How do your customers get in touch with you? What should you do to help them get in contact? Where should you be visible and how are people likely to message you? You might be surprised …
Be where your customers are
There’s a good general rule that you should be where your customers are. That means physically as well as virtually.
- If people buy your type of thing at craft fairs and in shops, go to craft fairs and establish a presence in a few shops (many crafty shops will rent shelf space and/or take a commission. Take advice from other crafters on tips for choosing fairs – I have no idea about this myself)
- If your clients hang out in Pinterest or Instagram, make sure you have an account there, you use it on-brand and wisely, and you put your contact details on your profile
- Most people will do a web search when they’re looking for what you sell or provide – make sure you have a website, even if it’s just a landing page with contact, product and service details.
- I strongly suggest you add a contact form to your website. Most blogging platforms and website services like WordPress will have contact form templates for you to use.
- Many people will look on Facebook so make sure you have a Facebook page even if you don’t interact with it very much.
- If you have a Twitter profile, again, get those contact details on it.
- If you can’t help someone, try to pass them to someone who can.
How do customers contact me?
I’ve been observing how people have contacted me about genuine paid work opportunities over the past few months. Here are the ways they’ve done it:
- Contact form on my website – this is the main way in which people contact me. It comes straight through to my email, with the person’s email, so I can reply straight back to them
- Email – my email address is on my website, so I assume people pick it up from there, if they’re not a recommendation who has been given my email address by someone else
- Twitter – a public @ message – so make sure your Twitter account is open and allows messages
- Facebook – a question on my business page – make sure you enable alerts so you can see when these come through to you!
- Facebook – a Facebook Messenger request – these can get lost in “Other” messages – check that folder regularly
- Twitter – a direct message. This can only be sent by someone you mutually follow on Twitter but they still happen – watch out for alerts
- Phone – I have a dedicated mobile phone with its number on my website. I receive very few phone calls and because I leave my phone on voicemail most of the time (because I do a lot of work where I really have to concentrate), people who leave messages tend to email me as well anyway.
Other ways people might contact you:
- At networking events
- Through any messaging facilities on other social media sites
- By text message
The golden rules of social media contact
I’ve covered this in depth in an article about reciprocity but in general:
- Always respond to people who contact you – it’s only polite
- Take the conversation out of the public eye if it’s about prices and services
- Always be super-polite, even if it seems like someone is trying to get at you
- Do set expectations – if you’re not going to work weekends / late nights, maybe don’t reply to messages so quickly at the weekend or late at night, to set an expectation of office hours only (be prepared to make exceptions for a real jewel of a prospect, however!)
Summary: make yourself as available as you can; you never know where that lead will come from
Create yourself a website with a contact form as well as a list of contact details
Establish a presence on the very popular social media sites
Establish a presence on any social media sites that are relevant to your area of work
Always answer queries, taking them privately as soon as you can
If you can’t do a job for someone, try to recommend someone who can
In this article I’ve reminded you to keep as many avenues open as possible for people to contact you, and to follow that up by being responsive.
Other relevant articles on this blog
Coopetition versus competition