This free guide explains how to attract customers to your small business. These tips are actionable and relatively easy to implement – even if you’re on a budget.
1. Expand and localize your online presence
If you run an online business, you know that your customers could be located in many places, so it’s important to employ some marketing strategies that speak to each audience – in your neighborhood, across the country, or around the world, if it fits your business model.
However, there is also a real advantage to honing in on those in your closer 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.
One way to reach customer audiences near and far is by creating landing pages on your website directed at specific geographic areas where you have identified a certain customer base. Utilize an SEO strategy that includes geographical keywords, including specific cities, in your website and social media content. This strategy is one of the best ways to get new customers, since it expands your reach and helps increase your chances of being discovered by your target customer audience in those specific markets.
2. Select and interact with customer niches
Create profiles of the customer personas that are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer, get to know their characteristics, and learn how they prefer to be contacted.
One way to do this is to have conversations with your existing customer audiences through social channels to hear what they want so you can deliver on those wishes. Those dialogues not only help you get to know your customers and better understand their needs, but you can also begin to form relationships that can add up to more sales. Conversations can build the trust that’s necessary for doing business online.
Some key tactics for connecting with your customers include regularly responding to comments on social media, asking for feedback through a survey on social media or email, and hosting contests that include sharing their own photos on various social media sites.
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3. Don’t forget about traditional marketing methods
It’s easy to become enamored with trendy online marketing methods through mobile, social media, and other channels, but don’t forget that traditional marketing still works well. Depending on your audience and business type, cold-calling, print media, television, and radio can all be effective ways to attract customers to your business.
For example, if you are looking to reach customers within your town, a billboard or coupon mailers 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 attendees that you will be at an upcoming event. Magazines, newspapers, and television news media still feature local stories that can highlight your small business; a press release can be all it takes to get positive media attention.
Consider how much room you have in your budget to help you determine what traditional marketing tactics can give you the best return on investment. Together with your online marketing, you can reach a wider audience with a consistent message that will remind them what you offer.
4. Respond to trends and shopping preferences
Stay in touch with current trends and understand how your customers like to shop. For example, the on-demand trend, “buy online pick up in store” or BOPIS, is huge right now. Let your customers order from their mobile phones or computers and then pick up their products from your store, restaurant, or designated location on their time. Capitalizing on this trend has helped retailers, restaurants, and other small businesses grow their customer base. Customers also want a great experience, so make it easy with a frictionless checkout process.
You can stay updated on these trends by regularly doing research, reading industry publications and blogs, or listening to podcasts 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. Your audience is online looking for answers and seeking direction. Lead them to a favorable solution and you’ll be able to create a continual stream of leads that may convert into customers who will also tell others what they learned from you.
Besides starting a blog, you can also submit your educational content to online publications, serve as a guest blogger on others’ forums, and post 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. Incentives can be a powerful way to encourage a customer to try something for the first time. You can put out first-time order discounts, a trial offer, or anything else that adds 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, such as 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 who are already customers can also serve as brand advocates. Encourage them to spread the word about your product or service and share your business with their friends and family. Trust is more important than ever, especially online; peers play an important role in the purchase decision process.
You can offer incentives for referrals from your existing customers, or 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. If you utilize social media influencers correctly, some of your messaging could even go viral.
8. Diversify your payment options
You may not have realized this, but only accepting debit and credit cards could be standing in the way of winning more customers. That’s because many of today’s consumers and businesses who want to buy from you are looking for other ways to pay, including contactless and mobile payments, digital wallet payments like Apple Pay® or Google Pay™, and e-checks. Expanding your payment options can not only attract new customers, but may also help improve your cash flow.
Start winning those customers
All of these strategies are relatively easy and affordable to implement. If you’re interested in learning more about expanding your payment options, contact a Clover Business Consultant today.