“What’s the hardest thing about starting & growing a business? For many small businesses, the answer is getting customers. This is particularly true if your marketing budget is limited”.
Topics about Customers: Plan, Social Media, Networking, Competitors, Newspapers, small Ads, Sponser, Give, Feedback, PPC.
It’s no secret that the most difficult part of starting and growing a business is finding Customers. Having a great product or service that you are sure many people will need isn’t good enough. Customers won’t find you, your Website or your Facebook page just because you have started a business. You have to go out and find the customers. In fact, most business owners find they need to be looking for new customers on a regular basis – even after their business becomes successful. How do you do that? Here are 15 ways to find customers for your business:
1. Develop a Plan. Defining your Ideal Customer. If you sell to businesses, consider what dept is most likely to buy your products or services, and what individual (what level of responsibility) would be the one to determine the specific purchase requirements. (Make some calls, if you don’t know!) Determine how long the buying cycle is. Is buying your product, a decision that can be made quickly by a single person? Or are you selling something that has a long buying cycle, possibly involving multiple individuals? Next think about how the typical buyer normally finds products or services like yours. What professions do they work in? Are they active in social media?. Who are they likely to listen to or where do they look when they want to buy your type of product or service. Write all this information down and look for patterns. Then, plan ways to put yourself and your information where the people in your Target Market can find it when they are ready to buy.
2. Website & Social Media: easy for visitors to get to know your products & services and how to reach you. Better yet, figure out a reason to give you their contact information. An offer of a free Newsletter, a free Guide to or a Coupon can all be good devices to use for lead capture for new Customers. Then follow up regularly on those leads. (ie, monthly)
3. Look for & follow Prospects on Social Media. Don’t try to sell to them on their Social Media Feeds. Instead, try to develop relationships. Re-tweet or comment on their posts. Mention them if appropriate in your own Social Media posts. Your goal: to get known and seen as a friend. Selling is a lot easier when you sell to people who feel like they know you and like you.
4. Personal Network. Ask your friends if they know of people who can use your services, or people who may know others who could use your services. If your pricing structure will allow it, offer friends & associates a Finders’ Fee for referrals that turn into jobs.
5. Public Network: Attend meetings & seminars that your prospects might attend. If you’ve been doing that and haven’t made contacts that could lead to sales, try new networking groups. Look in the newspapers or do a search (ie, of Convention Centers) to see what other organizations hold events that might attract your Target Market and attend some of those meetings.
6. Follow up after Meetings. Contact the people you’ve just met, to see if they may be prospects. If they say they don’t need your services now, ask when a good time to call back, or if they know peers who could use what you sell now.
7. Study your successful Competitors. Where do they advertise? Where do they network? What tactics do they use? What works for them may work just as well for you.
8. Local Newspapers. Even in the digital age, daily & weekly newspapers are still an incredible source of contact information & leads to potential customers. Watch for names of people who have been promoted, who have won awards, who have opened new businesses, or who in any way may be potential customers. Send those people personalized mailings congratulating them on their success or telling them how interesting the article about them was. Include your company name & slogan plus any appropriate product info with your signature.
9. Use “multiple” small Ads instead of 1 BiG 1. If most people in your type of business advertise in print to bring in customers, you should do the same. But don’t plan on making a big splash with one large Ad. Plan smaller ads to run over a long time in maybe the same publications that your competitors (use or could use ) to advertise in.
10. Sponsor Events. Look for Events that may bring your potential market to you. Look for Fliers about the event at local Networking group meetings. Or, call and ask the organizers if there are Sponsorship opportunities available. Local events can be quite inexpensive to sponsor. Or if the sponsorship cost is high, they may have a “Friends” of the event option that will give you the right to have fliers at the event for a very small fee.
11. Give a “little” to get a LOT. If you can, give away Free Samples of your product and ask the recipients to tell their friends if they are pleased. Or, if you are a Consultant, give away some “free” Advice. This could be in the form of a Newsletter – that contains news and/or tips & hints, or it could be a free Consultation during which you provide just enough information to help the Client scope out their project and know that you have the ability to handle it.
12. Ask for Feedback when Prospects don’t buy. Did they find a product that better served their needs? Did they decide they don’t need the product at all? Did they just postpone their buying decision? Did they find it difficult to place an order on your web site? Use what you learn to make needed changes and watch your sales start to grow.
13. Claim your place in Google My Business. While you’re at it, be sure to list yourself (and make sure your Website address is correct) in as many significant Directories that you qualify for. Chambers of commerce, and other local business groups often have member directories in which you can list Contact info & Website.
14. Test Pay-per-Click (PPC) and other online advertising. To keep costs down, target your ads so they reach people who are similar to your most likely prospects, and target them so they only show up in the geographic region you service. Set daily targets and monthly budgets, then check your account frequently the first few days you set it up to see if it’s working.
15. Realize there is no one Road to success. Sales often happen because prospective customers hear about your products & services in several different ways and from several different sources. The more often they hear about you, the more likely they are to consider you credible and “value” in what you have to offer – when they are ready to buy.
Comments: Do you know of any other way to Find new Customers?
from Business Know How 7/17 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wi4biz