The digital world has created an environment in which every small, local businesses must compete with big box stores from around the globe. Customers have easy access to pricing, research, and reviews. You might think this puts your small business at a disadvantage. The opposite is true.
Big box stores cannot compete with the customer service offered by a smaller business. Likewise, larger companies cannot focus on individual customers. You know that every customer counts. Now is the time to capitalize on that by using a practical, time-tested way to get new customers and keep them coming back for more.
Keep Your Existing Customers Happy
Excellence in customer service isn't just about customer retention. Happy customers have friends, families, neighbors, and co-workers. They also have access to online reviews that can reach anyone, anywhere. Word of mouth from existing customers is invaluable when it comes to potential clients.
You can further encourage your customers to promote your business to their friends by creating incentive programs. Offer coupons and special offers for referrals. Host social media contests that promote your brand. Create discount plans for your existing customers and the friends they refer to you.
Online reviews are valuable assets to businesses of all types. Encourage your existing customers to leave online reviews to give feedback on your products or services. Provide incentives to customers who leave reviews, whether they are positive or negative. Many businesses do monthly drawings based entirely on the review process. Let your customers know they can be entered to win gifts or discounts just by talking about their experience with your business.
Get the most out of reviews by using review management software. This software compiles reviews from all over the web so you can learn precisely what is being said about your business. Use the best reviews on your social media pages to show potential customers what real clients think of your business. Customers will almost always trust reviews over marketing slogans.
Hold Contests and Giveaways
Everyone wants to get something for free. A contest or free offer makes your customers happy and makes potential customers curious. However, there are some tricks to successful freebies.
Increase Email Lists with Simple Contests
You can have a simple sign up for a free giveaway. Let people include their names and phone numbers for a drawing, and then randomly select a winner. This is easy, it increases your visibility, and it helps you develop a rich database of new contacts.
Make the Contest Work for You
Simple sign-ups are great, but potential clients often sign their names and quickly forget about the contest and your company. Instead, consider a game that requires participants to take an active role. Ask for logo designs, photos that are posted to social media, or other events that allow potential customers to have fun with the possibility of winning your contest.
Make Freebies In-Store and One Day Only
A gift drives foot traffic. Customers who show for the freebies will get to know your store and your products. Successful freebie campaigns can lead to an increase in one-day revenue and repeat customers.
Buy a Local Mailing List
A resident list can help you get in front of potential new customers. You can use this list to reach out to them via email, phone, or direct mail. This type of targeted advertising can be beneficial with the right list, but you should be careful where you get it from. Make sure the vendor is reputable, and they regularly scrub their records to ensure the names are correct, and other information is kept up to date. There are some unreputable companies out there that sell lists with old information, phone numbers, and fake email addresses, so do your homework before purchasing, and only buy from a reputable company.
Cross-Promote With Other Businesses
A great way to reach new customers is through cross-promotion. Work with another business and advertise to each other's clients. Create two-for-one promotions or offer special discounts to those customers who use both companies.
The great part about cross-promotion is that it works with almost any type of business. Hair salons can work with specialty boutiques to create a “Pamper Yourself” marketing campaign. Bowling alleys can market their services with movie theaters to create an "Entertainment" package. Restaurants can work together to launch a "Taste of the Town" event. The possibilities are endless. You just have to be creative.
Marketing to get new customers is much easier when you already have an established customer base. That is true even when that customer base is not your own. You could develop an excellent relationship with this other business. Indeed, you may find that this new marketing technique is so successful that you'll want to repeat the campaign regularly. Conversely, you might try partnering with a variety of businesses until you find the best fit.
Try a Variety of Marketing Tactics
The same types of marketing techniques don't work for every potential client. Marketing to get new customers may include social media campaigns, direct mailers, television spots, or email newsletters. Rather than relying on one marketing tactic, why not try them all?
Different marketing tactics work particularly well when you can break down your hopeful client base into different demographics. You might learn that younger clients are most interested in digital marketing campaigns on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Meanwhile, older clients may be easier to reach with Facebook or direct mailers.
If you sell business-to-business, you need to use video testimonials on your website, and then share them on your social media channels. Direct mail is apt to get lost in the shuffle with business prospects, so you may have to resort to using cold calls and in-person visits for your marketing tactic. For on-site visits, be sure to leave a business card and a logo item like a pen, coaster, mouse pad, or other tchotchkes with your name on it. The best way, however, to impress prospective business customers is with a professional, user-friendly website.
A website that is easy to use and quickly provides any information needed by potential customers is a positive choice for every business. All of your marketing tactics should include a reference to this website. Most potential customers will look for your site before they visit you in person. If the website looks amateur, your business looks amateur. It is unlikely that new customers will want to do business with a company that doesn't have a professional-looking website.
The easiest way to get more customers is by making sure your business information is listed accurately on all search engines and directories. The fastest and easiest way to do this is with local listings builder software where you can manage your business information in one place, and push it out to all search engines and directories.