[caption id="attachment_3758" align="aligncenter" width="507"]Use these tips to help find new online customers. Use these tips to help find new online customers.[/caption]

If you have several different social media channels and a website, you already have the means to attract additional customers. That is, after all, the reason for creating them.

Unfortunately, having an online presence doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get new customers. You have to put some work into it, and use the tools you have to reach out to new (or existing) customers.

Here are some quick tips on finding new customers online:

  Through social media
Private messages can be effective, if you don’t overuse them and with a caveats. There is a lot of value in one-on-one interaction. It can help build a relationship with a new customer and reassure existing customers that you haven’t forgotten about them. Chuck Dixon, for example, a comic book writer-turned independent author, regularly messages his friends and fans to let them know when his next work will be published.

The thing to remember about private messages is that they are not always welcome, some people consider them intrusive, no matter how good intentioned they are. They should never be the only way you communicate with your customers. Dixon can get away with it because he interacts with his followers several times a day—they don’t feel like customers.

Join a group or community that relates to your business and get involved in the discussion. Show your expertise and your willingness to share it. If you answer questions on a topic, after you answer them, direct them to your website or blog for more information.

Advertise on Facebook. Let’s face it, the days of growing your reach organically are all but dead. There are some things you can do, but in the end you’ll need to put some of your advertising budget toward your social media challenges.

Through email
Email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach your audience—AND control your content. There are several ways to expand your email marketing list:

  • Offer something of value in exchange for email addresses, such as special discounts, newsletters, or a gift
  • Include a widget on your website or blog to allow potential customers to sign up
  • Ask for your customers’ email address when they check out at your store or shop (then refer to the first bullet point)

Through your blog
Blogging is a great way to find new online customers. Focus on keywords in your blog posts, concentrating on one or two with each post. The idea here is to inch up the Search Engine rankings and expose your blog to new readers who will become new customers.

Also, submit your blog posts as guest posts on other industry blogs to gain some additional exposure. The reverse is also true: allow some well-known industry insiders to post to your blog. Everyone is looking for more publicity and their readers will check out your other content, too.

Having an online presence and social media channels will help you find more online customers. With a little bit of effort, you can further increase your return on a relatively small investment.

What do you think? Do you have any other ideas? Let us know in the comments!