In today’s world, businesses are everywhere. Everyone now has the means and know how to start a business especially with the wealth of information available on the internet. This has made the business market extremely saturated and competitive. And there lies the challenge many “late” business startups face: How do startups gain customers in such a saturated and competive market?
The number reason most businesses fail is the lack of motivation due to an inability to make sales over time. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
A good marketing strategy is key prior to the start of any business venture to ensure you have a clear picture of how you plan on finding, and keeping customers for your business.
There are 2 main ways to find customers: paid and non paid advertising.
The Issue with Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is the quickest and fasted way to find and sell to customers. In an exchange of a few dollars for each ad click, you can acquire as much (or as little) traffic to your site or place of business in as little as a few hours.
For most established businesses, this is ideal to keeping a steady flow of traffic to your business. An examples of paid advertising include Google ads, Facebooks ads, Instagram ads, paid billboards, and so on.
The disadvantage though of paid ads is that you are limited on by the amount of money and duration for which your advertisement is up on your chosen platform. That means if you don’t have money or time is up for your ad, there is a sudden stop to any further potential traffic you could acquire for your business.
It is for this reason why paid advertisement is not the best solution for start up businesses.
Choosing Non-Paid Advertising
Non paid advertising involves only your time and effort and it is piratically free. It is a hard and long route to earn customers however, you can rest assured that if it is done correctly, you can have customers for years to come.
For startups, this method of earning traffic and customers is key to building a loyal and strong foundation of customers in the long term. The best part about this is, once you have a steady flow of traffic, it will require little to no maintenance. For startups with little to no money to spend on advertising this is an sure way to drive traffic to your business for the long term.
There are many free ways to get more customers to your business.
This article will discuss these 10 ways to drive traffic to your website, business or product:
- Video Blogs (Youtube)
- Guest Blogging
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media
- Cold Calling
- Cold Emailing
- Join Communities in Your Niche
- Use Google Posts on Google My Business
- Word of Mouth Testimonials
- List Your Business On Online Directories
You will find that some methods work better than others but you will get great results if you use all these methods together.
Let’s now talk about how to use each method.
What is Blogging
Blogging is a type of writting that conveys messages or information to readers. It is generally about a specific topic or idea. This article you are currently reading, is an example of a blog.
Many businesses us blogs to give information to the general public, to educate their customers and also to inspire new customers.
How Does Blogging Work?
Think of blogging as the gateway to your main site through Google. Blogging works with this basic formula:
Paying Customers = High Value Problem Solving Blog/ General Information Blog
Basically the more value your blog provides to solve an issue or problem, the more likely you will earn traffic and a paying customers. Alternatively, if you blog does not provide any value, you may gain little traffic or paying customers.
Think about this, what do you typically use Google for? Most likely you typically use Google to find information about something. Perhaps you used it to learn how to bake a cake. Or you used Google to find out what to do your bookkeeping or taxes. Regardless, of what you used it for, the general censuses is that you used it to try to find an answer to a question you had. And chances are that you were able to find your answers by visiting a blog that Google suggested.
Later, through curiosity, you may have visiting the main page of that blog to see if they may have something more to help you find the answer to what you are looking for. Before you know it, you’ve made a purchase on the site of the blog you just visiting a few minutes ago.
This chain of event is ideally how you use blogging to attract customers to your stores.
What Should I Blog About?
Now that you know how blogging works for your business, it is important to understand what exactly to blog about. Not every blog will contribute to store sales. Therefore, it is vital to that the time you spend blogging, is strategic enough to bring sales to your business
To find out what to blog about, first figure out what problem your business is solving. Take this website for example. We are a bookkeeping business that help small and medium sized business owners automate and manage their business tasks through our bookkeeping service. Since we are catering to small businesses, we might write blogs such as these:
- The Best Online Invoice Tools to Use
- 5 Online Alternative to Filing Your Taxes
- 11 Inexpensive Ways to Find More Customers
These examples are catered to our core customers: small and meduim online businesses who a looking for faster and easier ways to complete tasks. If you notice, not all the blogs are strictly about bookkeeping or taxes. The key here is to write blogs that are general enough to attract as much of your core customer base as possible.
Blog Topic Ideas
Once you find the issue that your business is trying to solve, brainstorm a few blog topics and get to writing. Here are a few blog topic ideas that do well for business:
- How to blogs (for examples: How to do Bookkeeping)
- List Item Blogs (for example: 10 Ways to Find Bookkeepers in Canada)
- Best Choice blogs (for example: The Best Bookkeepers in Canada)
- Alternative blogs (for example: The Best 10 Alternative to Issuing Cheques)
- Comparative blogs (for example: Bookkeepers vs Accountants – Which do I Need for My Business?)
Using the guideline above, there are many blog ideas and topics and can be generated.
Once you have complete your blog, make sure you tag or add a call to action to the services you provide. This way, you can be sure customers looking for more help, can find answers through your site after they have read your blog.
2) Video Blogs (Youtube)
What is Video Blogging or Vlogging?
Video blogging (vlogging) is similar to blogging in that it requires an ability to solve a customers problem in a video format. The main difference though is that for this to be successful, you may require your video to be both entertaining and informative.
The most success video blogging tool is Youtube. Youtube is used and view by billions of people around the world. It is used as the main source of video entertainment, and a learning tool for many users.
How Does Vlogging Work?
Vlogging works to attract customers to your business by showing them aspect of your business that will help them solve a problem. Unlike blogging however, this method is very effective because it relies on visual sensory rather than a person’s imagination. The equation for blogging is this:
Paying customers = (High Value Information + Entertainment) / General Info
Customers can actually see how your product or service can help them solve a particular problem that they may be facing, rather than relying on imagination.
For examples, for this bookkeeping service, I can do a video about how to use a particular software to manage your bookkeeping. I can make my video entertaining in order to gain more videos that could translate into paying customers.
Vlogging works extremely well because there is no limit as to how you can present your information to customers.
What Should I Vlog About?
Just like blogging, your vlog idea or topic should generally be one that teaching or shows people how your products or service solves a particular problem. Again, your should vlog about topics that target your core audience in an entertaining way for maximum effect.
Here are a few Youtube video ideas to get more customers to your business:
- Tutorial /How to Use Your Product / Service
- Product / Service Reviews
- Turn Blog Topic into Videos
- Feature Videos to Showcase New Products / Services
- Compilation videos of topics relating to your niche
- Introduct Yourself
- Meet the team
- Video Challenges in your business niche
- Behind the Scenes Videos
- DIY Videos
- Live Webinar or Presentations
- Question and Answer Videos
- Walkthrough Videos
- Unboxing Videos
- Opinion Videos
- Response Videos
- Reaction Videos
- Video Contests
As always, once your vlog is complete, be sure to include a call to action to direct customers to your website, service or product.
3) Drive Traffic with Guest Blogging
What is Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is simply writing blog posts on other websites. Ideally, you would be writing guest blogs on other websites that are in your niche. For example, for my niche (small businesses, accounting, bookkeeping), I would could write a guest blog on websites such as Quickbooks, Xero, Small Biz Trends, Shopify, etc.
These websites attract loads of traffic and your guest blog on their platform could attract new to customers to your website or business.
How Do I Guest Blog On Other Websites
Guest blogging is free and can be done on three main platforms. The 3 main types of guest blog/post platforms are: guest blogs for established websites, guest blog for public blogs, and guest blogging for non established websites.
Guest Blog Posting on Established Websites
Guest blogging on established websites is by far the hardest way to get a guest blog post. These website as ranked by Google as having a high domain authority. This basically means that they are trusted sources for information searched within google. These website will typically appear on the first page of google when you search for something.
Don’t lost faith though. If you are able to land a guest blog on these websites, you can be absolutely certain that traffic to your website will skyrocket.
Most high domain guest blog sites require that you meet a few credentials in order to guest blog. This may include:
- Having a website or business
- Showing proof of your other blog posts or writting
- Writting up to a certain amount of words
Since there is a high demand to write blogs on these platforms, it is hard to get picked and it take patience to be invited to write a post. As a word of advice, always have a few prewritten posts ready to deliver when pitching to these websites.
Guest Blog on Public Blogs
Guest blogging on public blogs are the easiest way to attract more customers to your business. An example of a public blog is Medium, or Bloglovin’. These types of blog websites have a high domain ranking with google due to their volume of information. They also have a millions of readers engaging on their platform.
Writing a guest blog post on a public blog simply requires the creation of an account. Once that is complete, you can write your post for a potential audience of millions to read or view.
As always, make sure that your blog posts solve a problem and has a call to action for your product or service.
Guest Blog on Non Established Blogs
Guest blogging on non established blogs is another great way to attract more customers to your websites. Although these websites may have a low or medium domain ranking, most of them are fairly easy to be accepted for guest posts. These blogs are typically managed by regular everyday people who have a particular interest in a niche. This makes them ideal to target when seeking a blog to write guest blogs on.
Some of these blogs may have credentials similar to high authority domain websites for guest blogging. Other may require you to write a pitch in order to be accepted as a guest blogger. Your pitch has to be consice and provide value to their website. Here is an example of a good guest blog post pitch:
“Dear , My name is _ and I am the owner of [insert busines name]. My business [insert business solution here] for [insert customer’s/client’s problem here].
I absolutely love and I am now an avid read of your blog on [insert thier website here]. It greatly aligns with my passions for [insert niche here]. I have written a few blogs in this [insert niche here] and would love to contribute a few posts to your blog as well.
Here are some topics ideas:
[Insert 1 or 2 topics here]
If any of these interest you, please let me know and I will be sure to send over my posts as soon as possible.
Thanks for the opportunity and looking forward to working with you!
[Insert name here]”
You may or may not get a yes on your ask. The key here with this method and the other 2 methods above is to contribute to as much blogs as possible to maximize your efforts. If they blog allows it, be sure to add a call to action that directs customers from the guest blog post to your website, service or product.
4) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
What is SEO?
Search engine optimizaton (SEO) is a set of practices and criteria used by search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc) to index, rank, find and serve websites to people. This is probably one of the most important ways to get organic customers to your business.
Knowing and using good SEO practices can be very advantageous to your business. It can help you rank higher than your competitors in search engines and build a steady flow of customers for your business.
How Do I Optimize my Website for Search Engines?
SEO involves understanding a few key elements that search engines are looking for on your website. Here are a few basic things required for good SEO:
- H1 Header – this is basically the title of your site as it appears in the search engine. Idealy your header should be about 44 characters
- Meta Description – this is the description you have given to each page of your website. Ideally your meta description should be about 120 characters.
- Images – these are images on your website. The more images on a page, the better. Aim for atleast 2 images per page.
- Alt Descriptions – these are descriptions given to images so those visually impaired can identify what a particular image is. Be consice and description about every image on your website page.
- Website page word count – this is the number of words on website page. Ideally, Google requires at least 300 words on each page to properly identify what that page is about. For blog posts. aim for 2,000 words to see ranking results
- Keywords – these are words or phrases on your website that tell search engines what your website is about. Go for long phrases (or long tail keywords). For examples, “online bookkeeping services in Canada” instead of “bookkeeping services”. These are specific and less competive, and will rank better than short phrases words.
- Backlinks – these are links on other websites that reference your website. Aim for have high domain authority websites reference your site. A great way to do is through guest blogging on established websites.
There are many more criteria used by Google and other search engines to rank your website. However, the above core will have a great impact on your website over others when it comes to search engine searches.
How Will SEO Get Me More Customers?
By Optimizing your website to have good SEO, you are telling search engines that your website has the answer to a particular search. The better your optimization, the more likely search engines will suggest your website to customers.
This is extremely favourable to you in the long term. Optimized websites require little maintenance, money and time in the long run. Additionally, most people are more likely to click on organic search results for their searches than paid search result ads.
5) Social Media
Social media is a platform that allows for users to interect with each other through text, words, pictures, or videos. Example of social media platforms are Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok. Each platform has it’s own way of sharing content that millions of people can interact with.
How to Get More Customers with Social Media
Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram are the most popular social media platform for businesses.
Pinterest allows users to post content with a link. These content could be products, infographs, images, or even videos. When a user clicks on the content you post, the have the option to visit the link that is associated with the post. This idea is a great way to drive traffic to your product or service.
Facebooks is great for building communities that use your service or product. By creating a facebooks page, you can allow people to join your community. Here you can engage users with though provoking posts and content about your businiess.
Instagram in similar to Pinterest and Facebooks. With Instagram, you can drive customers to your business by creating a brand using visuals. From here, you can drive customers to your business by offers users exclusive access to your business.
6) Cold Calling
What is Cold Calling?
Cold calling is a way in which you can get customers simply by picking up the phone and offering your niche a way in which they can solve a problem with your services or product. Many people frown upon cold calls because it is an old way of marketing and can be very annoying. However, if done correctly, it can be very rewarding.
How You Can Use Cold Calling to Get More Customers
Cold calling is a tricky concept. It requires a lot of skill to get it right. For cold calling to work, it is best that you have a pitch and know before hand that the person on the other end needs your help or has atleast thought of your help. Once that is established, it is all up to you to convince them to use your product or service.
Most people find that cold calling works best for business to businesses rather than for business to consumers. This is because business already have money to spend. They also are more than likely looking for ways to be more efficient, cut costs, and get work done quickly. If your service provides anything of such sort to other businesses, it will more than likely make a sale soonner or later.
7) Cold Emailing
What is Cold Emailing?
Cold emailing is just like cold calling but instead of calling people, you are emailing people about your products or services.
How to Get Customers with Cold Emailing
Just like cold calling, cold emailing is also frowned upon due to the increasing number of spam email messages that people receive. Nevertheless, it can be an effective method to reach out to customers.
For best results, create a well structured email pitch for your cold emails. A basic cold email has 3 layers, the intro, the problem, the solve, the service, and the closing.
Start by first introducing yourself and your brand. From there, build rapport with the reader by outlining the problem that they may be facing. Next, layout a solution to their problem. Following this provide the services or product that your provide to solve their problem. Lastly, insert a call to action at the end of the email.
Here is an examples of well structured email pitch for a cold email for a bookkeeping service:
” Hi [insert name], My name is [insert your name], founder of [insert company name]. I wanted to express my interest in [insert company name] as it greatly aligns with my passion in cloud accounting! [insert niche] is no longer the future, it is now and my main goal is to help accountants, bookkeepers and businesses utilize this technology, just like you are. [Insert credentials], I truly believe I have what it takes to help you not only grow your business, but also provide exemplary customer service to your clientele. Here are a few things I am absolutely good at: [insert services]. I have worked with industries in [insert industries]. Let’s have a talk to see how I can best help you. I look forward to connecting and working with you! Cheers, [insert name]”
I personally use cold emails a lot with great success. If done correctly, cold emails are a great way to create customer relationships and gain more customers for your business.
8) Joining Communities in Your Niche
Almost every business has a community or a group of people that feel strongly about the problem your business is solving. It is important that your find these communities and actively engage with them. Doing so can land many unexpected leads.
Where to Join Communities
There are many places to find communities in your niche. This may include places like Reddit, Eventbrite, Facebook groups, and Quora. These platform offer different services that allow for users to create groups and interact to people.
9) Use Google Posts on Google My Business
What is Google Posts?
Google posts is a free feature on Google My Business where you can posts tips, offer discounts, and give updates about your business to customers. It is totally free and can be quite useful to get more customers for your business.
How Can I Gain Customers with Google Posts?
Google posts has a few features that you can use to gain customers. The main features are learn more, offers, and events. Google rewards those who use these features by featuring their posts in Google search over competitive who many not be actively using this feature. For examples, if a person searches, “how to file personal taxes” and you have a post on your Google post which explains this, Google may show your result to the customer over other results. This is because Google favours local results and if someone is looking for something, they most likely want to find something that is close to them.
The more posts the better. Make it a habit to actively post things into Google posts to get new customers for your business.
10) Word of Mouth Testimonials
Another free way to get customers is through word of mouth advertisement or testimonials. These are recommendations of reviews of people who have bought or used your services.
How to Get More Customers with Word of Mouth Testimonials?
Word of mouth testimonial is very powerful. Word of mouth testimonial works because it relies of your trust for other people. If your relative recommends a real estate agent to sell you a house, chances are that you may use that same real estate agent for your next purchase. You may even recommend that real estate agent to someone else, and so on. That is how word of mouth testimonials work. It has a snowball effect and can build you a long list of clientele without any effort.
Always make it a habit to have customers leave reviews to your services and products. Also, ensure your services are exemplary so that others will readily recommend you. Remember, a bad product/service with good customer service is better than a good product/service with bad customer service.
11) List Your Business on Online Directories
Online directories are another great way to get more customers to your business. In Canada, the biggest online directory is the Yellow Pages. There, you can list your business for free for people all over the word to view. Another online directory to use is Google My Business. Google My Business is great for local businesses and is readily viewed by many.
Hopefully this list will inspire you to find more ways to get new customers for your business.
Did we miss anything? Leave us a comment below and let us know if any of these methods have worked for you!