Business development · 29 March 2021

How to attract new customers for a local business?

How to attract new customers for a local business?

Businesses need customers to run, make a profit, and grow. This is straightforward and obvious but growing your customer base isn’t always as straightforward. Even if you have worked hard at building a loyal core clientele, without active pursuit of new customers you risk stagnating as a business or worse. Repeat customers are not a guarantee and betting on them may be a risk your business can’t take.

Thankfully, there are tried and tested methods to build your local customer base. You also don’t need to rely on flyers and local advertising. What you do need to know is who you are targeting, what advertising medium is best for them, and how you will specifically go about putting a marketing strategy in place to reach determined and attainable goals.

How do small businesses get new customers?

Depending on the type of business you own, the way you go about getting new customers will change. Popular and generally reliable methods include:

  • Getting recommendations and referrals from existing customers
  • Running competitions that increase visibility
  • Increasing social media presence and strategically using content and tags
  • Traditional advertising in print and media
  • Utilising underused tools such as Google my Business
  • Making sure your website is easy to find and navigate
  • Creating a persona for your small business – many small businesses have found increased success when there is a face behind the business doing social media updates and offering a personal presence
  • Revamping your storefront
  • Starting a customer loyalty program
  • Offering exceptional after-sales services
  • Offering freebies – even free online courses or printables which drive engagement up will get people interested and excited and cost you very little
Realistically, the primary tools for getting new customers to small businesses are no different to the tools big businesses use. The biggest difference is that small businesses have the benefit of being more specific and targeted.

Where a big business will have to cater to a more general market or spend much more time and money on targeted marketing, small businesses have a better grasp of their market and the market needs. This means that as a small business owner you can tailor your advertising more closely to your target market and make your product more appealing.

What are 4 ways to attract customers?

Attracting new customers to your business should be seen as an investment. So although you should be looking for ways to maintain a healthy bottom-line and decrease expenses, you should also be ready to put in the necessary capital for marketing. Not all marketing strategies are going to cost, but be aware that not all strategies will work for all businesses either.

The four main strategies to consider are: advertising, networking, collaboration, and long-term alliances.

No matter the strategy you choose, you will need to put a lot of time, effort, and possibly funds, into making it work. Be sure to understand what your goals are and how your chosen method works. Properly preparing before starting a new marketing campaign or approach will win you half the battle.

Advertising

Advertising is usually the first thing people think of when they start to consider widening their customer base. There are several different forms of advertising, all targeting different markets and costing businesses different amounts depending on the extent of the market. If you are wanting to build your business through straightforward marketing then you will need to carefully consider your product or service, target market, and the best advertising match. Television advertising, for instance, usually has a very different approach and target market from Tik-Tok advertising.

Some of the typical ways you might advertise are:

  •       Podcast advertising, including sponsored content and paid promotions
  •       Physical mail or flyering
  •       Door-to-door advertising
  •       Social media advertising (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest)
  •       Influencer advertising
  •       Blogging
  •       Display advertisements in print such as Newspapers
  •       Display advertisement in digital such as on websites
  •       Television advertisements
  •       Product placement
  •       Outdoor advertising such as billboards
  •       Radio advertising, including sponsored content
Knowing your target audience is vital to a good advertising campaign. If your target demographic is over 55, then community newspapers are a good place to advertise. However, if your product is aimed at young professionals, well positioned podcast advertising or social media advertising might be your best option.

Keep in mind that more and more people are also becoming tech-savvy and using the internet for daily tasks. Recent global events have triggered a mass move to online shopping and interaction. Take advantage of this active marketplace by ensuring you have a web presence. Market yourself on sites like LinkedIn to reach professionals, or Facebook to reach consumers.

Your web presence could make or break your advertising campaign though, so make sure your company website and social media channels are well curated and maintained. User experience should be easy and all the information your potential customers need should be easy to find and understand. Websites should be kept up to date with current events, products, and news. Social Media should be monitored frequently as more and more customers are interacting with businesses through their social media accounts.

Networking

Networking and referrals can be a much cheaper option of broadening your customer base. Studies have shown that customers gained through referrals are more likely to be repeat customers. Referral customers also fall into the bracket of people likely to refer others. This means that if you can properly network and gain referrals from the right group of people, you may be able to gain a perpetual loop of new customers through ongoing referral.

To get referrals right requires careful thought. You will need to understand your target market well and have a product that competes with everything else on the market. Your product or service doesn’t necessarily need to be unique, but it must have something to commend it. Are you hoping to draw in customers for the quality of your product or service, your after-sales approach, your company ethos, or your unique approach? Know what will drive the referrals.

Referrals can come through social media contests (follow, like, and share to win), online referral sites (TripAdviser and Google Reviews), word of mouth, or business networking. Think about what method works best for your business.

Don’t forget to thank your customers for good referrals. Incentives can often go a long way in getting word out about your business.

Collaboration

Short term collaborations with similar brands or businesses can be beneficial to other businesses and if you market yourself correctly, can cut costs. Find another business with a similar target market and use their reach to extend your own. This works both ways, so make sure your existing customers will appreciate seeing the products or services offered by the other business.


 
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