Small businesses are struggling. The economy isn’t what it once was, companies like Amazon are gobbling up a lot of the business, and Google is making it almost impossible for local companies to stand out. But not all is lost. There are still plenty of ways you can attract new customers, you just need to get a little creative.
You know the drill: you see an intriguing headline that promises something new but ultimately it’s just rehashed stuff you’ve seen countless times before. Not here (at least we hope so!). The following ten tips combine the familiar with an injection of the unorthodox,, with some elements hopefully being brand new to you as well.
1. Do Something Embarrassing for a Good Cause
Everyone loves the idea of charity and giving to a worthy cause. However, reports claim that people are starting to suffer from ‘charity fatigue’. If someone asks me to donate to their half-marathon one more time…
So how can you combine getting people to give to a good cause and drive some business your way while you’re at it? Do something embarrassing (just keep it in good taste!). For example, if you’re someone who’s known for their luscious locks, offer to shave them off. We also like the one where students at a Washington school played Justin Bieber’s Baby on repeat until people donated!
2. Snail Mail Still Works (It’s Arguably Even More Effective than Before!)
Most small business owners have completely ditched snail mail. Think about it, how often do you get marketing materials through the post compared to the old days? Exactly. Businesses have left the traditional form of advertising behind.
Don’t be like most companies. Snail mail still works, and part of the reason is the lack of competition. Let the stats do the talking on this one:
- 92% of snail mail gets opened. Yes, that’s over 9 out of 10 households.
- 15.2-28.5% of email marketing gets opened. And that’s according to MailChimp, one of the biggest players on the market.
- Studies have shown that flyers and catalogues are some of the most effective avenues, with an Australia Post research survey demonstrating that they influence behavior.
3. Find Surprising Partnerships
Moby and Natalie Portman. Madonna and Dennis Rodman. Russell Brand and Katy Perry. Hollywood odd couples have their big brand equivalents, except these actually worked. We’re talking Coca-Cola and Heinz. Virgin and Entourage (yes, the TV show!). These surprising brand partnerships were a big success, why not do the same with your small business? Think of a quirky up-and-coming brand and approach them.
4. Become an Influencer
Yes, it’s time to join the bandwagon. Those of us who are sick and tired of the Instagram bubble better get over it. It’s your path to new customers so get in on it and pronto.
Influencer marketing is ridiculously lean. All you need to do is showcase your expertise to a wider audience and you’ll find that people will start trusting your brand, consuming your free stuff only to become actual customers, and identifying you with the niche you operate in.
5. Crowdsource Your New Product
Thinking of introducing a new product or service to your lineup? Why not give your customers (and other members of the public!) the chance to get a slice of the action? It’s a cool way of getting the word out; people love getting involved with these initiatives.
Big brands like Oreo, Nike, and Coca-Cola have already set super successful examples. Budweiser even gave customers the chance to design a new beer, with the Black Crown being entirely down to the work done by the general public.
6. Lift the Lid off Your Operation
Most businesses think they have a sort of ‘secret sauce’ that sets them apart from others. That’s (usually) not true. Service and how you make your customers feel is what really makes them come back for more.
One way of doing this is by offering transparency. How does your product get from A to Z? If you’re a marketing company, show your customers how you get them exposure (or at least just one strategy). They’re not likely to steal it, but instead trust that you actually know what you’re talking about.
7. Give It Away for Free
Small business owners hate giving stuff away for free. You’re not operating at scale, so it seems like a waste to cut into your margins by not charging people for your service. But trust us, an initial outlay of your time or product can pay off in a big way.
Right, so you’ll all be familiar with the concept of giving away a sample or trial of your product. But have you ever run a free course or seminar series? If you’re a physiotherapist, run a webinar on how your patients can alleviate their symptoms, for example. A lot of people will be freeloaders, but all you need is to convert 1-2 potential customers and you’ve got yourself a winner.
8. Get Tech Savvy (3-in-1 Tip)
We’re sure you know that in today’s online space, having a website isn’t enough. You’re going to have to be a little tech savvy. Here are 3 techie tips that can get you more customers:
- Build an email list. Your list is one of your most valuable digital assets. If you don’t have one, start now. Check out how to do it using social media.
- Optimize the customer journey. 1-click ordering has really changed the game. If your customers have to spend more than a couple of minutes checking out, they’re going to leave that basket. Ensure things look clean, your website loads quickly, and that completing an order is just a few clicks away.
- Go beyond Google. Yes, it’s one of the biggest drivers of traffic. But it can also be extremely competitive to get on the first page. It may be time to give up on the golden goose and go elsewhere: Bing and DuckDuckGo are growing search engines that can send decent traffic your way as well.
9. Ask for and reward referrals
Word-of-mouth is one of the oldest but most effective ways to attract new clients to a business. As more people become weary of the bombardment of paid adverts, they are more willing to trust the word of a trusted friend. So if you have a satisfied customer, ask him/her to tell their friends about your business and receive a valuable reward. You can use various things to induce a continuous flow of referrals including: branded gifts, price reduction, special client recognition, and other rewards your clients will love.
A good example is a restaurant owner who offers a free meal or a bottle of wine to someone who brings in a new customer to eat. Another method is to print a referral card. Tell your existing clients to take one and invite a friend for a valuable reward. When your new clients come with their card, offer them a special first-time gift. Then give the clients who referred them their reward as well. Just make sure that the reward you offer your old clients is attractive enough to motivate them to continue to be your business evangelist.
10. Start a contest
Setting up a contest is a proven way to engage members of your community and increase your sales. Marketing experts say that running one contest can increase your market audience by at least 34% and mobile contests are one of the best performings with the power to multiply the number of entrants by a factor of 8.
To make your online contest attract as many people as possible, you should:
- Give what your audience loves: Filter out your potential clients by providing prizes that will immediately appeal to your target audience.
- Offer a packaged bundle: You may give out a pack of three books instead of one. Or you may offer a free gift for up to 3 or 6 months. For instance, a pet shop can offer free pet food for up to six months to new subscribers who give their email address and the type of pet they have.
- Apply the KISS principle: Keep the process of signing up and participating in the contest as simple as possible. Complex and confusing processes usually drive away a large number of new clients.
Attracting new customers is essential for any business to grow and remain competitive. If you apply the tips and ideas provided above, you will start to draw in new clients on a regular basis. Some of these tips will work better for a traditional business that operates from a physical storefront. Others will be more suitable for businesses that operate mostly online. Study each idea and look for ways to adapt it to your type of business for optimum results.
About The Author:
Tanya is a business writer based in Brisbane. In her free time, you can find her riding her bike with her children. I would like to thank https://www.print2day.
Right Mix Marketing focuses on digital marketing, technology, eCommerce, entrepreneurship and business related content. Want to become a contributor at RMM? Email us on rightmixmarketing [at] gmail [dot] com !