One of the main challenges that you have told me about, is how to get more customers. Today, I will show you 10 ways to do this. Next week, I will show you some free online marketing strategies for your business. The week after, I will give you some strategies to retain your customers. You can also find advice about advanced customer retention strategies.
1. Excellent customer service
What is the use of getting more customers unless you can manage to keep them? Try to offer the best possible customer service. This is easy if you always:
- treat customers in a friendly way
- make sure your products are of good quality
- resolve any issues quickly and to the customer’s advantage.
Research says that when people are surprised by good quality customer service, they will tell at least 4 other people. But if they feel bad about your customer service, they will tell up to 15 people about their experience. These days, because of social media, it means that thousands and thousands of people can hear about the kind of service you are offering.
2. Find out why people buy from you
Why do people buy from you instead of your competitors? Are you the one that is closest to their home? Are your the cheapest? Are you the only one selling certain products? Is it that you treat them better than other businesses do? Find out why people come to buy from you. (Ask them!) That reason is part of what makes your business unique.
It is important to understand 1 key thing in business. When people buy, they are looking for a solution for a problem that they have. This could be a simple problem. Like buying food to solve the problem of feeding their hungry family. Or like buying new clothes to solve the problem of feeling that they are lagging behind in fashion. It could also be that your business solves the problem of having to travel far to find a certain product.
Find out what problems people want to solve. Then position (= market) your business as the solution that people are looking for so you can attract more people.
3. Give discounts to new customers
One easy way to attract new customers is to offer discounts that are only available for new customers. For example, give them a discount if they buy a certain product. Just make sure that the profit on that product is high enough to cover the discount. Or: give new customers a coupon for a 10% discount on their second purchase from you. This will encourage them to come back.
If you are looking for ways to design great posters, flyers or Facebook posts, check out Canva.
4. Give rewards to whoever brings you new customers
Another way to grow your business is to use your existing customers. Or even friends, family and co-workers. Give them a reward if they bring you new customers. But set the condition that you will only give them the reward if the new customer buys a certain amount. The reward could be a discount, a free product or even to feature them on your social media.
5. Ask your customers to spread the word
Let us say that your customers are satisfied with your products and services. Then ask them to help you grow the business so that you can continue providing these products and services. Sometimes, customers actually do not realise that you are looking for more business. Those customers that are satisfied with you will happily help you. Don’t forget to ask your family and friends to do the same!
Ask your customers to tell their friends, co-workers and family members about your business and what you are selling. You can also combine it with strategy 3 and 4 for maximum impact. Don’t forget to give your customers whatever information they will need, like contact information for new customers.
6. Bring back customers who stopped buying from you
Why did somebody buy from you once and then they never came back? If you can find out the reason why, you may be able to bring back your former customers. If you know their contact details, ask them. If they have an issue with you, resolve the issue. For example, if they were not satisfied with a certain product, you can offer them a discount on a better and more expensive product if they try you one more time.
7. Promote your business for free on social media
Use websites like Canva to design beautiful Facebook posts or flyers to promote your business. Canva offers professional online design services at low cost, but you can also use the free version to design anything you want. The free version has 200 000 pictures that you can use to create the most beautiful designs. You can also upload your own pictures to personalise your business.
When you are promoting your business, always use a call to action. A call to action is something that will encourage people to buy from you. Your call to action could be a discount (strategy 2). Or maybe the first 25 new customers will get a little extra something if they buy from you. You can also organise an online competition. The prize can be a giveaway + Facebook feature for the person who brings you the most new business.
8. Engage in community events
Try to participate in events that are taking place in your community or city. Is there any event that you can sponsor? Like sports matches and charity events. Sponsoring does not always equal giving money. You can donate some products or even just donate your time. My recommendation is to focus on the events that your potential customers will also attend.
9. Show your expertise
If you have access to bigger events, take part in panel discussions or be a speaker. Look for industry events or business associations that your target customers also take part in. You can also consider giving free workshops or educational sessions to impress potential customers.
10. Look for businesses partners
What businesses in your area have customers that are similar to the kinds of customers you want to attract? If you partner with a complementary business, you can target each other’s customers and send new business to each other. Complementary means that the other business and you are not competitors.
For example, you have a retail business selling clothes, including maternity clothes. There is another business selling baby products. If you work together, the two of you can get more customers. Maybe you can offer a package of maternity dresses + baby dresses? An accounting company can partner with other business services providers. An event organiser can work with caterers and DJs to offer a full event package.