13 Aug Finding your first customers
The first idea comes from Susan Bourke of LegalRSS dot ie. Susan provides content to solicitors which boosts user engagement. She found her first clients through giving free seminars. If you are selling to groups who have associations you can contact the association and offer a free talk. Suan ran seminars for solicitors giving advice on social media. Once she had the audience she came up with her idea to sell them a product.
You can also create online videos and podcasts for your target audience and share them within groups on social media such as Facebook and Linkedin. Creating free content will give your target market an opportunity to get to know you and your business. It will also allow you to establish credibility, increasing the likelihood of you making a sale.
While no one we interviewed recommended using Facebook ads, a number did recommend Facebook groups. Maria, from busy at play dot com who sells children’s toys had success in posting in local groups in Cork.
Others had mentioned Facebook groups had been a way to network and also to get impartial advice. One group in particular is called “Irish Small Business Network”. They have almost six thousand members.
The next way people found their first clients was through referrals. This way of finding clients came up a number of times. Sean Kennedy of SMK Marketing got a client because a website developer recommended him to one of his clients looking for marketing services. Adam, a mobile mechanic, got clients from a car valet business. A chauffeur Matt Feeney of MGF Chauffeur Service dot com got clients through a tour guide agency.
Try to think of other businesses who you are not in competition with and who have the same target client. You can offer their clients a discount on your service in return for promoting your business. Everybody benefits.
If you are interested in joining a referral group please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include some details about yourself as well as including your target client and your target geographic location if you have one.
The next idea on finding clients comes from Brendan Fitzpatrick of restart journey dot ie. Brendan recommends joining Linkedin and networking with people. He recommends trying to build up a relationship first with people and understand their problems. When you try to sell something to someone they put their guard up and the door is closed.
But when you approach a person from a learning perspective they are more open and it gives you the opportunity to better understand what problems the person in front of you is having. This will then enable you to have better information when developing a product or service for the market.
Asking for feedback from potential customers
Linked to Brendan’s advice, the next idea comes from Kate Fleming who runs lawed dot ie. Kate educates young people on the importance of law and how it relates to their daily lives in a very entertaining way.
Kate says she got her first clients by simply driving up to schools and explaining her idea and asking for feedback. Kate was able to get her first clients just based on her idea, even before she had started to create the course.
Similar to the advice of Jim Rohn, it’s better to sell first and buy later. Rather than waiting to have the perfect product or service, approach potential customers and ask them for feedback. During the process you may make a sale.
If you work as an service provider you may want to consider trying websites such as upwork, bark and adverts dot ie. Upwork was recommended by Bradley who works as a copywriter as a source of his first clients.
Bark was recommended by Sean Kennedy of SMK marketing. He stated he invested €300 and generated €3,000 in revenue. With Bark you pay to contact people looking for your service.
Finally, adverts dot ie was recommended by Adam who works as a mobile mechanic in Dublin.
Having a good portfolio to show to potential customers
Finally, the last piece of advice comes from our own experience. We got Education Ireland as a client to shoot a video series on Mexican Students who had studied in Ireland because of our youtube channel Dubjobs. They had seen our channel and they were impressed with our work.
If you are looking for potential clients it’s important you make it as easy as possible for them to understand how you are able to help them in their life or business. If you are a graphic designer, don’t wait to get clients to create a portfolio. Create as much content as you can to showcase your talents.
We hope you found this episode useful. If you did please share on your social media networks and relevant business groups.
In the next episode we’ll be talking about why your Facebook ads aren’t working and what you can do to fix them.
If you have an idea for a topic you’d like discussed you can contact us at email@example.com.
If you haven’t already please join our mailing list on soi dot ie where we share summaries of our podcasts as well as links to additional resources.