Whether you are just starting out on the road to success or a weary workhorse, every entrepreneur worries about how to bring in new business. These days it is a little more complicated than the traditional ad in the paper and leaflet through the door. The good news is there are many cost-effective ways to attract new customers. Here we list some of the best.
- Marketing Materials
Create business cards, stationery and brochures and get them into as many hands as possible. These will help people remember you and what your business does. Give supplies of business cards to friends, relatives and customers so that they can give them out to anyone interested. Try to leave some at affiliate local businesses, for instance if you are a dog groomer see if you can leave cards at the local vet and pet shop.
Get out and talk to people about your business. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and other industry bodies, attend the network meetings and connect with industries that are interested in your services. Look online for Facebook groups that are relevant to your business.
- Exhibit at Trade Shows
Industry-specific trade shows provide an ideal place to gain leads and boost your brand awareness. Nowhere else brings together as many individuals with purchasing power, in buying mode, under one roof. When designing your exhibition stand, make sure it is eye-catching and you stand out from your competitors. Quadrant2Design create a free design proposal so you can see what your stand will look like before committing and paying a penny.
- Link up with affiliate businesses
Seek out others who could be mutually beneficial to your business, for instance if you are a wedding photographer, forge links with bridal companies, venues and caterers. Recommendations are a great way to get new customers.
- Create Press Releases
Think of something unusual or noteworthy that you have done and write a press release about it. You don’t need to employ the services of an expensive PR agency, just send it out yourself to local newspapers and magazines. Make sure you include a photo as editors are always on the lookout for images to break up the text. Write articles about your specialist area of expertise and send them to publications, you’ll be amazed at how many want fresh content. Make sure you include references to your business and links to your website.
- Offer to be a speaker
Look for opportunities to promote your business in person. Industry events, meetings and volunteer groups often need speakers, this presents a good chance to get your face known.
- Run a direct mail campaign
This may sound old-fashioned but direct mail is still one of the most successful ways of gaining new customers. Write to all companies you think may be interested. Create an incentive for them to contact you, offer a special deal for new business or a free introductory service.
- Make contact with existing customers
If you haven’t spoken to your existing customers for a while, phone them. They may be pleased to hear from you and in need of further help. It’s always good to keep the relationship going, nurturing existing customers can lead to further business and they are more likely to recommend you to others.
Newspapers, magazines and local radio are a good traditional way of getting your business known. Also make sure you are listed in local directories. Ensure you track any enquiries you get so that you can measure the effectiveness of each medium.
- Ask for referrals
A satisfied customer is usually quite happy to recommend you to others, these referrals are a great way to reach new customers, word of mouth is very effective.
Promoting your business online
- Improve your website
If you don’t already have a website this is the first thing to get. It presents a shop front for your business which is often the first thing prospective customers will see. To help your website be listed high up in search engines make sure you do the following:
- Include key words and phrases that people search for in your content
- Make sure every page has a separate, concise title
- Use sub-headings to structure your text
- Tag all images
- Update your content regularly
- Ensure your site is mobile friendly
- Make sure it loads quickly
- Try to get backlinks to your site from trusted websites
If you need help with this contact a web designer like Bournemouth based Koreti who can sort all this out for you.
- Start a blog
Including a blog on your website will not only help you rank in search engines but also provides useful information to your customers. Think about what their issues might be and create posts that answer them. You don’t have to be an expert writer, just supply clear, concise content that is relevant to your visitors. Exhibition stand contractor Black Robin Exhibits have started adding weekly blog posts to their website, MD Alan Jenkins said ‘Our rankings have improved enormously since we started adding regular content, and we are now getting a lot more organic traffic and many more leads as a result’.
- Use Social Media
Set up business pages on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Make sure they include your contact details and links to your website. Post regular updates and encourage people to share them.
- Set up a Google Business Profile
Setting up a free Google My Business profile will allow your business to appear on Google maps in local searches, and also, when someone types in your business name and location, in the knowledge panel on the right of the screen.
- Run Google Ads
SEO will help you get to the top of the rankings but it is a long-term strategy that can take months. A way to guarantee a top listing, if you have the budget, is to run Google Ads. These always appear at the top, above organic and local search results. Research shows that 95% of click-throughs happen on the first page of the search results so getting high up in the rankings is the ultimate goal.
- Participate in discussions
Look for topics on social media and chat rooms that relate to your business or products and join them. Just be careful not to spam them with constant references to what you sell.
- Seek online reviews
Prospective customers gain assurance about your products by reading reviews so having some good reviews listed in Google and other review sites can be reassuring to new customers. Encourage happy customers to leave reviews by sending a note thanking them for their business and asking for a review.
- Set up Facebook Ads
With 2.7 billion monthly active users in 2020, Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world. Its robust advertising platform allows you to target users based on their interests, behaviour, location, and more. Using Facebook Dynamic Ads enables you to target customers who have previously visited your site with automatically generated adverts featuring the products they had looked at or placed in their cart. These powerful ads can bring traffic back to your website aiding conversions.
- Run an email campaign
Email is still the most cost effective way to communicate with your customers and prospects. Send out emails to everyone on your CRM system with special offers included to encourage people to reply.
- Host a Webinar
Pick a topic that will be interesting and relevant to customers and prospects and host a webinar around that subject. Popular subjects are ways to solve common problems, advice for aspects of life or business and recent industry news. It could include an interview with an industry leader. Upload the webinar to your website and to YouTube and use social media to promote it.
The key to gaining new business is to have a strategy in place with the goals you want to achieve. This will keep you focused. Hopefully these tips will give you some ideas.