4 Ways Small Business Owners Can Attract Customers

When you own a small business, marketing is important to your success – not just at start-up, but throughout your existence. Even your most loyal customers may eventually move to a different city, or reach a point when they no longer need your product or service. But if you have a steady stream of new customers, your revenue shouldn’t be too adversely affected when you lose customers along the way. The following are 4 ways small business owners can attract new customers:

1) Know Your Audience

For any small business, the first step in attracting new customers is doing some market research to find out the best ways to reach them. For example, a business marketing to young adults would be better off buying a Facebook ad than a commercial on a local TV station, because young adults often don’t watch TV in a traditional sense – they get their programming from online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

2) Offer Incentives

Once you know where your customers are – which media they’re most likely to respond to – you can begin brainstorming ideas for incentive campaigns. Offering incentives is one of the most effective marketing tactics. A buy-one-get-one coupon that arrives via U.S. mail or a banner advertisement on a website offering a 25 percent discount on initial purchases might be all the motivation someone needs to become your customer. Some companies have found considerable success with Groupon, an online service that offers limited-time special offers. Cleaning services, restaurants, gyms, and a variety of business models offer discounts that appeal to new customers, as well as current customers. One of the big perks of using this service is that people tend to buy a Groupon offer and invite their friends to participate. So, if someone buys a night of bowling for six people and invites five friends, that’s six potential new customers for that bowling alley.

3) Provide Outstanding Service

Getting a new customer into your store or onto your website may be your goal, but once you’ve achieved it, you have to win over that customer with outstanding service. When customers have a bad experience – such as a first-time visitor to a restaurant finding his food was cold and the staff was unfriendly – there’s no incentive to continue patronizing that business. No matter what line of work you’re in, you want to provide the best customer experience possible. If you run an online business, or one that depends primarily on its website for revenue, that website needs to be user-friendly. A website that doesn’t work well on mobile devices or is difficult to navigate will definitely drive away would-be customers. Creating a website that’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to use may require some up-front costs, if you aren’t able to do it yourself. But hiring a website designer is well worth the cost if it results in more customers and more sales.

4) Get Testimonials

If you already have a few loyal customers, consider asking them to write a brief testimonial about your product or service that you can share in your advertisements or on your website. Consumers want to know what other people think, and that’s why business review websites like Yelp are so popular. Whatever strategy you employ for attracting new customers, be mindful of the words you use. The reason most coupons contain a large block of “fine print” is so businesses can protect themselves from customers looking to exploit loopholes.