Yet another Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homepreneurs a blazing question about running and growing their businesses from home.
Today’s Q is:
Q: What medium has proven to be the most successful for attracting clients and customers for your home business?
Samantha Pointer-Foxx from Get It Together says:
The best medium for me over all of the years has been my website. I was one of the first in my industry to have a website in the beginning and so it has been a major contributor to how people find me. Through my blog posts and photo gallery, potential clients can experience what I have to offer and get to know me. It also eases the nerve of having to get on the phone with me first before really seeing if what I have is what they are looking for.
Stephanie Watson from Barry Publishing says:
The number one medium that has proven to be the most successful for attracting clients and customers to my home business is referrals from happy clients. It’s part of the reason I’m so bad at email marketing or any other type of marketing. Usually, when I have openings they get filled rather quickly due to word-of-mouth.
But, I feel like I must mention the 2nd, which is really also the first, and is my participation in Solo Smarts Solo Masterminds Group. That’s how I got my first writing client, (before that I only did VA work and worked as an affiliate marketer). That’s how I ended up building my writing business to where it is now. I worked for one person, and she told the next, and so forth… and it keeps building from there.
If you want to have a successful word-of-mouth campaign, you can’t just expect it to happen organically. Instead, ensure that you let your clients know that you want referrals and that you’re open for new work. Give your current clients a discount or something in return for recommending you. I learned this from a wonderful Virtual Assistant named Staci Jansma. Staci used to send out these beautiful coupons if you recommended her to someone. I don’t give coupons to everyone, but anyone who sends me a client who buys at least 150 dollars worth of work gets a 1,500 word article from me for free. I have some clients who never take advantage of the offer, but some who do.
The other thing you can do is be a source of referrals for your clients when possible. In my business, as a ghostwriter, I cannot always be upfront about who I work for because, well, it’s ghostwriting and my identity and even existence is secret. But, if I know someone I work with is excellent at what they do, and then I meet someone who needs what they have, I always make sure to let them know. If you send someone else referrals, they’re that much more likely to send referrals to you in return, not really as a pay back but because they feel generous and happy about their relationship with you.
Alicia Jay from New VA Advice says:
For me, it’s been all about social media, blogging and writing to my list. When I started my transcription business, I had zero clients and zero leads. I took the time to find out which social media platforms my target market used the most. Then I showed up there, had genuine conversations with them and shared their content.
That proved to be very successful, particularly with Twitter. Then people would come to my site to check me out. I made sure that I was helpful and had relevant blog content for them to read. They recognized that I knew what I was talking about and, in turn, shared my content.
The last piece of the puzzle for me has been connecting to my list. I know we talked about list building and email marketing before, but it’s important enough to repeat. I offer free reports on my websites that solve a problem that my target audience is experiencing. I mention my free reports on different social media platforms. Prospective clients sign up to my list to receive that free report. Then I’m sure to follow up with them, share industry news and more free content.
This three-pronged approach (social media, blogging and writing to my list) has turned followers into clients because I’m consistent and demonstrates my expertise.
Tishia Lee from Tishia Saves Time says:
For me, this is an easy one to answer! The medium that has been the most successful for attracting clients has been word of mouth. I don’t do a lot of advertising or marketing of my business. New clients have always come from other clients telling others about me and my services. I have started sharing a bit more about what I do on social media (specifically Facebook) and so far that hasn’t landed me any new clients, but it has caught a few people’s attention. Let me explain. A few times I’ve shared a simple status update about how I had just finished a large writing project for a client, how I love writing. I add a link to my services page letting people know I have openings for new projects. Those few updates resulted in a couple people messaging me saying they didn’t even know I offered writing services and now that they know, they would keep me in mind for future reference. So, it’s still definitely word of mouth that is most successful in landing new clients. But, after those few people messaging me after those simple Facebook updates, maybe social media could be a new possibility for picking up a client or two.
Christa Jensen from ChristaJensen.com says:
While I have used many mediums to attract clients, word of mouth has been the medium that has been the most successful for my home business. I think the key to having been successful, for me, is providing quality work and great communication – before, during and after client’s work. I say AND not OR because I believe that both are equally important to clients.
I think it is safe to say that one of the best mediums for getting new clients and customers for your home-based business is word of mouth. That’s why the quality of the content and offerings you put out is of superb importance.
Many successful online businesses don’t even rely on any SEO efforts to get traffic to their websites. In fact, some big time bloggers and online business owners like Darren Rowse and Ali Brown have deferred from encouraging an emphasis on SEO, although they’ve both been online long enough to benefit from it.
When I was offering tutoring services and elderly concierge services back in 1999, all of my business came from word of mouth. I certainly can relate to many of the Sparkplugging advisors on the value of it. Back then, I didn’t even have business cards for the first few months of starting any business. It all started with one (referred) client who referred me to others and it expanded from there.
The marketing medium that works best may also depend on what type of internet home business you are embarking on or already have in place. For me, the best medium right now happens to be SEO and email marketing but I don’t plan on relying on search engine traffic for the the long haul.
SEO and social media are excellent mediums for bringing customers but it takes time and tactic. From what I’ve learned and seen, if you want to start making any significant money much quicker, having a service-based business along with referral marketing works really well. Then you can expand and reorganize once the money is rolling in.
Sometimes, it’s worth going back to basics.