20 Ways To Find Clients And Customers Without Using Social Media
Is it really possible to run a successful business, find plenty of clients and customers, and make great money without using social media?
When it comes to marketing, using social media is certainly one option. But it’s not the only option. There are plenty of other things you can try.
Maybe you don’t want to use social media, because:
– You find it exhausting, draining, or distracting.
– You’re concerned about privacy or ethical factors.
– It’s just not your favorite place to hang out and spend your precious time.
– Or you’ve noticed that social media marketing doesn’t seem very effective for your particular personality, type of business, or clientele.
And so, you want to find some marketing approaches that don’t require social media.
Your wish is granted!
Here’s a list of 20 marketing ideas that don’t involve social media.
If you see any ideas that jump out at you (“Ooh, that seems cool, I could try that”), write them down, and then do them.
1. Add info about your product or service to your email signature.
A typical, working professional receives more than 100 emails a day.
I’m not talking about newsletters. I’m talking about regular ol’ emails. Emails from your boss, colleagues, clients, potential clients, collaborators, freelancers, and other people in your professional network. Whoa! That’s a lot of emails.
If there’s something you want to sell, put a link into your email signature.
For instance, I could make my email signature look like this:
Ready to finally write that book and become an author?
Enrollment for The Tiny Book Course is open now.
If you typically deal with 100 emails a day, and you work at least 250 days a year, that’s 25,000 emails per year.
Put a little note into your email signature and that’s basically like advertising your work—for free—25,000 times. A great way to gently remind your community about what you’re offering and point them where they need to go.
2. Make a mysterious sign. Pin it all around town.
In Pittsburgh, someone put bizarre signs that said BARBER SCHOOL? all around town. That’s it. BARBER SCHOOL? No website link. No explanation.
Pittsburgh residents were perplexed. Many wondered, “Who did this? What does it mean? Am I hallucinating? I need answers!” The entire town started talking about it. It even got mentioned in the paper.
People started Googling “Pittsburgh Barber School?” and wouldn’t you know it, a barber school was the top Google search result. The owner of the barber school says that a bunch of people enrolled in their program all because of that sign! This is hilarious and wonderful and, also, a great lesson. Mysterious signs: they work.
3. Circle back to previous clients and customers via email. Say hi. See if they’d like to hire you/purchase from you again.
You might be surprised. Often, people would love to work with you again; they just need a little nudge and reminder to actually do it.
Email, text, call, or send a quick audio or video message to check in and see if they’d like to work with you again.
During The Marketing Without Social Media Course, one woman decided to do this. She emailed 6 potential clients to invite them to hire her again. Everyone, except for 1, said yes. She told me, “I don’t normally follow up with people like that!” But she was very glad she did.
4. Send snail mail: a postcard, brochure, packet, or maybe a small gift and handwritten note.
Snail mail is so special. With the simplest thing, like a postcard that costs less than one dollar, you will make a strong impression.
5. Pitch yourself to the media (podcasts, radio, TV, etc). Get booked for appearances. Use this as a way to promote your mission and business.
You can start with smaller platforms (your friend’s podcast), get some practice, and then gradually work your way up to bigger platforms (national TV).
Not sure how to pitch yourself to the media?
My colleague Lindsey has a great template you can use. It’s free. Go to her site to find it.
6. Do something “cool,” “different,” “noteworthy,” or “newsworthy” that gets people talking about your business.
Once upon a time, back when I helped to launch a brunch restaurant in Oregon, we hosted a monthly Letters and Brunch event.
We provided free letter-writing supplies—cards, envelopes, stamps, pens—to anyone who purchased a $20 brunch/drink combo. Customers could write letters to loved ones while waiting for their food to arrive.
People loved it—and they told their friends about it, too. This led to lots of new customers coming by to check out the new restaurant.
7. Start a newsletter and send it out consistently.
You can use your newsletter to share advice, tips, music playlists, worksheets, checklists, recipes, inspirational stories, whatever your potential clients/customers would enjoy most. Of course, share info about your products/services, too.
Your newsletter can be long, short, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly—whatever style and frequency makes sense for you and your readership.
Most marketing specialists would advise you to send out your newsletter very frequently, but personally I disagree. I vote: send it out when you have something inspiring, beautiful, or helpful to share. Quality over quantity.
8. Start a podcast.
Use this to build an enthusiastic audience of listeners/fans/potential clients.
You don’t necessarily have to release a brand new episode every single week. If that sounds too exhausting, you could release your show just once or twice a year.
For instance, you could release 8 episodes all at once, and call it the Spring Season. Then, several months later, release another 8 episodes and that’s the Fall Season.
9. Do the Give, Ask, Receive technique.
This is a technique I made up and tested out with a group of clients.
The concept is really simple. Every workday:
– First, give.
– This means, do something generous for someone in your community with no expectations and no strings attached. You can do an act of generosity for anyone. A friend, colleague, client, customer, even a complete stranger.
– For example, post a 5-star review about a friend’s book or podcast. Introduce a colleague to someone they ought to meet and make a helpful connection. Nominate a colleague for an award. Share a music playlist with your clients to brighten their day. It can be something very small and quick that doesn’t take much time. Big generosity in a tiny package.
– Start your day by doing something generous. Give first.
– Once you’ve done that, then ask. Reach out to someone and make a request or proposition. Ask for something you want.
– Ask someone to hire you. Ask someone to check out your website. Ask someone to feature your product in their shop. Ask someone to interview you for their publication. Ask for something small or ask for the moon.
– If you’re courageous enough to ask, there’s always a chance they will say, “Yes.”
– Then, repeat. Do the Give, Ask, Receive method every day. Try doing it for 10, 20, or 30 days in a row. Watch what happens.
My clients loved the Give, Ask, Receive format, because it feels really balanced. Give first. Then ask. Send positivity into the world. Then, welcome that positivity right back.
If you’re someone who gets really nervous and insecure about asking, by giving first, it helps to erase some of those icky, anxious feelings. You can ask with confidence, because you know, “I’m not a grabby, greedy person. I’m a generous person. I can give–and ask–every day. Both.”
10. Talk to a stranger.
I’m very introverted, and I rarely chitchat with strangers when I’m in public. Usually I am wearing my headphones (and, of course, these days, a face mask), and I keep to myself.
However, on the rare occasion when I actually make an effort to chat with a stranger–almost every time, something magical happens.
Years ago, I got hired because I chatted with the woman sitting next to me on an airplane. We just had a friendly chat about life, work, goals, and dreams. Turns out, she had always dreamed of writing a book.
When I told her I’m an author and I teach writing courses online, her face lit up and she said, “Oh my gosh! Can you believe the serendipity?” Later, she signed up for my Tiny Book Course, and we’re still in touch to this day!
You just never know. That quiet person on the plane or at the store could be a journalist, or a potential client, or someone who is looking for the exact product you provide. Perhaps God (or the Universe, or whichever term you prefer) put your paths together for a reason.
11. Print a bunch of business cards or postcards describing your work. Sprinkle them all around town.
Community bulletin boards, coffee shops, bookstores, the gym, yoga studio, etc.
12. Give a big stack of business cards to your friends and family members, too.
Tell them, “Please keep these in your purse/bag/car. Just in case. If you happen to meet someone who needs what I offer, give them my card. Thank you!”
13. Introduce yourself to fellow business owners who might be able to refer clients to you—and vice versa.
For instance, if you offer wellness coaching and personal training services, introduce yourself to a local physician. When she has clients who want to get healthier and improve their physical fitness, she can refer those clients to you. (And you can refer clients to her.)
14. Gently remind clients that you love and appreciate word-of-mouth referrals. Encourage them to send new clients your way.
People often get busy and forgetful. Sometimes, they just need a tiny nudge to remind them to do this.
15. Teach a free class in your community (or online) to connect with potential clients and give them a small sample of your skills.
After the free class ends, invite them to continue learning by hiring you/enrolling/purchasing your book/etc.
16. Write articles/essays/blog posts on your site—and for other publications, too.
People might discover your work that way.
17. Dress up like a dinosaur and dance on the street corner with a handmade poster to advertise your services.
I witnessed this one time (LOOK! here it is), and it made me laugh so hard.
I immediately pulled over, bought a car wash on the spot, and then made a quick video, because I was so enchanted by this hilarious “marketing strategy.” I immediately texted that video to several friends and told them, “You need to get down to this car wash!”
Okay, maybe you don’t literally want to put on a T-Rex costume, but you can find your own version of this. What would be wild, silly, goofy, zany, unexpected, charming, delightful—something that is sure to grab people’s attention?
18. Go above and beyond for your clients and customers.
Add special touches that make people flip out with excitement, so they rave about you to all of their friends.
For example: a soothing aromatherapy face towel to wipe down after yoga class. A personal email to check in and make sure they’re delighted, instead of just an automated reply.
Figure out “a little something extra” that costs very little (or nothing at all) that makes people super happy. And then, they will rave about you to their friends.
19. Do a “30 in 30” challenge.
Make a list of 30 people you know. Any people.
Your list can be a combination of friends, family members, current clients, past clients, colleagues, classmates, teachers, mentors, acquaintances, local business owners, anyone at all.
Challenge yourself to contact 30 people over the course of 30 days.
Send a personal email to each person, one at a time. Or send a text, send an audio message, arrange a meeting, reach out however you want.
Reach out to each person. Say hello, introduce (or reintroduce) yourself, and then briefly let them know what you’re offering right now: personal training services, SAT tutoring, organic skincare products, whatever you sell.
Ask them to consider hiring you/purchasing your work. Or ask them to spread the word about what you’re offering.
Let’s say, for example, I’m a financial planner, and I want to find some new clients. I’m going to write to my friend Isiah. My email could be something like this:
Happy New Year! I hope you’re healthy and doing well. I heard a rumor you moved to Chicago and bought a house. That’s wonderful news! Please send me a photo of your new place and give me an update on how you’re doing these days.
I’m writing today with some happy news: this year marks my 3rd year of being self-employed. My business-iversary is March 1.
This year, I’m offering:
– Tax preparation services
– Financial planning services
– And (my favorite) I’m offering a 30-day course that combines yoga, meditation, and mindset work with financial education. I teach you how to feel way less stressed about money, earn more, save more, and spend more intentionally. One client said, “I feel like this course helped me release 40 years of money stress. I feel 10,000 pounds lighter.”
If any of those services sound like something you need, you can go to my website to book an appointment or to enroll in the course. I’ll put links down below. Thank you.
Or if you happen to know someone who might want (or need) any of those things, feel free to share my info with them.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your friendship and support.
Just like that! Keep your message brief and simple.
To see a few more examples of how you could craft this type of email, check out this workbook I wrote called Get More Clients. It’s free.
Contact 30 people over the course of 30 days, and I can almost guarantee that you will end up with more clients, more customers, and more money rolling in.
Even if you don’t get immediate sales, the good news is–now, 30 people know what you’re offering. You’re on their mind. They can start spreading the word and that’s a very good thing. No matter what: this is a positive step in the right direction. No matter what: you win.
This is exactly what I did 11 years ago when I decided to start my own business. I sat down in a coffee shop. I emailed everyone I knew, one by one. I let each person know what I was offering and how to hire me. This led to my first 5 actual paying clients. And then things kept rolling from there.
If you think, “But I don’t know 30 people! I don’t even know 3 people! I don’t know anybody! I am floating adrift in a void of nothingness!”…well, go through your phone or your inbox. You probably know more people than you think you do.
Doing a 30 in 30 challenge is not complicated, but it does take courage. You have to be brave enough to click “send.”
Your courage will be rewarded. This is one of the simplest, fastest ways to immediately bring more clients in the door. It’s something you can do at any time, whether you just started a business, or whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur with decades of experience. Do this anytime. You will always get results.
20. Do a really good job.
The best “marketing plan” is to be really, really, really good at whatever you do.
If you are a really good attorney, graphic designer, massage therapist, executive coach, dog trainer, science-fiction novelist, Tarot card reader, you make mermaid-inspired facial products from seaweed and crushed shells, or whatever you do–people will talk about you. People will rave about you to their friends. People will text their cousin and say, “You need to check this out.” Word will spread.
Over the next few years, instead of spending 10,000 hours posting things on Facebook and trying to find customers there, instead, use those 10,000 hours to gain mastery of your craft, hone your skills, and become excellent at whatever you do.
Stop doing shallow, unremarkable work and start doing, as author Cal Newport calls it, “deep work.” Your best and highest work.
Do this—and people will talk about you, recommend you, and send new clients your way.
Social Media Is Optional, Not Mandatory
You can certainly incorporate social media into your marketing plan. But you don’t have to. Social media is optional, not mandatory.
If you don’t enjoy using social media, then either delegate the task to someone else on your team, or simply decide, “It’s just not for me. I’m not doing this anymore.”
It is absolutely possible to run a thriving business without social media.
I know many successful people (fundraisers who raise millions of dollars, performing arts directors who produce Broadway shows, fitness trainers who are booked solid for months at a time) who manage to find plenty of donors, clients, and customers without using social media.
There are plenty of other ways to connect with people and sell your work.
Out of the 20 options you just read, is there 1 that especially leaps out at you?
Something that makes you think, “Yes! That’s something I could do.”
Do it. Try it and see what happens.
Regarding social media: Maybe you will continue to use it for personal reasons, for your business, or both. Maybe you will decide to cut back. Maybe you will take a short break, a long break, or a forever break.
Listen to your “hut” (heart + gut) and do what feels right for you.
Your hut is very smart.
If You Like This List…
…then you will love The Marketing Without Social Media Course.
I also have a variety of Free Resources you can check out, including checklists, workbooks, audiobooks, and more.
I’m wishing you a powerful and inspiring year, whether it includes social media–or not.