As a small business owner, your main goals are to constantly attract new customers and generate revenue, all whilst staying relevant to your existing consumers. Even if you’ve built up a loyal core customer base, new buyers are key to scaling your business for the long term.
But first - Who are your customers?
Before you start targeting new customers it is important to identify what kind of clients you’re looking to attract which can be done through creating buyer personas or profiles.
So, what is a ‘buyer persona’? This is a comprehensive, semi-fictional profile of your ideal customers and their traits, likes, dislikes, behaviour patterns and pain points which ultimately help you define your marketing activities. You can model a detailed buyer persona off market research, competitor knowledge and your current customer base to capture the right market.
Check out this useful resource from New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) with resources and free templates on building buyer personas.
Take it step-by-step
Look at how much resourcing, such as time and budget, you should allocate to bringing in these new customers. You might need to consider how much of your own time you can devote to things you can do yourself and also the possibility of hiring additional service providers for the more involved strategies. Then actively engage with people in your desired target market on their preferred online channels such as social media, email or your website and keep track of progress.
While it can be daunting to try and achieve everything together by yourself, it helps to take it step-by-step and knock off the simpler things on the list first.
So grab a cup of tea (and someone tech-savvy if you need) and here are 7 ways you can attract customers to help you grow your small business:
1. Utilise social media
Ensure you have up-to-date social media profiles which you regularly update with engaging content relevant to your customers and business. Look at your buyer persona to help you choose what platform would best suit your audience.
Create and post content that will resonate with your customers. Remember to include product usage tips, events, promotions and offers. Try a mix of different content formats (posts, videos, polls etc.) to see what works with your audiences.
For maximum effectiveness, it is important to post content consistently to keep your audience engaged and your profile relevant.
2. Make "Google My Business" your friend
‘Google My Business’ is one of the best, free search engine tools for businesses looking to target and attract local customers as most people are searching for businesses near their current location. Get started by:
- Creating an account, claiming and verifying your business listing.
- Optimising your profile by adding photos, a description of your business, opening hours, contact information and any other content or links to assist customers.
- Sharing offers! You can now share new content, special offers and product updates to attract new customers to your business when searching.
- Once you set this up, be sure to engage and respond to any Google reviews that come through. Make it a regular practice to respond promptly and resolve any customer issues quickly.
3. Use customer reviews to your advantage
We all know social proof is powerful, so if your business gets online Google or Facebook reviews from customers, make the most of them!
Most importantly, ensure you reply to reviews regularly and pick up on customer grievances and offer resolutions. You can set up email alerts to inform you when someone posts a review so you don’t need to check your Google listing everyday.
Gather more reviews from happy customers by asking for one directly. You can do this in-person, on the phone or email – ensure you provide a link to make it easier for your customers to review your business. Additionally, cultivate a work culture where your employees ask for a Google review each time they conduct a follow-up or finish helping a customer.
These reviews will help to attract new customers who are definitely more likely to give your business a try if they see others praising it. They will also increase your ranking in Google and online reputation especially if the customer is searching your business locally.
4. Look after your current customers
It’s not just new customers you need to consider. If your current customers are happy, this can create an avenue of brand advocacy for your business, so be mindful to check in with them and reward them accordingly for their loyalty.
Not just current, but even old customers can potentially be new sales for your business. So ensure you connect with dormant customers who haven’t done business with you in a while through an email campaign.
5. Keep an eye on your competition
Paying attention to what your competition is doing is a natural reflex for every business owner and it’s a great way to get ideas for marketing. Gathering information on what does and doesn’t work for them will help you make more informed decisions about your own business. Look at their audience base and any campaigns and maybe test out some marketing strategies to see if it resonates with attracting a new customer type.
6. Dabble in sponsored links, posts or ads
An amazing way to promote your business and attract more customers is through sponsored links and ads on search and social media platforms.
This is a paid marketing approach but your business ads are linked to a page connected with your business and serve as a bridge for people who do not know about your business to find your products and services.
By publishing Google ads or boosting Facebook ads and posts for a small payment (even a few dollars per day), your post or ads will appear in those people’s search and social feeds. This is a great way to be “seen” by new customers.
7. Optimise your website (SEO is key!)
These days consumers find new businesses primarily by searching online, which means your website needs to stand out to attract new customers. It is important to give your website a once-over and make sure the design, graphics, content and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is up to date.
The best way to implement SEO is by using keywords in your content to capture the user’s attention and also increase your online presence. This will assist with your business’s search-ability and bring traffic to your website.
This is a longer process which requires research and investment but pays off in the long run through higher search engine rankings for your website. Ultimately resulting in “organic” traffic as opposed to “paid”. At some stage, you may need help from an SEO expert depending on your website goals, competition, industry and other factors.
Thankfully, there are many ways a business can appeal to new customers and keep them coming back! By targeting your ideal buyer personas and implementing some or all of the strategies listed, you can attract new customers to assist in long term growth for the business.
Check out the resources offered by the NZ government and other private bodies to learn more about marketing on digital platforms.
- Learn SEO with Google – Gain an understanding of search engine algorithms and how they affect organic search results and websites
- The Government-backed Digital Boost Skills Training programme is free for all Kiwi small businesses. It has hundreds of short educational videos with instantly actionable insights.