Ask the Experts: Where Do You Find Your Customers Online?
Do you ever look at people around the web who are doing what you’re doing or something in close proximity to it and wonder – wow, how’d they get such a huge following?
Well I definitely do.
So I decided to just ASK.
And today, I’m going to share their answers to my question. Because I thought you might want to know too.
“Where do you find your customers online?”
1. Alexandra Franzen
“Where do I find my customers online? I don’t. I just do “my thing” (which happens to be writing — rapidly, enthusiastically, and as often as possible) and they find me.“
If you haven’t heard of Alex yet, you’re about to get pretty excited. She describes herself as “a writer, teacher, creative minx & (soon-to-be) published author. I’m on a quest to inspire ecstatic self-expression — in life, love & business. I love heart-shaped crystals, Finnish power metal, anything chartreuse, and Leonard Cohen.”
Why ask Alex? Because she’s booked solid for the next 7+ months, has over 2,000 email subscribers (as disclosed on her site) and over 5,100 followers on Twitter at the time this post was published.
2. Neil Patel
“We find our customers online through PR and blogging. We do research to figure out where our ideal customers are hanging out and get PR on those sites. In addition to that we get our customers to come to us by blogging on topics that would interest them.”
I asked Neil what his biggest unexpected failure was with pursuing his customers online this way – he shared the following:
“The big unexpected failure with PR is that you can’t just pay a PR firm to get you press. Sure, they can get you a few one of successes, but what we learned the hard way is that you ideally need to get to know the journalist personally, then educate them on the big overall picture, and then give them stories that continually tie into that big picture. This way, they will continue writing about you on a consistent basis instead of one off stories.
We learned this the hard way with Crazy Egg.”
Neil Patel is a kind of a big deal (no really, his LLC official name is I’m Kind of a Big Deal, LLC). He’s a bit of a traffic whiz and the co-founder of 2 companies in the conversion optimization game: Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics. He was also recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama.
Why ask Neil? Because his list of happy clients include Microsoft, TechCrunch, GM, Amazon , HP and more big wigs. Clients whose traffic he’s increased by 300% and whose pageviews he’s grown to 500 million a month. So yea, you could definitely say Neil’s kind of a big deal.
3. Melissa Cassera
“I have a very clear picture of what my ideal client looks like and where they hang out, so it’s pretty simple to determine where to find my customers online.
Many of my ideal clients are Twitter users, so I spend quite a bit of time on that network. I also look for niche online groups that reach my ideal customer such as Marie Forleo’s B-School, Savor the Success, and Chic CEO.”
I asked Melissa what her biggest unexpected failure was with pursuing clients this way, she responded:
“When I first started using Twitter (many years ago, when Twitter celebs were mere users with 300 followers) I started following and engaging only with people in my industry. This made for great conversation, but it never converted into any customers. I realized that I was spending all my time hob-knobbing with people in my own industry rather than spending the majority of time connecting with people that could be clients. This created a huge shift in how I use Twitter – gone was the industry mumbo jumbo and in came helpful advice, quotes, and content that could empower my ideal customer to get the visibility they deserve.”
Melissa Cassera calls herself a ‘PR Rock Star’ and is the CEO + President of PR consultancy Cassera Communications. She rocks at teaching business owners how to take control of their own business fame.
Why ask Melissa? Because she’s the real deal who’s been featured on the Today Show, NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox News as well as glossy magazines + web portals like Glamour Magazine, Redbook Magazine, AMEX Open and Forbes. Her Twitter following alone is more than 7,400 at the time of this post.
4. Beth Buelow
“I think of my online presence as one that invites people to know, like and trust me. In that way, it’s about creating a resonant community where people can hang out with me virtually, giving introverts (my primary audience) an opportunity to lurk (ie research), reflect, then self-select. Prospects who enroll as coaching clients have been most attracted by my active Facebook community and interview-based podcast series.”
I asked Beth what she struggled with and what her biggest success was with growing her Facebook and podcast followings:
“I’ve been cultivating my Facebook community for a little more than two years. A handful of times over the years, I’ve invited people to connect with me regarding coaching and would hear only crickets. Last month when I posted an invitation, I received eight inquiries, and several enrolled! So my biggest success is trusting that creating resonance and connection over time trumps overt sales and leads to stronger client relationships. The podcast has been producing similar results.”
Beth is known as The Introvert Entrepreneur. Her company, also The Introvert Entrepreneur, is a personal and professional development company that provides services for introverts and those who live/work/play with them. She’s also a certified professional coach and speaker.
Why ask Beth? Because her Facebook following alone is almost 12,000 fans at the time of this post.
5. Heather Allard
“Most of our customers come through our content on TheMogulMom.com – 57% of our traffic is search traffic. Once they’re here, they tend to stay a bit, clicking around on related articles and browsing the products we have for sale. Our products help customers solve a very specific problem (landing publicity, getting their product into retail stores, etc) and our content usually “leads” them there.”
I asked Heather if she had done anything in particular to get the search traffic:
“SEO, SEO, SEO. We’ve worked hard at search engine optimizing our content while not “writing for robots”. We make good use of title tags, meta description, meta tags and the little-known “post image alt text” (hat tip to Nathalie Lussier for that one) and it really helps.”
And what her biggest success in finding customers online was:
“My biggest success came from the three years that I offered consulting services. I kept hearing the same questions, the same hot topics, etc. from my clients. In 2009, I created my first product, Get Retail Ready, based on notes from dozens of clients who were all trying to get their products into stores. And I did the same thing with Get Famous – getting publicity was another big area of interest with my coaching clients, so I turned it into a “one-to-many” ebook.”
If you’re a mom entrepreneur, you’ve probably already heard of Heather aka The Mogul Mom. But even non-moms can learn a lot from Heather. She’s currently developing a WordPress plugin (very cool!) and getting ready to launch two new eBooks.
Why ask Heather? Because The Mogul Mom has over 4,800 newsletter subscribers (according to her website) and Heather herself has over 7,400 followers on Twitter.
6. Corbett Barr
“I try to imagine where the people who would be most interested in what I have to offer are already hanging out online. Then I work on strategically getting in front of those people in that venue. Rinse and repeat.”
Corbett has been building online businesses for 10+ years and runs ThinkTraffic.net where he and his team release insights, tips, and best practices for growing your online business. He knows a lot about attracting traffic (well at least 42 things).
Why ask Corbett? The man knows how to attract traffic. In his latest monthly report, he reported ThinkTraffic attracted almost 98,000 visits in one month.
What about you?
You’ve heard from these six experts, now tell me – what’s working for you? Have any of these strategies worked for you? Did you find this article helpful? Let me know in the comments!
Not sure what’s working? Make sure you have Google Analytics set up for your site. After a few tweaks you can get it to tell you exactly where the *quality* traffic is coming from – the kind that gets you more leads and more customers. If you want help with that, check out Google Analytics: The Missing Manual.