That’s right. Creating a strong client list isn’t easy.
It must be done though.
As the owner of a small business you thoroughly understand that without clients your business is as good as dead. You also strongly appreciate the fact that to grow your business you need an inflow of new clients. What therefore are some of the techniques you can employ to attract new clientele?
1.Identify who the ideal customer is and find the best message for them
The ideal customer for your business is typically someone who is upbeat about what your business has to offer and can afford to purchase the same. To create an accurate profile of this customer you can either make use of demographics & psychographics info (where you’ll consider pointers like sex, age, location, income, company size, industry, and emotional buying triggers) or use customer circumstances (where you’ll consider the particular situations, problems or opportunities that would inform people’s decisions to buy from you).
Once you know who to target, set out to craft effective marketing messages that will best describe what the end result and/or feeling of purchasing and using your product/service is. The point here is to focus on more than the product/service itself; go ahead and let the targets know what benefits and advantages will accrue to them by using your product/service and how doing this will make them feel.
2.Establish your mission statement and live up to it
Your business’ mission statement is the motto that customers will make reference to in your dealings with them and they will expect you to uphold it in every way, every day. It is therefore best to settle on a mantra that simply describes what your personality and professionalism are. Whatever line of business you are engaged in you should have no problems living up to what customers and prospects expect from you.
3.Provide exemplary customer care and service
How are you taking care of your current clients? The fact is that the expression “word of mouth” still holds true today despite the digital progress we identify with. Actually, it now ought to be “word of digital mouth” – you know that word travels so much faster nowadays.
How is this relevant? Well, don’t underestimate the power of great customer care and service. Research has shown that customers’ perception of how they are being treated has a major influence on whether or not they decide to buy. Also, knowing human nature, where we are more eager to report negatives than positives, you do have your work cut out.
Get to work creating great experiences for your clients by being helpful, informative, pleasant, and promptly responsive to their questions and comments. Your satisfied client base will no doubt spread the word about you and you can expect the list to grow.
4.A reputation for integrity is imperative
Dealing with people calls for a high level of personal integrity; deception and tricks can only get you so far. Let the quality of your work market your business brand. Prospects will be better convinced to come onboard if they know exactly what to expect from your products/services.
Where the requirements asked of you are out of your scope it is quite in order to inform prospects of someone else who is better qualified. Next time it may be your turn to benefit from such referrals.
5.Cultivate trustworthiness and credibility
When you are trying to sell your product/service to high-end or elite prospective clients you stand a better chance of securing a deal if you are backed by a reputation for credibility and trust. Being endorsed by influential persons, using credible introductions and testimonials, and submitting credible case studies and industry data are some of the options you can employ. Reach your target potential clients through effective channels as informed by your background research about their purchasing behaviors.
6.Improve your body language
How prospective clients perceive your body language is likely to have a significant influence on how they react to you. Maintaining eye contact and an upright standing posture is a primary requirement for positive body language. Your eyes and eyebrows should communicate sentiments of interest, openness and friendliness; scrunching your eyebrows instead of keeping them relaxed may tell prospects that you disapprove or lack confidence in them. Folding your arms can be translated as being doubtful and hesitant. When seated maintain good posture and remain relaxed, not fidgety.
7.Networking is a prerequisite for finding new contacts
Building a network of contacts is a practical way to add to your customer base. Opportunities to provide and receive help and advice should also be readily taken up. This is a brilliant way to give your business and brand global exposure and recognition.
New contacts can also be acquired by becoming active on the best networking sites including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook i.e. social networking. On these platforms you will not only manage to create new relationships but also be able to directly connect with members of your target audience.
8.Be active on social media
It is foolhardy to ignore the potential that social media presents for business owners; you just can’t afford not to have a presence on these platforms – it’s free too.
To optimally exploit the power of social media make sure that your contents are awesome, so awesome that people will always want to react to them. Getting people hooked in this way will present you with a great audience to which you can market your business.
Interact with your audience by responding to their comments and asking/answering questions. Maintain the audience’s attention by posting regularly especially on Pinterest and Facebook as these channels account for a huge volume of the traffic directed to online stores. Also remember to include graphics in your posts as this will make them more attention-grabbing.
9.Proper etiquette should be maintained in all your communications
Whether writing/responding to emails, posting/replying on social media, or making/receiving phone calls, the onus is on you to maintain an air of courtesy. Remember that offensive/vulgar phrases, words, tone and language are never erased from people’s memories. Also, you must always ensure that your emails and other written communications feature proper spelling and grammar.
10.Make sure that your website is attractive
You need to create a compelling website. Period.
The power of first impressions comes into play here; within 3-5 seconds of checking out your website many visitors will have made a decision about whether to stay or leave i.e. The Blink Test. Ask yourself therefore if you are personally pleased with what you see.
Does your website come across as being professional and presentable? Does its design endear itself as being modern and appealing? If your answer to these questions is “no” then you better make amends soon. Humans instinctively identify beauty with trustworthiness and reliability.
11.Offer promotions and discounts
Offering discounts and promos is really not so much about how much less customers get to pay as it is about the resulting psychological reaction that triggers positive emotions of excitement in them. This is especially so with regards to the word “free”. Indeed, the concept of free shipping for purchases above a certain price has been seen to motivate customers into spending more (and therefore more sales) in order to benefit from the free shopping offer.
The same thinking applies in the case of discounts where an offer such as “buy 2 get 1 free” often results in many customers making impulsive purchases. Loyal customers are also likely to make more purchases if they are offered special deals as this makes them feel appreciated.
12.Make use of email marketing campaign
Businesses that send emails to their target audience are better placed to grow their customer bases as opposed to those that don’t. Email is by design very personal unlike social media. Typically, when someone gets an email message they check to see who it’s from and what it’s about before deciding to open it or trash it. To ensure that your business emails will be read you need to have a compelling subject line that will make the recipient eager to know what the contents are.
You can use emails to spread the word about new products/services, sales and promotions, recommendations of other products after purchase, and tips and helpful information about your products/services. You can be sure that people always remember company emails they have received when they are preparing to make purchase decisions.
13.Embrace Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising
PPC is an online marketing strategy that involves the placement of ads on search engines and other websites. The marketer is billed when a visitor clicks on these ads. In the case of search engines the best results are likely to be attained by placing your ads on Google and Bing. Social media sites like Facebook are also worth exploring; you just need to identify where your target audience can best be engaged online.
Success with PPC is about coming up with a promotional calendar, coordinating ads and landing pages, and employing well written and tested copy. You also want to take advantage of Google’s free AdWords consulting for new advertisers, and the credibility that comes with having a Google Trusted Site badge next to your ads.
14.Find new customers at online marketplaces
Finding new customers is also about making your product/service available across multiple channels and dynamically responding to the rapidly changing online shopping behaviors. Selling on online marketplaces like Amazon and other online retail sites that receive millions of people in shopping traffic monthly is something you can consider. Nevertheless, you need to encourage your new customers to shop directly from your website the next time. Offering coupons and discounts in the shipping box is just one of the ideas worth using in a bid to convince them.
Attracting new clients to your business is a primary requirement for business growth. Using some of these techniques may also give you the added advantage of creating professional relationships that will be of mutual benefit for years to come.
Now I’d like to know: What works best for you in your search for new customers?