertising.
The idea is to research your competitor’s marketing efforts, then select the area where your own business stands out and serves potential customers better than your better-known competitor.
Then create an online ad that speaks to them directly. Here’s an example of a competitor that’s trying to grab some customers from Moz.
9. Build relationships with decision-makers on social media
Create a list of decision-makers and their social media profiles. Then be sure to comment on their posts, ask them questions and move that online relationship offline.
10. Create and update your business profile on online directories
Google isn’t the only place where you can show up in search results! Have you thought about online directories as a customer acquisition strategy? Yep — Online directories are also search engines, and you can use them to your advantage.
When you create and update profiles in online directories, you will appear in search results when customers are going through their buying cycle.
Follow best practices for search engine optimization when you write your small business profile. You can be a service business or a product business — makes no difference.
What are you waiting for?
The truth is that you don’t have to be a big company with huge budgets and teams of marketers in order to find new customers online.
The strategies outlined above are all doable for the small business owner who’s ready to put their best foot forward, and it won’t take too much time or money from your marketing budget either!