What is the most effective way to acquire a NEW customer?
This was the question StartupNation asked of 11 successful entrepreneurs. The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Have Them Find You
We heard the greatest metaphor at a new business conference in Nashville earlier this year relating to acquiring new customers: "Be the prey, not the predator." Having a strong digital presence and ongoing thought leadership in your space will lead clients to you instead of you having to constantly force your message on them. Discovery in procurement gets a relationship off to a great start. – Andrew Loos, Attack!
2. Give Away Open-Source Components
We gave away free and open-source components for several years, allowing customers to use our components and learn how we work without any touch from our team. After a few years, we have over 100,000 downloads of our products, and when we started offering commercial versions, the uptake was staggering. – Robert Castaneda, ServiceRocket
3. Impress Your Current Customers
Provide excellent service to your current customers, and they will enthusiastically find your new customers for you. Make sure that when you identify a happy customer (whether through a satisfaction survey, some metric or an unprompted thank-you email), the customer feels like he has an actionable step he can take to help you out and spread the word. – Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Test Prep
4. Be Honest and Spread Happiness
I believe that if you are honest with your customers and make them happy, they will tell the world for you; growth issues become a thing of the past. Yes, having a great product, marketing well, etc. all have their place in getting new customers, but the reality is that honesty and happiness go further and work better than anything else I have seen. Shout out to Tony Shieh for this! – Scott Ferreira, MySocialCloud
5. Create Raving Fans
How do you like to find a new product or service? Oftentimes, you look at the recommendations of others. As a business owner yourself, it's no different. Create raving fans who will spread your message for you, and don't be afraid to ask your clients to make introductions to their contacts on your behalf. – Darrah Brustein, Finance Whiz Kids | Equitable Payments
6. Acquire Through Joint Ventures
In my business, the most effective way to acquire new customers is through joint ventures with strategic partners who have a product and a company that aligns with our core values. We also find media buying of email lists to be very effective, but a higher risk compared to joint ventures. – Joe Barton, Barton Publishing
7. Provide Amazing Service to Your Customers
People underestimate the power of a client referral too often. Our best new customers come from referrals from our current customers. If you’re only focusing on bringing in new business, you might forget to do the job right for your current clients, which is a huge mistake. Make current customers happy, and new business will come. – Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.
8. Prove Your Value
It starts with a data-driven marketer, continues with testing and ends with a new customer performing a valuable user action. Every business is different. The salience is employing a myriad of tactics based on true consumer insights through split and sequential tests. This low-risk, high-scale approach maximizes spend, effort and success against new user acquisition. – Matt Ehrlichman, Porch
9. Position Yourself as an Expert
When a customer hears about your product or service, his first reaction is to go online to read reviews and commentary about your company and your offering. They want to know all their options. They want to be savvy buyers and look for answers. By providing your customers with information on how they can best solve their problems, you’re instantly positioning yourself as an expert. – Charles Gaudet, Predictable Profits
10. Engage With Email Subscribers
Do you have a blog, business or other place where people are signing up for your email list? Have someone on your team send a personal response to every single person who signs up. They will be so surprised and pleased at the personal response that turning them from contacts to customers becomes a much easier process. – Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC
11. Build on Points of Contact
Ask for referrals, and then smile and dial! Once you connect with prospects, have multiple components set in place (brochures, website, social channels, blog, etc.) for them to acquire the information they need to make a decision. Continually follow up to ensure you stay top of mind. – Tyler Arnold, SimplySocial Inc.