Every business relies on customers – not only for growth but also for survival. The good news is that there are practical steps you can take to ensure that your business attracts, and holds on to, customers. Offering great services and products is a must. But, there are additional things you can do to make your business successful. Here are 5 ways to attract new customers to your business:
1. Know your X factor
You need an X factor – a way to set your business apart, the Unique Selling Point (USP) that makes your business stand out in a sea of similar businesses. It could be based on price, quality, excellent customer service, or any number of other things.
To find your USP, start by making a list of the competitors in your area. These would be other businesses of a similar size, providing the same product or service. Run a quick Google search and check out their websites to see what they are offering. Make a table and in each column write out the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, along with your own. Size up what makes you unique, write it out in one clear sentence, and that’s your USP.
Keep in mind that your X factor is not going to remain unchanged, but may shift with time. Once or twice a year, think about what you can do to respond to new market demands. For example, if you’re a cleaning company in the age of COVID, you could take the opportunity to shift your selling point to include new anti-bacterial products that target the virus.
2. Zone in on your target audience
You can’t sell to everyone. Your services or products will be relevant to a specific audience. So take the time to find out who they are. Think in terms of age, interests, location, and disposable income. Think about what their struggles are, and what you can offer to help overcome them. Ask your existing customers what more they think you could offer them to make their lives easier. You could do this in a casual conversation at the end of an appointment. Or you could ask them to submit ideas to a suggestion box – perhaps with the chance to enter a prize draw as an added incentive!
Once you have your audience, make it easy for them to reach you. Make it easy for them to book your time or send you a question. You can even send them a friendly appointment reminder through an automated system. An online booking system makes all this happen automatically, while you’re focused on building your business.
3. Create a strong brand
A brand is the way customers recognise and experience a business. We all recognise Starbucks and McDonalds at a glance, right? A strong brand easily attracts new customers to a business. Your SMB too should have a clear brand, built on a solid understanding of your business and the competition. It should blend smoothly and logically with every aspect of your business. If you don’t have a clear brand identity, how will people know what you offer and whether it is relevant to them?
If you’re a handyman, known for your personal approach and ability to tinker with everything, a Mr. Fix-It type persona might work for your business. On the other hand, if you’re a gardener, known for offering elegant landscape solutions, flowery script on your business cards and promotional flyers, will highlight that. Add a gallery of beautiful photos of gardens and reviews from happy customers to your website, and you’re on your way.
We know that as an SMB your resources may be stretched, but branding doesn’t have to be a huge time or money sucker. If you can afford to hire an expert, even just to give you a steer, that’s great. If not, you can still create a solid brand using simple online tools that work well together and walk you through every step of the process. This could be the main investment that changes the whole path of your business.
4. Use the right media platform
Over 3.6 billion people use social media globally. This means that social media is vital to your ability to attract new customers to your business. Whether it’s Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, or a different platform that’s popular with your target audience.
Do a little research about the platforms and find one or two that connect with your target audience. For example, the majority of TikTok users are under age 30. If this represents your target audience, it’s a worthwhile platform to build on; if not, don’t waste your time with it.
Whatever platform(s) you choose, build a following of people who are looking forward to your next post. You can do that by creating engaging, compelling content your followers love. And don’t overlook the value of video. You can produce engaging video content on a modest budget, with just a mobile phone.
If you’re a family photographer, for example, you could create a time-lapse of behind the scenes at a photoshoot. If you’re a plumber, offer some tips for dealing with calcium build up on a shower-head.
5. Invest in your customer relationships
Your customers – both existing and future – are everything. If you want their rave reviews shouted from the rooftops, invest in the relationship. Be sure to let them know that you don’t take them for granted.
It really doesn’t take much – the first step is keeping in touch with your customers. You can send them emails, vouchers for relevant products, or Happy Birthday greetings. All this helps to build their loyalty and ensure they keep coming back to you.
It’s also worth inviting your customers’ feedback. We know that the majority of people check business reviews before choosing a service provider. So you should take the review process seriously. Proactively request feedback from customers. Respond to every review – and when you do so, be professional. Even if a review is negative, don’t become defensive. Instead – offer a solution.
Some negative reviews are inevitable – you’re only human after all. But, your response to them can be an opportunity to spin the situation and show potential future customers that their satisfaction is your priority.
These are just some of things you can easily do that will help attract new customers to your business. Once you know your X factor and precisely who you are targeting, develop your brand so customers can recognise you. And start to use smart online tools to connect with them and tell the world about what you do. It won’t be long before you’re seeing the rewards!