There are numerous ways of getting new customers but not all methods are applicable to all businesses. I also need to remind you that getting repeat business from your existing customers is far easier than attracting new customers, but it is important to have a strategy for getting new customers in the door. In Part 1 of this series, I provided a philosophy and an approach for obtaining more business. Choosing your best customer acquisition strategy will be driven by why your customer is buying, their purchase frequency, and how they collect purchase information. In Part 2, the focus is on specific strategies and tactics to create a stampede in your small business.
Here are 7 strategies for getting new customers:
- Start advertising: You want customers to know you exist – If you have a storefront business that depends on local customers. Consider investing in local online advertising, direct mail, flyers, or local penny-saver ads. You can also do pay per click ads online too. Use calls to action in each advertising initiative to get prospects to contact you. Do not start any advertising program that you can’t maintain for at least six months.
- Start building a prospect list. One of the key ingredients in a business is having an active prospect list. One of the best ways to build your list is through your website. You should have 3-5 ways to engage web visitors to get them to give you their contact information. Create a coupon or giveaway from your website. It could be a special report, free chapter of a book, or audio interview, a 10% off coupon, a free estimate or a giveaway for the first X number of new customers who download the giveaway.
- Launch a public relations campaign: Your PR campaign should have a story behind it. The fact that you open your doors is not compelling enough. Consider having a PR tie-in a local charity, cause or group. For example, my neighbor got a front-page story in our local community paper as a donor of care packages in support of our troops. The article also highlighted her business and her contact information. You can always donate a portion of net proceeds to charity and get a tax write-off too.
- Use incentives: Give your current customers referral incentives – everybody likes a deal. If an existing customer gets a special discount, cash, or free stuff for recommending a new customer to your business, it creates a winning situation for everyone. Interestingly enough, when you give a surprise benefit to an existing client, like a free pizza after so many purchased or a “no charge” for a regular dry cleaning customer, or free shipping and a discount on future business, customers tell others about these unexpected bonuses.
- Develop a social marketing strategy: – Like it or not, we are in a digital age and ignoring free marketing tools, such as social networking sites is just plain foolish. You must be googleable! It used to be that all you had to do was build a website, now you need a blog and to have a social media footprint to go with it. No one uses the yellow pages any more. It is pretty common that if we want to know anything about anything we go to the internet. If your business is not there, it can really impact your visibility. Read, read, read and seek out a professional to get you started with social media marketing. Check out my book “Become Your Own Boss In 12 Months” to get more insights on building an online brand.
- Use Success By Association – Become a part of your industry trade organization, local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, community service organizations, and other groups both local and national. My active membership in the National Speakers Association led to some outstanding business contacts for me. It is very satisfying to learn from peers and fellow business owners.
- Create recognizable value – If you are in a business where you can provide informational value through articles or newsletters that provide tangible customer benefit, it can lead to getting a new customer and development of a “following”. Media is always looking for content to sustain itself and to grow. If you have a message of interest, write an article for your local media outlet, notify your local TV or radio station about your unique business and the benefit it brings. Don’t keep your better mousetrap a secret.
Getting the word out about you and your business will take planning and hardwork and you will sell your faith in your enterprise. It is not always easy to do, but persistence will get you to success.
Do you have any other tactics to share on getting new customers?
For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is one of America’s leading small business experts. As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach, she develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. Forbes Magazine named her #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com Melinda is also bestseller author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works.