Finding and selling to customers is a big challenge in business, especially online business, is how do you find new customers? Or even any customers? You may have already taken the entrepreneurial plunge… even set up a website, or built an app.
I have news for you…that’s the easy part!
The much harder part and the part people always seem to put off right until the end, is actually finding these magical customers who will give you money for your shiny new app.
From an online perspective there are four main ways that people can find you:
- The first is SEO, where people search for something or even your website eg nuts & bolts and your page appears on the search results. They click on a link and go to your page. This technique is working less and less nowadays as Google is trying to push you to buy paid traffic and there are a lot of incumbents in the space with whom it’s difficult to get over.
This is a good long-term strategy for getting traffic but as an approach for getting customers quickly, it’s not so good.
- An option related to this is AdWords. When people are searching for a particular term, your link appears at the top of the search results, they can click on the link and go to your page. This option was the best way to buy customers for a long time and is still quite effective. However, it can be quite expensive and a lot of effort is required to optimise your advert and landing page for when the visitor lands on your website.
- Another less expensive option is to build up a following on social media, be it Twitter or Facebook. You build up a following by engaging with your community, sharing interesting and useful information and this allows you to obtain customers.
This is also more of a long-term strategy, taking a lot of time and effort to realise. Also with all the changes in the Facebook and Twitter algorithms, there’s no guarantee that you’ll always be able to reach your followers.
- Facebook advertising is fast taking over AdWords as the leader in pay per click advertising. Facebook allows you to be much more targeted in the way that you find new customers. It does this by leveraging the vast amounts of information that it has captured about people over the years and lets advertisers be very specific about the way they can pick who they want to show their advert to.
As a Facebook user and tech-oriented entrepreneur, it’s quite amazing and scary to think how powerful this platform that Facebook has created is for selling ads. It is clearly understood how this drives the massive amounts of revenue that they are seeing.
The platform is also far more impressive than the AdWords equivalent that Google has created and it’s apparent why Facebook is heavily eating into the advertising revenue that Google had such a strong monopoly over for all of these years.
The Facebook advertising platform used to be quite hit and miss in the early days. There were, and still are, questions about user intention on Facebook vs. Google.
On Google, they are actively searching for something they need, such as a spanner, so if they see an advert for a spanner they are more likely to click on the link compared to if they are looking at pictures of their best friend getting drunk on a Friday night.
I think this is a valid concern, however, Facebook is overcoming it by having such a powerful platform to distribute the ads.
The big risk with Facebook is that the cost of each advert will rise as more and more people realise how powerful the platform is for attracting customers.
I think the market is big enough for Google and Facebook – whether or not both companies can play nicely together is another question altogether!
What do you do when you get the customers?
You have a visitor to your website – great! Now what?
Now you need to build a relationship with them. Most of the time they won’t be inclined to buy something straight away – they might be in an information-gathering state of mind. In this case, give them some information that they will appreciate. Then you have to lead them down your funnel, which is a jazzy way of saying that you will send them a bunch of emails until they give in and buy some stuff off you.
Using the PPC platforms for Google and Facebook have a quite a steep learning curve and there are always new developments and techniques. For example, Facebook Messenger and Bots is one of the more recent developments that help businesses contact customers in a way that jumps the proverbial gate.
What’s the best approach?
I think the wisest option is to hire an expert to help you with this or to go on some sort of course, as it is definitely one of the biggest challenges when attempting to acquire customers.