How to Attract New Customers in 2021-22'
It didn't take long to find out that acquiring 1,000 new customers was harder than we thought. The projects and expenses associated with getting a new customer outweighed the revenue stream we received from them by about 1/10th. We needed to find a way to acquire more customers at a reasonable price considering we had such little capital but wanted to grow our business.
This is when we "pivoted". Rather than trying to attract just 1,000 new paying customers in Q2'21, we created an open-ended project plan that would attract 10,000 new customers over the next 2 years at $20 each (average lifetime value of $40). This would cost us an additional $200,000 for two years but would give us a total of $1,000,000 in revenue at the end. We decided to take some calculated risks and invest in attracting more customers (hence "pivoting").
In this blog, we will discuss a few things we did to attract new clients.
Identifying the clients.
As I discussed earlier, there were some expenses involved in getting a new customer. We needed to find someone who has enough money that they could afford our services and was willing to spend the money with us. This is an easy thing to say, but not so easy to do if you don't know where to look.
Our CTO got lucky with this one (he always seems to get lucky). He had been working on his personal site all week long and wanted feedback from his developer buddies; what better way than show off his work? He posted screenshots of his site on his favorite development forum. A few days later he received several emails from people interested in seeing more of the site.
Three months later he turned those initial conversations into paying customers and the snowball started rolling.
Identifying qualified leads
We learned real quick we needed to find a better way to identify our leads. In the first few months, we had a lot of tire-kickers, as our CTO likes to call them which was costing us time and money. We changed our strategy to be more visible in the developer community.
This is what led us to create a space on our site for open discussion that allowed developers to ask questions and share information, which was met with overwhelming support. This gave an opportunity for people to visit our site and at least see what we were all about before making the decision to invest time in working with us. However, we still had a lot of tire-kickers and had to find a way to identify them before even giving their information the time of day.
As I mentioned earlier, we were spending a lot of time and money sending cold emails to potential clients. Since we had such limited resources (and only one developer), we couldn't afford for this tactic to fail us; it cost too much. When we switched our focus from attracting 1,000 customers to 10,000 over the course of two years the switch in strategy was simple: We grew and nurtured relationships and relied on referrals and networking (which is where we get most of our leads these days).
Rethinking content marketing
Our team wants to be unique when it comes to writing blog posts or case studies that other firms publish online about their work. In order for us to do this, we have to think outside the box and find a new way to convey our message. We have found that by telling a story people can identify with, we are able to better connect with potential clients. This allows us to write about common frustrations developers face as well as the lessons they learned from those experiences.
It is important for development firms to be seen as thought leaders in their industry. There are some ways to achieve this by publishing content, but the best way is to have people who are already well respected in your space write about you. We have had consulting firms reach out to us for months without ever getting anything done when they could have asked an influencer when it would be most convenient for them to publish about our work.
Spotlight on Github
Being transparent with developers is important because it makes the relationship they have with you more personal and shows they can trust you not only in your business dealings together but also in your code reviews. These things lead to maintaining long-term relationships that result in constant feedback and furthering of each others' success.
As you can see, we have come a long way in just 2.5 years with networking and referrals as our main sources of customers. We don't plan on changing that anytime soon because this is what works for us.
If your business model is to find local clients face-to-face and offer them high-quality work at a low cost, then by all means stick with it! It certainly worked out well for us when we were doing it ourselves before getting a team together.
But remember: What works for one company may not work for another, even if they are in the same industry. The best advice I can give is to try new things from time to time and be open-minded about where your next client could come from.
Since I am writing about website growth, I going to lump social media into that section. It is up to you if you want to do this for yourself, but I wanted to give you the option.
Social Media: 1.) Participate in Twitter chats 2.) Share content and engage with followers 3.) Comment on blogs and news articles 4.) Run Facebook ads 5.) Use Instagram hashtags 6.) Use LinkedIn advertising 7.) Host a webinar 8.) Leverage YouTube 9) Post videos on Reddit 10) Add social share buttons next to your content
Visibility & Authority: 1) Write guest posts 2) Give interviews 3) Speak at conferences or local meetups 4) Contribute as a blogger/writer for publications 5) Stay active on Quora and StackOverFlow 6) Answer questions on LinkedIn