Acquiring new customers is a crucial factor in any growing small business – one that over half of small business owners today cite as a top concern, especially while wearing so many hats at work. If you’re spread thin, focusing on new acquisition can seem like a very daunting task. Without the right tools or knowledge, small business owners can often waste precious time and resources focusing on the wrong factors. Fortunately, though, there are a few simple tactics you can put in place that will draw in customers for you:
- Understand your target market.
It sounds cliché, but if you don’t know who your target market is, where they interact, and what they find valuable, you can’t develop custom sales strategies that will lure in the right customer. Who are they? How do they learn? What entertains them? Understanding your target market intimately will help you create relevant products and marketing which are the first steps in a successful acquisition strategy. Only by knowing your customer can you have an acquisition strategy that will attract the right customers.
- Make sure your website is up to date.
Bulk out your FAQ page to include as many details about your business as possible, to encompass any inquiries a potential customer might have while perusing your site. Also, be sure to tag your website (which should be mobile-friendly) with keywords to ensure you’re ranking as high on Google as you can. An SEO-optimized website sells itself: 80% of people ignore paid ads and instead focus on organic results, and 75% never scroll past the first page of search results. Your business should rank of the first page for keywords that your customers search for.
- Build word-of-mouth hype
Offering your customers a reward can motivate them to spread the word about your brand, especially when in the form of 2-sided referral programs. This means that both the referrer and his or her friend are both rewarded for signing up or purchasing your products. People are 4X more likely to buy when referred by a friend, and more than half of new customers come from customer referrals. When you use 2-sided referrals or reward-based incentives for your customers, it increases the likelihood they will participate and refer others.
- Build personal relationships.
Customers have always expected to be treated with respect, but the expectation of seeing customized messages – whether that be through an email, CRM program, or handwritten note – are becoming increasingly popular. Even if advanced personalization is still a distant goal for your small business, focus on building personal relationships and remembering all you can about individual preferences. The human-to-human connection is the way to understand your customer on a micro-level. Engage with people on social media. Join their conversations. Understanding where your customers are coming from on an individual level can help you initiate meaningful conversations to deliver something of value.
- Offer flexible purchase agreements.
Potential customers don’t want to feel pressured into buying something they might regret. In fact, 70% of consumers feel that brands are motivated by a self-centered desire to increase profits rather than by a sincere commitment to their customers. At the heart of it, people want to try before they buy. If you’re able to, offer free trials and lenient return policies. This can raise awareness with your brand, increase chance of immediate sales, and supply you feedback and reviews.
- Make their purchase as easy as possible.
Your website should be compatible with mobile and tablet, especially if your company generates revenue through e-commerce. Likewise, if your business generates revenue outside of a brick-and-mortar location, taking advantage of mobile payments is an added bonus for customers. Test various elements of your customer journey on multiple devices to ensure customers will have a seamless mobile experience.
As technology and today’s workplace are evolving, so should your customer acquisition tactics. Gaining new customers as a small business owner doesn’t have to be a difficult task on your already long list of tasks. By applying some of the above practices, you can ensure a smooth conversion to an increased customer-base.
This post is written on behalf of Cory Jones, who currently serves as Vice President of Commercial Marketing for Frontier Communications. In his role, Cory is responsible for all facets of business-to-business marketing for the company, including acquisition, retention, digital, social media, lead generation, and marketing communications.
Cory holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Texas Tech University. He lives in the Dallas area with his wife and two children, and is on an eternal quest to finally break par on the golf