For many small business owners, the top priority is always this: how do I get more customers?
In London where most of our clients and we operate, we have found that many small businesses rely on repeat business to stay afloat. While repeat business is key, many small business owners we know are keen to bring in new customers, so much so that many of them perceive new customers as their tickets to growth. So how do you go about attracting new customers? In this article, we aim to share five tried and tested tips which can really make a difference in bringing in new customers and contributing to your profitability.
1. Embrace digital marketing
Technology has certainly presented several new opportunities for small business owners to get noticed by prospects from near and far. Using tools like pay-per-click, you can now run highly focussed marketing campaigns targeting people who search for a set of keywords relating to your business.
Content marketing is also useful. In this instance, you use a range of content (webpages, videos, podcasts, social media posts) to attract prospects to your site. The secret ingredient, as many digital marketing experts would share, is to target users who search for something very specific. For example, assuming that your business is selling fridges, the advice is to generate specific content about fridges like “freestanding fridge with ice dispenser” or “freestanding fridge with ice box”. The assumption is that people who input a ‘longtail keyword phrase’ (referring to a phrase that is long and specific), know what they want and therefore, they are more likely to be converted into new customers.
How many networking groups are there in London? We reckon they are thousands of them, ranging from small groups of business owners who meet regularly to discuss opportunities to larger, more structured networking events.
It is important to note that networking is not about making a temporary connection for the sake of making a sale. Rather, it is about building relationships. Networking is also about reciprocity – when you make a new contact, you can potentially reach out to all the friends and business associates that the individual has made. This brings tremendous opportunities, but it also means that you must be prepared to do the same.
Not every business owner is comfortable with networking, some even find it stressful. To overcome this, you may bring a friend or a colleague for support, prepare what you want to say in advance, or be selective and only attend events that are less stressful to you.
3. Partnering for Success
Teaming up with businesses that offer complementary services is highly effective when it comes to generating new sales. For example, if you are a design company, you may partner with a web development company, allowing both companies to offer a comprehensive design and technical package that is often sought after by small business owners. This, of course, is a simplified example. In this day and age, your partners may well be in another country and serve a different demographic group.
To make a partnership work, it is vital that you and your partner must be equally committed and are able to bring value to each other’s clients. For instance, you must provide excellent sales tools to your partner, while they must give you the support that you need to reinforce this winning behaviour.
4. Give stuff for free
From online media subscription, gym membership to health food delivery service, you are often invited to try out services or products before signing up. Why? Because these companies want you to have a feel of their products or services first before you start paying. Judging by how many businesses are using this tactic, we reckon that offering free trail or giving away free stuff does lead to high conversions.
If you are not comfortable with giving away stuff for free, consider giving a discount, or make shipping and delivery free for a limited period if you are selling products online.
5. Have a Plan
This seems obvious, but surprisingly, quite a few business owners do not have a clear strategic plan with regards to sales targets, financial performance and cash flow. Acquiring new customers take time and effort, so what you must do to keep your cash flow positive and sustain your operation in the meantime are areas that entrepreneurs tend to overlook.
A Tax Agility, our small business consultants work in tandem with entrepreneurs across London, helping you to review business trends, advise you on how to act when opportunities arise, and when to take corrective actions to keep your plans on track. Our approach is data-driven, meaning we make use of financial information and control to help you develop a solid growth plan.
If you would like to know more, contact us today on 020 8108 0090 or get in touch with us via our contact page.
This article was first published in 2017 and was updated on 21/08/2019.
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This post is intended to provide information of general interest about current business/ accounting issues. It should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances.