Keeping customers is a struggle in and of itself, but what many companies fail to focus on is how to get new customers. Should you offer new products, or do a give-away? Perhaps change your social media strategy? With a few tips and tricks from our OPEN Forum experts, you’ll be in the minds of your prospective customers in no time (and they’ll be on your fan list).
OPEN Forum experts provide a guide to help businesses learn how to get new customers.
“It doesn’t matter how good you are at your job if you can’t attract qualified prospects,” says Craig Garber. Many businesses are making the same mistakes that are keeping them from tapping into the new masses.
“The reason many small businesses fail isn't lack of capital or experience," Garber says. "And it's certainly not a lack of hard work. Most businesses fail because they don’t have a systematic and reliable way of attracting a steady stream of qualified leads.”
So, how do you avoid this? Speak to core customers, don’t pile too much on your plate and put a smart strategy in place.
Getting new customers doesn’t require magic tricks, it’s about mastering the simple things and sticking to what you know: your current customers.
“The answer to getting more business lies within your existing ones," advises Mike Michalowicz. "Market to them more and you have discovered the process for growing your business. The key is to market to them before they leave, rather than waiting for them to go and then sending them a card to say you appreciated their business and want to know how to get them back.”
Twitter is a trend that isn’t going away any time soon. And while several still view the social media platform solely as a way to keep up with what Ashton Kutcher and Kim Kardashian are doing, it is actually “a networking and relationship-building tool, not a self-promotion tool,” says Katie Morell.
So, how can you leverage it to gain new customers? Morell suggests creating a contest, asking for feedback, offering exclusive deals and more.
“For those of you that have a great product or service, here's a humbling realization: that's not enough,” says Scott Belsky. “It's about understanding your customers’ needs before you start marketing. Great marketing starts with understanding the itch that you are trying to scratch—the problem you are trying to solve.”
So before you even think about marketing, do a “needs analysis” to help define precisely what you need, and what steps you should take to get there.
In the economy, budgets are tight. But luckily, you don’t have to splurge to expand your reach. What’s the solution?
"Get creative,” says Judith Aquino. “Customers are a company’s lifeblood, but there are other ways to market your business without spending a lot of money on an advertising agency or new marketing materials.” Some of the alternatives she suggests are starting a Meetup group, being a guest blogger, attending trade shows and many more.
For daily-deals sites, it’s hard to know how to gain a loyal customer versus the typical bargain hunter. But Tim O’Shaugnessy, CEO of LivingSocial, sings a different tune in this video, and says it’s easy to know how to target to the right kind of customer.
“If you can surprise and delight the consumers—and the merchants as well—with the volume and the ease at which able they’ll be able to do a program with us, it will ultimately work really well,” he says.