How to Build and Maintain a Client List
There’s a lot more to getting new clients than cold-calling. In fact, this old-school (and rather inefficient) method of getting your name out there is not only annoying (for everyone involved), but practically unheard of these days. The rapid growth of the internet and the realization of its potential to reach a large consumer base have made it much easier for small business to get off the ground and attract a lot of clients with minimal effort. So sit back, strap in, and prepare to learn how to reach your target audience with nothing more than a laptop and a cable modem.
You’ll have to start by building a client list. This may begin simply enough by mass-mailing all the people you know (friends, family, and previous colleagues) to inform them that you have established a home-based business. Ask if they are in need of your services or if they know anyone else who might be interested. Putting the feelers out there in this grass-roots capacity may show a good return on potential clients since those who know you are often willing to promote you to others.
But aside from people you know, you’ll certainly want to target individuals that have no idea who you are or what you have to offer. In order to find these people, you can start by joining a social networking site (like Facebook) and signing up for groups. Participating in the social media revolution is an excellent way to meet a wide variety of people, gain contacts, and offer your services. You should also consider frequenting forums and blogs as a way to make contacts in the industry as well as increase your web presence. The ability to connect with others is only going to help you in the long run. And of course, you’ll want to learn a little something about SEO or engage the services of someone who knows how to work the system. This will ensure that the majority of traffic coming to your site is targeted (in other words, people who are specifically seeking what you have to offer).
Once you start getting traffic you can really begin to build your client list. By gathering information about who is visiting your site (through questionnaires, member sign-ups, order forms, etc.) you can begin to form a list of potential patrons. But how can you best use these contacts to the advantage of your business? Maintaining your list is something that will require time and effort on your part. The easiest thing to do is to send out emails often (but not to an annoying degree) to keep your name fresh in the minds or your customers. You can remind them of your services, inform them of sales, and offer special discounts to members. Be sure that you’re providing something new and interesting each time, or they may relegate you to the spam list.
And of course, once your clients decide to take advantage of your services, you will want to give them an exceptional experience that will keep them coming back for more. Nothing motivates repeat business better than great products and superior customer service, so be sure to make every interaction personal as well as professional.
Jennifer Kardish writes for an early retirement planning website where you can find tips and advice on eligibility, investing, and establishing goals for your future.
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