How to Find Customers
By Steve Gillman
It is time to look at how to find customers, part of our continuing
series on how to make more money from your business. This particular
page was inspired by something that happened in our own business
last week (written in August 2011). I had a guest post on the
hottest blog on the internet, The Huffington Post. It
was called 10 Weird Jobs You Can Turn Into Businesses.
My publicist got the invitation for me, as a way to promote
my new book, 101
Weird Ways to Make Money. Of course I was introduced
as the author of the book, and the title was linked to the Amazon
sales page. I'm not sure how many books I sold as a result of
the post, but there was another interesting aspect to this story.
You see, I included a link to this website in the first paragraph
of the post, and suddenly there was traffic. Thousands of readers
clicked through to the site. I figure we made an extra $300 or
so as a result of the link in that post--and that's just the
immediate revenue boost. Some visitors will return, and some
signed up for newsletters offered throughout this site.
The lesson is clear: Go where the potential customers are.
I had posted on other blogs before, but never did I get a traffic
surge like this. Now you know what to do to promote your online
businesses--try to get on the Huffington Post. But what about
applying this lesson offline? Let's look at how to find customers
in other ways.
Where are the potential customers for a pizza shop? When I
lived in Traverse City, Michigan, many of them were guests in
local hotels--the town is a big tourist destination. So at least
one smart pizza restaurant owner went to the hotels and got them
to put an advertising flyer in each room, next to the phone.
He paid them a dollar for each pizza delivered to their hotel,
but the up front cost was minimal--about five cents per flyer
at that time.
Some businesses take the show on the road to find customers.
This doesn't have to mean going very far. Loom for a local carnival
or street fair going on in your area, and see if there is some
way you can sell your products there. The risk is usually no
more than a few hundred dollars, and even if you don't cover
that in new sales you might get some repeat customers who will
return to your normal location.
For a really cheap way to find customers, trade promotional
materials with another business that does not directly compete
with yours. For example, a flower shop owner and owner of a hot-tub
rental business can agree to hand out each others coupons. It's
cheaper than paying to have them inserted in a newspaper, and
the targeting is better, since couples and romantics are likely
to frequent both places.
There will be more pages here on how to find customers. Check
back. For now, think about where the potential customers are
and how to get to them cheaply.