Mastering the art of customer growth is the fastest way to small business success. After all, you can’t have a thriving business if no one is buying. In this article, we’ll explore how to attract more customers to your business by deep diving into both the tried and true methods, as well as creative tactics your competitors aren’t thinking about.
How to get more customers
There is no limit to the tactics and avenues you can explore to get new customers. A few of our favourites are below. While you may not be able to implement all of them all of the time, it’s good to build a knowledge base of your options so you always have something fresh you can try.
1. Know your target audience
In order to attract more customers to your business, you need to know your target audience. This means understanding who your ideal customer is, what they are looking for, and how you can reach them.
The most effective way to do this is simply to ask. Talk to your happy customers. Talk to your disgruntled customers. Talk to people who should be your customers but are customers of your competitors instead. Find out what they have in common with each other (demographics, interests, etc.). Find out their biggest pain points. Find out why they have or have not chosen you.
Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, you can focus on both perfecting your product to meet their unique needs, as well as how to get their attention. Identify the channels that are most likely to reach them, whether it's online advertising, direct mail, or even word-of-mouth.
2. Offer incentives and intro offers
Offering incentives and intro offers is a surefire way to attract more customers to your business - especially those who may have been considering your product or services before but just needed a little nudge to become a customer.
For example, you could offer a discount on the customer's first purchase, or a free gift with purchase. You could also offer a loyalty programme, where customers can earn rewards for making repeated purchases. Refer-a-friend programmes tend to do remarkably well because they entice both current and future customers.
By offering such incentives, businesses can encourage potential customers to take the plunge and become loyal regulars. In addition, businesses can also use intro offers as a way to build buzz and generate word-of-mouth marketing. When done effectively, these strategies can help businesses to attract more customers and keep them coming back for more.
3. Always follow up with your existing customers
There are a lot of reasons to keep your existing customers happy. Not only is it easier to keep a customer than acquire a new one, they are also your greatest source of intel.
Follow up with them both to enquire about their satisfaction, as well as keep them abreast of the exciting developments in your business. If you can, offer them exclusivity in the form of discounts, rewards, or information.
Additionally, following up can help you to identify any potential problems with your product or service. By quickly addressing any issues, you can avoid losing customers and damaging your reputation, while proving to your customers that they have been heard. By staying in touch with your customers and showing them that you value their business, you can increase the likelihood that they'll come back to you in the future.
4. Keep an online presence and create great content
These days, customers are more likely than ever to research a business online before they make a purchase. If they can't find any information about your company, they may move on to a competitor. Therefore, it's essential to have a website and active social media accounts.
But simply having an online presence isn't enough. You also need to make sure that your website and content are high quality. Customers should be able to easily navigate your website and find the information they're looking for. And your content should be well written, visually appealing, accurate, and helpful. If you can create a great online experience for potential customers, you'll be well on your way to attracting more business.
There are many different digital channels you can use to reach your target audience online, and it's important to find the ones that will work best for your business. Newsletters, blog posts, social media, and YouTube are all great options for reaching potential customers. By using a mix of these channels, you can reach a large number of people and get them interested in what you have to offer.
5. Attend in-person events to meet new clients
In today's digital age, it can be easy to forget the importance of face-to-face interactions. However, when it comes to growing your business, there is no substitute for meeting potential customers in person.
Attending community events and trade shows is an excellent way to make new connections and market your products or services. You can also use these opportunities to learn about your industry and stay up-to-date on trends.
Networking at in-person events can also help you build relationships with other businesses and organisations that may be able to refer customers to you, partner with you to reach new audiences, or expand your network and knowledge base in other meaningful ways. For all these reasons, attending in-person events should be a key part of your strategy for attracting more customers.
6. Ask for testimonials and online reviews
Asking for testimonials and online reviews are two great ways to attract more customers to your business. Testimonials can be used on your website or in marketing materials, and they provide potential customers with real-life examples of how your products or services have helped others.
Online reviews on sites such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp serve a similar purpose, and they can also help improve your search engine ranking. Potential customers are increasingly turning to the internet to research businesses before making a purchase. If your business has positive reviews from past customers, it will be more likely to appear at the top of search results and catch potential customers' attention.
There are a few different ways to encourage your customers to write testimonials or leave reviews. You can include a link to your business's review page in your email signature, or you can send out follow-up emails after a purchase asking customers to leave a review.
The best place to get a customer to leave a review or testimonial is immediately after they’ve made a purchase. If they’ve purchased in-store, provide a QR code or if the transaction has been made digitally, provide a link where they can do the same.
Customers are more likely to trust businesses that have been reviewed positively by others. By encouraging customers to write testimonials and leave online reviews, you can not only improve your business's visibility but also build trust with new customers.
7. Invest in advertising and direct marketing
Advertising helps to raise awareness of your business and can reach a wide audience, while direct marketing allows you to target specific individuals who are more likely to be interested in your products or services.
Examples of traditional advertising include billboards, television, radio, and some digital ads, whereas direct marketing includes email, direct mail, social media, and more.
For both traditional advertising and direct marketing channels, one of the most important things to remember is to make sure that your message is clear and concise. You want potential customers to understand what you're offering and why they should choose your business over others – and you need to be able to convey all of this information fast, within a matter of seconds. People’s attention spans are short - and they’re constantly inundated with media. Your first task is cutting through the noise to stand out.
When it comes to direct marketing, you have a bit of an advantage as you’re reaching people who are either already familiar with your business, or have a set of characteristics that make them likely to be interested in your product or service. While clear and concise messaging is just as critical with direct marketing as it is with traditional advertising, you have the advantage of being able to create tailored assets for an audience segment you already know quite a bit about.
8. Set goals and track your progress
It's important to set goals when you're trying to attract more customers to your business. This will give you a target to aim for and help you measure your progress.
When setting goals, consider which metrics will be most meaningful as you scale your business. These will likely include customer and revenue goals, but you may also want to think about metrics that will help you along the way to hitting your bottom line. These could include:
- Growing your email list
- Acquiring new customers from specific marketing and advertising channels
- Individual goals for new and returning customers
- Average dollar spent per customer
Once you've set your goals, it's crucial to track your progress. Write down your goals - either with pen and paper or digitally - in a highly visible place that you will visit often. Set a date for when you want to reach your goals, and make a plan for how you will track them and how often you will check in. Different methods work for different people - what’s most important is that you are consistent and hold yourself accountable.
Creative ways of attracting customers that your competitors might not have thought of
When putting together a strategy to grow your business, you’ll want a mixture of tactics that have historically been successful, as well as creative strategies others in your space aren’t considering. Getting creative not only saves you time and money but also gets you exposure where your competitors aren’t.
1. Partner with complementary businesses
One way to attract more customers to your business is by partnering with complementary businesses. For example, if you own a pet store, you could partner with a local groomer or vet. If you own a boutique clothing store, you could partner with a spa or salon. By teaming up with other businesses in your community, you can reach a wider range of potential customers and benefit from referrals.
If you're not sure how to get started, reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce or similar organisations in your area. They can help connect you with other businesses that would make good partners.
2. Bundle products
By bundling products together, you can offer customers more value for their money, which can entice them to do business with you over your competitors. Bundling products can help you clear out excess stock, which can save you money in the long run. You can also use bundling as a way to upsell customers, by offering a higher-priced bundle that includes additional items or features.
When bundling, make sure that the products complement each other and add value for the customer when used together. Be sure to clearly communicate the benefits of the bundle to customers so they understand why it's a good deal, and price competitively. If done correctly, product bundling can be a great way to attract new customers to your business and boost your bottom line.
3. Be charitable
By giving back to the community, you can not only make a difference, but also attract more customers to your business. There are a number of ways to be charitable, such as volunteering your time, donating money or goods, donating your space for charitable activities, or simply lending a helping hand. Whatever approach you take, remember that the key is to be genuine in your efforts. When customers see that you care about more than just making a profit, they'll be more likely to do business with you.
Getting involved in charitable organisations will also expand your network not only to potential customers, but also to other community-minded individuals who can provide powerful leads for partnerships and word-of-mouth advertising. So if you're looking for ways to get more customers, don't forget the power of giving back.
4. Host community meetings - online or offline
A community meeting is a great way to deepen your relationship with current customers and bring new ones in the door by enticing them with a community activity that provides value to the things they care about.
When planning a community meeting, make sure to choose a topic that will be of interest to your target audience, and avoid making it all about your business. For example, if you own a pet store, you could host a meetup for pet owners in your area. If you own a specialty coffee shop, you could host a meetup for coffee lovers.
Community meetings have seen success in different ways both on and offline. Offline you have the advantage of forging deeper human connections through in-person bonding. This is an especially great option if your business has a space of its own. However, online meetups have advantages as well, in that they are more accessible to more people.
5. Get listed in local directories
A local directory is an online or offline database of businesses that are local to a specific area. You’ll be able to include vital information about your business such as address, hours of operation, contact details, a description of products or services, and even coupons or discounts.
Some popular local directories for small businesses include:
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
- Thomson Local
6. Trust in word of mouth
As a small business owner, you know that word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal. After all, when someone hears about a great product or service from a friend or family member, they are much more likely to check it out for themselves.
This is why it's so important to focus on providing an outstanding customer experience - if your customers are happy with what you have to offer, they will be more likely to tell others about you.
You can also incentivise customers to spread the word about your business by offering discounts or coupons for referrals. We are social creatures, after all, and no one can resist talking about a great experience and a great deal.
7. Hire talented staff and invest in your team
Having a great product or service is only half the battle when it comes to attracting customers. The other half is having a team of talented staff who can provide an outstanding level of customer service. When customers have a positive experience with your business, they are much more likely to come back and recommend you to others.
Investing in your team through training and development shows them that you are committed to providing them with the necessary tools to be successful. In turn, this will lead to increased motivation and productivity (as well as more skilled employees, of course). Customers are also more likely to return to a business that they know cares about its employees.
The ripple effect of finding great employees and treating them well can be felt throughout your business. Happy employees will have better interactions with customers - leading to deeper customer relationships. They’re more likely to stay longer - saving the business owner time and money recruiting and training new ones. And they’ll be more likely to go above and beyond for your business - providing you with fresh ideas and perspectives that can help you grow in new and exciting ways.
8. Stop obsessing about your competitors and focus on your product or service
It's easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and how they're doing it. But the truth is, your competitors are not your customers. While it’s certainly important to keep a pulse on your competitors to help you stay competitive, keep your ideas fresh, and understand what your customers are prioritising, spending all of your time obsessing over them and trying to mimic them will quickly rob you of what makes your business unique.
That's why the best way to attract more customers to your business is to focus on creating the best product or service that meets their needs. Once you have that, the rest will fall into place. You'll be able to charge what you're worth, win over more referrals, and build a loyal following of customers who will keep coming back for more. So put your competition on the backburner and instead focus on what really matters: delivering an amazing product or service that your customers can’t live without.
How to get more customers for my business - final thoughts
Customers and small businesses pose quite the chicken and the egg dilemma. Your business can’t exist without its customers, but you can’t get customers without a business. Growing your business and your customer base in tandem takes a delicate balance. Grow your business too fast without the customers to support it, and you’ll find yourself underwater. But deprioritising business growth when your customer base is climbing will leave you with frustrated customers - who will quickly look elsewhere for their needs.
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If you haven’t already, apply now so you can turn your focus to attracting more customers to your business.