Our 6 tips for finding your first customers

Have you just started your own business but are having some difficulties finding your first customers? Discover our advice to publicize your activity and thus win contracts!

 Propose a (really) adapted offer

When you started your auto-entrepreneur activity, you may have overlooked a crucial step in the success of your activity,  market research.

Do not see this step as an insurmountable or unnecessary task. Thanks to it, you will gather essential information to identify your target  (its problems, its constraints, its way of consuming…) and offer it a relevant offer, adapted to its needs.

 Create your identity

The creation of your professional identity will allow you to stand out in the competition.

  • The visual identity: it represents your company or your brand (values, activities, sector,…) through signs, colours, texts and layouts. It will be available on all your communication media. 
  • The impactful messages: put yourself in the place of your future customers! Your business case, clear and concise, must highlight the consumer benefit, that is to say, the advantage that your customer will get if he uses your product or service.

Good to know

As a self-employed entrepreneur, you manage all aspects of your business on your own. At the same time, you need to make yourself known to your potential customers. How to do it, at a lower cost? Communicating is not a winning bet. You must select communication tools and actions suited to your objectives, targets and budgets. In the end, you will save time, money and energy.

 Be online

  1. The website

If your potential customers are connected consumers, you must have a website. A real showcase of your business, you must take care of its layout and select relevant information:

  • Choose a  simple format which presents your structure, your services and your contact details.
  • Choose quality visuals that will make the whole more modern. 
  • Consider incorporating links to your social networks
  • Add customer testimonials, much appreciated by consumers. 
  • Write about your sector, thanks to a ”  blog  ” section. Quality content increases natural referencing.

How to create a website?

2. Social networks

There is a multitude of social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.) and each has its communication codes.

Some tips to optimize your presence on social networks:

  • Develop an editorial line  (choose the tone, vocabulary and publication formats) that corresponds to what you want to convey to your target.
  • To create a committed community,  disseminate content that arouses emotions in your readers.
  • Interact with those who follow you through comments or private messages.
  • Take care to analyze the posts that work best: what theme? what format? what time to post them? …
  • You can also  create advertising campaigns  (product launch, event, promotions …) Well programmed, they can boost your visibility and your sales.

The ranking of the best social networks for auto-entrepreneurs in 2020

3. Newsletters

The implementation of a well-constructed newsletter allows you to convert your prospects and keep in touch with your customers. To prevent it from being lost in the crowd, here are some tips to optimize it: 

  • Minimize mailings  so as not to be considered a spammer
  • Send content that meets the needs of your readers: resources, tips and tricks, testimonials. You can take the opportunity to inform them of a new product or current promotions.
  • Think about seasonality and  special events  (sales, Christmas, Black Friday, Mother’s Day, etc.)
  • Make it attractive: the most important information appears first, the titles are compelling and the images are of good quality.

4. Forums and groups

Again, prioritize quality over quantity. Take the time to target groups and conversations related to your area of ​​activity, where members are active. 

  • Do a watch: your target discusses their issues and expectations on the sector in which you operate, so it’s a wealth of information!
  • Build partnerships with other professionals whose activities are complementary to yours.
  • Make yourself known to potential customers, by bringing your expertise.

Chat with members, make yourself useful while being careful not to over-promote your activities.

5. Connection platforms

Hundreds of digital platforms will allow you to offer your services to individuals or professionals. Take care of your profile (photo, a short presentation, customer recommendations) to highlight your professionalism.

These sites have several advantages for a self-employed entrepreneur:

  • Mission management is simplified
  • The posting of the advertisement is simple and fast 
  • You reach a targeted audience, with potential customers
  • Your skills are valued through the evaluation of your missions

Also, think of classifieds sites  (like Le Bon Coin or Top Annonces) on which you can offer your services.

Matching platforms

 Be active offline

  1. Network and word of mouth

The first thing to do when you start your activity is to announce it to those around you  (family, friends, former colleagues) via social networks, sending an e-mail or by phone. Take the time to explain your activity and the associated benefits to them. This technique allows you to access their network for free and quickly.

At the same time,  word of mouth based on recommendation is an excellent lever for acquiring new customers: leave your customers with business cards and sales brochures, which they, in turn, will pass on.

Good to know

You can offer a counterpart (promotion, gift, free product, etc.) to your contacts in exchange for their recommendation. Thus, they will be motivated to position themselves as an ambassador!

2. Partnerships

To create an effective partnership, identify in your environment the companies that have an activity complementary to yours and that share the same values. The objective is to forge lasting ties with this partner, to broaden your audience.

Visibility exchange can take several forms:

  • Highlighting  on social networks, site or newsletter
  • The creation of a  joint event
  • Distributing a flyer  during a store purchase

To succeed in a partnership, remember to define the conditions well with the drafting of a contract specifying: rights and obligations, deadlines, compensation, customer management …

3. The press

The press remains an excellent means of communication to increase your visibility. Your publication can take several forms (interview, report, portrait, advertising insert, etc.) and be distributed online and in paper version, which will increase your visibility.

For a local activity, think of municipal magazines and regional newspapers which highlight entrepreneurs.

Also, find out about free magazines in major cities.

Please note: newspapers and magazines are extremely busy. To hold their attention, treat your presentation!

4. Associations, groups and events

Your self-employed status does not condemn you to remain alone. Do not hesitate to leave your home to prospect in real life!

  • Get closer to the structures of your city: merchant associations, business clubs, CCI, etc.
  • Organize or participate in events  (conferences, workshops, professional aperitifs, open day, inaugurations, etc.) that are related to your activity.

This approach remains important to develop your network and find new customers: you will inevitably meet new people there which may lead to a mission or a recommendation.

5. Small ads

If your market is more local, you can publicize your business and activity through this inexpensive way. The most common is to place the ad at merchants in your neighbourhood, in supermarkets or on the notice boards of the town hall and tourist office.

 Stay curious

Whatever the sector of activity, the market is evolving as are consumer expectations. Your competitors can be pioneers of new practices:  observe, analyze and take inspiration from new trends!

This watch must also be associated with attentive listening to customer feedback. This will help you adjust your development strategy: new offers, new ways of prospecting or communicating, etc.

 Be consistent in your actions

The watchword is persistence! When you start your business, it’s not enough to place an ad in the press, write an article on your blog and … stop there, hoping that customers will flock.

You must be consistent in your actions and listen to customer feedback: your efforts will pay off, be confident!

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