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How Finding Customers is like Dating


Published on: May 3, 2010No comments

I married young (and luckily, I married wisely.) So my dating experience is limited to my college years. But I have a friend who is dating who asked me what steps I took to find my husband.

I found her choice of words interesting.

“What steps did I take?” She was asking what calculations and specific actions I took to find a suitable husband. Thinking back on my dating years, I was anything but calculating. I didn’t have a guidebook with a checklist.

Dating felt more like throwing a handful of darts at a cork board, hoping some of them stuck.

Marketing works much the same way. There is no ONE way to find customer’s, especially the good ones.

When I started my freelance copy writing business, my husband created an Excel spreadsheet to track pending jobs and payments. I had him add a column called “Referred by” and I dutifully notated where each customer originated from. It might read Elance, Chamber meeting or a past client’s name. If they contacted me through one of my industry specific blogs, I noted which blog drove the business.

In this way, I was able to see what marketing methods were working–and which were not.

I wish there was a one-size-fits-all marketing plan that guarantees X amount of customers in my pipeline, translating into the appropriate number of work hours and profit dollars.

But just as in dating, I have found throwing a handful of darts results in the most bulls eyes. That’s not to say you should throw darts willy-nilly.

  • Consider where your past customers have come from. Networking meetings, industry events, blog posts, Twitter meetups, yellow page ads or volunteer work?
  • Empower your happy customers to talk about you. Send a thank you note with a Starbucks gift card and 3-4 extra business card to your favorite customers. Offer a Share button on your newsletters. Join the social media movement and refer them!
  • Try new darts and track their effectiveness. Give blogging a try for 3 months and see if you see a response. (Make sure to keep it up to date and active.) Create a Facebook fan page and converse with your potential customers. Try an ad in a new magazine and see if you see an uptick in business.

What darts are you going to throw this week?


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