Going Fishing or Drowning Worms? How To Catch New Customers

Going Fishing or Drowning Worms? How To Catch New Customers
September 10, 2017 Ross Hewitt

fishing for new customersI like fishing…it’s peaceful and allows a few hours of disconnect from the internet…

But fishing and digital marketing do share a lot of common ground and the links are far from tenuous. Seriously…stay with me on this one!

No angler worthy of that name begins a session wondering what type of fish they will catch, or whether there are even any fish in that particular water they are sat by. Usually the research is already done, and the bait and location are chosen because they already know what they want to catch and have found out where to go and what to use.

Your digital prospecting and promotion needs the same amount of diligent research, and it begins with a thorough understanding of who you are trying to ‘catch’.

When was the last time you considered what type of customer you are looking for? Do you know ‘who’ they are (e.g. gender, age, etc)? Do you know where they live (e.g. town, city, country, etc)? Do you know what is important to them and where they find out about things (e.g. local newspaper, websites, social media)? How do they behave? Are they excitable early adopters who grab bait quickly or are they more cautious and hook-shy?

How will they benefit from knowing about you and your business? What itch do you scratch or desire do you fulfil?

When you have identified your ‘fish’ then take a look at your brand. I mean a proper look, not a glance at your logo. Consider everything; the quality of the products or the showroom, your staff, the after-sales service, the tone of voice you use for social media, the speed of response to complaints or queries, the quality of your website. This is what you have to ‘hunt’ with; is it well suited to the customers you are after?

If there is a mismatch between your bait and the fish you want then you are more likely to be drowning worms than catching whoppers.

Don’t cast a line until you know the conditions are just right. Go back and review it all again. You might need to change your bait or you might need to go after sprats instead of mackerel. Be honest or it doesn’t work.

Once you know your target customer is right for your brand then it is time to look in the tackle bag. In there you have your website, your social media accounts, email marketing, blog articles, videos, search engine marketing and much more.

Which will work best for the product you want to put in front of your audience? Maybe your big ticket items struggle to be sold online to your cautious potential customers – if that is the case then stop splashing around in ecommerce ponds and use compelling email marketing and social media content to get them to come to an in-store event where they can experience the product in the real world.

If you are targeting consumers who like to travel, for example, then create a content plan about travelling. Work with external travel bloggers and leverage their already existent travel related search engine rankings. Write your own blog articles about travelling and point the reader to your more than suitable product or relevant service. Start posting in the travel forums. Be the best answer to a traveller’s questions and be in places where they do their research. Don’t just tweet and post indiscriminately and hope they find it.

Perhaps a complex or technical product that needs more explanation to your target customer hasn’t been translating very well in Facebook posts, even though you know that is where your audience hangs out. Invest in better tackle…get a great video made that explains the product quickly and visually and then post that onto your Facebook page. Better still create a series of videos and set up a YouTube channel dedicated to that product or range and promote that through your social media channel.

If you own a local business, and you want to get more local people to find out about you then spend a little bit of money on Google Adwords and set the adverts to just be shown to people in your catchment area. You can do this easily, and the same applies to Facebook advertising.

Marketing, like fishing, is easy if you have done your research and are using the right tackle with the right bait. The hardest part is the research and the planning and that honest appraisal of your brand and your realistic target customer.

A lot of fishermen I know guess at things and tell lies, and they are the noisy ones with empty nets. The successful ones deal only in knowledge and precision as they quietly haul in fish after fish after fish.

I wish you all tight lines…


This musing was partly inspired by meeting some lovely people from Carp-Talk Magazine in a training session recently.