Was one of your resolutions this year to increase your customer base? Here are 10 tried-and-true tips to help you attract more customers.
1. Offer new customers discounts and promotions
Consumers are always looking for deals so one of the ways to attract them to your business is by offering introductory discounts, or have specials such as buy 2-get-1-for half-price or free gift wrapping for the first three purchases. Bargains like these can attract new customers who have been considering doing business with you but needed an incentive to actually change their shopping habits. Then track what they buy and which offers they redeemed so you can better target them with future marketing messages that will cement their loyalty.
2. Ask for referrals
Ok, so you have the customers now, what next? The next step should be to turn those amazing customers into referral machines. Current customers are one of the best sources of new customers but you cant wait on them to spread the word, you have to be actively encouraging them. You need them to run to their friends, colleagues and family and turn them into your future customers. Be in control and create a strategy to actively solicit referrals from your satisfied customers. Build referral-generating activities into the sales process. First, send follow-up emails to make sure customers are happy with their purchases, and then follow that up with another email asking for referrals. You can even offer incentives if the sale price warrants it.
There’s no better way to raise brand awareness than meeting new people, telling them who you are and what you do. Join your trade association, your local Chamber, and networking organizations. Attend Meetup events. If you own a local business, even going to PTA meetings can be a good networking opportunity. Approach networking with a “How can I help you?” attitude, rather than thinking, “What’s in it for me?”
4. Recontact old customers
What better customers than the ones you already have. Don't forget to market to your old customers who have not done business with you for a while. Create a regular schedule to do this, say quarterly, and target customers you haven’t seen in six months. Reach out to them via email, direct mail, text, or phone with a “We miss you” message, offering some type of deal or promotion if they’ll come back.
5. Update your website
Online search is the primary way both consumers and B2B buyers find new businesses. That means your website has to do the heavy lifting so customers can find you. Review your search engine marketing and search engine optimization tactics and techniques, including making sure your site is mobile-friendly. Even your site design makes a difference. Too many graphics can slow your site’s load speed, which is a customer turnoff. If you don’t have the expertise in-house, hire a website design company and/or SEO expert to help.
6. Partner with complementary businesses
Teaming up with businesses that have a similar customer base, but aren’t directly competitive, and then strategizing how you can market to one another’s customers to drive new business is a smart way to attract new customers while not spending a fortune. For instance, if you sell baby products, working with a business that sells maternity clothes would be a great partnership.
7. Promote your expertise
You can generate interest, and even create buzz, attracting new customers and getting more business from your existing client base by showcasing your industry expertise. Volunteering to speak on industry panels, giving a webinar or workshop, speaking at industry events or to groups that your target customers belong to, or holding educational sessions are just a few ways you can make a good impression on potential new customers and clients. This technique works particularly well for B2B business owners.
8. Take advantage of online ratings and review sites
Consumers, both in the B2B and B2C worlds, frequently turn to online ratings and review sites before they’ll do business with a company they are not familiar with. So make sure you monitor those sites and respond to any complaints. Make the most off positive reviews by linking to them on your website. Post signage in your store, office, restaurant, or other location encouraging customers to add their perspectives. Social proof is powerful, and new customers are more likely to give your business a try if they see others praising it.
9. Participate in community events
Surveys show most people like to support local, independent businesses. Raise your profile in your community by participating in charity events and organizations. Sponsor a local fun run, organize a holiday “toys for kids” drive, or supply a Little League team in your city with equipment. All this raises your profile which helps attract new customers.
10. Bring a friend
This concept is similar to referral programs but instead, it requires customer participation. Offer 2-for-1, “buy one, get one free” or “bring a friend” deals to get your loyal customers to introduce their friends and colleagues to your company. For instance, a restaurant could offer a “buy one entrée, get a second for free” special to attract more customers.
Now that you have the gems, get to work!