3 Simple Steps to Finding More Clients on Twitter

image of Twitter logo

I’ll start by saying that I’m as big a fan of content marketing as any other Copyblogger reader.

And for good reason.

When it comes to selling online, there isn’t much that puts customers more at ease than quality content.

If you put in the time it takes to produce useful, authoritative articles that provide real value to potential customers, you’re halfway to the bank before clients even land on your site.

But should any company or blog use only one technique to get more clients?

Does Dirk Nowitzki refuse to drive to the rim because his 20-foot jumper is so smooth? (For those who don’t follow basketball, the answer to that question is no.)

Of course not.

Everyone knows that diversifying is the way to succeed in business and in life.

So how should a blogging business owner diversify?

Make sure you have a solid foundation

Before you do anything else, get your content marketing program in gear. Start by writing great content for your site, and then work on killer guest posts for the most popular blogs that will give you air time.

Go ahead, give that keyboard a workout.

If you’re not quite sure what kind of content to create, sign up for free updates from Copyblogger right now … there’s a box right there in the upper right hand of the site. While you’re at it, pick up their free 20-lesson marketing tutorial by email, it will get you off on the right foot.

After you’ve started on this, what’s another way to get more clients and make more money?

The answer is Twitter.

How to use Twitter to land more clients

After content marketing, the second most successful way that I land clients is through Twitter.

Here’s how I do it:

Step One
I click into the search box in my Hootsuite dashboard (you can do the same thing in the Twitter console).

Step Two
I search for phrases that match the services I offer, then I comb through the results and find tweets that match people looking for my services.

Step Three
Finally, I click through to the blogs from tweets that match my criteria and do one of three things: 1) Leave a comment 2) Submit a message through the contact form 3) Send an e-mail if an address is listed.

That’s all I do.

It’s so successful that I’ve landed more clients this way than through content marketing alone.

Granted, having meaningful content increases the chances that these clients will sign on the dotted line (or click through to Paypal), so content still reigns as king.

My inspiration

What inspired this lead generation technique?

How did I decide to cold tweet clients on Twitter? (Is that what cold calling is called in the Twittersphere?)

Here’s the answer: it came from a print newspaper piece.

The article discussed a business owner who had tried to use blog posts (content marketing) to land more clients.

He was having a rough time of it, and wasn’t landing many clients. Eventually, he decided that content marketing wasn’t for him.

His reasoning went something like this: “Is putting in two or more hours a week into writing blog content the best way to get more clients, or would that time be better spent cold calling?”

His answer was the latter — he decided he got a better return from cold calling. He thought this was the best scenario for him.

But there happens to be an alternative.

The alternative

Instead of relying solely on content marketing or giving it up as too demanding (although don’t kid yourself … it’s work), choose the alternative — use content marketing as one of the many tools in your marketing box.

A good internet marketing strategy starts with content as its base.

After that, you need to find other ways to reach potential clients, like the Twitter method outlined above. You can go old-school (cold calling, direct mail, or even showing up at potential clients’ storefronts — although finding their home address and knocking on the door would be going too far). Or you can use newer methods like pay-per-click and social media networking.

The point is that an effective marketing program is made of more than a single tool. And your great content doesn’t (at least at first) find readers all by itself. You need to promote it.

Contacting potential customers on Twitter works best when it directs them to blog posts that demonstrate your competence.

Cold calling a client will be more successful when you have a well-designed website showcasing a portfolio of your best work.

So the next time you’re thinking about giving up on blogging because it’s demanding, or you aren’t seeing the rewards yet, don’t forget that content marketing works best when combined with the other tools in your marketing box.

Don’t forget how a simple Twitter search can get you more clients, especially when it’s combined with an effective content marketing strategy.

In other words, diversify.

You’ll be happy that you did.

About the Author: Joseph Wesley Putnam has a marketing degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and recently started Blog Tweaks to provide technical services for bloggers. Visit his site to see how you can get your blog tweaked.


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Comments

  1. You know, there for a minute I thought the whole Copyblogger team got raptured. This took some doing.

    But it’s a masterpiece, Joseph. (For those of you reading, we’re business partners heh).

    It’s amazing how social media connects you with people looking for the exact solution you offer. That’s really powerful.

    Congratulations. :)

  2. Personally I feel that going after clients isn’t the smartest strategy out there.

    It may be good when we are starting out, but when we reach a certain level of growth, we must have the audience find us rather than going after them.

    I have always found that my referral clients who have found me always did the best business with me

    • Referrals are a fantastic way to grow a business once you’re established, particularly if you have a professional service and are limited in how many customers you can serve, but clients can’t come after you if they have no idea you exist.

      Every marketing plan needs an attention strategy. Blogs and other types of content are extremely effective, but marketers need to understand that, particularly at first, you need to go find some readers and attract them back.

    • I agree with Sonia. Referrals are great, but you can’t rely on them when starting a business. It’s good to be reminded that there are many ways to find new clients. Most strategies work best when combined with other marketing techniques.

      • Great point Sonia, attention is key. I feel like going after clients is great but following up with them is what makes the difference. A good CRM can help keep you task with your clients and maintain/advance your leads or relationships.

  3. Very nice article.
    Twitter is really a good source to find new clients these days. What you’ve listed here, is exactly what I’ve been doing since a couple of months and it got me a few new clients.

  4. Hi Joseph – Great advice here. I think Twitter search is one of the vastly under-utilized social media tools out there. If you take the time to set up the right search terms and continually comb through the responses, you’ll find gold in there for sure. Using Twitter search means you are finding people at the point in time they are looking for help. The customer is already primed at that point – they’re just waiting for someone to answer the call.

    Great advice!

    • Hi Laura — You’ve hit the nail on the head. Twitter searching is so effective because you can find customers exactly at the point when they’re ready to buy. Content marketing on the other hand keeps people around until they’re ready to make a purchase.

  5. Hi Joseph, that’s a really interesting approach. What would be your percentage of clients made vs. failed attempts?

    • Great question, but I haven’t been keeping these stats. It’s probably somewhere close to one in ten, but it also increases awareness with the other nine.

  6. Engage, engage, engage.

    The more open you are, the more you speak with people (not broadcast to people), and the more to interact with them the better. That’s what people want, businesses that listen and care. If you give them the ability to speak directly to you and get something accomplished, you’ll have a client for life.

    Thanks for the excellent post.

    • Speaking with people at the point they are ready to buy is what makes this strategy so effective. Broadcasting has it’s place, but using this 3 step Twitter search approach ends up being very targeted.

  7. What do you think about automating this process? There are ways to programatically find tweets mentioning a specific keyword and then reply automatically. Thoughts?

    • Wow, doing this automagically (http://goo.gl/2VlzO) would be awesome. I’ll need to take a look at this. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

    • I do not believe in automation. Both potential clients and influencers always know when they recieve a bot response. I personally believe that online marketing and networking should be through building relationships and feeding off of each other’s content. Creating value to those in your network provides you more value in return. In my opinion, this is the only way we remain “human” on the web.

      Great question and great blog post,

      Chris B.

      • I like automation when it can be done seamlessly and when it still allows for quality interaction, but I agree that it might be pretty tricky not to come across as a “spambot.”

      • This is a good point. I think one of the reasons that this technique has been so successful for me is that each message is personally tailored to the person that I’m sending it to. People can tell when something is automated and don’t react as well.

  8. I am getting my twitter speed up and running. To start, I have begun searching for people that are similar to my blog interests to hopefully build relationships through networking. I have found several blogs through this method that have been very helpful and beneficial to me personally.

    I can definitely pick it up in terms of reaching out and making contact with others. This may be added to the list of my weekly blogging goals in the near future.

    Thanks, Kendra

  9. Great post Joe!

    I’ve been telling people to do something similar on LinkedIn with InMail, which reportedly has an astounding 30% response rate…simply search and identify prospects, do the paid level, and send them a marketing email…on LinkedIn.

    I think there’s a novelty factor right now to these marketing techniques that may not last, but they’re great to do right now…thanks for presenting the Twitter version. I haven’t tried this! Bet it works well, and has the advantage of being a very fast way to research and identify prospects.

    • That’s a great idea for LinkedIn. I need to look into that.

      And yes, searching Twitter is a very fast way to research and identify prospects. Once you find terms that work well, you can research the same terms week after week.

  10. Everything about cold calls is hard and cold. Twitter works because it’s a warm call—you see the person’s picture, their bio, their website, their personality-revealing tweets, and their friends. Just by following someone, you are breaking through the cold call feel by saying, “Hey, you are worthy of me getting to know better.” They may follow you; they may not. But they’ll know if you are selling something they need without you ever having to tell them. You save time on dead ends; they save time on rejections.

    Also, timing is everyting. If you wish to connect with people, leave a twitter search open (ex. @copyblogger OR @soniasimone OR @jonmorrow). When you see a tweet from a person, fire off your tweet.

  11. Thanks Joseph for these tips. I wanted to ask you one question. when you leave a comment on the bog of a potential client, is it a comment that directly introduces your services or are you just trying to start a conversation?

    • I get directly to the point in the comment or the e-mail. First, I mention that I found them through their Twitter post. After that, I talk about how my services can meet their need.

      I don’t have time to come back and leave a second round comment, and I’m guessing that potential clients don’t have time to wait for that either. As long as it’s done tactfully, people don’t mind that you are approaching them for a service, especially if they’ve already mentioned that they are in the market for it.

  12. I’ve definitely used this method. As of yet, it hasn’t turned into any business, but it has generated some leads. It is definitely time consuming but I think that in the long run, it will pay off!

  13. GREAT STUFF, Joe.

    Dunno if you’d be open to divulging your secret sauce, but I was wondering what some of your search terms are. Let’s pretend I had a consulting business, specializing in dog-walking businesses (I don’t, by the way, but some of the readers here might).

    My instinct would be to search:
    “start dog walking”
    “dog walking cash flow”
    “dog walking customers”
    “dog walking how to”
    “dog walking business”

    …am I on the right track? Any other insight into this?

    • Well done noticing that I didn’t give away the secret sauce. :)

      Basically what you would do is search for terms that potential customers would be using related to your services. A business like Copyblogger could search for a term like “premium theme.” They would end up finding tweets like, “Does anyone have suggestions on the best premium theme at an affordable price.” The message may not have been intended for a theme seller, but it’s fair game at that point.

      Of course, if everyone did this, it would be a bit much, but most people won’t because it takes more effort. Whoever is willing to take the extra time will reap the reward.

      Does this help?

      • For sure. Again: thank you, Joseph!

        It’s cool to see you are clearly an A+ student of Copyblogger. Checked out your site: http://www.blog-tweaks.com looks great and your post here holds Copyblogger in the highest esteem. Just goes to show everyone what happens when you take action on great info.

        Can’t wait to use this.

  14. I couldn’t agree more with this post. Twitter has become an invaluable tool for introducing yourself to new potential clients. In the “real world”, meeting new clients is often about being in the right place at the right time. Twitter makes it a whole lot easier to fight the right people, precisely when they need you.

  15. This strategy seems like a good one. You are reaching potential customers right when they are interested in your type of product.

    Seems a little time consuming though. Seems like you would need to be following these Tweets consistently as they come up during the day.

  16. I use Twitter as a lead generation tool but not exactly in the way you’ve outlined here. I don’t use the the search feature much, I mainly use Twitter as a way to engage people and share useful content. Not saying “cold tweeting” doesn’t work, but I’d much rather use Twitter as a sharing and conversational tool.

    Great Post!

  17. Great post, Paul! This came at the perfect time for me!

    Best,
    Jennifer

  18. Major takeaway for me: don’t rely on one marketing tool.

    I felt like you were speaking to me, after our conversation a few weeks ago. A great marketing strategy makes use of multiple tools.

    Great great article.

  19. Its so simple it just might work! I actually recommended this strategy to my accountant about a month ago and he was mesmerized. He’s been doing a great job of creating content for YouTube and on his website, but never really knew how to get it out to people. Once he started searching twitter and replying with links to his content he really started to gain some momentum.

    Thanks for the article!

  20. Hi Joseph,
    Thank you so much for this amazing article! I have been working alot on the content marketing piece, that sometimes I forget how to use Twitter search to my advantage. I love that you simply outlined how you use this tool to search and make connections leading to business opportunities. I can’t wait to put this into practice and explore it more for myself.

  21. Another great way to find the right people to connect with is HooSaid.com. Here’s a sample for copywriters:

    http://hoosaid.com/copywriters/1/social-search-copywriters.html

  22. Thanks for giving some suggestions on how to use cold calling technique on Twitter. Diversifying your marketing efforts are the key to success. Why put all your eggs in one basket?

  23. Thanks for the inspiration Joseph! I read this yesterday and sent out a couple of “cold-tweets” — one of which may very well turn into a $10,000 client. I’ll report back.

  24. What about using TwitterSearch?

  25. I think it’s a good plan for when you are starting out, but as somebody has highlighted already, it takes a lot of continued effort. Some people just don’t have the resource. But certainly, it can be a rewarding medium.

  26. Hi Joseph,

    Excellent idea. I have to admit that I had never heard of “cold tweeting” before, it sounds like a great strategy. And having good content is indeed a prerequisite. Even the best salesman wouldn’t be likely to make a cold call sale if his product was junk.

    I also like you suggestion about diversifying. There is more than one way to success, but seldom only one way.

    Steve DeVane

  27. Thank you for the useful article. I like the idea of using a variety of tools to find clients. I use Twitter, cold calling and in person networking.

  28. Great tips there Joseph. I tried cold tweeting a while ago with limited success, mainly because I was simply searching people looking for my service and saying “hey I can do that” – not very tactful.. Doing what you’ve suggested makes a lot more sense though, so now I’ll try saying “hey, this article (that I happened to write) might be of use to you..”

    Cheers!
    Dan

  29. Thanks Joesph! I do some the same stuff as you… I’ve created keyword Tweet threads within Hootsuite that pull topics and keywords for our criteria of services, such as “dental marketing” or “help with direct mail” and then I comb through those Tweets, look over the person’s profile, go to their site or blog and then contact them. I’ve been able to build several affiliate relationships and gain new customers, even get a few PR & speaking gigs for my CEO all from a little Twitter action. So far, I’d say it’s been pretty effective!

    • I need to learn how to do this keyword Tweet threads that you speak of. It sounds very effective.

      • LOL, I think it’s pretty much what you’re doing already… basically I create a tab within Hootsuite with keywords, hashtags and phrases that I want to see results for. We’re a B2B company and we work with a ton of different industries, so I took our top 5 and created these “threads” or “tabs” with Tweets containing whatever I set up.

        For example, we’re targeting dentists a lot right now, so I have a thread/tab of Tweets with some of the the following keywords: #Dentists, dental marketing, direct mail for dentists, dental practices, “help with marketing my dental practice”, etc.

        I have several threads/tabs just like this but for other industries and I monitor them for a couple hours each day, while finding and contacting new professionals. Also, if I come across a great piece of information or an article, I’ll re-tweet it which helps me get the attention of the “Tweeter” aka, the professional.

  30. Wow, this is awesome. I had no idea how to add searches as a tab. I’ve been manually searching every couple of days. Thanks!

    • Yeah, when you’re logged into your Hootsuite account, just go towards the top left hand corner and look for a button that says “add stream”. Click on that and follow the instructions using keywords and phrases that fit your search criteria. I think you can do 3 searches per stream, but I believe you can have as many streams as you’d like.

      Glad to have helped. Good luck with it!

  31. Great tips. I will have to try using the Twitter search bar and see where it leads me. I don’t know why I never thought of this before.

    -Rachel

  32. You realize that is spamming, right? Even if it is targeted, not indiscriminate, spamming.

  33. Interesting … apart from the fact that most twitterers are more on the selling side rather than the buying one.
    So , the probability of getting a substantial contract/deal via twitter is very close to insignificant, compared with the more “traditional” means.

  34. That American writing recluse, Robert Bruce, sure knows how to pick ‘em! ;)

    So glad he opted to direct readers to your post, Joseph — really cool Twitter lead-generating lesson. For those who might view your strategy as spamming, I would have to go along with their thinking IF your communications were tactless attempts at pouncing on people. But I’m certain that’s not the case.

    I am one of those folks who has definitely under-utilized the Twitter search feature. Used correctly and with the right intentions, I’m sure it’s a good biz-building tool.

    I have tried to put the Twitter search bar to work for me in the past but didn’t come up with any Tweets that were applicable. I’m sure it boils down to playing around more with search terms. That’s the part that’s always tricky for me and seems to take eons so I get frustrated and give up.

  35. Good advice on here-but can someone address the issue of twitter `capping` the number of people you can follow? I have reached 2001 and have around 1400 following me-and Ive worked with follow back/searches for right people etc.Statistically 1400 followers will NOT bring much -if any business.Many thousands-esp in my lines of work-are required to get even a small return.Bit like facebook.3.5-7.5% of people see our posts.Thats just -at the top level-about 14 for me-and we allknow facebook cap your request limits also!! Im not convinced any social network can be useful-unless you pay FB to advertise-even then a `social network` is exactly that-`social` Like the dying myspace-twiiter appears to be a numbers game.!!! I need convincing otherwise after a couple of years of `marketing` in numerous ways! Any advice welcome.

    • It depends on your account. Chris Brogan was recently following more than 100,000, and a quick look reveals many who are following more than 2,000 people.

      I think the 2,000 cap is in place for people Twitter thinks are gaming the system. You may want to try posting more quality content to attract followers, rather than a simple follow/follow back strategy which really isn’t in vogue anymore. Which is why Brogan recently unfollowed almost all of those 100,000 people.

  36. Joesph, thanks for the wealth of knowledge! Great article, great links! Keep it coming. #hugefan #letsgiveemsomethingtotweetabout