Every business needs new customers. Fortunately, some proven tactics work to consistently attract and convert customers like clockwork.
You can use one or all of these tactics to fill your pipeline and grow your business no matter the time of year or the state of the economy. And the best part is, they don’t require a massive budget.
Check out these 11 proven tactics you can use to generate more customers for your business.
1. Give to get
One of the oldest tricks in the book is giveaways. They are a great way to get attention, build awareness and generate leads. After all, who doesn’t love the chance to win something valuable?
The best giveaways are “viral giveaways,” where everyone who enters can earn more chances at winning for each other person they get to enter. Even if only 10% of people bring one other person, that’s 10% more leads for zero effort or cost.
Running a giveaway doesn’t have to cost money, either. You can give away your products or services or get other companies to donate prizes. And it doesn’t have to be a single prize.
You’ll attract more leads based on having more chances to win (e.g., multiple tiers of prizes or multiple winners) and based on the value of the prizes. Just be sure that what you’re giving away is related to your business so that the people who enter are ideal leads.
2. Draft an email
Cold email is an incredibly effective way to generate leads and acquire customers. A quick scan of your inbox and you might disagree. We all get spammed with poorly written blast messages that are completely self-serving. However, it’s an extremely powerful way to talk directly with your ideal customers.
You’ll need a quality list, relevant details about the person you’re emailing and a clear and compelling message. Plus, loads of patience, persistence and the ability to handle rejection.
The most important thing to remember about cold email is that it’s not a volume game. Blasting 1,000 people a day isn’t going to get you customers. Reaching out to the right people with a thoughtful, custom-tailored message is guaranteed to be successful.
Dig deeper: 3 reasons I deleted your cold outreach email
3. Create compelling content
Content marketing is one of the most powerful ways to a steady flow of leads and customers. In today’s world, video platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube are some of the best places to create content.
Your content doesn’t always have to be of high production value — it just needs to be educational and entertaining. As with most marketing, you need to experiment with different types and pieces of content to find what your audience will respond to best. However, your efforts will be rewarded because the right content can spread quickly, has a fairly long shelf life and costs nothing to maintain.
4. Build a tool
You’ve probably seen the headline analyzer from CoSchedule. It’s a free tool where you can paste in any headline and it will give you a score out of 100 with specific recommendations on how to improve it. It’s simple, useful and free. (And, might I add, addictive!)
Most importantly, it’s generated a massive amount of awareness, leads and customers for CoSchedule. After all, I’m writing about it here, even.
The point is, creating a free resource is a smart way to give value first, generate awareness and capture the interest of your potential customers. And just like the headline analyzer, your tool or resource doesn’t have to be complicated.
Years ago, I created a tool to calculate how long it would take to read all of the books on your reading list (and how old you would be when you finished). It was extremely simple, but fun to play with. As a result, it got lots of attention and was eventually acquired by one of the major publishers.
Take some time to think about a simple tool you could build — it might be your next goldmine.
5. Try before you buy
Free is one of the most powerful words in marketing. People love getting free stuff. Getting people to raise their hands is much easier when you give them something free.
This can often take the shape of a free trial or assessment. Either option attracts potential customers and gives them a risk-free way of experiencing your business.
As with all marketing, you should experiment with what you offer people for free and how you communicate the value to the potential customer. Just saying something is free isn’t enough to get them interested.
Often adding scarcity (the next 5 people who reply get this) or urgency (available until supplies last) can help get people off the fence and in the door.
6. Build connections and community
There are a ton of highly-engaged communities that are filled with your perfect future customers. Many of them are completely free, with a handful having a nominal entry fee. Either way, it’s critical that you find them, join and make yourself known.
Now, wait. Don’t just jump in and start promoting yourself or your business. That’s a surefire way to get kicked out. Instead, take time to get to know people, add value, answer questions and build equity in the community.
Does it take time? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
As a member of several communities where my ideal clients hang out, I’ve made wonderful connections, built a reputation and generated new business. The key is to focus on connecting with others, being helpful and providing value.
The thought that you can attract customers and close business on social media is mind-blowing. Years ago, that seemed unfathomable to me but it’s entirely possible for everyone and especially for B2B companies. Social media marketing is one of the most important channels in today’s marketing landscape.
Don’t be on every social media platform out there. Pick one or two and commit. Stay focused, learn the ins and outs and be consistent. The more value you bring, the more benefit you’ll accrue.
If you aren’t getting customers from social media then you need to change your approach and make it a priority.
8. Borrow influence
Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone else do your marketing for you? What if they could also do it better than you can?
Influencers are absolutely amazing. They have loyal audiences they know how to connect with and are hungry to make money from their influence. They’re also really easy to find and have a conversation with.
If you haven’t already tried working with influencers, be sure to give it a chance. Identify a few smaller influencers in your space and jump on a Zoom call with them to brainstorm win-win opportunities to work together. Oftentimes, it can be as simple as giving them free products to promote or offering nominal compensation.
Be sure to use tracking links (UTM links) or discount codes with any campaign you run with influencers. You’ll want to be able to measure the impact and results because not all influencers are created equal.
9. Go on tour
In 2022, I was a guest on 36 different marketing podcasts. It was an exhilarating and rewarding experience that also earned me new clients. And it was one of the few marketing activities that barely felt like work.
There are many ways to go on tour: podcasts, guest blogging, guest webinars and many others. The idea is simple — find out where your ideal customers watch or listen and then show up there.
Once you identify the places you want to appear, simply reach out via email or social media and pitch them why they should have you as their guest. If they’re interested and available, you’re set.
Every appearance you make gives you more experience and credibility to continue reaching out to bigger outlets that have larger audiences. You’ll get customers and you’ll have fun in the process.
10. Ask your customers
The simplest, most effective way to get new customers is to ask your customers to talk about you. Yes, I’m talking about referrals.
Why does almost nobody have a process for generating referrals? I don’t care if you’re B2C, B2B, new in business or a Fortune 500 company — you must have a consistent process for generating referral business!
It costs you almost nothing, is extremely predictable and generates the highest quality customers — people like your existing customers.
Do you have a process for asking for referrals? If not, build it today!
You can also ask past customers to return and do business with you again. Tell them what’s new, what you’ve changed or improved and offer them an incentive to come back and give you another shot.
You won’t get more customers unless you ask, so start asking.
Your next customers are waiting
There is no shortage of customers waiting to hear from you. It’s up to you to decide which of these 11 tactics to pursue.
Here’s my recommendation: Pick just one tactic and focus on it for a few months before moving on to another. It’s easy to get carried away by trying to do multiple things at the same time. Instead, build a campaign or a sprint around one specific tactic. Review the results and decide to continue, adjust or try something new.
There are so many ways to acquire new customers, but none will work unless you create a plan and take action. With focused and consistent execution, you will have all the customers you could ever wish for.
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.
About the author
Tim Parkin is a consultant, advisor, and coach to marketing executives globally. He specializes in helping marketing teams optimize performance, accelerate growth, and maximize their results.
By applying more than 20 years of experience merging behavioral psychology and technology, Tim has unlocked rapid and dramatic growth for global brands and award-winning agencies alike.
He is a speaker, author, and thought leader who has been featured in AdAge, AdWeek, Inc, TechCrunch, Forbes, and many other major industry publications. Tim is also a member of the American Marketing Association, Society for the Advancement of Consulting, and an inductee to the Million Dollar Consulting Hall of Fame.