5 Steps to Landing Your Next Customer (Or First)

As small business owners, we have a tendency to make marketing a lot more difficult than it ought to be. The problem is that we have so many voices yelling at us and telling us what the “best new marketing tactic” is. “You have to use Facebook,” you need to create viral videos,” “you cannot survive without a great SEO plan,” etc. etc. How can any business owner wade through all of the crap and find a legitimate path to success in their small business? The truth is, finding new (and worthwhile) customers is by no means easy, but it is simple. After walking carefully through these five steps, you should be well on your way to gathering as many customers as your small business can handle.

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1. Identify Your Niche’s Pain Point
Don’t over think this. If you have an established business, think about what got you to where you are today. Ask yourself: what problems are my customers facing, and what am I doing to fill these needs (or am I filling these needs?). If you are new and you are unsure about your customer’s pain points, ASK. Call, email, or if possible visit your target audience, ask them if they have time to chat, and buy them a lunch. You will be amazed at the information they give you, and you may even end up bringing in your first customer.

2. Identify Your Competitive Advantage
You operate a search engine? So do a million other Joe Shmos that are all working their tails off to be the best. This is the situation that Google found themselves in when they first started their business. They made it because they found the pain point: customers wanted relevant information quickly, and Google made it their priority to give them that exact need.

3. Don’t Be A Jack
google-foundersGoogle not only did a great job of filling a need, but they also did a great job of focusing in on one thing. Every business will eventually have the opportunity to reach for multiple streams of income, but are they the right fit? Sergey Brin, one of the founders of Google, said, “with 100 services, we assumed we would be 100 times as successful. But we learned that not all services are created equal. Finding information is much more important to most people than horoscopes, stock quotes, or a whole range of other things.” The lesson here is to stay away from being the jack-of-all-trades, focus on what you do best.

4. Be Clear And Confident
Ok, so you have identified one of the pain points in your market, you found your competitive advantage to fixing this pain, and you are ready to focus in on what you can do best. It is now time to get your message out to your audience. You will want to be very careful about your actions, because this is what will build your brand. If your competitive advantage is to have the most relevant search results, you better have the best search results or you will not be in business for long. Not only do you have to deliver what you promise, but you have to give the customer the best overall experience they have ever had with a product in your space.

5. Serve

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Once you have found your initial customers, serving will be the best sales and marketing piece in your business. Step back and think for a moment about two things: why you go back to a business, and why you tell others about a business. There is a good chance that you will do these things because you had a great experience; in other words, you were served well. It is a basic truth that when people see that you truly care about them and their pain points, they will want to return the favor. There is no point in this post greater than this one. Do unto others as you would have them do to you—it will be the difference between profit and privation.

Every step in this post will take a lot of time and energy, so start small. I challenge you to commit to email, call, or approach one of your ideal customers. Ask them to meet you for coffee sometime this week if possible and tell them that you want to get some advice about the products that you are currently or considering to offer. It may be scary at first, but I can assure you that it will be well worth your time and effort…and you may even make a new friend!

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