This post is going to cover two aspects of business.
The first is how a brand new business can get its first clients with online marketing.
The second is how an established business can get its first clients with online marketing.
The first situation is a business that needs customers. It doesn’t really matter how they get them, but since the Internet offers a pretty good avenue for reaching people we’ll focus on the online marketing opportunity.
The second is for businesses that already know how to get customers in offline ways, but are now looking to expand by getting more customers with online marketing.
How GBW Did It
Ghost Blog Writers has been around for three years. Most of our customers have come as a result of the work we put into our online marketing. There has been a lot of trial and error over those first three years. Hopefully what we’ve learned can save you some of the trial and error and you can skip ahead to getting customers.
The first GBW client came through a referral. Our business started because I was blogging on my own about a few different topics. I wasn’t really thinking about blogging outside of those personal interests, but a designer came to me and asked if I would be interested in blogging for an ecommerce client of theirs.
I thought it was an interesting concept so I accepted.
The company hired me to write posts on their behalf. They shared information with me, we worked out a strategy and turned their knowledge of the industry into blog posts.
The second client we got was actually a result of a little networking on Twitter.
I was looking around for people that were talking about blogging, but that needed some help. I was following some searches on Twitter and came across the owner of a website that was in need of more blog posts for their website.
I reached out and offered a first post on a trial basis. If they liked the post we would move forward and if they didn’t like it then they wouldn’t owe me anything.
We won over the client and they’re still with us today.
That’s how we got two clients at GBW. From there the idea was starting to take shape that we had a business.
There was no money put into those marketing efforts and that’s one of the keys to online marketing. You can either invest your time or your money and if you invest them in the right ways you can build your business.
First Method: Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is the buzz word of the day online these days. The reason people are going crazy for inbound marketing is because it works and it seems to work better than paying for attention.
With inbound marketing you can do something like create a company blog. Each post is an asset you invest in for your client-building future. The posts you publish are there forever, always attracting customers through search and social.
Compare that to an outbound strategy like PPC, Display or list buying, which you only get to use one time. You can pay for an ad that runs for only a little while or you can write (or have someone write) a blog post that always works for you.
And the other thing is that people seem to like reading blog posts more than seeing an ad.
Inbound marketing has been the biggest way we’ve gotten clients at GBW. We write regular posts for our blog. Combined, the traffic on our site comes mostly from the posts we publish. The homepage is the most trafficked page, but if you add up all the posts it is the posts that are the most trafficked.
People find us through search and social. They read the posts. They see what we’re about and they contact us to become clients.
It can work for your business. We see it work for all kinds of companies.
Second Method: Inbound Outreach Marketing
This one is a little different. It’s like answering ads. You’re not interrupting people that may or may not be looking for your service or product. You’re looking for people that are expressing a need online.
This is how I found the second client for GBW. I went on Twitter and monitored what people were saying about blogging. I found a person that was in need of blog posts and reached out with a strong offer to earn their trust.
Find channels like Twitter, Craigslist and others where people are expressing a need for your service.
Reach out with a strong offer to earn their trust and you can win customers.
This one can work right away while the first one can take some time to grow.
Over time, both work really well to get new clients including your first few clients.
Third Method: Partnership Referrals
This is one we’re working on more and more at GBW. It’s not something we planned on. That just goes to show that I don’t always know what’s going to happen next with this company.
Anyway, I noticed that some marketing agencies and design agencies were reaching out to us because they had clients that needed blogging.
These partnerships have been great for us and we’re now reaching out to more agencies to let them know what we do and what we can offer their clients.
There are likely ways you can do this too. Reach out to potential partners. Offer them something that will benefit them and they’ll send you referrals.
There are different ways to work out the arrangement, but no matter how it works out you’ll be getting more clients.
Image: Dave Gray