If you’re reading this, you’re probably in the same boat as every other business in your state, if not the country. We all want more customers, but how do you get them?
I’ve found that attracting new business is a fine balancing act between shouting loud and listening hard. You need to know what people want, and you need them to know you’ve got the goods and you can deliver (perhaps literally).
So I’ve divided my tips for business owners into ‘Listening’ and ‘Shouting’. I hope you’ll find them useful.
You know who your customers are, right? They’re the people who buy from you. You’ve met them or emailed them, you know their spending habits and their lifestyles. But that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Market to the people who already buy from you and you’re never going to grow your customer base.
For example, say you sell outdoor jackets, and you get a ton of business from people who ride horses. Could you widen your target demographic to include motorcyclists, hikers and skiers?
Social media monitoring is a great way to find out what sort of people already buy from you, and which other people share enough of their interests to make them a likely source of new business.
Customer feedback is also a really crucial source of business intelligence. That includes the complaints. If you’re hearing that your product or service didn’t deliver, find out what your customer’s expectations were. Those expectations could be a signpost towards a smarter, better product that attracts more business.
Customers also come up with great suggestions for products they want you to produce. A friend of mine got the greatest tip off from a customer that led him to a whole new market. My friend’s personalized baby clothes business was doing OK, but he wasn’t seeing much growth. A customer asked him to put together some personalized clothes for his children’s favorite dolls, their friends wanted one too, and boom – a whole new revenue stream.
You know I mentioned social media monitoring? It’s now time to return to that Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook account and pick up your social media megaphone. Of course, yelling about the fact that your business exists no longer cuts it on social. You have to have something to bring to the table. Why not make a splash with a tempting special offer? You could promote it with some new images or make up some custom Twitter cards.
You can also shout about your products. The online marketplace – here’s a list of a few of them- is so crowded that a customer is usually swamped with options, and they’ll be comparing what’s available to get the best deal. Help them out by providing lots of information including detailed photos and clear descriptions. Answer their questions before they ask by including things like measurements, times and dates and even washing instructions. Even if they don’t buy from you, they’ll remember you as a trustworthy source who is knowledgeable about your products.
If you’ve got some loyal customers on board, you could ask them to do some shouting for you with a referral scheme. Offering a bonus or a discount to your existing customers when they recommend a friend (who also gets the deal) is a real feel-good way to attract new business and show your existing customers your appreciation at the same time.
The companies I mention or link to in this post are just examples that I thought you’d find useful – I don’t endorse them or their services. I have no affiliation with them and make no representation about their services.}