How to Build a Client Base

How to Build a Client Base

Advice on developing a client base from scratch.

By Marcia Smith

Sourcing clients

There are lots of potential sources of contacts, whether you’re looking for suppliers, partners or clients. In general, the best quality contacts will take the most effort to obtain and you’ll only build a large contact base with plenty of time and patience.

For business contacts, look out for networking opportunities such as industry meetings and trade shows. Make contact with your local business forum or chamber of commerce, and make the most of their services. You could also research potential contacts via the web or business directories and make targeted personal approaches to them.

For client contacts and leads, it’s possible to purchase contact lists. However, these tend to be poor quality and mass unsolicited emails or calls can hurt your reputation. Instead, focus on marketing and search engine optimization, and consider hiring or contracting a PR expert.

Landing your first client

Starting from scratch and landing your first client can be tough. You need to make sure that your message is clear and that it’s being targeted effectively.

Think about where your clients will come from and be prepared to invest in marketing to that group. Adverts, flyers, business cards, website content, social media posts, networking and cold calling can all be important tools in reaching potential clients. Make sure that your marketing looks professional, is clear to understand and always includes your contact details.

Offer an introductory deal or free trial and make it as easy as possible for clients to reach you by telephone, email or social media.