September 10, 2014
It’s a business principle as old as the barter system: if the pie is too big, then you need a bigger plate. But what happens if you don’t actually have enough pie to fill it?
Every business has one basic need: to grow. If a business isn’t growing, then it’s not long before that business begins dying, and one of the most fundamental elements of growth is achieving an increase in the size of its customer base.
Here are 5 easy ways to attract new customers, so that you can grow your base and your business along with it.
1. Know Your Target Market
The look and feel of every business is different, and there’s a very good reason for that.
It’s because every business IS different with customers of its own. During my years of experience across several industries, I’ve found one important truth:
The moment a business consultant hands you a cookie-cutter marketing campaign and says that your company should have the same facade as other successful companies;
you should find a new consultant.
The key is to know your customer base and what they will best respond to. In certain retail business models, a more personal tone might work better with some market demographics and for others, not so much. For B2B business models, you might want a less personal, more technical or authoritative tone. At the end of the day, your optimal tone, and the look and feel of your company, should depend on your market research.
Having a more relaxed, personal-sounding “about us” page might not actually work in your favor, depending on your industry and who your customers are.
2. Don’t Trust Luck Because Gambling Isn’t a Marketing Plan
Your first step in growing your customer base is to gather information about a) where you currently are in your marketing efforts and assess what might need to change, and b) where you want to go and the goals you want to achieve.
After that, your next task is to come up with a marketing plan.
Crafting a marketing plan is absolutely essential, and all of the other changes in your strategy will depend on it as if it were a foundation to a house. Marketing plans can range from being simple to complex, and they will outline several different aspects:
- Overall summary
- Market research
- Pricing and promotions
- Distribution methods and strategy
- Overall tone and content
- Marketing mediums
- Your projected outcomes
From this point forward, most of your business’s changes will depend on your how comprehensive and thorough your marketing plan will be.
3. Simplicity … It’s What Attracts New Customers
It’s 2014. What does that mean for your new business’s overall online presence?
It means that your business needs to:
- Ensure that the company website is easy to access.
- Make the site web responsive, if it isn’t already.
- Keep the site as SIMPLE, lightweight and easy to navigate as technologically possible. Other simple design websites have accomplished this and have reaped the rewards for doing so.
The more complex your website, the more difficult it will be to navigate and access, and statistics have emphatically shown this will have glaringly detrimental effects on your site’s ability to retain visitors and initiate sales conversions.
4. Selling … Keep It Soft
Hard selling can work for a few industries, but these are the exception and not the rule. High pressure, obvious, in-your-face advertising tends to yield base-level results or lower. Because the web has made it possible to block out advertisements (Adblock anyone?) to simply navigate away to sites that aren’t force-feeding marketing materials, and to easily find free information sources with the desired content, customers will go elsewhere …and fast.
For your online marketing strategy, it’s simply best to stay away from the hard sell these days, especially given the fact that consumer attention spans are falling.
If consumers are already unlikely to stick around even when the site’s content is informative or entertaining, then you’ll instantly lose interest the moment you hammer home the hard -sell.
The key is simple; the best marketing strategies begin with the meeting the desires and needs of your customers. Soft selling takes the more customer-centric approach.
5. Harness the Power of Happy Customers
Ultimately, the growth of your business depends on its ability to produce a better product or service for cheaper than the competition.
What is often NOT considered, especially in retail, is that customers will psychologically associate their experience (how your company made them feel) with the “quality” of your inventory or services. It’s crucial to keep this in mind, especially because:
- A dissatisfied customer will tell 8-10 people about their experience,
- A happy customer will only share with 2-3 people.
Thus, it stands to reason that a growing customer base depends on stellar customer service. And you need to keep in mind a negative review will have 3x the opposite effect of a positive review.
It’s always best to treat your customers how you would like to be treated, and they will become the most effective marketing tool at your disposal.
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