For many of you that are starting a new business, one of the most common struggle points I see is how to find clients or customers online.
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Follow the steps below in the right order and you can be making money in your new business within 30 days.
3 Steps to Find Customers Online for Your New Business
I want to remind you that if you’re just starting your business, your priority is to focus only on the money-making tasks. That's all that you need to do.
But what are money-making tasks?
Things that actually directly result in you making money in your business.
One of the biggest mistakes I see new online business owners make is focusing on the things that don't actually bring in money.
Things like writing a ton of content like blog posts, posting on social media, deciding on-brand colors, choosing fonts, setting up a fancy website, choosing a logo, getting professional headshots. They think those are the things that they need to do when they're just starting.
All these things are important, yes, but not so much until you're making money.
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Step 1: Be clear on what you're offering
Figure out what you want to do and what you’re offering. You need to know what that is first before you can start making money in your new business.
Let's start with this question: Is it a service or a product?
Service ideas include:
- training program / coaching
- freelance web designer
- freelance graphic designer
- content writer
- virtual assistant
Digital product ideas could include:
- ecourses / group programs
Figure out what is that you want to offer.
For in-depth information on the offer creation process, aka how to come up with ideas for things to sell, check out this post.
If you're just starting a new online business, the easiest thing to start with is something that you already know inside out.
Now, this does not need to be your dream business to start with. Rather, it can be a bridge business…
Build a Bridge Business
A bridge business allows you to get out of the situation you're in right now and closer to your ultimate dream business. It may even be the same thing that you’re doing right now in the corporate world, but you can do it as a freelancer.
A bridge business gives you some breathing space and allows you to get a feel for what else is possible. Then you can start to figure out what you actually want to do, aka your dream business.
That's exactly how I got started.
I remember feeling like crap back in 2011 and thinking I had zero options. I felt stuck in the job I was in and the career path that I had chosen.
There’s nothing worse than waking up and thinking this is it. This is going to be my life for the rest of my life. Especially when you don’t love what you do.
So I started looking at different options. I had no idea what I wanted to do. All I knew was what I didn't want, which was working at a job from eight to five where I was told when I could have lunch, when I could go to the gym, when I could take time off…
I hated that and yearned for a way out.
Find Your Motivation – Your Why
For me, my motivation for leaving my job back then was time freedom. I wanted my time back to be able to literally wake up and decide each morning what I would do for the rest of the day.
And it wasn't about watching Netflix and chilling out. I wanted to work. I wanted to make an impact. But I just wanted to do this on my own terms.
That is what motivated me to find something else and that's why I started a side hustle.
By June 2012, I quit my job and went full time as a freelance writer. Now, that was not my dream business. I knew that I did not want to be a freelance writer forever, but it gave me the time freedom that I wanted. It gave me that flexibility. It gave me options.
I want you to know that if you are at that starting point of trying to decide what type of business you want to do, don't get hung up on it being a dream thing or a permanent business that you have to stick with.
Just start with what you know. You can change it later.
As I often say, you can't break anything online. Everything is fixable.
What’s your thing?
If you don't know what you want to do, then just pick the thing that you’re really good at right now; something that you can do inside out.
I had no idea that I could get paid to write when I started, I just knew I loved to write. So I took a freelance writing course, honed my skills, and it became my bridge business.
And that freelance writing course only took me 30 days to complete. You don't need to spend lots of time learning either. Remember, “Done is better than perfect.” ~ Sheryl Sandberg
So when you’re starting out, pick the thing that comes the easiest to you. Don't add a layer of unnecessary complexity. Don’t complicate your life by making it harder than it needs to be.
Step 2: Who do you want to work with
Think about someone in your life that you know personally and you love hanging out with them daily. This will give you an idea of the type of person that you want as a client or customer.
If you can't think of anyone in your personal life right now, look at TV characters. I picture my target customer as either Phoebe, Rachel or Monica from Friends or Lorelei from Gilmore Girls. Those are the types of people that I want to work with daily.
So when I'm creating products or courses, I'm creating with those types of people in mind. Sassy and fast-talking action takers. I love to hang out with people like that!
You do get to decide this for your new business. Be careful and purposeful with who you choose because if you start working with people and you aren't clear on what characteristics you like to work with, you can end up working with people that drain your energy. Particularly in any type of one-on-one situation like coaching.
Are you focusing on just the money?
When you’re just starting a new business it can be easy to only focus on the money. I get it. But it's not always just about the money. If it was, you could find any cubicle in any office. What you’re looking to achieve is much bigger than just a paycheque.
But if you aren’t clear on who you're serving or who you want to work with, then you will just take any money from any customer or client. And that can lead to some pretty sticky situations…
When I first started my business, I did that. I literally worked with anyone who was going to pay me. I just wanted to get the money into my bank account.
In hindsight, I can totally see that I was working with people that I just didn’t gel with.
But now, I always want an experience to be positive for everyone on both sides. It shouldn't be one-sided just because someone's paid. No one gets to treat you like crap, no matter how much money is involved.
When I first started out as a freelance writer, one client I was working with was high maintenance. This is not the type of person I wanted to work with at all. It's not that they were a bad person, it’s just that we didn't gel.
So every time I would see an email come through from that person, my entire being would tense up. That's not an enjoyable business to work in and not enjoyable energy to be in.
Be very careful about this piece. It's really, really important.
Now, I'm also realistic. We need to make bank in order to live. Getting to a place of consistent income is the goal for all of us when we head into an online business.
Step 3: Where is Your Target Customer Hanging Out?
Where are your ideal target people hanging out?
This is where the boring marketing avatar piece is important. You might have heard this spoken about many times, but don't switch off because it’s really important to know who your ideal target customer is.
Once you know who it is that you're trying to get in front of, figure out where they are hanging out online.
It could be Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Maybe even TicTok.
Depending on the age of your target audience, figure out where they are hanging out the most right now. Age is important and will largely determine which social media platform they spend the most time on.
For instance, my ideal target audience is typically between 35-55 and they're predominantly on Facebook. They're probably going to also be on Instagram, Twitter and probably LinkedIn, but they're mostly hanging out on Facebook right now. So that’s where I focus most of my marketing efforts.
When I first started, I spent a lot of time in Facebook groups fostering relationships there. If you are in the space of wanting to create online offers and even services, then there are a ton of Facebook groups that are specific to entrepreneurship and small business. If that is your target customer, then join five groups and start participating.
How to optimize your social media profiles for success
Your social media profiles need to showcase what you do and provide a way for someone to connect with you. That could simply be sending them to a page where they can sign up to your email list or a way for them to contact you like an email address.
Cover images and descriptions are important when optimizing. That space on your Facebook profile (or page, depending on which way you're approaching it), for instance, is like private real estate. It should talk about what you do and ideally link to your website or email sign up landing page. You would be surprised at how many people actually check out your profile or page.
You definitely want to make sure that your profile is public, so create a page that is purely just for your new business if you're not comfortable with having people follow you personally. Just make sure that it’s optimized to talk about what you do, whether that’s a service or product.
The same goes for LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Optimize those profiles to talk about your thing, whatever that is.
I can guarantee that if you are active in the spaces where your target audience is for the next 30 days, you are going to walk away with at least one paying customer or client.
Now that you’ve identified what you want to offer, who your target customer is, and where they’re hanging out, it’s time to look at how to attract clients to your new business and get customers into your email list.
When you're looking to attract paying customers or clients, you have two choices: free (aka organic) or paid.
Once you know where your target audience is and you're hanging out there with your optimized profile, you need to show up consistently.
If you are consistently showing up in the space that your target customer is and contributing meaningfully, that ideal dream person you want to work with is going to notice.
Be consistent for the next 30 days and I can guarantee that you will get at least one paying customer or client out of it.
Be a normal human being – give & serve first
Now, the key to this strategy is being a normal human being! What I mean by that is you are not going to mention anything about what you offer for at least the first two weeks of being in these groups.
If you're more business to business (B2B) or targeting a corporate type of customer, then LinkedIn or Twitter is where you want to be. Those two are more business orientated.
Instagram is great if you're working with people under the age of thirty and can use pictures to communicate what you’re offering.
My customer is not on TicTok, so you won't find me hanging out there.
It’s about understanding your audience and showing up wherever they are. But it’s more than just showing up. It’s about serving first.
I refer a lot to the book The Go Giver, and if you have not read it yet I highly recommend it.
One of the very first laws of stratospheric success that they talk about in this book is the Law of Value, where you give more in value than you receive in payment.
So if you can go into any of those spaces with the mindset of being helpful and offering valuable contributions, you'll be able to attract paying customers and clients with ease.
Be strategic in your social responses
The other piece of this is being strategic in the way that you respond inside those groups or chats. Be mindful to keep your responses helpful and encouraging. Showcase your expertise, your offer, or your service. That shows that you know what you’re doing.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t give advice!
If you don't want to invest any money into getting started, then you’re going to have to put in the time on social media. You're either sacrificing time or sacrificing money. There's no other option really, it’s one or the other.
But if you do want to expedite customers into your new business, use the paid option.
The paid option is my preference for getting your new business earning quickly.
If you’re just starting out, the number one thing to focus on is building a customer base for the first 30 days. It's an ongoing thing, but focus on building up an ideal customer base, which includes starting an email list and getting subscribers on it.
Ideally they should be your target customer audience, the people you most want to work with. That's who you want to attract. And the best way I have found to do this is through automated Facebook lead generation ads.
FB lead gen ads
Not many people know about this ad feature within Facebook, but once you've set this up it makes building your business so much easier.
I discovered it by accident because I was struggling with normal Facebook ads.
I was struggling to get FB ads approved and then get the conversions I was looking for. When I saw the lead generation option, it sounded like exactly what I wanted. So I tried it, and found it extremely effective at pulling in the right audience. So effective, in fact, that a FB ads rep reached out to me to let me know how well I was doing.
How to find your audience demographics in Facebook
The caveat to running a Facebook lead generation ad is that you need to know who your ideal target audience is. Once you know clearly who that is, you can target them really easily.
The demographics you need to know are things like:
- where are they located in the world
- what age range are you targeting
- general interests that your audience is attracted to
You can choose to target the audiences of well known personalities that may have similar interests to what you’re offering. For example, I use Amy Porterfield, Marie Forleo, and Pat Flynn. So anyone that follows or is connected to that person will have my Facebook lead generation ad showing up in front of them.
This works great, but only if you’re clear on your target audience.
Once you have identified a strong audience, you need a really strong lead magnet for this to work. This is where you offer something for free that someone would pay for, in exchange for being on your email list.
The lead magnets that work extremely well for me are results orientated. For example, I have a book that I use as a lead magnet.?
This book helps people figure things out when they're just getting started in their online business. That's one free gift that I use that’s very results orientated.
The other lead magnet that does well for me is a 90-day plan Trello board template. It's an entire template and a walk through video for a business owner to be more productive over the next 90 days in their business.
Those are high value items to my target customer, and are normally paid products that I'm now giving away for free.
So think about what your target audience needs help with right now. What can you create that you would normally charge for? Think about something that has a value of $27 to $47, which makes it a no brainer for the customer to exchange their email address just to get access to such a high value item.
Consider repurposing something that you’ve already created if you're struggling to come up with something.
Maybe it's a 60-minute training that you've delivered live and now you're going to repurpose into your free gift.
Or maybe it’s a tutorial for a difficult piece of software that you’re a pro at.
It needs to be of high value for it to work. If you're going to put money behind Facebook lead generation ads, make sure that you've got a really high chance of people picking up that thing because it’s irresistible.
You only need to spend $5 a day on these lead generation ads, and literally you run them for 30 days. When spending $5 a day, you're probably looking at around 50 to 100 people per week joining your email list and these are your target customers.
Choose an audience size that is no more than 1.5 million and you’ll have people coming into your world on autopilot very easily.
For my long-term business building, I choose to run these ads ongoing, but that’s completely up to you.
Welcome email sequence
The other piece to this is to have a solid email sequence set up for your new subscribers.
This is your chance to welcome new subscribers into your world and to also sell to them later in the backend.
You first need a welcome email.
The welcome sequence should be five to seven days long and have an email delivered every day. This gives the new subscriber a chance to get to know you better and to expect your emails in their inbox. Don't just sell to people straight away. You welcome and nurture them into that entire process.
Days 0 – 7
The first email that they get should be delivery of the free gift (aka lead magnet), and that’s considered Day 0.
The next day is an email that says, this is who I am. This is what I believe in. This is how I can help, and has a very clear call to action at the end that asks them Hey, tell me what you're struggling with right now? Or What's the number one thing you wish you could do as it relates to (whatever your topic or offer or niche is)?
Then the rest of the emails that follow should be nurture emails which help your audience learn and understand more about the topic that you're trying to help them with.
Don’t be afraid to offer more content or more free gifts in that sequence. Overdeliver. Give more than you receive. That way you’ll have captivated your audience long term.
Where is your customer in their journey?
The welcome sequence is also another opportunity to understand where your customer is at in their journey. Ask them to fill out a survey. Make it even easier by just including link triggers in your email.
In my welcome sequence, I literally have three different options to choose from. Whichever option they click on tags them inside ConvertKit. I then have the ability to send them very targeted information based on the tag that has now been assigned to them.
Once you have those link triggers set up, they can trigger other sequences based on where they're at.
Meet people in the beginning, in the middle, and at the advanced stages of whatever your topic is about. Have something to offer them in those three different stages.
If you have that, then you can trigger sequences for the beginner, for the middle growth person, and for the advanced person that then funnels them into your paid offers. None of these people sees stuff that doesn’t apply to them. That's how sequences come into play.
Finding customers online for your new business doesn’t have to be hard or intimidating. Make it easy and fun–what could be more easy and fun than being on social media?!
Once you’re clear on what you want to offer and the specific type of person you want to work with, go where they’re hanging out. Be strategic about getting in front of the people you want as customers or clients and be a valuable contributor to the conversation. When you come from an authentic place of wanting to help, your potential customer will notice.
Offer your product or service from a business perspective rather than a personal one. Present the opportunity without getting personally invested in their choice.
With consistency, you will undoubtedly find new business customers or clients within 30 days.
Want some extra help?
If you're struggling with any of this, I offer a training course called Leads On Autopilot that walks you through how to bring new leads into your world for just $5 a day.
Or you can fast track your way to new customers and clients today when you grab my brand new training course for just $15 ?
Go through the three steps above and decide if you want to go the paid route or organic free route to get customers and clients into your business.
Whichever route you choose, dedicate time to your business over the next 30 days and you’ll see results. Some effort is required, so make it count by being strategic and showing up where your potential customers are hanging out.