Attract and Retain Customers for Your Small Business
Edited by Shelley, Eng
Finding customers to sell to is at the heart of owning a thriving business. Even better is the ability to retain your customers, thus ensuring that you can enjoy repeat business. Today's entrepreneur is privileged to have access to more business-enabling assets, including information, resources, tools and skill sets, as compared to any other era in the long history of entrepreneurship. While it is now much easier to analyze and make informed conclusions about pertinent issues like sales volumes, competitive advantage, market penetration, etc, it is not as easy to find and retain new customers. Nevertheless, many entrepreneurs have enjoyed remarkable success in this regard, and from their experiences it is possible to glean various techniques that can help you to successfully grow your small business venture. Read on:
Learn About Your Target Market and Appeal to It
- 1Develop a winner's attitude and psyche. First and foremost, you need to have the desire to succeed. Making it as an entrepreneur is certainly not for the faint of heart. In view of all that needs to be accomplished day after day and the numerous setbacks that beset this path, you need an iron will and copious amounts of stamina, energy, enthusiasm and motivation. You must believe in your product/service and in the well informed approach you intend to use to make headway in the market. Your positivity should rub off onto your prospects and make them feel good about wanting to try your product.Advertisement
- 2Find and reach out to your ideal customer. Consider what your business offers and try to imagine to whom your product will provide a unique value proposition. Your ideal customer is typically going to be a person who really fancies your product and can afford to buy - this is the sort of person your messages should reach. Crafting these messages should ideally be about communicating the value (i.e. benefits, advantages and feeling) that will accrue to the target as a result of purchasing and using your product.Advertisement
- 3Declare your mission statement and uphold it. Prospects and customers need to know that your business' mission statement is so much more than a catchy phrase that was merely copied from somewhere on the internet. Living up to your business' motto is therefore imperative. The fact that customers will be spending money at your business means that you and your operations will always be under their scrutiny. That which they expect from you, professionalism at the very least, must therefore always be maintained. There is tremendous risk in losing one's reputation - attempts at mending it are seemingly never quite adequate.
- 4Effective communication. You need to develop superb and effective communication skills that will enable you to develop long-term customer relationships. Because you are not after one-off sales your approach has to be markedly different. To attract prospects you must make them feel that it is okay to know, like and trust you. Your nascent relationship must then be nurtured through practice and regular exchange of thoughts, feelings and reactions. Regular interactions and conversations will enable you to learn so much more about a prospect's or customer's background, family, job, hopes, goals, interests and hobbies. You should soon enough have a valuable treasure trove of information that you can use to create a long-term mutually profitable business relationship.
- 5Personalize your product or service. The increased need for a convenient shopping experience is what has LED today's consumer to develop distinct shopping preferences. Today's consumer loves shopping where the experience feels personal, not generic. This is indeed why people have favorite restaurants, clothes shops, plumbers, nannies, and so on, where they feel happy to take their business time and again. Personalization is therefore imperative as a means of creating repeat business and sustained higher profitability. Individualizing your approach to your customers via your product/service such that each client's specific needs are well addressed is a sure way to create loyalty. As much as possible, your business should be able to provide solutions for prospects and customers suggestions and recommendations. Satisfied, they will no doubt return with more business.
Step Up Your Marketing Game
- 1Personalize your marketing approach. Similar to personalized selling, a personalized marketing strategy, rather than mass marketing, is what will allow you to reach individual prospects and customers on a one-to-one basis. Personalized marketing works well for whatever form of business. Whether knowledge of an individual's personality, spending power, interests and preferences will be learned from regular conversations or gleaned from personal information saved in a database in the case of an online business, you should be able to target prospects and customers with individually-relevant marketing messages.Advertisement
- 2Email marketing. Despite not being as glamorous as many of its much publicized social media counterparts, good old email marketing is the most cost-effective marketing tool around. While conventional email is good for sustaining a conversation with your targets and prospects, email marketing will go further and wider into your target audience and allow you to, via result-oriented campaigns, build your business brand through content sharing and drive engagement (e.g. generating business leads or sales). An effective email marketing solution will allow you to monitor the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns via analytics software. Also, as demanded by law, your solution must allow recipients to unsubscribe from your list. Ideally, this means that all your recipients will have voluntarily given you permission to contact them and in no way therefore can your messages be said to be spammy. Your recipients will therefore be your business' most engaged audience, and the people to whom you are most likely going to make sales. Being an effective retention tool, email marketing will help you to engage with prospects and maintain existing customers.
- 3Growth hacking. As a startup owner you definitely need to embrace growth hacking as a means of achieving considerable growth rates for your small business. Growth hacking may be envisaged as the way your new startup or small business can employ technical skills and creativity to develop effective marketing practices that are primarily growth-oriented. This approach has been shown to be beneficial for startups, B2B marketers, B2C marketers, content marketers and social media experts. Reassuringly, this marketing technique is not limited to people in tech business - everyone who appreciates smart marketing will find it highly effective.
- 4Content marketing. One of the biggest challenges for many online business owners and bloggers is that they are not knowledgeable about how to use content marketing to attract customers. If you are wondering about how you can best use this strategy to your business' advantage then Neil Patel's 13 content marketing growth-hacks will be a great place to get started. Implementing these tips is guaranteed to help you grow your search traffic by 206% as well as attract more customers for your business.
Bring All the Stakeholders Aboard
- 1Employee empowerment and engagement. You just cannot afford to overlook the value of your business' employees, more so in the case of a service-oriented business. The customer experience goes beyond interactions with the business owner. The simple fact that you need employees in order to run your business more effectively means that they are practically as valuable to your customers. Entrusting your employees with adequate authority required to optimally perform their duties will therefore help to improve their engagements with customers, in effect helping to make their experience with your business more enjoyable. To enjoy more success with this, you need to have the right kind of staff. This means that your hiring process should provide the criteria for the sort of individuals you wish to work with. Training and regular reviews will then help to progressively add more quality to the team.
Make the Most of the Internet
- 1Harness the power of social media. As the owner of a startup that's seeking to attract more customers, you just can't afford to ignore social media. In as far as getting people talking about your business far and wide, social media is really unrivalled. The trick is to ensure that your contents are awesome enough to make people want to react to them. Once they are hooked, you can be sure that there's always an audience to which you can market your business' product or service - at virtually no cost. Granted that each of the main social sites has a distinct target audience you can effectively market your business to suit these preferences. For example, the same product can be professionally marketed on LinkedIn and more casually on Facebook. In addition, being active on social media will greatly enhance your ability to build a network of contacts, and hopefully new business relationships.
- 2Start a website. A business website for your brick-and-mortar store may seem unnecessary, but it's really something you should think about. Why, you ask? Well, it's a fact that more and more people are increasingly using the Internet to find products and services that they need. The widespread use of mobile devices for Internet access is concrete proof of this trend. It is therefore very much worth giving your business an online presence even if it means going for the most basic of website solutions available on the cheap or at no cost. Attract and retain prospects and customers by making sure the website looks appealing and regularly updating its contents.