Growing your business requires a combination of keeping current customers and finding new ones. Retain existing clients by meeting their needs, providing excellent service, and connecting with them on an emotional level. Seeking new prospects requires a bit more creativity and finesse. You have to meet them where they hang out and gain their trust.
Salesforce did a bit of research on the top characteristics of successful business owners. It found about 33% had good communication skills, giving them an edge when reaching out to new customers. If you’re not up to par, make improvements by taking courses, reading articles and trying new tactics until you become an excellent communicator. Once you’ve done your research about who your target audience is, it’s time to try some new strategies to gain their interest.
1. Create Brand Awareness
Making them aware of your brand is the first step in the new acquisitions game. Start by choosing a strong message for your company. What do you stand for and care most about? Your mission should tie into the reason you started your business in the first place. How does your organization help your clients? Why are you passionate about making a change in the world?
Once you’ve perfected your message, share it on social media, at local events and in advertising. Be consistent with your mission, and you’ll begin developing a name in the industry.
2. Add Signage
If you own a brick-and-mortar store, signage helps create awareness in the community. Passersby see a sign about your grand opening or other events and stop in. They’re also useful inside your store to guide users to a specific area or showcase new arrivals. Your signage should match the rest of your style, using brand colors and sticking to a basic style customers see anywhere they interact with your brand.
3. Get Social
Going on social media isn’t anything new, but you can seek new customers on some of the more recent platforms, such as Tik Tok. Look at who your audience is and if you can reach any new people through emerging apps and platforms. If you’re one of the first businesses on a medium, it’s much more likely you’ll develop a strong following. You’re competing with less noise in the early days.
4. Attend Local Events
The best place to find new customers is often close to home. Set up a small booth at a local art festival or street fair. Join in on local chamber of commerce events to network with other business owners. Interact in the local community and get your name out there. Even sponsoring a team at the local Little League park has the potential to bring in new customers you otherwise wouldn’t have connected with.
5. Send Unique Mailers
Come up with a fun campaign and send mailers to people within your target audience. You might do a series including corny jokes related to your industry, leading up to an invitation to a fun event. You could offer something free, such as consultation for homeowners. Think about the typical mailers coming to your home and make yours different. You can send a postcard that is a little larger than average, use eye-popping colors or create a story in booklet form.
6. Attend Trade Shows
Finding a trade show with attendees who fall into your customer profile is an excellent way to expand your reach. If you an afford booth space, set up an exhibit and sign up new customers on the spot. However, if a booth isn’t yet in your budget, don’t let it deter you from attending the conference. You can still make connections just by going to workshops at the event and reaching out to people on the floor.
7. Schedule Radio Interviews
Get in touch with local radio personalities and offer to share your expertise in your industry. For example, if you run a secondhand store, you might talk on a show about saving money or fashion sense. Look at local shows first and reach out to those hosts. Next, expand to national and online broadcasts.
8. Write a Book
Most business owners get into a new endeavor because they have a lot of experience in the industry. Think about the unique knowledge you have and how you could put it into a book. You can either offer it for free in exchange for the person’s email or sell it. You can even give speeches to various groups and sell the book on the side. Once you’re published, you also become more recognizable as an authority.
9. Create a Podcast
Podcasts are quite popular with a broad audience. In the United States, around 75% of people are familiar with them. The number of people familiar with the medium grows each year. A podcast gives you a chance to have a platform and fully promote your company above any others. Decide on a topic and the way you’ll serve up the presentation. For example, you might choose to release it on iTunes.
10. Start a Referral Program
Your current customers are your best word-of-mouth marketing tool. Sometimes they’re just waiting for a chance to tell other people how much they love you. Start a referral program where you reward them for sharing information with others and bringing you new business. If you gain a new customer from a referral, you could offer them a discount off their next purchase, for example.
Another idea is giving them 25% off coupons to hand out to those they know. If the recipient uses the discount, they get the same benefit. Referrals help your business grow exponentially with very minimal additional effort from you.
Spend time online looking at promotions other companies both inside and outside your industry offer. What creative endeavors make the most sense for your business? Look for ways to introduce your company to new people, and don’t be afraid to try something no one else has before. The key to continual growth is creativity and determination.
Lexie is a digital nomad and web designer. When she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.