- Understanding your customers and competitors will help you choose the most effective marketing plan for your business
- Email marketing, blogging, and social media will help you reach your target customers and grow your business
- Referral programs, giveaways, and Yelp reviews are powerful word-of-mouth marketing tools for finding new customers
Small businesses depend on bringing new customers through the door. But finding new customers can be challenging even when you have a great product or service and offer excellent customer service. Perhaps you’ve tried taking out newspaper ads or handing out flyers, but it’s not working. You’re likely wondering how to attract more customers to your business. The key is to find them where they already are—online.
There are many online marketing methods you can use to boost your business. Use this guide to uncover some creative ways to win over new customers and increase sales.
Learn how to attract more customers to your business with these 9 ideas
Knowing how to attract more customers to your business will require some upfront planning and ongoing marketing tactics. You must understand your business, customers, and competitors as well as how to use online tools like your website, social media, and business review sites.
1. Understand your customers
Before starting any marketing initiatives, you must first understand your customers. Once you know who you’re trying to reach, you can create buyer personas and adjust your marketing efforts accordingly.
A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer based on characteristics like demographics, location, or buying behaviors. Creating a persona allows you to understand your target audience and segment your customer base, so you can choose the right marketing channels and messaging.
For instance, say you’re an electrician who offers services to both residential and commercial clients. You wouldn’t want to send residential clients an email talking about large-scale generators when they’re more interested in rewiring their home.
Offering targeted content and promotions is key. Your clients will be more receptive to your marketing if it’s relevant and designed specifically for them.
2. Study your competitors
You can learn a lot from studying your competitors. You might uncover effective business ideas or discover how customers think about your competitors.
Competitive analysis doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. You can start conducting competitive research by scanning Yelp reviews for businesses that are similar to yours.
Start by looking at positive reviews to find details that can benefit your business. For example, let’s say you operate a cafe and want to increase repeat customers. You may find that your competitors offer a membership program that customers love. Perhaps it’s time to create a membership program for your cafe.
You can also see competitor shortcomings by looking at their negative reviews. Complaints about poor customer service may riddle your competitors’ Yelp reviews. You can avoid similar reviews by putting more emphasis on customer service training with your employees.
3. Hire great employees
Excellent customer service can set your business apart from your competitors. It starts by hiring the right employees and properly training them.
You can’t be everywhere at once, and you’ll need to trust your employees to deliver top-notch customer service to encourage people to keep coming back and become loyal customers.
Implement a training program that teaches your employees how to handle adverse situations and deliver a positive customer experience. With the right training, your employees will know exactly what to do in any situation and can keep your customers happy.
A talented employee can single-handedly forge relationships with customers by delivering a positive experience. On the other hand, an improperly trained employee who delivers a negative customer experience can push customers away and reduce repeat business.
4. Fine-tune your website
A great-looking website is a must these days. Customers will be quick to leave your site if it’s poorly designed, slow, or isn’t optimized for mobile devices. Nearly 50% of consumers feel a website’s design is the top way to determine a business’s credibility.
Create a positive user experience on your site by having a professional layout and making information easy to find. Your website should be divided into sections describing the details of your business. For a business like lawn care, these categories would likely include the following:
- Services: Explain what your business does and the products or services you offer
- Service Area: Describe where your business is located and how far you’re willing to travel to provide services
- About Us: Tell visitors about yourself and how many years you’ve been in business
- Frequently Asked Questions: Address any potential questions your visitors may have
- Contact Information: Give visitors a way to contact you with a phone number, email address, and physical address
You should also offer a unique value proposition that sets your business apart from the rest. For instance, a barbershop can write something like “Clean cuts at a fraction of the price.”
5. Increase traffic to your site with a blog
Blogging can increase traffic to your website. Relevant and helpful content will expand your online presence and can boost search engine optimization (SEO).
Writing a blog requires planning and discipline. First, you must conduct some keyword research to find out what people are searching for in your area. Then decide on blog post topics, set a publishing schedule, and promote your content via online marketing channels like your social media pages or email list.
Write about topics that your customer base will find useful. For instance, a plumbing business could write a step-by-step guide to unclogging drains. A potential customer can use this information to fix problems on their own. If they’re unable to do it themselves, they might turn to you next since you’ve established a level of trust and authority. Even if they don’t use you right away, they might remember you for other plumbing problems that arise in the future.
6. Build an email list
Email marketing gives you an opportunity to build relationships with potential customers and maintain a connection with existing customers. Once you have customer emails, you can send them promotions, relevant content, and routine updates to stay top of mind.
There are a few different strategies for collecting emails. One way is to simply ask existing customers for their contact information. Don’t forget to ask for permission to send them emails so you don’t seem invasive (and it’s the law).
Another way to build your email list is to offer an incentive for them to sign up for your emails. Let’s say you run a small sandwich shop. Give customers a 10% discount on their next visit if they sign up to receive emails.
Lastly, you can include an email sign-up form on your website to capture people browsing your site. You can offer this group a similar incentive to increase the number of sign-ups you get.
7. Rely on customer reviews
Consumers love reading reviews before making purchases at local businesses. It gives them an idea of what to expect from a business by relying on the opinions of previous customers.
Over 70% of consumers won’t even choose a business unless they read a review beforehand, and 15% of consumers don’t trust businesses that don’t have any reviews. If you want to attract more customers to your business, it’s crucial to have customer reviews that people can browse.
You can start by claiming your Yelp Business Page. It’s free, and you can add photos, create a business description, and provide your contact details. Once your page is claimed and complete, you can start responding to your customer reviews—whether they are positive or negative.
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When you receive a positive customer review, thank them and try to be as personal as possible. If you receive a negative review, you can respond and try to solve their issues. This will show potential customers that you offer great customer service and are trying to help in any way you can.
8. Use social networks
Social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn are powerful tools for attracting more customers to your business. They give you a means to stay top of mind and capture potential customers.
You can use Facebook to post photos of your business, announce current events, and advertise discounts and promotions. Running giveaways is also an effective way to increase followers and social engagement. Nearly 65% of business owners say that giveaways increase their followers (and engagement) on social media. For instance, if you’re a beauty salon owner, you could offer a free haircut to a random person who likes your page, comments on your post, and tags three other friends.
LinkedIn lends itself more to B2B businesses. It’s the best social channel for interacting with other business owners and professionals. Use it to reach out to other small business owners that could benefit your company. For example, an electrician could find new clients by networking with local architects, property managers, and construction company owners. From there, they can build a relationship and potentially turn that connection into a client.
9. Run a referral program
Referral programs allow your existing customers to be advocates for your business. They’re a useful way to attract more customers through word-of-mouth rather than you having to do all of the work.
Satisfied customers are usually more than happy to refer your business to family and friends, especially if they’re given an incentive. You can offer your current customers the opportunity to refer friends and give them a discount on their next purchase or a free upgrade.
Let’s say you run a yoga studio. Tell your members that if they refer a friend to sign up for a class, their next session will be free. Likewise, those who are being referred should also receive an incentive, like 50% off their first session.
Grow your customer base and bring in new business
Equipping yourself with a well-thought-out marketing strategy can do wonders for your business. Start by planning ahead and nailing down details—define your ideal customers, identify what your competitors are doing, and train your employees to deliver great customer service. Then move onto digital marketing efforts like polishing your website, growing your email list, and expanding your online presence with a Yelp Business Page.
The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.