Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to increase your customer base? Here are 10 tried-and true tips to help you attract more customers.
- Offer new customers discounts and promotions. Consumers today are still looking for value and deals. Lure them into your business by offering new customers introductory discounts, or specials, such as buy 2-get-1-for half-price, or free gift wrapping for their 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 cement their loyalty.
- Ask for referrals. Once you gain a customer’s loyalty, put that to work for you by asking them for referrals. Asking your current customers for referrals are one of the best ways to get new customers. But you can’t be passive, and wait for your current customers to bring colleagues, friends and family to your business. Instead, take control and create a systemized approach to actively solicit referrals from your satisfied customers. Build referral-generating activity into the sales process. Send follow-up emails to make sure customers are happy with their purchases, and then follow that up with another email asking for a referral. Consider offering incentives if the sale price warrants it. This approach works will for real estate agents, as an example.
- Re-contact old customers. Go back to your lapsed customer contact list and market to former customers who haven’t done business with you for a while. Create a regular schedule to do this, say quarterly and select 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.
- Network. 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 events. If you own a local business, even going to PTA meetings can be a good networking opportunity. Approach networking with an “how can I hope you?” attitude, rather than thinking, “What’s in it for me?”
- 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 you’re 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 turn-off. If you don’t have the expertise in-house, hire a website design company and/or SEO expert to help.
- Partner with complementary businesses. Teaming up with businesses that have a similar customer base, but aren’t directly competitive, and 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.
- 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 or giving a webinar or workshop, speaking at industry events or to groups 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.
- Take advantage of online ratings and reviews sites. Consumers, both in the B2B and B2C worlds frequently turn to online ratings and review sites before they’re do business with a company that’re not familiar with. So make sure you monitor those sites, responding to any complaints. Make the most of these 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.
- 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” donation, or supply a Little League team in your city with equipment. All this raises your profile which helps attract new customers.
- Bring a friend. This idea is similar to referrals but 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 business. For instance, a restaurant could offer a “buy one entrée, get a second for free” special to attract more customers.
Think of this as a starter list. Add your own ideas. The key is to get started now, so when next year rolls around, you’ve expanded your customer base.