As a small business, your goal is to grow into a much larger one or, at the very least, become a small business that has a sustained flow of revenue. To achieve either requires that you continually work on attracting new customers to your small business whether it is online, a physical storefront, or both. Here are some easy-to-implement strategies that have been proven to attract new customers:
1. Expand and Localize Your Online Presence
The process of attracting new customers now takes on a dual strategy. You want to reach out to potential customers that are farther afield, including those in other countries if that fits your business model. If you are an online business, you know that your customers could be located in many regions, so it's important to employ some marketing strategies that speak to all areas.
However, there is also a real advantage of honing in on those in your geographic area, especially if you have a physical storefront or frequently use a kiosk, pop-up shop, or mobile presence to also sell your products or services.
You can do both by creating landing pages on your website directed at specific geographic areas where you have targeted certain customers. Also utilize an SEO strategy that includes geographical words, including certain cities, in your website and social media content. This increases your chances of being discovered by your target audience in those specific markets.
2. Select and Interact with Customer Niches
While you would like to be everything to everybody, it's most likely not going to happen. Create a profile of the customer segments that are most likely interested in what you have to offer, get to know what they look like and how they prefer to be contacted.
Have conversations with them through social channels to hear what they want so you can ensure that you deliver on those wishes. Those dialogues not only help you to better understand your target audience, but you can also begin to form relationships that close deals and add up to more purchases. That's because those conversations can build the trust that's necessary for doing business online.
Some key tactics include regularly responding to comments on social media, asking for their feedback through a survey on social media or email, and contests that include sharing their own content on various social media sites.
3. Don't Forget About Traditional Marketing Methods
It's easy to become enamored with online marketing methods through mobile, social media, and other channels, but don't forget that traditional marketing still works with your audience. Depending on your audience and business type, various traditional marketing methods will still be a valuable way to attract new customers.
For example, if you are looking to attract new customers within your town, a billboard or flyers can still work well. If you have a food truck and want to get the word out, you might consider using direct mail to tell a certain market that you will be at an upcoming event. Magazines, newspapers, and television news media still do local feature stories that can highlight your small business.
Consider how much room you have in your budget and what traditional marketing tactics will build on your online marketing methods. Together, you can reach a wider audience with a consistent message that will remind your audience about what you deliver.
4. Respond to Trends and Shopping Preferences
Make sure you are in touch with current trends and understand how your audience likes to shop. For example, the on-demand trend is huge right now so you would want to make sure you could provide a way to let your customers order from their mobile phones or computers and then pick up their products on their time. Capitalizing on this trend has helped retailers, restaurants, and other small businesses to rapidly grow their customer base. Customers also want a great experience so make it easy with a frictionless signup process and fast checkout.
You can stay updated on these trends by regularly doing research as well as reading industry publications and blogs that share information about what to expect each year in relation to both consumer and business audiences.
5. Focus on Thought Leadership
You can set yourself apart from the competition by positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Creating and maintaining a blog with regular content that shows you understand your audience's pain points and even have answers for those issues can help you win new customers quickly. Your audience is online, looking for answers and seeking direction. Lead them the right way and you'll be able to create a continual stream of leads that will convert into customers and that will tell others about what they learned from you.
Besides starting a blog, you can also submit your thought leadership to online publications, serve as a guest blogger on others' blogs, and post these ideas on your social media pages. They can be written pieces or even visuals like a SlideShare presentation or a video on YouTube.
6. Provide Something of Value
Promotions are always a way to attract new customers because they like the idea of getting some type of incentive that convinces them to try something for the first time. You can put out first-time order discounts, a trial offer, or anything else that screams "value" for the prospective customer. Offering a deal shows your audience that you want to win them over. Make sure that these discounts are easy to get and use, including a mobile coupon that can be scanned in the store or an online code that is entered at checkout.
7. Find Influencers to Do Some of the Work for You
Those that are already onboard as a customer can serve as a brand advocate and influence others that are on the fence about whether to buy from you or have yet to hear about you. In a virtual world, trust is more important than ever, so peers play an important role in the purchase decision process. You can also offer incentives for referrals that your existing customers give and that turn into new customers. You can also opt to use an agency that specializes in connecting you with influencers whose followers are your target audience and who wield considerable power to convince that audience to buy, buy, buy.
8. Diversify Your Payment Option
You may not have realized this, but the fact that you only accept debit and credit cards is standing in the way of winning more customers. That's because many of today's consumers and businesses that want to buy from you are looking for other ways to pay, including contactless and mobile payments, cryptocurrency, digital wallet payments, and ACH and e-checks. Expanding your payment options not only may attract new customers, but you also can potentially lower fees involved in transactions while also speeding fund settlement and driving greater cash flow.
Start Winning Those Customers
All of these strategies are relatively easy and low cost to employ so you have no excuse but to go out there and start expanding your customer base today.