As a business owner, the job of finding new customers for your business is going to be your number one priority. But how exactly do you go about attracting new customers without coming across as completely desperate, or having to pay out a lot of money for expensive marketing?
New business owners are usually having to work from a tight budget, at first at least, until they can get their company established and their name recognized. It is now that you need to make good decisions about where you put your resources and apply your efforts to get the best returns.
First of all, let’s take a look at some of the options open to you for attracting new customers and how they can work for you.
The first thing any new business owner thinks of when wondering about getting new customers is through paid advertising. The key to using advertising is to create promising sales leads for the money you invest into it.
Old fashioned advertising tricks have little effect here, so you need to be more creative and look for a way to give out a message about your business that not only reaches your target audience, but can also showcase your products or services while providing a solution to their problem.
You also have to weigh up factors such as whether you are paying for blanket advertising that may reach many thousands of people, yet your product or service would only appeal to about 5% of those your advert reaches.
Targeting specific audiences through TV advertising may be your most expensive option, but you will at least have a chance to put your advert where it will reach and connect with the right people. Say for example you sell gas barbecues. These would be well placed on an ad break between popular cooking shows rather than following a news program or a soap opera.
Although print-based advertising in newspapers and magazines isn’t as effective as it once was, if you run a niche business, then you may find a good opportunity for advertising in a magazine or catalogue that serves your niche industry. Don’t forget that older readers still heavily rely on newspapers and magazines for their information, so if your customer demographic lays here, then it still can be an effective advertising medium.
Internet and Social Media
With the rise of the internet, and social media more specifically, going online to find your customers is a great starting point for a new business. Even the older generation of ‘silver surfers’ are turning to the internet for their news and information these days rather than relying on print media alone.
The first thing you need to do here is to establish your web presence. Having a bespoke website built for you is a great start and you should follow this up by adding a blog and keeping your blog fresh with regular useful content. Next you should link your website up to your social media pages.
Social media is a big driver for potential new customers to your website to buy your products or services. However, it does pay to choose your social media channels well. For example, if your business is a B2B company primarily aimed at attracting business from your peers or from within your own business sector, then LinkedIn would be your most important channel to be active on.
For B2C companies, you can do a bit of research to find out where your target demographic hangs out on social media. Facebook is still the largest and most dominant platform among the general population, but if your customers are more niche and specialized, then they may hang out more often on another channel, such as Twitter or Instagram.
Local Business Networking
Lots of solo entrepreneurs and small business owners start off establishing themselves at a grass root level within their local community. This is a smart move and especially important for social enterprises and community businesses who want to appeal to customers right on their own doorstep.
Networking can be a lot of fun and it is amazing how many local businesses you can discover by attending a local business network meeting that you never knew where in the area. Not only is great for spreading the word about your own company among your local business community, it can often lead to you forging friendships and business partnerships that you never thought of before.
Most networking events have a very social side to them and are often held over breakfast, lunch or dinner at a local venue.
Making friends with other business owners, even when their business isn't directly related to yours, can be a great way to earn referrals.
Don’t forget that most referral customers are more likely to buy from you because they already trust the person who referred them to you. This can have a knock-on effect where your referral customers will start recommending you to their family and friends.
Credit: Photo by rawpixel.com