You might be like many other businesses who wait for customers to come to them. Waiting for them to stumble across their website, facebook post or pinterest page or hope they find their way to their door. If you’re one of these business you’re overlooking a huge marketing opportunity. If you got a minute or two to read this post, I’ll show you 5 ways you can connect with potential customers right now.
In my examples below I’m going to pretend you run a website that sells tablets (you know iPads, Kindles…). To show how powerful this can be all the screenshots were taken at the moment I was writing this.
1. Talk to people looking for your products/services.
There’s a chance you’re already trying to put yourself in front of people looking for your products and services using search engine advertising like Google Adwords. There is no doubt that this can be very powerful, but you’re still waiting for someone to make that action, hoping they see and click on your ad and paying for that action. Even if they take that action you won’t have much information about who they are and what they’re actually looking for.
What if I told you there’s a much more direct approach, that won’t cost you a dime. Well let me tell you how…
- Goto search.twitter.com
- Try a search like: what tablet buy ? (adding the question mark searches for people asking questions)
- You might want to try using advanced search to get even better results.
- Look through the results to find someone actively looking for your product.
Voila! Just like that we found someone looking to buy a tablet. Now all you have to do is help this customer make a smart choice using your expertise.
2. Identify people who don’t yet know they need your product or service.
There may be people who don’t know about your product or service and all they might need is for someone, like you, to make them aware of it. Using our example business we decided to look for people shopping for netbooks. Since our store sells tablets that are netbooks and tablets in one. Sure enough I found someone who was doing just that earlier in the day. I can now respond to this potential customer with my suggestion.
3. Find people citing your product, service or brand.
I can’t use my example business in this case since I want to show you live examples. So lets pretend were Google who is selling Nexus tablets.
In my past two examples I used twitter but lets try Google+ this time. To show you that this can work with virtually any social network.
I searched for people who mentioned the “nexus 10” to see who I could find who was kind enough to mention our product. In no time I found that someone did a video showcasing the Nexus 10 gaming power. I can see that since he posted it earlier today 11 other people have +1ed it and 1 other person reshared it with their friends. If I was running that tablet store I could see this as an opportunity to get in front of people who, thanks to this video, may be considering getting one of these tablets. I’d jump right into this conversation.
I also recommend using backlink monitoring tools like open site explorer to identify and thank websites that have linked to your website. Use the “just discovered” tab to find your newest links.
4. Respond to business reviews (positive and negative).
Once you have an established brand people are going to be giving their two cents, whether you like it or not. In some cases people will be singing your praises and you’ll want to thank these people…
(are you a local business? try checking sites like Yelp or Google Maps)
In other cases you may have customers who didn’t have such a great experience. No matter if they are right or wrong the worst thing you can do is ignore it and allow for it to take on a life of it’s own. Respond as quickly as possible that you understand their frustrations and are working to resolve the problem.
By being involved with what people are saying about your brand you’ll better control over how other people view your brand, product or service. This way when a new potential customer comes across these reviews they can appreciate how involved and helpful you’ve been to other customers.
5. Chat with people on who are on your site.
You’re probably monitoring how your potential customers are using your site with a product like Google Analytics, which is great. If you haven’t let your website visitors chat directly with you while their searching the site, it’s worth trying. Many popular website chat services, like live chat, will allow you to monitor the people who are viewing your site right now. It will tell you how they got there and where they’re from. You can even send them a custom message at any point while they’re browsing. Lets say you noticed a website visitor going back n forth between two tablets. You could message them to see if they need help making a choice.
I hope I’ve opened your eyes to the possibilities of connecting with customers online because this is just the beginning. After you try a few of these strategies I’m sure it will get you thinking of other creative ways to find and connect with your current and potential customers.
P.S. – I hope I haven’t gave you the idea that you are limited to just using twitter and Google+ to find potential customers because these strategies work on other networks like LinkedIN, Pinterest, Tumblr, Quora and Youtube… virtually anywhere your customers may be hanging out.