Almost every business finds itself at what is called the “Uh Oh! Moment.” That’s the moment someone realizes they either need to replace lost customers or grow their customer base to keep the business healthy. Are you at that moment? Here are five ways to gain new customers you can start doing right now, no ifs, ands, or uh-ohs about it.
Cultivate your existing customers.
This is a logical first step. If you don’t have a database of your customer’s email addresses and a way for them to interact with you, get them ASAP. Use email to send announcements of sales, store events, or new products or services. A couple of hours a week can turn loyal customers into brand advocates. To interact with your customers, put up a company page on Facebook and LinkedIn. Both are free and user-friendly, as well as proven sources for feedback. People have shown they appreciate having a channel to praise and criticize the companies they do business with. The challenge for you is to listen and respond with positive actions.
Guide customers to action.
One of the easiest steps you can take to increase sales and interaction is also one of the easiest to overlook. Make it clear what you wish your customer to do with a concise call to action IN EVERYTHING. In your emails, be sure your message leads to a call to action at the end. Should the reader call, drop in, reply, or what? Ideally, you’ll place the call to action at the beginning as well, explain why, and then end with a reminder of what to do. This applies to all of your communications, from online ads and videos to newsletters and speaking engagements, to your website. Be sure you have a call to action on your homepage or, better yet, in a header that shows on every page. Don’t leave them guessing.
Identify mutually beneficial relationships.
You know the old “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” saying. It applies here. Take a good look at the relationships you have with other businesses, and friends, for that matter. Search for ways to help each other. When possible, refer customers you’re unable to help to allies who can, and ask that they do the same. Refer to each other in blogs, newsletters, and online conversations. Have an influential friend in the Chamber, Rotary, or other business organization? Offer their child an internship or donate to their favorite charity. Next thing you know, you have a friend who wants to return the favor somehow.
Show off a little in the community.
Use that expertise of yours. It got you this far, so share it. This isn’t bragging, this is placing yourself as an expert in front of your peers and getting your name out to potential customers. Not the stand-at-a-podium type? Start a blog or host a podcast, sponsor a radio or TV show whose viewers might be potential customers, strut your stuff through photos on Instagram or video demos on YouTube. Sponsor a little league team or get your product or service into a charity auction. Guerilla advertising over the past decade has shown how far a little imagination can take you.
Change your channels.
Only advertising in the newspaper? Going into the sixth year of a TV news sponsorship? Time to mix it up. Try new channels. Your customers are. The online space is the new frontier and everybody who’s anybody is there watching videos, shopping, playing games, researching, conversing and…the list goes on.
You don’t have to do all five and, more importantly, you don’t have to do any of it alone. Learn here how to turn your “Uh Oh! Moment” into an “Ah Ha! Moment.”
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