When starting a business, one of the toughest parts is finding new clients that want to invest in/buy/use your services. For a small business, this is perhaps even tougher, especially when you’re a locally run business and have a limited audience. But since clients are necessary to keep your business afloat, here are some ways you’ll be able to find them and (most importantly) keep them without going through headache-inducing struggle.
Join business organizations
According to an article written by Susan Ward on The Balance, joining and taking part in even just a few business or social organizations (either in person or online) is a good way to get to know and eventually bring in new clients. It does take time for that to happen though, as potential clients need to know more about you and the work you do before they become interested in your business. Don’t expect immediate success; just join a couple of groups and see what happens. If nothing else, it’s good to broaden your horizons.
Use your website and SEO tactics
One of the best ways to gain new clients is having a strong website that explains what your business is all about and what you have to offer prospective clients. According to QuickBooks, your business’s website should be “at least five pages,” one of them being all about yourself and your background, another being a list of what services you offer, testimonials from past and current clients if you have some by this point, and of course a page where you provide contact information. With a professionally designed and written website in place, potential customers can actually find you through specific keyword search terms like “San Francisco freelance copywriter,” “New York City business coach,” or whatever industry and location you’re in. So, be sure to use those search engine optimization (or SEO) tactics to bring the clients to you.
Don’t forget about your local newspaper
For small local businesses, putting an ad in your local newspaper is still a good way to reach out to prospective clients in your area. According to QuickBooks, make sure you’re clear in your ad what you want your clients to do/know about, and don’t forget to include all of your pertinent contact information (phone number, business and website address and so on).
Use LinkedIn to generate leads
LinkedIn is a great place to find and forge relationships with potential clients and other businesses since business and networking is what the website is all about. According to a blog article on Wishpond written by Kevin Ho, with LinkedIn you are able to “filter though companies of a certain size, within a certain demographic area, or by people with a specific job title,” and be able to communicate with them and see if they would be a good fit for your business’s services.
If you already have some clients under your belt, there’s a chance some of them might refer your business’s services to their friends or family members. If this isn’t the case for you just yet, you’ll have to seek out the referrals yourself. For instance, according to QuickBooks, you can “ask trusted colleagues for word-of-mouth referrals to people you want to meet in certain industries or companies. The more specific you are, the better your referrals will be.” This sounds intimidating, but networking and reaching out to clients yourself in person, on the phone or online is all part of the process of gaining clients.
Look around in your personal life
A prospective client can be anywhere, from the gym you go to a couple of times a week to the book club you’re a part of. Get to know the people around you and you just may find that clients are easier to obtain than you first thought. Happy client searching!