A business is nothing without customers, and knowing how to get potential customers in the door (or on the phone, or to your website) is a skill that is often overlooked when starting a new venture. You can put together a beautiful store selling the greatest product the world has ever seen, but if customers don’t walk in the door, it won’t be long before you find yourself in the unemployment line. If you’re finding that your numbers aren’t quite as high as you want them to be, consider some of these tips for getting potential clients in the door:
1. Figure Out Your Target Market
You can’t sell to everyone, so you need to make sure that the people you are trying to market to are actually going to be interested in your product. Take some time to determine five to ten identifiers for your target customer, such as age, sex, race, income, marital status, location, hobbies and interests, etc. When you’re planning your marketing and advertising, make sure your efforts are going to reach your specific targeted demographic.
2. Go Where The Customers Are
Once you’ve identified your ideal customer, learn to put yourself into situations where you’ll be interacting with those people on a regular basis. Does your product benefit other small businesses? Join a local small business or networking group. This will not only help you network with other professionals, but will also put you and your product directly in front of your target market.
It’s great to learn from your mistakes, but it’s far less painful to learn from the mistakes of others…
3. Learn From Your Competitors
Competitors shouldn’t be feared or envied – that type of thinking will make sure that you never get ahead. Instead, study your competitors to better understand what kinds of promotions work and which ones aren’t worth your time. It’s great to learn from your mistakes, but it’s far less painful to learn from the mistakes of others.
4. Be Active on Social Media
Social media activity is a necessity in today’s high-tech world, so make sure you’re taking full advantage of the medium. If you’re running a brick and mortar store, make sure you’re on sites like Foursquare so that customers can check in, giving your store free exposure to all of their friends. Interact with followers on Twitter and Facebook to establish a rapport with customers and potential customers alike, and to help keep your brand at the forefront of their minds.
5. Utilize Your Network
When it comes to getting the word out about your company, never be afraid to utilize your personal and professional networks as starting points. Spreading the word using a dozen people is far easier than trying to do everything yourself, and you’ll be able to reach a much wider area and variety of potential customers. Just make sure that you return the favor when you’re on the other side of the exchange.
6. Sponsor Community Events
One of the best ways you can get exposure in your community is to sponsor local events, fundraisers, and even youth sports teams. Not only is this a great way to get your name out there for people to see, but it also lets you give back to the community in a meaningful way. Be careful not to get carried away with your advertising message though – it’s very likely that the event will speak for itself.
7. If Something Isn’t Working, Move On
You should be constantly monitoring each aspect of your income generation in order to identify what’s working and what isn’t. If you find that a certain area is underperforming, don’t be afraid to drop it altogether.
8. When You Don’t Get A Sale, Ask Why
It’s easy to be discouraged by your failures, but one of the best things you can do when you fail is identify the reason and learn from it. When someone decides not you give you their business, don’t be afraid to ask them why! Is a competitor offering a better value? Did they not receive the level of service they expected? The answers may not be the things you want to hear, but they will certainly help you identify areas that can be improved upon.
At the end of the day, hard work and the right amount of planning will help to ensure that your message reaches as many people as possible. Once you’ve discovered which of these tips work for you, expand upon those ideas and watch your customer base grow exponentially!
Do you have a go-to method of driving more traffic to your business? Share it with us in comments below!