Finding customers for your business is a lot like making friends on your first day at a new school. You have to put yourself out there and show your audience that you can bring something valuable to their lives. This isn’t always easy, especially if your marketing budget is tight. Luckily we’re here to help, with 5 awesome ways to find new customers and consequently grow your business…
Get on Social Media
Imagine you’ve just discovered an exciting new brand, what’s the first thing you’d do? For many of us, it would be to go online, look it up and if we like what we see, we’ll start following it. Having an online presence is essential these days and thanks to social media, it’s never been easier to build a following for your business.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn offer lots of opportunity to engage potential customers, so once you’ve found the platforms that best suit your business, have a look at what other brands are doing to draw people in. The brands who lead by example are ones who offer their audience valuable content while also showing their personality in fun, entertaining ways. Some of the best and easiest ways to achieve this include sharing great blog content (both your own and other people’s), posting sneak peeks and behind the scenes antics, jumping on trending hashtags and hosting exciting competitions. What you post to social can make a huge impact on your audience, so update it regularly and monitor the success of your posts and campaigns using tools such as Google Analytics and Hootsuite. As one of the most effective methods of marketing today, it’s a great way to attract new customers and keep the existing ones engaged.
If that’s not enough to have you signing up pronto, a report published by Texas Tech University found that brands who an active social media presence have more loyal customers. Which makes a lot of sense when you think about it; if you’re regularly interacting with your audience in a reactive, engaging way, they’re likely to see your brand as less corporate and more of a friendly, trustworthy and approachable brand that’s worth coming back to.
Start a Blog
You know how we mentioned sharing valuable content on social? Starting a blog is a great way to make that happen! A blog can help position you as an authoritative voice in your field, which is ideal when you’re trying to build brand loyalty and grow your business. Even if writing isn’t your strong point, you can aim to offer content that’s both helpful and interesting, from top 10 lists and behind the scenes snippets, to industry insights and useful tips. By showing your customers that you’re passionate and knowledgeable about what you do, you’ll find that their trust in you will increase and they’ll start to see your service as a reliable go-to.
Another beneficial aspect to starting a blog is that it helps to drive people to your site. As websites are often quite static, having a platform that’s regularly updated with fresh content and purpose-driven keywords will help to improve your search engine rankings, ultimately attracting more potential customers. Just don’t forget to brush up on your SEO knowledge, and make sure to add your blog URL to all your marketing materials, including flyers, posters and booklets. The more traffic you drive to your blog, the more likely you are to establish your business both online and off.
Get Active in Your Community
Most small businesses start at home, so before you dive into a wider market, try testing the water in your local area. Hand out flyers, hang up posters and get people interested in what you have to offer by speaking to them about it face-to-face. Small businesses are often considered the backbone of their communities, so if you’re seen to be active and supportive of your local area, people are likely to return the favour and get behind your business.
A great way to make a splash and get your face known locally is by sponsoring a local event or charity. Sponsoring a local event is often relatively inexpensive, and in return you’ll be able to hand out flyers or set up a stand on the day. According to a study by Cone Communications and Echo Research, 82% of consumers consider corporate social responsibility as important when deciding where to shop or who to buy from, so getting active in your community is a worthy venture and an excellent way to gain positive exposure for your business.
Connect with Local Entrepreneurs
In the same way it’s important to reach out to potential customers in your area, it’s just as important to establish your business with fellow local entrepreneurs. Start by attending networking events. Ask questions, hand out your business cards to anyone and everyone and most importantly, make friends! The great thing about entrepreneurs who have already made a name for themselves is that they’ve all been where you are now. They know the importance of making connections and are often more than happy to offer you advice. Plus, if they like your product, they might even give you a shout out to their clients!
Once you’ve made those initial connections, start utilising them to help you find more customers. Try partnering up with another local business which already has access to your target audience. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a business in your field, sometimes it’s better to mix it up in order to reach a wider audience. For example, if you design craft jewellery, team up with an independent coffee shop to host an evening jewellery making event at their establishment. You could run the workshop, they could provide refreshments. An example of this is Sheffield brand Cast who regularly host ring making classes in various local independent eateries, drawing the attention of both their followers and the venue’s regular customers. By following suit of Cast and branching out and doing something both you and another company could benefit from, you’re not only opening the door to new customers, you’re also showing your existing customers that you can offer so much more than just your products. By doing this, you’ll establish yourself as an exciting business to watch, while cementing your place as an active member of your local small business community.
Focus on Your Customers
According to a study by NewVoice, 53% of consumers who feel under underappreciated by a business will switch brands. Additionally, Harvard Business Review states that it costs anything from five to twenty-five times as much to attract a new customer than to retain an old one, so perhaps the most important factor in growing your business is to take good care of the customers you already have.
Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. If people feel valued by your business, they’re much more likely to recommend you to family and friends. An effective way to achieve this is to offer your customers loyalty cards. The concept of a loyalty card is simple – every time a customer uses your service, they get a stamp on their loyalty card. Once they’ve gained a certain number of stamps, they can redeem the card for a reward. That could be a free cup of coffee, a free slice of cake, some free samples or a special discount. No matter how you use them, loyalty cards are ideal for encouraging repeat business, making them one of the simplest, most cost-effective ways to grow your business.
If loyalty cards won’t work for your type of business, there are plenty of other ways to show your customers you care, including offering free advice and repairs, operating at convenient hours, asking them for feedback and opinions, and providing them with a caring, responsive and honest customer service that always goes above and beyond. It’s easy to get caught up in perfecting your product or establishing your brand identity, but without your customers you wouldn’t have a business. So by showing them that you value their custom and that you’re willing to go that extra mile, you’re sure to see your business thrive.
Finding customers and growing your business can be tough when you’re first starting out. We hope we’ve given you plenty of inspiration to help kick-start the process and get you on the track to success! Let us know what tactics you use to find more customers using @instantprint on Twitter.