It’s the time of year to share love with your nearest and dearest. For small business owners, beyond their families, that also means loving customers. Last October, together with small business expert and USA Today columnist, Rhonda Abrams, we developed the Small Business Holiday Success Guide. We heard from many sources that the guide was valuable and contained easy-to-implement tips for navigating the holiday hurdles. To continue building on that tradition, we are pleased to bring you our next small business resource – the Love Your Customers Guide. Inside are tips to help target, acquire and hold on to the best mix of customers. In this post, Rhonda Abrams shares some of her top tips to get new customers.
We hope you enjoy.
“If you build it, will they come?” Not necessarily. Entrepreneurs are rightfully proud of the products or services they create, but how do they get customers to know about it?
Just because you’ve created something new, something better, or something cheaper doesn’t mean customers flock to your door. It takes a lot of work to get the word out to customers. And even more work to motivate them to buy.
There are lots of reasons customers don’t rush to a new and better offering. Most of the time, the culprit is that customers don’t know about your offerings. And when they learn about you, you haven’t given them sufficient reason to change. That means you’ve got to put effort to get the word out to prospects—as well as offering incentives for them to try you out.
Given that most customers are set in their ways and don’t switch providers easily, what can you do to convince a customer to switch to you? The table above outlines some successful methods for encouraging customers to give your business a try.
First things first – customers have to know about you! You need to effectively get the word out about your product or service—and keep repeating your message. Some of the ways you can do this are through:
- Advertising. You have endless advertising options to get the word out about your company, from billboard ads, to search engine marketing ads, to ads in traditional media—print, radio, and TV.
- Social media marketing. Promote your deals on your social media sites—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and so on. Reach out to key bloggers and post your offers on your business page of user review sites. And you can purchase ads on these sites too.
- Public relations. The best advertising often comes in the form of free publicity in the media. But that takes PR work and getting your message to journalists. Generating positive reviews by influencers is especially helpful for attracting new customers.
- Open houses. Offer freebies to introduce new customers to your store, restaurant, or service and to stimulate publicity.
Visit here to download the Love Your Customers guide and learn more!
Rhonda Abrams @RhondaAbrams
USA Today Small Business Columnist and Expert
Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal, financial, tax or other advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal and financial advisors. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.
Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on February 15, 2013 at 10:08 am