Acquiring new customers is an important aspect of growing your business. Of course, it goes without saying that startups absolutely have to invest in customer acquisition, but even well-established businesses can benefit from expanding their customer base. A lack of new customers can lead a business to stagnation.
To attract new customers, you will have to be proactive. They aren’t always going to find you on their own. You can use some of these methods to bring them into your fold and reap the rewards of a larger customer base.
1. Audit and Improve Your Website
An increasing amount of business and marketing is conducted almost exclusively online. Studies have shown that nearly 90% of consumers in both the B2B and B2C spheres conduct research before working with a company or making big purchases. But, if your website isn’t up to snuff, you may actually be losing out on prospective clients.
In fact, one survey showed that three-quarters of consumers make value judgements about a company based on the quality of their website. A laggy, dull website that is not optimized for mobile (where people do a lot of searching) will turn people away. So, it’s important to ensure that your website works across multiple platforms, that it is optimized for Google searches, and that it provides valuable information like:
- Contact info
- Products and services
- Helpful articles or guides on a blog
2. Be Active, Informative, and Helpful on Social Media
Like your website, your social media profiles need consistent TLC to make new customer acquisition more likely. In fact, 85% of consumers want companies to make information available on social networks. People spend a lot of time on social networks and ignoring their potential as customer growth channels can put you behind the 8 ball.
Social media also affords you the ability to engage directly with potential customers without ever having to meet them face to face. In many cases, your social media profile will be the first entry point for consumers. Make a good first impression by having that profile filled with useful and informative content and always make your content easy to share.
3. Provide Promotions and Discounts for Incoming Customers
No one can resist a good bargain. If you incentivize a trip to your business, new customers will be more likely to do so. A good example of this comes in the form of streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Almost every streaming service offers a free trial so that new customers can test out the platform and see if they like it. Some customers cancel at the end of the free trial, but many stay on because they like the service.
While a free trial probably doesn’t make sense with most business models, you get the idea. Offering promotions and discounts for first-time customers is a great way to reel them in and keep them coming back. Of course, this tactic also works with previous customers who you haven’t heard from in a while. A strategically timed email or targeted ad can get these customers to return.
4. Form Strategic Partnerships with Other Businesses
Businesses form partnerships all the time, including those that are in direct competition with one another. If you are struggling to attract new customers, then you can attach your name to a more established business in your field or a complementary field. This brings your business to an entirely different customer base that may not have heard of you before.
5. Pay Attention to Review Sites
Review and rating websites represent part of your company’s web presence, whether you want them to or not. So, you shouldn’t just let them exist with no oversight. Yelp is probably the most well-known review site, but there are also many industry-specific sites. Google and Facebook also have reviews built into their services.
Many of these platforms allow you to claim your business, edit your page, respond to comments, and resolve issues that some reviewers may have had. You can also share good reviews on your website or social media profiles to amplify the good word.
6. Institute Referral Programs
There is no question that “word-of-mouth” marketing is still a big deal, even in today’s digital age. That being said, not everyone necessarily has the impetus to refer their friends to your business. Of course, you can nudge them in the right direction by sending emails to current customers asking them to tell their friends and family about your business.
You can also incentivize your referral programs by offering gifts or discounts to your customers. This is especially helpful if your company is in an industry where frequent repeat business is common. A discount coupon given to the referrer ensures that they will come back again and potentially refer more people in their network to you.
7. Try a “Direct Response” Approach
You might associate “direct response” marketing with something like an infomercial or direct mail. But, in this case, we’re referring to the act of using marketing to get some basic piece of contact information (usually an email address) from a prospective customer. Many companies use this tactic on their websites to generate leads.
It works by offering something of value (a “lead magnet”) to the consumer in exchange for some very basic information like a name, an email address, and an industry. Prospective customers enter their information into a “lead capture” form and receive the “lead magnet” in exchange. Common lead magnets include eBooks, webinars, email newsletters, or even online tools that can help clients in their own line of work. Salesforce provides tips to improve your business.
Direct response marketing can also just involve asking prospective clients to opt-in to your email list. Of course, you want to ensure that the emails you send out provide value after getting individuals to opt-in.
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If you want to attract new customers, then it’s going to take some work on your end. But, in the end, the payoff will be a business with a larger customer base. Each of those new customers can even turn out to be new brand evangelists, bringing even more new customers into your operation.