You’ve opened your dream business, you’ve got tasteful, stylish signage outside, and you’re ready for customers. However, on opening those double doors, not a soul can be found.
You’re stumped – you did everything right, and your idea is foolproof. So why hasn’t anyone stumbled upon your genius yet? Is your business not good enough?
Slow down – the problem probably isn’t with your business. The truth is, it can be challenging to get new customers, especially if you’re starting with very few leads.
That’s why we’ve created this handy list of 8 innovative ways to quickly gain new, loyal customers for your business.
Ready? Let’s jump in.
8 Genius Ways to Hook New Customers
We’ve broken down our list into the 8 best ideas for you to start building your business’ client base.
While some of these strategies rely on existing customers, we’ve also made sure to include some tips for entirely new businesses as well.
1. Use Customer Loyalty
If you’re an existing business, you probably have some customers who love your service. In the case of building a base of new customers, any current customers become a valuable resource.
With this in mind, try a few of these techniques to leverage your existing customers:
- Get them to give referrals (consider giving out some freebies in response)
- Offer prizes (discounts, coupons, gift cards) for reviews or bringing in new people
- Personalize touches for customers (homemade notes)
It’s no secret that customers are willing to bring people to businesses that they love – show your customers you value their business and their friends will follow.
2. Mingle with Contemporaries
In the age of the internet, it’s more important than ever for companies to have an active social media footprint. But more than just connecting with your regular customers, social media allows you to mingle with potential clients, even people not within your current industry.
In particular, Twitter and LinkedIn are great places to do this, as it’s easy to reach out to people and create a connection.
Social media isn’t the only place to link with new customers, either – try attending physical events and discussing your business with potential clients. That’s right, good old-fashioned footwork isn’t quite dead yet.
3. Give Out Promo Items
If there’s one thing we know about people, it’s that they love free stuff. So why not take advantage of that “take everything free” mentality?
Promotional items might seem cheesy at first glance, but they’re actually an effective (and cheap) way of marketing a business.
Plus, if you can figure out an innovative way to make the item useful (branded bottle openers, anyone?), the people who receive them will actually use them, putting your business in their head every time they do.
4. Hold Some Events
Events work nicely because they serve two purposes: people get to try out a new business, and they get to mingle with their friends. It’s a win-win, and a great way of generating new customers.
Here are some great ideas for events you could hold:
- Reach out to groups looking for meeting/event spaces
- Wine & cheese nights for food-based businesses or restaurants
- Partner with another complementary business to hold a joint event
There’s also a hidden third benefit here – when people come to an event or hold their meetings at your business, they come to associate those good memories with your space. Triple whammy.
5. Improve Your SEO
SEO is just as important (or arguably more important) than your day-to-day foot traffic. While only a handful of people might walk past your business, many more will discover it via Google, Yelp, or other search services.
With that in mind, you can improve your business’ SEO in tons of fairly easy ways to gain new customers:
- Create a blog full of common search topics in your industry (and update it often)
- Cultivate your online presence, so you’re everywhere
- Engage with a community by commenting and linking to other companies/businesses
It’s not enough to just have a website set up – you’ve got to put in the work to rank your website as well.
6. Offer New Customer Specials
How many times have you seen a “new customers get 25% off” sign and been tempted to take a step in, even if the business isn’t somewhere, you’d typically go? After all, we all know the fear of missing out (FOMO).
Just like with free stuff, it’s possible to catch new customers with deals and steals, especially if they feel like those deals are going to go away soon.
With this in mind, try running some new customer-exclusive deals to get foot traffic into your business. Ultimately, the amount of money lost on discounts will be more than made up for if you can get some loyal new customers.
7. Use Available Resources
You no longer need to take stabs in the dark to estimate what kinds of clients want your products. In fact, there are tons of new software and partner companies that can help you generate leads and figure out who your target market should be (read more here).
While it might seem scary to bring in outside influence, don’t be afraid to consult these companies. They just might be the missing link to getting your business the recognition it deserves.
8. Carve out a Niche
The sheer amount of new businesses that crop up yearly can make starting a business seem impossible, especially regarding gaining new customers.
It’s not impossible; it’s just a bit different, as businesses need to find their “thing” to be successful. For instance, if you are a health food company, try to think of an angle that allows you to be unique in that space. Maybe you offer health food specifically for people who do watersports, or people who come from military training backgrounds.
Whatever it is, it’s critical to find a specific, unique space to occupy to build a base of new customers.
Now you’re an expert on gaining new customers, so building a loyal base should be a breeze.
Hungry for more? Check out some of our other business articles for more tips on building a following, and contact us if you have questions or concerns.