Monday, January 23, 2012

finding your clients and customers online

Market to your niche: go where your customers are. Online, this can mean finding the online equivalent of trade publications - what are your current and potential customers reading? Blogs are an obvious choice here: narrow down the sometimes overwhelming blogosphere to those that are leaders in their niche; comment on the discussion, offer to write a guest post, link to your own blog -- join the conversation.

Build a network on Twitter and Facebook and update frequently with interesting info that your network is likely to pass along. Your customer database is no longer a static mail or email list - it’s a web of your contacts who give you potential access to their own web of contacts. Be the first to tweet about a new development, comment on a relevant news story, tell people what's coming up in your field. Follow the trending issues and get involved in those that are relevant.

You can see that content is important. Make your tweets and fb updates punchy and interesting. Those short little posts should be well-written, attention-catching and if possible give a kernel of information. Lead people to your site or blog to find educational material, not merely a hard-sell for your goods or services.

Potential customers may know that you sell the best Italian pasta sauce, but they are more likely to be attracted by a new recipe than a hard sell. They will also be interested in a debate about how to cook pasta - is al dente always best? And what exactly does that mean anyway? Do truffles really add to the flavour? Where do the best truffles come from? get the picture. With great content that is educational, informative, perhaps a little controversial, you will get people reading and talking. And your brand will be out there where the customers are.

The same principal can be applied to legal services, believe it or not. Don’t be afraid to show some personality and wit. ‘Professional’ need not equal ‘boring’. A recent case might have quirky facts, which can provide a witty tweet leading to a blog entry that canvasses the controversial aspects.

Pasta sauce or a judge who got it about it.

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