Run some adverts
Think about what your customers are reading and where they’re looking, not just at work but when they’re at home to.For £15 a month, you can advertise in something like Ads R Us. Don’t underestimate the power of these ‘free ads’ dropped through people’s doors, especially if you are selling to consumers.
I keep a note of who is advertising in them and there are some who have been doing this for years. If it wasn’t making money, they’d have stopped by now.
Leaflet drop your local area
Another ‘offline’ tactic, but leaflet dropping your local area can create a surge in customers. One client, a beauty therapist, did this and got 17 new customers, 9 of which are still with her after 3 years.Don’t resort, however, to a boring flyer. Think out of the box. How about a letter in an envelope marked as ‘dear neighbour’ explaining what you do and how you can help. It costs a bit more, that’s true, but it will certainly get opened and read!
Who else sells to your customers?
Let’s say you are a fitness trainer. Who else sells to your customers? Sports shops in town, health food stores, hair dressers, beauty therapists, weight loss programs?Now, approach them and see whether you can do some reciprocal referrals. What do I mean by that? Well, you’ll recommend them if they recommend you. At the very least see if they’ll hand out leaflets.
Capture email addresses when people come to your website
It’s basic, but have a way that you can capture email addresses when people come to your website and then email them!You can do daily emails or weekly ones, but make sure you’re regularly talking to your existing customers (yes get them to sign up to). There’s a skill to sending emails but make sure that you provide lots of free information that will help customers and potential customers and along with promoting your services.
Have a website
It always surprises me the number of small businesses that don’t have a website (over 2 million in fact in the UK). Yet study after study shows the potential increase in sales a website brings, without much effort. And the truth is, 80% of consumers will search for a business online before using them – if you’re not there, then you’re losing custom.
Use Social Media – wisely
If your customers are on Facebook, then use Facebook. However, be aware that very few of the people who like your page will see your posts. Facebook wants you to pay to promote them, it’s how it makes money. Don’t spend hours each day posting to Facebook. Try scheduling your posts, using an online search tool like Hootsuite that will find you content to share (given some keywords) and then allow you to schedule that content.Try having a group associated to your business, especially if you know your clients like to chat. Going back to the Pokemon club, there’s a private group where they all talk Pokemon. Great for sharing articles and promoting products. This works outside ‘clubs’ though. Going back to the fitness trainer, create a group where people can share stories and get support.
A Facebook group can work for most businesses, you may, however, need to be creative.
Get out and meet people
Where are your customers hanging out? Go and find them, if you can. If you’re selling to other businesses, there are a whole host of networking opportunities for you, from breakfast clubs to Rotary.Selling to mums? Get involved in the PTA at the school or offer £1 donation for every purchase. The thing here is to work out where your customers are and go and meet them.
The thing to do, every day, is to focus time on getting (and retaining) customers. Until your business gets established and has a core group of loyal customers, this is your number 1 priority.