Brian Hart had only inbound customers from the first day of his entrepreneurial business
And why it’ll (probably) never happen to you! Or me
Brian Hart is my podcast guest this week.
I hadn’t known he was going to say that he’d never needed to look for customers when I invited him to be a guest on my show.
I invited him because I’d read several of his articles on Inc. Magazine, learned about him through Twitter and LinkedIn, and thought he could bring value to my podcast listeners - most of whom are entrepreneurs.
Let’s start from the beginning:
By ‘inbound customers’ Brian means customers that approached him first, as apposed to him intentionally reaching out to them.
In my podcast, I have a question I ask when I think it’s relevant:
Do you remember at what point you stopped chasing after customers and started to attract them?
But I didn’t get the chance to ask Brian that question. Because he started his entrepreneurial business when his first customer approached him and asked to work with him.
Brian’s reputation came from the PR agency he worked in as an employee. He began giving similar services and, in time, he created the unique value his company has today.
So, why do I think this situation won’t happen to 98% of the entrepreneurs (myself included)?
Because most entrepreneurs are trying to create something new that hadn’t been thought of yet.
That’s the nature and the beauty of entrepreneurship.
Most entrepreneurs I know are inventors. When you invent something new, people very rarely know to look for it. When they don’t know or think there is a solution, what’s the point of looking?
This is the current situation with many new products. When you launch a new, unfamiliar product or service, you need to create the awareness of its existence, provide knowledge, and build the trust with your customers.
You, presumably, will need to attract your first customers, however, there are tools and methods that can help you. Any entrepreneur can build awareness, preference, and trust among new customers.
5 best tips for attracting customers to you
(Because most of us aren’t lucky, like Brian)
- Write and create relevant content that draws the attention of your potential customer!
Relevant content means anything regarding the field your product, service, or company focuses on, like articles, podcasts, or videos. The idea is to bring your potential customers value in the form of knowledge in your field of expert on the one hand, while building your credibility as an expert in your field on the other.
- Focus on your customers
Talk to them through social media, ask questions and pay close attention to their responses, both what they say and how they say it. Use what you learn to perfect your content topics, to explain your product/service clearly, and to pro-actively address any possible concerns.
- Don’t promote. Don’t promote. Do NOT promote!!! (Am I yelling loud enough?)
The whole idea about using social media as a marketing channel is providing value to your potential customers. You should build yourself as the go-to expert the customer will come to when they need help.
- Be where your potential customers are
While planning your marketing and sales activities, you should ask: where your customers are? Who are they following? What do they read? What groups do they join? What kind of content are they looking for? Where would they look for new content? Etc.
These are the bloggers you should connect with, the groups you should join and be active in, the places to post content, etc.
- Be on social media. All the time. I used to manage millions of dollars in traditional channels like TV, print, outdoor, and radio, and I think using social media as a marketing tool is the best thing that could happen to any business, especially entrepreneurs. It’s not only a much cheaper channel, it’s also the best way to interact and engage with your customers.
All the above should lead you to:
Becoming the influencer of your field of expert
The good news - it will happen. Your customers will look for you. Eventually.
I know that because it happened to me every time with the companies and brands I managed and worked with for the last 32 years. With Lipton tea, with Energizer, with Nokia (in 2005), with health food, with water, with unit testing software, with Devops for Database, with OTT video, with mobile software, with medical aids, just to name a few.
When you focus on the right customers, create the awareness, build the trust, and attract them to you, they will start looking for you.
How do you know you are focusing on the right customers?
I’ll write about it in one of the coming posts.
In the meantime you are Welcome to Listen to my podcast with Brian Hart