10 Hidden Gems For Finding New B2B Customers
When it comes to prospecting, you can go the easy way, or you can explore these 10 tactics that will really boost your customer acquisition efforts.
When it comes to finding customers, we tend to pick the low-hanging fruit. You know, those activities that are simply too easy not to do — PPC ads, writing blog content, etc.
But what many entrepreneurs don’t realize is that there are more advanced tactics that — while they do require slightly more work — net fantastic results.
And, in many cases, engaging in these will result in links that will raise your profile in search, as well, leading to even more opportunities to win customers. Here are ten places you should be looking for your next B2B customer.
If you’re new to this site, you might be shocked to hear that 9 million or more people a month log in to ask and answer questions in their areas of expertise. That’s a lot of potential customers.
It works like this: you search for questions in an industry you know well, then answer any that you feel qualified to talk about. Pretty simple. People can vote your answer up or down, and people who answer a lot of questions get more of the spotlight.
Bonus Tip: This is an especially good lead generator if you work in a field with few online experts.
Now owned by Vocus, Help a Reporter Out connects journalists with experts (read: you). Subscribe to a category or two, and you’ll begin to receive their 3-times-a-day emails. Browse through each email to find stories for which you can add expertise, then jump on any queries you have experience enough to speak on.
Be quick about it! Journalists are often on a tight deadline and may receive a flood of responses, so reply quickly and give them exactly what they asked for. You just might get quoted in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, or other prestigious publications. Not only does this yield valuable brand visibility, it’s also a great way to build links from top-notch publishers, boosting your visibility in search engines.
Bonus Tip: HARO is also a great tool to help you beef up your own blog articles with expert quotes.
If you put your focus on marketing nearly exclusively online, it’s time to step outside of your comfort zone (and your office). Meetup is guaranteed to have a group of people in your industry (or of your customer demographic) that meet locally. Find a couple of groups to join, participate in conversations, and take your business cards to the next in-person event.
Bonus Tip: Have your elevator speech prepared so that when people ask what you do, you can give them the short and smooth version, rather than stumbling over your words.
4. Teach A Class
Here’s another in-person networking opportunity: consider teaching skills in your field at the local community college, small business development center, or other continuing education resource. You can charge or host the class for free, but make sure to do plenty of networking either way.
Let’s say you’re an accountant, so you offer an Intro to QuickBooks course. You provide plenty of value to your students (also building trust), but some will still come to you after the class is over to hire you to help them.
Bonus Tip: Give away as much free content as you can during the class. Point them to your articles online if they’re relevant to course content. This builds brand credibility, authority, loyalty, and trust.
5. LinkedIn Groups
Sure, you’re using social media to market yourself, but nothing more than the superficial effort of updating all your accounts a few times a week. Instead, really dive in to LinkedIn by joining a few groups in your industry, or where your customer base hangs out.
The key here is to be useful and participate in conversations in such a way that adds value without being self promotional. Comment on others’ posts and updates, and share your own, as long as they’re relevant.
Bonus Tip: Don’t join more groups than you feasibly have time to check in on a few times a week.
This is definitely an advanced tactic, but one that can put you in front of thousands of targeted listeners. Set up an account on a site like BlogTalkRadio and start spreading the word about your weekly podcast on a given topic.
Bonus Tip: Offer your listeners more reasons to get hooked on you. Encourage them to sign up for your emails in exchange for a free report or eBook. You want to turn passive listeners into active customers.
These simple keyword organizers on Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ are fantastic tools to help you find the right people. Identify a few hashtags that your customers use and follow them, then connect with the people who are using them. Include them in your own relevant social updates.
Bonus Tip: Simplify your search by using Hashtagify. Enter one hashtag to find others and get detailed analytics.
8. Social Bookmarking Sites
Half of finding new customers is having a presence where they are. Share and vote for great content you like on social bookmarking sites like Reddit and BizSugar.com, and you’ll establish yourself as a tastemaker in terms of what’s worth reading online.
Bonus Tip: There’s no harm in submitting your own content to these sites, either. Just make sure it’s relevant to your audience and not overly promotional.
9. Content Curation
Using Paper.li or another content curation tool, you can put together an online “newspaper” focused around a specific topic or industry. Paper.li lets you send out your newspaper as an email newsletter, as well as tweet out mentions to those whose content you curated (great for boosting your social following).
Bonus Tip: Include any person’s content that you’re trying to get the attention of in your content roundup. It’s a great way to get the attention of influencers and start building a relationship with them.
Conferences, trade shows, and workshops are fantastic opportunities to connect with potential customers. Remember, it’s the long game with networking. You’re there to meet people and start building relationships, not make instant sales.