10 Ways to Get Customers for Your Small Business
Here’s something that almost certainly keeps you awake at night: how to get more customers. That’s because you need them coming through your door to keep your business’s wheels spinning. When there’s more of them buying your products, your revenues increase. This, in turn, allows you to scale your operations and expand your business further.
Before deciding on how to bring more clients in, you have to determine the nature of your target market, where your ideal customers can be found and the best ways to reach them. This may require a lot of research, strategic planning and marketing—things that small businesses may not have the resources to execute.
How to Get More Customers for Your Business
In this article, you’ll find 10 inexpensive-but-effective ways to win more customers. These steps are explained in some depth so that you know exactly how to implement them in your business.
1. Define Your Ideal Buyer
Most products are consumed by people who belong to a specific kind of demographic. If you’re selling premium wine, you can expect that most of your buyers will be relatively well-off. And if your product is domestic furniture, your clients will be predominantly homeowners.
The first step to gaining customers is to ascertain your target demographic. Marketers do this by building a customer persona, an idealized profile of the kind of person that could want their product.
In order to define this persona, it’s important to determine things like:
- The average age of your buyers
- Their most likely occupation (or occupations)
- Income level
- Social affiliations
- The language used in the target demographic
With these, you can create a picture of your ideal customer. This then helps you design your marketing to appeal to that kind of person. For instance, if you sell men’s shaving kits, your messaging will be tailored to suit the adult male audience. By defining your audience and connecting with them specifically, you can achieve much better results with your marketing efforts.
2. Use Forum Marketing
If you are wondering how to get customers online, this is a great way to do so. Forum marketing involves getting the word out about your business via online forums. The great thing about forums is that you can reach people from anywhere in the world. They can be the basis for building a community of loyal followers for your brand. They can also raise your level of engagement with the community.
By creating interactive forums on your online channels, you can attract interest from prospects. They may treat the discussions on your messaging board as product reviews or a measuring rule for your customer services. If your engagement level is high and customer feedback is mostly positive, visitors to these boards may consider using your product.
The first step to succeeding with forum marketing is inviting responses from people who currently use your services. The invitation may be made at the end of a post you put up about your products and services. Track responses when they begin to come in. Answer the questions posed. Express appreciation for compliments. Look beyond criticisms to address customer pain points. Over time, you create lively threads and reviews that visitors can go through. These will help them decide if they would use your products or services.
3. Show Expertise in Your Niche
Experts have a reputation for being problem solvers. They build this reputation by demonstrating deep knowledge of their field. They consistently provide answers to people’s questions about it. Eventually, they become the first port of call for anyone who has a challenge in that specific area.
Businesses can do this, too. An automobile repair workshop can convince prospective customers to use its services by showing that it has a strong mastery of car parts and faults. A baker can attract more buyers to her store by demonstrating her grasp of a wide variety of recipes. If you can show your target audience that you are an expert at what you do, they will eventually be willing to pay you to solve their problem.
There are a number of ways to showcase this expertise. One way would be to write blogs and create videos that tackle typical customer challenges. You can also answer questions and provide practical tips on social media and existing online forums.
Outside of the digital space, expertise can be showcased through speaking engagements at business and industry events. If you are able to speak regularly at public gatherings and tackle customer pain points in your talks at conferences, you will be perceived as an expert in your field. This strategy is known to spark the interest of high-value prospects.
4. Leverage Word of Mouth
According to a Nielsen report, 83% of buyers trust the suggestions of family and friends more then they do adverts. This means that people are more likely to buy a product if it’s recommended by someone they know.
Because word of mouth is such a strong tool for gaining new customers, smart businesses are constantly seeking to make the most of it. They do this by generating enthusiasm around their products. They also cultivate a following of loyal customers who are willing to spread the word about their brand.
You can lay the foundation for a successful word of mouth marketing by requesting feedback from your customers. If their response is positive, you may then encourage them to tell the people they know about your offerings.
A more long-lasting strategy would be to make customers feel like they are part of the company. Ask their opinion on product changes. Recognize their responses. Then, let them know the impact of their suggestions on product and policy changes. Most importantly, provide quality service.
These actions will build your customers’ trust and enthusiasm. They will become eager to refer others to you and your products.
5. Engage With Your Local Community
If your business is a physical store that attends to people in person, how to get local customers to come through your doors is a top priority.
Local events offer some of the best opportunities for connecting with the people in an area. They also give businesses the chance to form relationships with locals. Organizations attend these engagements to increase their visibility in their business locale and surrounding environs.
However, companies will have to do more than just exhibit their products and put up their logos at these public events. They may have to support community causes through sponsorships or by providing freebies for attendees.
6. Cross-promote With Partners
When businesses don’t have a large marketing budget to work with, they can partner with other companies to cross-promote each others’ services to their audiences. This approach is called collaborative marketing.
Partnerships of this kind are most effective when they involve businesses that offer complementary products. A software company could partner with a corporation that makes computers so they can reach each others’ customers. This can work because their audiences use both products together.
If you are partnering with another business, you could both cross-promote each other’s brand through communication channels like email newsletters and social media posts. Or you could co-sponsor an event to which your existing customers are invited. Partner products can also be given away during promotions. You can take this a step further and sell each others’ products in your stores.
7. Offer Discount Packages
When customers are offered products at less than the regular price, they are more likely to want to buy it. This is something that businesses have known for millennia and continue to take advantage of even today.
But there’s more to attracting customers with discounts than just lowering prices. First, the offer has to align with the realities of the market that it’s targeting. Second, companies must take the buying tendencies of prospective customers into consideration. Offers should be directed at demographics that would be more responsive to discounts.
Another tip would be to have fewer but bigger discount events throughout the year. The rarity effect makes potential buyers anticipate the period for bargains. It drives them to make the most of a discount when it finally comes around.
You can offer loyalty discounts as well. These let existing clients purchase certain products at lower prices for a period of time. Besides appreciating regular customers, loyalty discounts can also persuade irregular buyers to become loyal customers as well.
8. Follow Up on Leads
You may pick up leads from several channels: email signups, social media, at networking events or through existing customers. These leads may not convert soon after connecting with your business. So there’s often a need to follow up on them.
Unfortunately, this is where many small businesses tend to drop the ball. When these contacts are not pursued soon after the first meeting or connection, they could lose interest and drift away.
Following up on leads may mean sending them “thank you” and follow-up emails soon after they sign up for your email newsletter or respond to a survey. Or it could mean putting a call through to them to remind them about your services. Whatever form it takes, it’s important that this communication happens inside a window that allows these leads to be nurtured.
If the leads are from email signups, you could send email newsletters once a week. However, any and all product updates you send must contain relevant information that addresses the specific pain points of the target demographic. Sending emails containing irrelevant content could backfire, resulting in the loss of those leads. Phone calls could be made once a month. The aim here is to keep your business top of their minds, without seeming too intrusive.
With the right mix of emails, calls and face-to-face meetings, you can convert a sizeable portion of high-quality leads into paying customers.
9. List Your Company on Local Business Directories
Online business directories are platforms where businesses can list their basic information and contact details. Like the old yellow pages, people peruse these directories to find establishments that offer the services they need.
Businesses that are listed on directories can be found by anyone nearby who has an internet-enabled device. This makes such businesses accessible to a large number of potential customers within their vicinity.
10. Give Out Useful Content
Information marketing leverages your knowledge of a niche. It then packages your expertise as content that answers people’s questions and makes them want more from you.
For instance, your business can create free ebooks that answer your typical customers’ frequently asked questions. This content can be a how-to manual, a “complete guide” to something they are interested in or tips they could use. It could also be an infographic that breaks down important industry statistics or information. Ideally, it should cover something related to what your business does.
You can put out these materials to the public via your website. Then, share the links on your social media channels.
By consistently giving out useful information to the people who need it, you establish a reputation as an authority and thought leader in your niche. This builds trust. It makes people willing to pay for the solutions you offer.
8x8 Express: Make the Right Impression
Small businesses can increase their customer base by improving the quality of services they offer. This also means reaching out to prospects in ways that appeal to them. Doing so often requires a mix of approaches, designed to be executed both online and offline. You also want to leverage technologies that help you sustain your connections with potential and existing customers.
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